Garlic may provide a number of benefits besides flavoring your food, including lowering your risk for cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and bacterial and fungal infections in your body. However, some people experience side effects when they consume large amounts of garlic, including indigestion.
If you use fresh gloves, the typical dose is 2 to 4 g per day, with each clove weighing about a gram, and if you take garlic tablets, the usual dose is 200 mg two or three times per day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Although body odor and bad breath are the two most common side effects from taking garlic, other possible side effects include abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, flatulence, headaches, indigestion, heartburn, muscle aches, nausea, sweating, an upset stomach and vomiting. High doses of garlic can also lead to blood thinning and colitis, so speak to your doctor about the proper dosage for you before you take supplemental garlic.
Garlic supplements may also interact with certain medications, including blood thinners like warfarin, antiplatelet medications and HIV protease inhibitors. People who take these medications, those who are going to have surgery or give birth and those who experience major side effects from garlic supplements should avoid taking these supplements.
Different garlic supplements contain different amounts of the active ingredients, depending on where the garlic came from and how it was prepared. Choose standardized preparations to maximize the potential benefits from garlic supplementation. Garlic tablets can help minimize problems with garlic breath and body odor. If you use fresh garlic, the more you cook it the less of the active ingredients will be available.
- University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics; Garlic: It Enhances the Taste of Food and Possibly Your Health; Nicole Nisly, M.D.
- BBC News; Even Garlic Can Be Poisonous; Georgina Kenyon; April 27, 2002
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University; Garlic and Organosulfur Compounds; Jane Higdon, Ph.D., et al.; July 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center; GarlicSteven D. Ehrlich, NMD; Nov. 17, 2008