Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is a vegetable that belongs to the allium class of bulb-shaped plants which include onions, chives, leeks and scallions. The primary constituents in whole, intact garlic is the sulfur compound, alliin and the enzyme, alliinase which are contained in separate cells within the garlic clove.

When garlic is cut, crushed or dehydrated these two components combine, forming alliicin and other compounds that quickly transform into a variety of organosulfur compounds, including S-allyl cysteine (SAC). The primary contributor to the health benefits of garlic is SAC (1).

Black garlic is produced when raw garlic undergoes the maillard reaction. Studies have shown that SAC, antioxidant activity (2), total polyphenol and flavonoid content are significantly higher in black garlic (3).

Antioxidants may prevent or delay some types of cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that are naturally formed when your body converts food into energy and during exercise. Your body is also exposed to free radicals from a variety of external sources including cigarette smoke, air pollution, and sunlight (4).

Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, a process that can trigger cell damage. Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in the development of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (4).

Black garlic may also help to reduce Low Density Lipoprotein – LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Black garlic has been shown to reduce atherogenic markers (formation of fatty deposits in the arteries) giving cardio-protective benefits for patients with mild hypercholesterolemia (high blood pressure) (5).



  1. Intake of Garlic and Its Bioactive Components. JN Nutrition. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, March 2001.
  2. Changes in S-allyl cysteine contents and physicochemical properties of black garlic during heat treatment. LWT – Food Science and Technology, May 2013.
  3. Physicochemical and antioxidant properties of black garlic. Department of Food and Nutrition, Kyung Hee University Korea, October 2014.
  4. Antioxidants: In Depth. National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, May 2016.
  5. Reduction of blood lipid parameters by a 12-week supplementation of aged black garlic. Clinical Trial Center for Functional Foods in Chonbuk National University Hospital, September 2014.



The content provided is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professionals. Always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to any medical questions.