When it comes to achieving deep, authentic flavours I would always advise to cook with fresh garlic cloves separated from the bulb with your own hands. Have a look at my collection of delicious garlic recipes and how to cook with garlic. However, some sources claim that the use of certain garlic supplements could be more beneficial from the health point of view.
I completely understand that, considering the number of garlic supplements available out there, it might seem absolutely ludicrous to make anyone handle the stinking rose, especially if you don’t know how to get rid of the garlic smell off your hands afterwards.
I also, or maybe even more, sympathize with all those garlic lovers who would like to avoid the embarrassment of the explanatory/apologetic talk they are likely to perform after a kiss, because they just don’t know how to get rid of the garlic breath that had stuck with them since lunch time.
There are numerous garlic supplements available on the market which supposedly offer both the quality of flavour together with the garlic benefits.
Garlic supplements can be classified into four groups
- garlic essential oil
- garlic oil macerate
- garlic powder
- garlic extract
Although I personally simply prefer the authentic flavour of fresh garlic, when it comes to the health benefits it is not as straightforward.
The secret is in allicin, which is responsible for both the strong aroma as well as the medicinal benefits. Allicin is not a permanent part of a garlic clove. It is difficult to produce, it is very unstable and it gets deactivated almost instantly when exposed to a high heat (boiling, frying, roasting, baking etc.).
Most garlic supplements do not contain allicin at all
They contain standardized allin & the “potential allicin” content or “allicin yield”. This still refers to how unstable allicin is. When garlic supplement is swallowed, stomach acid destroys the allianase, the enzyme that activates production of allicin, therefore it is impossible to say how much allicin actually got produced before the acid destroyed the whole allianase.
If you are looking for a high, stabilized allicin in the content of a garlic supplement, then allicin powder, or products containing allicin powder, both with at least 180mg per dose, are the ones you need.
So far I have not found any garlic supplement good for cooking and offering health benefits, (containing allicin powder) which takes me back to basics – the beautifully stinking rose in its unmodified and most natural form – raw garlic.
Here are a few websites explaining the above in more depth: