A recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Louisville, USA, has found that eating raw garlic could reduce the risk of developing memory problems in old age.
The scientists wanted to investigate the role human aging digestive systems play in the development of memory problems, and whether an organic compound in garlic called allyl sulfide could help prevent decline.
Allyl sulfide “has many health benefits and is known for its detoxifying agents” the authors of the study wrote.
Referring to the microbes which populate the human body and outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1 Dr. Neetu Tyagi, co-author at the university said: “The diversity of the gut microbiota is diminished in elderly people, a life stage when neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s develop and memory and cognitive abilities can decline.
We want to better understand how changes in the gut microbiota relate to aging-associated cognitive decline.”
The scientists tested their hypotheses on 24 month old mice, equivalent to humans aged between 56 to 69-years-old, using allyl sulfide. They then compared their memory skills to 4 month old mice and 24 year old mice which did not take the compound.
The mice which took allyl sulfide had better short and long-term memory skills, and their gut bacteria was healthier compared with the mice of the same age which didn’t take the chemical.
The researchers further found that allyl sulphide preserved a gene expression of neuronal-derived natriuretic factor (NDNF) in the brain which is crucial for long-term and short-term memory.
The researchers discovered the mice which were given the garlic compound also showed higher levels of NDNF gene expression as well as hydrogen sulfide gas, a molecule that prevents intestinal inflammation in the gut.
Dr. Jyotirmaya Behera, one of the researchers said: “Our findings suggest that dietary administration of garlic containing allyl sulfide could help maintain healthy gut microorganisms and improve cognitive health in the elderly.”
Consuming raw garlic on a daily basis helps to lower cholesterol levels because of the anti-oxidant properties of Allicin, a compound produced when garlic is crushed. It is also immensely beneficial to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Garlic is usually used as a spice in foods, but some people don’t know that it can also be good for health. It has been used for thousands of years to treat various human diseases and can reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers such as breast and stomach, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Scientists hope that the breakthrough could help fight incurable cystic fibrosis and chronic wounds in diabetics, as well as tackling Methillin Resistant Staphylococcus Auerus (MRSA) and common hospital infection.