by Carmia Borek, PhD
Good health is founded upon a healthy and vigorous immune system. Our immune system protects us from infectious bacteria, viruses and fungi that invade our bodies and threaten disease and death. Yet, the battle between a pathogen and the immune response can go on unnoticed for some time, and the winning side will determine whether the outcome will result in sickness or health. Hence, maintaining a fortified immune system protects against infection, helps battle colds and flu, and combats inflammation. One of the most wellresearched nutritional supplements for immune support is Aged Garlic Extract (AGE). AGE is particularly impressive as several new studies show how this powerful nutritional supplement helps to protect against cold and flu as well as periodontitis- causing bacteria. For those who are serious about immune support, a high-quality AGE supplement such as any one of Kyolic AGE formulas by Wakunaga of America is an excellent choice.
COLD AND FLU NO MORE
Additionally, the researchers found that AGE enhanced the antioxidant glutathione in the immune white cells (lymphocytes) and significantly reduced the inflammation marker interferongamma. This is significant as inflammation is an underlying component in many diseases.
The results of this study clearly suggest that supplementation with AGE enhances immune cell function and is in part responsible for the reduced severity of colds and flu.
Diallyl sulfides present in AGE act as natural antibiotics against MRSA. In a study published in the June 2007 Journal of Medical Microbiology, researchers fed diallyl sulfides to diabetic subjects after infection with MRSA. The study used 16 clinical MRSA isolates obtained from infected patients. The preclinical models were infected by injecting a solution containing MRSA. At 16 hours post infection, garlic extract, diallyl sulfide or diallyl disulfide was administered orally. The oral administration of these agents significantly decreased MRSA viability in the blood, liver, kidney and spleen. The clinical isolates decreased major markers of inflammation, supporting the potential role of these compounds in combating MRSA. To quote the authors of the study, “These data strongly supported the conclusion that garlic extract, diallyl sulfide and diallyl disulfide possessed multiple protective functions against MRSA infection, in which diallyl sulfide and diallyl disulfide could be considered as novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of MRSA infection.”
FIGHT ORAL BACTERIA
An in vitro preclinical study from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and published in the February 2012 online version of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, shows that lipid-soluble garlic compounds that are present in AGE can help fight the microorganisms that cause periodontitis. The in vitro antibacterial effects of diallyl sulfide (DAS) was studied against the Gram-negative bacterium Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa), the key pathogen responsible for the severe form of aggressive periodontitis and other non-oral infections. Aa was treated either with garlic extract, allicin or DAS. The study found that garlic extract, allicin and DAS significantly inhibited the growth of Aa when compared to untreated control cells.
DAS-treated Aa cells also showed a complete inhibition of glutathione S-transferase activity which is important in metabolic reactions and needed for the viability of the microorganisms. The results suggest that DAS-induced glutathione S-transferaseinhibition may be involved in the death of the bacterial Aa cells. To quote the authors of the study, “These findings demonstrate that DAS exhibits significant antibacterial activity against Aa and this property might be utilized for exploring its therapeutic potential in Aa-associated oral and non-oral infections.”
Another study in the February 2012 Archives of Iranian Medicine addressed the therapeutic effects of garlic on humans. Saliva samples were collected from 40 subjects into vials that provided growth conditions for any microorganisms present in the saliva. One set of vials was exposed to a garlic extract while control specimens were prepared by the same method without exposure to garlic extract. All samples were incubated at 37°C for 48 hours. Assessments were made based on colony counts to determine the inhibitory activity of garlic extracts on oral salivary microorganisms. The results of this study showed that the garlic extract significantly reduced the microbial growth compared to the control group. The authors concluded, “According to our findings, garlic extract is effective in the reduction of an oral microbial population. It may be useful as an alternative product and new treatment modality with fewer side effects.”
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