The smell of garlic simmering in olive oil is a sure sign of a mouth-watering meal to come.
Still, it can be hard to get fresh garlic in your diet every day, so some people turn to garlic supplements for their daily dose.
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Here, we'll dig into the research behind the possible benefits and offer suggestions for the best garlic supplements to buy.
The Best Garlic Supplements to Buy
- Best Overall: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract ($29.77, Amazon)
- Best for Dietary Restrictions: Sports Research Vegan Garlic Oil ($15.95, Amazon)
- Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Nature's Bounty Garlic ($14.81, Amazon)
- Best on a Budget: BRI Nutrition Odorless Garlic ($12.88, Amazon)
How We Chose
We chose the products on our list of the best garlic supplements based on the following criteria:
- Brands that adhere to the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices (which ensure the product is packaged and labeled properly)
- Other ingredients in the product
- Consumer ratings and reviews
You can learn more about how we cover products here.
Always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen, and take your garlic supplement as directed, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
1. Best Overall: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
Aged garlic extract may have blood pressure and oral health benefits (more information on that below). The aging process also helps cut back on the odor. This brand adheres to the above-mentioned Good Manufacturing Practices and is rated highly by shoppers.
2. Best Vegan: Sports Research Vegan Garlic Oil
These capsules contain extra-virgin olive oil instead of the standard soybean oil, which may be a better choice for those with allergies to soy. They are also vegan (some supplement capsules are made with ingredients derived from animals, such as gelatin, per One Green Planet) and non-GMO-verified, which means they're not made with genetically modified ingredients.
Finally, the brand follows the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices.
3. Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Nature's Bounty Garlic
The Nature's Bounty brand has had successful lab audits by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), a quality-control nonprofit, although there are currently no garlic supplements awarded the USP seal (more on that below). Nature's Bounty adheres to the Good Manufacturing Practices, as well.
These garlic supplements are enteric coated, which means they'll stay intact until reaching your small intestine. That may help alleviate the stomach discomfort some supplements can cause.
4. Best on a Budget: BRI Nutrition Odorless Garlic
With one of the highest ratings on Amazon for garlic supplements, BRI has a 60-day money-back guarantee if you don't see the results you're after. These are also made in the USA, adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices and won't break the bank.
This is an odorless supplement, too, which may help eliminate the bad breath or odor that can come with taking garlic every day.
Are Garlic Pills Good for You?
If you tend to stay away from garlic because of its pungent smell, you shouldn't — that's why it's so good for you. Garlic contains organosulfur compounds, which are responsible for the scent and are thought to be key to its health benefits, according to the Linus Pauling Institute (LPI).
When you crush or chop raw garlic, a compound called allicin is formed, which is responsible for many of the bulb's health benefits, according to the USDA. But the amount of this compound that's available for your body to absorb and use may vary depending on the supplement preparation, according to the LPI.
Garlic comes in many forms, including raw, powder, oil and aged garlic extract. Of these forms, powder, oil and aged garlic extract may be found in a capsule supplement.
The health benefits of garlic and garlic supplements have been researched extensively in animals, but human studies are limited. Still, based on the research to date, garlic may have a positive effect on the following conditions:
- High blood pressure: Aged garlic extract lowered blood pressure more than a placebo in a small January 2016 study in Integrated Blood Pressure Control of people with untreated hypertension.
- Gingivitis and periodontal disease: Garlic extract, allicin and aged garlic extract have all been shown to suppress the growth of bacteria that causes periodontal disease in lab studies, according to a February 2020 review in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine.
- High cholesterol: Taking garlic has been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, according to a May 2018 review in Medicine.
What to Look for in a Garlic Supplement
Before you pick up a bottle of garlic capsules, consider these criteria.
It's important to note that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same as prescription drugs before they arrive on store shelves. This means they may have ingredients not listed on the packaging, and the health claims they tout may not be supported by research.
One way to know if a supplement truly contains what it claims to is to look for a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal. The USP is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure the potency, purity and performance of supplements.
Currently, there are no garlic supplements that have obtained a USP seal. Your best bet is to look for a brand you trust — one you've used before, and one that follows the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices.
2. Type of Garlic
This all comes down to personal preference. Most garlic supplements on the market today are made with an odorless formulation, which might be preferable. Some even come enhanced with parsley, which may help mask any lingering garlic scent.
According to the LPI, there are four types of garlic supplements to choose from:
- Powdered or dehydrated garlic capsules: Garlic cloves are crushed, dried and made into a powder.
- Aged garlic extract: This is raw garlic that has been stored in ethanol for up to 20 months.
- Steam-distilled garlic oil: Garlic oil capsules have a ratio of 1 percent sulfur compounds to 99 percent vegetable oil, according to the LPI.
- Garlic oil macerate: This garlic capsule supplement consists of ground garlic in vegetable oil.
More expensive doesn't always mean better. You may pay a premium for extras like organic or non-GMO, but those do not guarantee a more effective garlic supplement.
Stay within your price range and make sure garlic is a good choice for you (check with your doctor) before spending more on a garlic supplement.
Who Should Not Take Garlic Supplements?
If you're taking anticoagulant medications, such as Coumadin or Warfarin, you should speak with your doctor before taking a garlic capsule. Garlic can enhance the effect of these medications, which can increase your risk of bleeding, according to the LPI.
Garlic supplements are not recommended if you're on antiretroviral medication for HIV, either. Garlic supplements can interfere with these medications and make them less effective, according to Mount Sinai.
Are There Side Effects From Garlic Supplements?
The most noticeable and unpleasant side effect of garlic supplements is "garlic breath" and possibly body odor, per the LPI.
Other reported side effects include burping, bloating and reflux, per the January 2016 Integrated Blood Pressure Control research.
The Bottom Line
Garlic supplements may have health benefits, but there's no guarantee you'll see the results you're looking for. More human research is needed to confirm the actual benefits and appropriate dosages of garlic supplements.
Talk to your doctor before taking garlic to ensure it won't interfere with medications you're taking or your other health goals.
- Journal of Immunology Research: "Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds"
- American Institute for Cancer Research: "Garlic"
- Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine: "The Preventive and Therapeutic Application of Garlic and Other Plant Ingredients in the Treatment of Periodontal Diseases"
- Medicine: "Anti-Hyperlipidemia of Garlic by Reducing the Level of Total Cholesterol and Low-Density Lipoprotein"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Dietary Supplements"
- Mount Sinai: Garlic Information
- Cleveland Clinic: "Garlic Capsules and Tablets"
- USDA: "Garlic as a functional food"
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Garlic
- One Green Planet: 7 Sneaky Animal Ingredients to Watch Out for In Supplements