Garlic, Liver, and Heavy Metal

While the title of this article might sound like a potential album from the Canadian rockers: Anvil, it is really to address garlic’s role in helping keep our livers health and our bodies detoxified. However, if any members from Anvil are reading this, feel free to steal this title and make an awesome song out of it.

Pesticides in our produce, polluted air and water, prescription drugs meant to make us feel better (go figure), everyday our bodies are exposed to a whole host of potentially toxic substances that our poor liver has to work overtime to filter out. While never getting the glory that the heart and lungs get, the liver is a vitally important organ especially when it comes to the detoxification process. It absorbs toxic substances from the bloodstream, alters their chemical structure to make them water soluble and then excretes from the body as bile. Certain chemicals like the popular pain reliever, Acetaminophen, can be very harmful to the liver, damaging it and making less capable of metabolizing other potential toxins. One way to contract this type of damage is to take fresh garlic.

Research from Rutgers University that fresh garlic actually protects the liver from acetaminophen-induced damage.  The more garlic in the diet, the better the protection seems to be.  Researchers believe that garlic’s ability to protect the liver from damage has to do with the alteration of certain liver enzymes as well as garlic enzymes actually binding to the toxins themselves. Further research has also revealed that garlic extracts  can help suppress the activity of  liver toxins and enhance the presence of detoxifying enzymes.
Heavy metal poisoning occurs when too many toxic metals  accumulate in the body (especially in the liver) and start to seriously affect a person’s health. According to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Garlic has been shown to be an effective treatment of lead mercury, cadmium, and arsenic poisoning. According to the research, garlic is most effective if it is already in the system prior to the poisoning.

Researchers believe that the high sulfur and selenium content of garlic plays an important role in the detoxification process. Selenium binds with heavy metals and limits their toxic effect. Sulfur compounds also play a part by helping nullify metabolic sulfuric acid,

While the best way to avoid heavy metal toxicity is to avoid these toxins in the first place (it is still okay to listen to Anvil), garlic is a great way to help minimize any effects of liver toxicity if exposure is unavoidable. Given the fact that garlic is healthy for you in so many ways, it is almost a no-brainer to take it whether you think you may be exposed to heavy metals or not.

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