Why Garlic Is A Powerful Detoxification Superhero



We live in a toxic world, made up of tens of thousands of chemicals, most of which did not exist until very recently.1 Industrial chemicals, agricultural chemicals, chemicals used in manufacturing, and chemicals found in cosmetic and body care products add up to a laundry list of chemicals that end up in our food, our water, our homes, the air we breathe, and ultimately, our bodies. We are constantly being exposed to chemicals, from the inside and out, and this is not good for long-term health.

Research suggests that pollutants, including pesticides and solvents, might accelerate the development of prediabetes and obesity.2 3 Other studies have shown that exposure to pesticides at a young age can significantly reduce children’s IQs by the time they are seven years old.4 While we can try to escape these chemicals by minimizing our exposure, it’s inevitable that we will be exposed to some toxins over our lifetimes. Therefore, it is important to support and enhance our bodies’ ability to detoxify these chemicals with natural detox foods and detoxification supplements.


Detoxification Details

Detoxification is generally separated into two phases, each one carried out by a unique set of cellular workers known as phase I and phase II enzymes. Phase I enzymes convert toxins into less harmful ones through different chemical reactions such as oxidation, while phase II enzymes “package” up these compounds for easy elimination. However, phase I detoxification can create free radicals and other metabolites that, in excess, can cause cellular damage.5 Some of these metabolites can potentially be more harmful than the original toxic compounds, so it is important that phase II detoxification is prepared to quickly neutralize them.


Supporting phase II detoxification is actually pretty simple. First, we need to increase the number of workers who are present to perform phase II detoxification (the enzymes), and then provide them with the tools they need to neutralize activated toxins.


Some of these chemical tools are made by the body, such as glutathione, while others need to be obtained through the diet; this is particularly relevant when talking about the sulfur molecules that are used during certain parts of phase II detoxification.6 The enzymes essentially attach a sulfur group to toxins, in a process known as sulfation, effectively neutralizing the toxin, allowing it to be eliminated in the urine.7 Without adequate sulfur, the body cannot properly detoxify many compounds, including BPA, triclosan, and even some medications. Not only is sulfur used for sulfation, it is also essential for the synthesis of glutathione, another important detoxification tool.


Garlic: A Detoxification Superhero

Some of the best natural detox foods that boost the number of detoxification enzymes and also help increase the tools available for these enzymes to do their work are the allium family of vegetables, particularly garlic.8 Garlic contains organo-sulfur compounds (OSCs) which make it the perfect detoxification supplement—these compounds boost the number of detoxification enzymes while also increasing levels of glutathione and sulfur so the enzymes have plenty of tools to work with.9 10 In fact, experimental data indicates that garlic supplementation can increase the excretion of toxic compounds by up to 50 percent.11 12 Garlic supplements really are one of the best detoxification supplements available.


It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the vast number of chemicals that have permeated the modern world. Doing things like eating organic, using chemical-free cosmetics, and drinking clean water can significantly reduce your exposure, but these days some exposure to toxins is unavoidable—which is why it is so important to support your natural detoxification defenses. Garlic can certainly help give your detoxification system a boost, and it has been shown to combine in a synergistic fashion with milk thistle for enhanced detoxification and liver support.


Other things that can be done to support detoxification include: regular exercise, consuming plenty of dietary fiber, B-vitamins, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and vitamin C. 13 14 15 16 You don’t have to fear toxins, just arm your body with the right nutrients to help support health and keep your detoxification systems running in tip-top shape.


Some great detox recipes that are great for the whole family can be found here.

Don’t fall for common detoxification myths; read about these myths and why they won’t help here.