Allicin and the Immune System

Allicin, an active molecule derived from garlic, boasts an impressive list of properties. It's an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial powerhouse – here's how Allicin could affect your immune system.

Our immune system is amazing. It protects our body from pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and toxins and helps to locate and destroy rogue cells, which may be infected or cancerous1. Most of the time, we're blissfully unaware of our immune system working around the clock to keep us healthy. But our immune systems are in no way perfect. Some molecules, including many vitamins and minerals, are thought to give our immune system a helping hand. Allicin, an active molecule that's formed from garlic, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties2. This unique, natural molecule has been shown to interact with different immune system cells.

The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system. It's a collection of specialised vessels and lymph nodes that are located throughout the human body. These act as the body's built-in waste management system, moving and filtering toxins and waste that our bodies produce. If you've ever had mumps, flu or tonsillitis, you might have noticed your lymph nodes swelling up1. This is because the lymphocytes and macrophages (two types of white blood cell) within your lymphatic system and elsewhere in the body are activated. They multiply and attack any pathogens and germs they come across.

Allicin can change how some lymphocytes function, according to a 2015 study. They state that allicin can activate germ-fighting T lymphocytes, helping the immune system to fight off infection. Garlic was also shown to temporarily increase the number of macrophage molecules the immune system produces; this is due to the unique molecules contained in garlic2.

Black Garlic is particularly rich in anti-inflammatory molecules. Inflammation plays a major role in the immune system. The word itself is of Latin origin and literally means "set on fire", as heat and redness are two classic signs of inflammation. Various studies have demonstrated that black garlic supplementation can reduce inflammation. This naturally aged and fermented product has been suggested as a "prominent agent for the treatment of inflammation"3.

Garlic is a natural source of allicin. But raw bulbs of garlic only produce allicin when they're sliced or crushed, as this kick-starts a unique enzyme reaction within the garlic. Heat completely destroys any allicin that's been created, as high temperatures break down the allicin molecules. Getting a reliable source of allicin into your diet can be challenging.

Black Garlic, which is aged and fermented under strict conditions, contains allicin and many other active heart-health molecules including polyphenols and flavonoids. Consuming a daily dose of allicin has never been easier – we've created Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic, our most potent allicin-containing supplement to date. Each tablet contains a standardised dose of 2,700ug Allicin with 450mg of GMO-free Black Garlic. Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic also contains Vitamin B1, which contributes to normal heart function and helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Find out more about the full range of Kwai supplements here.

1 https://www.vasculitis.org.uk/about-vasculitis/the-immune-system

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417560/

3 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332131331_Black_Garlic_and_Its_Therapeutic_Benefits