Can You Eat Too Much Garlic?

Commonly known as a flavorful addition to many dishes, garlic has been used over the centuries for medicinal purposes as well. Full of vitamins such as vitamin B, vitamin C and manganese, it also contains antioxidants that fight inflammation. Research has found garlic may be instrumental in fighting heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sinus congestion and atherosclerosis. Some studies suggest it can even ward off cancer. With all these wonderful benefits, does it mean that you should eat as much garlic as possible?

Garlic Bulbs

Can You Eat Too Much Garlic?

Not really. Though there is not a restriction which states you cannot eat over a certain amount, it doesn't mean you can consume unlimited garlic without consequences. Raw garlic, in particular, can cause havoc. You may even have an intolerance or allergy to it. The key to eating garlic is moderation. If you are using it for medicinal uses, the large amounts needed can trigger adverse reactions. The more and the more often you consume it, the greater your risk becomes.

How Many Can You Eat?

Can you eat too much garlic? While there are not specific studies addressing this question, research has come up with dosing guides for medicinal purposes. More does not always mean better when taking a supplement. Typically, the recommended dosage varies depending on form, but fresh garlic ranges between 2 to 5 grams. If you are taking extract from aged garlic, the dosing ranges from 600 mg-1,200 mg. Standardized garlic that has been freeze-dried contains 1.3 percent allicin or .6 percent of alliin and should be taken at a dose of 400 mg up to three times daily. Your doctor or nutritionist should give you the right dosing amount based on the type of garlic and your condition.

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Garlic?

1. Digestive Problems

Sometimes if you consume too much garlic, you can suffer from digestive problems. This usually presents itself with an upset stomach or cramping. Because the fluids in your stomach are acidic, when they combine with garlic you may experience heartburn or acid reflux. If you have a severe reaction, you may suffer from nausea, diarrhea and even vomiting.

If you plan on adding garlic to your regime, do so gradually. Try starting with one half clove per day and then slowly add more until you reach one clove. If you tolerate it well, you can work up to two or three cloves if needed. You will be able to gauge your tolerance without suffering from severe side effects if you take it slow.

2. Strong Garlic Body Odor

Can you eat too much garlic when considering body odor? Better not. Sometimes when you eat a lot of garlic, you omit the strong smell associated with it. Typically, it is your breath that suffers the most. Garlic contains sulfur, which is released from the lungs and pushed out of your body. Its strong smell can even be released through your pores and in your sweat. Sometimes taking a garlic supplement instead of fresh can help with your odor and bad breath issues, but research is inconclusive on whether the two forms carry the same benefits.

You cannot get rid of garlic breath until your body has fully expelled it. However, you can cover it up by using mouthwashes and certain toothpastes. 

3. Garlic Allergy

Garlic is no different than anything else when it comes to people having the risk of being allergic to it. If you suspect you are sensitive to garlic, you should stop taking it immediately. Signs of an allergy include headache, rash, gas, bloating, fever or diarrhea. More severe symptoms are swelling of your tongue, constant fatigue or even anaphylactic shock. You can ask restaurants to prepare your food without it if you find you have a garlic allergy. An allergy diagnostic test is the only way to know for sure.

4. Internal Bleeding

The juice from garlic can be very strong so if you eat way too much of it, you can experience internal bleeding. The chances of this happening are greatest if you suffer from another underlying condition or take drugs to thin your blood.

When You Shouldn't Eat Garlic

Can you eat too much garlic? Better not. Typically, a moderate amount each day is perfectly safe as garlic has been identified as a non-toxic food. However, due to the fact it has medicinal uses and recommended doses, it carries its own contraindications.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, you should seek your doctor's advice as you may have to avoid long-term use of garlic, large doses of it or stay completely away from garlic.

  • Insomnia
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation
  • Organ transplant
  • Diabetes
  • Blood-thinning medications
  • Pending surgery
  • Pemphigus
  • Hypoglycemia

Since garlic can influence your metabolic, immune and circular systems, it can affect medications and their purposes. It can render them ineffective, cause unexpected side effects or interfere with their usefulness. For example, since garlic is known as a natural blood thinner, it should not be used with any blood thinning medications. Also, if you are supposed to get surgery in the near future, you should not take any so nothing interferes with your body’s ability to clot. There are several other considerations so always consult with your doctor before adding garlic to your diet or using it for medicinal purposes.

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