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Do Garlic Supplements Make You Smell?

author image Derek Buckner
Derek Buckner has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in diet, nutrition and general health. He has been published in "Today's Dietitian," "Food Essentials" and "Eating Well Magazine," among others. Buckner is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Drexel University.
Do Garlic Supplements Make You Smell?
Garlic capsules on a white counter with a head of garlic and a scallion. Photo Credit: Eugene Bochkarev/Hemera/Getty Images

Garlic is known to have an odor whether you’re chopping it, cooking with it or just taking a whiff of it. The smell of garlic can linger on porous surfaces, clothing, your body and your breath. Unpleasant body odor and bad breath can cause embarrassment and make you not want to be around others.

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Active Ingredient

It’s the active ingredient in garlic, allicin, which gives garlic its distinct odor. Allicin is the component that gives garlic its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-fungal properties. Fresh garlic may also possess anti-parasitic properties. Garlic is known for its healing abilities and is used for a wide variety of ailments due to the benefits of the active ingredient.


Allicin has a very distinct odor, especially in freshly chopped, minced or diced garlic. Garlic supplements can contain fresh garlic or they can contain dried, freeze-dried or other forms of garlic. Allicin can leave a lingering odor on your breath after consuming garlic whether your food is flavored with garlic or you’re taking a garlic supplement. It doesn’t just affect your breath; garlic and garlic supplements can also cause your body to put off an odor that resembles the smell of garlic, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The reason for this is that allicin is that the human body does not effectively absorb allicin.

Supplement Ingredients

Since various forms of garlic are used to manufacture garlic supplements, it’s hard to know which supplement will have the most potent formula that contains allicin—unless the supplement specifically says it’s made with fresh garlic. Another varying factor is that not all garlic supplements contain the exact same amount of active ingredients. With so many variables, it’s hard to say whether a supplement will cause a slight odor or a very strong, persistent odor.


Ask your doctor if you should take garlic and how much. If your physician approves of the use of garlic and it causes you to smell, ask your physician about lowering the dose or switching to a different garlic supplement. Do not take any supplements without physician approval and do not discontinue or switch your supplement without consulting your physician.

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