Reviewed by Irene Pauline Humpelstetter, CNP
What is black garlic?
Black garlic, the fermented form of garlic, has been gaining popularity for its potent antioxidant, cardiovascular and blood cholesterol benefits.
Korea, a culture rich in fermentation history, is said to be ground zero for black garlic. But it has a deep history with ties to many ancient cultures, like the Chinese, Romans, Babylonians, and ancient Egyptians too! Its discovery is unknown, but it was not uncommon to ferment all sorts of fresh vegetables after harvest for preservation reasons.
In this case, black garlic would have simply been freshly harvested garlic fermented for several weeks, likely in clay pots, under controlled high temperatures (60–90°C) and high humidity (80–90%). The resulting change? Black garlic has a much higher level of S-allyl cysteine (SAC), an organosulfur compound shown to have antioxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and hepatoprotective activities.
What are the benefits?
Black garlic has emerged as a potent functional food due to its wide range of biological functions, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, lowering hyperlipidemia, anti-obesity, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective effects, after being introduced to the market in the last few decades. According to Hao Jing’s study from the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, black garlic contains the polyphenol content that is six times higher than with fresh garlic.
Looking at Google’s search term history, Black Garlic has been steadily growing in interest since 2008. The graph below illustrates the search term volume for “Black Garlic” on Google in the United States from 2004 to 2022.
So, with black garlic’s popularity on the rise, let’s dig in and understand some of the benefits people are seeing in the fermented vegetable.
Blood sugar regulation
Black garlic, like fresh raw garlic, can assist to manage blood sugar levels. Reducing excessive blood sugar can help avoid major health problems like diabetes symptoms, renal disease, and more. This animal study showed that black garlic reduced blood sugar by 91.4% - a major decline in potential diabetes related concerns and a major endorsement to the benefits of black garlic.
Supporting heart health
Black garlic has also shown to lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, two fat byproducts that can build up in the blood and be linked to heart disease.
If you have excess levels, they can be stored in different places in case they are needed later, but sometimes too much buildup can cause a negative impact on the body. However, according to this study, significant improvements of the plasma lipid profile as well as fecal excretions of total lipids and triglyceride were seen after black garlic supplementation.
Looking deeper, we found another study conducted with patients who suffer from chronic heart failure (CHF). Black garlic treatment improved cardiac function when compared to the control group – increasing Quality of Life (QOL) scores significantly because of elevated circulating antioxidant levels.
Liver diseases can be caused by many conditions, or it can be any disturbance of liver function that causes illness. Liver disease can be also caused by alcohol, exposure to chemicals, medications and germs. Enter black garlic.
According to a recent study it has shown that black garlic may also be helpful in more chronic diseases as it improves the liver function in the case of chronic alcohol induced liver damage likely through its antioxidant activity. Black garlic may also lower markers of liver injury following liver damage, rebalance the size of liver cells and may decrease the fatty deposits in liver.
Antioxidants are abundantly found in black garlic and contains the highest amount of phenolic, flavonoid and flavanol compounds which is great for our immune system. As our immune system plays a crucial role in our overall health the antioxidant found in black garlic enhance our immunity by fighting free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS), reducing inflammation, and preventing oxidative damage to our cells. Black garlic contains a concentrated dosage of antioxidant which can boost our immune system and have far reaching effects on several aspects of health.
What does this all mean?
Breaking this down in an easy and digestible list of black garlic benefits vs. traditional garlic supplementation...
- Black garlic contains 2x more antioxidants than raw garlic
- It has more absorbable Allicin
- It's a more potent and stable source of S-Allyl-Cysteine (SAC)
- Black garlic has 2x more polyphenols than raw garlic
- Contains bioavailable whole food source vitamins, like Vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, and Folate – B9
- It's a source of bioavailable whole food source minerals, like Selenium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Calcium
- Black garlic has greater stability
There are several studies that suggest black garlic is a superior antioxidant with benefits supporting liver protection, immunity, cardiovascular health, and more.
If you’re interested in trying this product, Living Alchemy’s Black Garlic Alive uses farm fresh garlic bulbs aged for up to ninety days in the right environment to allow a natural and slow fermentation process to occur and create an even more potent natural therapeutic product.
We also included organic hawthorn berries and organic cayenne pepper for added benefits.