Garlic and fish not only taste good together, they may also help keep your cardiovascular and digestive systems healthy. Garlic contains health-supportive compounds, while fish provides fats essential for wellness. You can take these supplements separately or together, but if you have a health condition, consult your health care provider before using them. Garlic and fish oil are dietary supplements and do not cure or treat any health condition.
Garlic and fish oil supplements may reduce your risk of heart disease, note experts from the University of Maryland. Both supplements can lower blood pressure and, used separately or together, they can help lower levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol. Both also help decrease platelet stickiness, allowing blood to flow more easily. Combining the two may increase this effect. Although recent studies suggests garlic's effect on cholesterol is mild, the herb also lower levels of homocysteine and C-reactive protein, two other benefits that may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
Garlic and fish oil may also reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Garlic's immune supportive proprieties may be partly responsible for this, UM experts suggest. Getting 28.8 g garlic or more weekly appeared to lower risk of stomach and colorectal cancers, found a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in October 2000. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, just as those in fish oil, may lower risk of colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Additionally, long-term consumption of omega-3s may reduce risk of breast cancer, although experts debate this.
Alliin and allicin are the active compounds in garlic. Alliin turns into allicin when garlic bulbs are crushed or cut. Although aged garlic supplements don't contain allicin, the S-allyl cysteine they contain may still have health benefits. Fish oil's health benefits come primarily from omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. Essential for normal brain function and and overall health, these fats also appear to reduce inflammation, which may make them useful in treating certain health conditions.
For garlic, take two 200 mg tablets, three times daily, UM experts recommend. These supplements should contain 1.3 percent alliin or 0.6 percent allicin. If you have high cholesterol, take fish oil supplements that provide two to 4 g daily of total EPA and DHA. If you have coronary heart disease, your fish oil supplements should supply 1 g total EPA and DHA daily. Fish oil supplements vary in the amount of EPA and DHA they provide, so check the label. The supplements are safe to take together. Men with high cholesterol took a combination of 900 mg garlic and 12 g fish oil daily in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February 1997.
Both garlic and fish oil can cause bloating and digestive upset. With fish oil, time-release capsules may be less likely to cause these side effects. Garlic may also cause bad breath or body odor. Both supplements have blood thinning properties and the combination may increase this effect. If you take blood-thinning medications, protease inhibitors or antiplatelet medications, or you have a bleeding disorder, talk to a health care provider before taking garlic and fish oil, whether separately or in combination.
- University of Maryland: Garlic
- University of Maryland: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- University of Michigan: Garlic
- "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition;" Garlic Consumption and Cancer Prevention: Meta-analyses Of Colorectal and Stomach Cancers; Fleischauer AT, et al.; October 2000
- Oregon State University: Garlic and Organosulfur Compounds
- Vanderbilt University: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Heart Disease Prevention: the Myths and the Truth