Since there’s no cure for most chronic cancers for the time being, garlic is no exception. Although this is not a ‘cure-all’ either, in recent years researchers have found that allicin has a significant anti-tumor effect for a variety of tumors. In fact, this wonderful seasoning has long been considered the undisputed leader of more than 40 known anti-cancer fruits and vegetables. And epidemiological studies have also shown that large doses of garlic for a long time can significantly decrease the incidence and mortality of some certain cancers since dozens among over 100 kinds of garlic components are able to respectively play a role in fighting cancer.
Garlic and a low-risk area for gastric cancer
Researchers ever conducted a comparative study of lifestyles of residents in regions of high and low incidence of gastric cancer. And the researchers came up with some surprising findings.
1. In regions with a low incidence of stomach cancer, people there regularly consume high amounts of fresh garlic all year round;
2. With increasing intake the risk of breast cancer reduces;
3. Eating it for more than twice a week contributes to a lower risk of prostate cancer. This conclusion is made compared to those who never eat garlic.
Garlic and cancer prevention and treatment
In modern medicine garlic was first used as a cancer-fighter in the 1950s because thiosulfinates derived from garlic can inhibit tumor cell growth. In recent years, its anti-cancer effect has been getting more and more attention and remarkable progress has been made in inhibiting tumor cell growth and proliferation. That’s to say, it has been confirmed that it can reduce the risk of cancer of various tissues and organs, such as skin, breast, colon, esophagus, prostate, bladder, lung, liver and stomach and so on.
Garlic and related sulfide can help prevent the occurrence of cancer and change biologically cancer. The mechanism of action of them is partly due to they can block the formation of N-nitroso compounds and nitrosamines, affect CYP450 enzymes, increase the activity of GSH and GST, get rid of free radicals, improve immunity, and so on.
Garlic is rich in water-soluble and fat-soluble organic sulfides, whose types and content vary greatly due to the difference in processing, techniques, and origins. Allicin, DAS, DADS, DATS, and SAC can play an inhibitory effect in the early and late stages of cancer. In addition, other sulfides, such as SAC, SAMC, ajoene, and S-methylcysteine sulfoxide (methiin), will combine with DADS and DATS to inhibit cancer cell proliferation by encouraging apoptosis. The anticancer effect of organic sulfur compounds in garlic is not restricted to a particular animal species, specific tissues and organs, or specific carcinogens. It other words, this effect is extensive and increases with the growing number of sulfur atom since it mainly depends on the allyl group and the mercapto group. Because of the different number of these two groups, the efficient inhibition of tumor cell growth varies in different organic sulfur compounds. By the way, they present certain organ specificity too.
Other anti-cancer ingredients in garlic also include some of the organic selenium compounds, organic germanium compounds, and steroid saponins such as eruboside-B and polyphenols. And some organic selenium compounds with special structure have better anticancer activity than sulfides. As a result, the selenium-rich varieties of garlic tend to have higher anticancer activity than the ordinary varieties. For example, in the treatment of DMBA-induced breast cancer in rats diallyl selenide is 300-fold more effective than diallyl sulfide. Furthermore, benzyl selenide can inhibit breast, colon and stomach cancer in rats while benzyl sulfide has no such an effect. However, the two main anti-cancer ingredients in garlic are Se-methyl-selenocysteine and gamma-Glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine. In comparison, the former is more powerful.
Unfortunately, so far there has been lack of research on the dose and no effective garlic treatment plan has been developed clinically. However, it is still recommended to consume a couple cloves of this seasoning, especially the raw ones, each day to prevent cancer. Not to mention the fact that besides of adding aroma, taste, and extra nutrition to your dishes they have many other health benefits too.