Life Extension Magazine®

Pile of garlic that have multiple compounds for health benefits


Garlic contains a range of key compounds including vitamins and minerals that provide potent antibiotic, immunosupportive, anticancer, and cardioprotective benefits.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Closely related to onions, shallots, leeks, and chives, garlic has been a dietary staple for thousands of years in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean region. In recent years, research has shown this popular vegetable to have a number of health benefits. Let’s take a look at a few…


There’s evidence to suggest that garlic has cancer-fighting abilities. For instance, the large-scale Iowa Women’s Health Study analyzed the diets of over 41,000 middle-aged women and found that higher garlic consumption was associated with reduced colon cancer risk.1

Immune System

Research shows garlic can boost the human immune system. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted during flu season found that subjects taking aged garlic extract had reduced cold and flu severity with fewer symptoms and had a lower number of school and work absences.2

Vitamins and Minerals

Garlic is notably rich in a number of important nutrients. Garlic contains fiber, as well as selenium, vitamin C, manganese, calcium, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.3

Heart Disease

Analysis of numerous studies has shown that garlic lowers total cholesterol levels and also lowers diastolic and systolic blood pressure.4


Going back to the 19th century, when Louis Pasteur discovered during laboratory tests that it could kill bacteria, garlic has been known to have antibiotic properties. Studies comparing garlic to broad-spectrum commercial antibiotics have sometimes shown it to be the more effective of the two. And interestingly, bacteria don’t seem to evolve a resistance to garlic the way they do with typical antibiotic medications.5


  1. Am J Epidemiol. 1994;139(1):1-15.
  2. J Nutr. 2016;146(2):433s-6s.
  3. Available at: Accessed January 17, 2017.
  4. Phytomedicine. 2016;23(11):1127-33.
  5. Available at: Accessed January 17, 2017.