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Garlic and Detoxification: The Possible Side Effects

By Ritamarie Loscalzo

Lemon with garlic

Lemon with garlicThe question has been brought up in my support calls over the years about some of the well-known detoxification foods, and their potential for side effects.  I thought I’d share some information about one of the most amazing foods on the planet: garlic.

Garlic is a useful adjunct to detoxification, because it conserves antioxidant levels, particularly glutathione, protects  against liver damage from acetaminophen, and can increase the intestinal activity levels of phase II detoxification enzymes. (In particular quinine reductase and glutathione transferase, used by the body to eliminate toxins).

Garlic protects your liver and heart from damage, and improves your ability to combat potentially fatal conditions like cancer and heart disease. Garlic may also help protect you from heavy-metal accumulation, smog and air pollution. It appears to be the sulfur compounds in garlic, especially allicin, that are most protective.  That little clove packs a powerful healing punch!

When it comes to detoxification, glutathione is one of the most important substances in the process.  It supports phase 2 liver detox, the more complicated of the two phases.  Because antioxidants get “used up” in the process of protecting you, exposure to toxic substances lowers glutathione levels.

Some background science: A study was conducted to see if garlic could be helpful in preserving glutathione levels by exposing a group of laboratory rats to a chemical known as bromobenzene. One group of rats was given garlic before being exposed, and their glutathione levels were tested both before and after exposing them to bromobenzene. When compared to a group of rats who were not pre-treated with garlic, the animals treated with garlic before exposure to bromobenzene had higher levels of glutathione after exposure than did the untreated group. More glutathione is a great thing!

Great, but what if you are among the small but significant group who has adverse effects to garlic? 

According to ConsumerLab.com, large doses of garlic can lead to upset stomach, facial flushing, rapid pulse, dizziness, allergies or insomnia, and can affect the mind and concentration.

Also, according to Chinese Medicine, garlic is  a warming and drying herb, so people with a hot constitution should use it cautiously, as it can create the side effects mentioned above.   People who have an angry temperament or reddish complexion would be classified as having a hot constitution and should proceed cautiously with garlic.

Not to worry, Nature has provided many great substitutes for garlic…

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you can still get the same benefits that garlic provides from other foods. As a substitute for garlic, scallions or spring onions can be just as effective as garlic, with less pungency.

Other foods and herbs also support phase 2 liver detox and can be used to support a successful detoxification program, including:

  • broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables
  • dill
  • caraway
  • turmeric
  • oranges and tangerines
  • dandelion
  • burdock root
  • apples
  • basil
  • jerusalem artichoke

So enjoy the benefits of garlic if you can and if not, know that there’s more than one way to detox a liver, and choose enjoyable foods and herbs that assist in the removal of toxins, leaving you light, strong and energetic.

Want More Detox and Energizing Tips?

When you run your body’s engine on green food, you’ll have the kind of energy you had in your youth, especially when you also incorporate a few key detoxification principles.

To learn more about how to turn your blender into your own personal kitchen time machine, register now for my free webinar: From SAD (Standard American Diet) to RAD (Rejuvenating Age-Defying Detox): How to Eat Green, Be Lean, and Feel Eighteen!!

I have hundreds of deliciously detoxifying and gloriously green recipes to energize you, and I hope you’ll join me for my FREE teleseminar on May 30th for SAD to RAD to find out how you can eat green, be lean, and feel eighteen!

Enter your name and e-mail to register HERE: Cleanse and Detox

Yours in health and joy,


Comment below: What is your favorite way to use garlic for detox, or what is your favorite way to use a substitute for detox? 

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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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  1. Tammy on May 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I like to crush cloves with the flat part of a knife, and let the allicin form for 15 minutes. Then i chop it up and swallow it down in waves/handfuls… Well, maybe not handfuls per se but I will eat 4 or more cloves at one time. YUM! Sometimes I just chew it too cuz I have grown to like that garlic burn 🙂
    It seems to burns my mouth less these days, almost as if my mouth has fewer problems

  2. Raw Food Recipes on June 14, 2013 at 1:42 am

    it is really helpful for me, thank you for sharing such helpful blog

  3. Sharon Khan on February 7, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I,m taking a lot of garlic to cure my cancer.
    Would really appreciate assistance with what else to eat.
    My ovarian cancer has recurred for the third time!

    • Vibrant Living Care Team on March 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      If you’re looking for feedback from Dr. Ritamarie, I encourage you to become a member of our VITAL Community where you can get access to Dr. Ritamarie via the monthly VITAL Q&A call. You can register here: http://www.VITALHealthCommunity.com. If you’re looking for in-depth support and personal coaching, she works one-on-one with clients in the Energy Recharge Coaching program: http://www.EnergyRechargeCoaching.com Best wishes! ~ Stacey

    • MR on November 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Please also include a tea spoon of black seed oil with pure honey

      • Lynn Johnson on December 5, 2016 at 7:31 pm

        I agree, MR, that black cumin seed could be helpful. The crude oil and thymoquinone (TQ) extracted from its seeds and oil are effective against many diseases like cancer, cardiovascular complications, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, etc.

        While there is a possibility that honey could also be useful, I would still use it with caution, and check your blood sugar. Sugar feeds cancer.

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