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stephany By On 07/08/2020 at 17:22

Is there a link between garlic and HIV?

Garlic, a common ingredient in our meals, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. Some studies show this. But let's see what they have to say about the link between garlic and HIV. How does garlic consumption affect people with HIV: helps or harms even more?

The main compound in garlic is allicin. Garlic also contains other compounds, including diallyl polysulfides. In this article, we look at whether garlic affects the immune system in people with  HIV. We'll also look at whether garlic interacts with HIV medications.

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Garlic and HIV

What are the benefits of eating raw garlic everyday?
Garlic's antiviral properties can benefit people with HIV.

It is believed that garlic helps fight HIV due to its antiviral effects, in particular stimulating the immune system.

The human immunodeficiency virus attacks special cells of the immune system - T-helpers (T-lymphocytes), which fight viruses and tumor cells. When HIV destroys them, it becomes more difficult for a person to defend against infections. HIV makes a person vulnerable to certain types of infections, including viruses. With a weakened immune system, infections can be very difficult.

Anything that strengthens the immune system can have a beneficial effect on a person with HIV, which is why many people recommend using garlic supplements.

In the Journal of Immunology Research, a study was published showing that garlic can improve the immune system by stimulating the production of certain types of cells. Among them are natural killer cells and macrophages that help fight infections.

While good for health in general, garlic can be beneficial for people with HIV as well. Thus, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (USA) refers to studies that suggest that garlic can lower blood cholesterol levels.

What does science say?

One theory is that garlic's sulfur-containing amino acids stimulate the immune system and help fight infections. In 2016, The Journal of Nutrition published a study suggesting that helper T cells and natural killer cells may respond to garlic in the diet.​

The study participants were adults aged 21 to 50 years, they were divided into two groups. During the cold and flu season, the first group took 2.56 grams of garlic extract daily for 90 days, and the second a placebo.

Then the scientists measured the activity of T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells in each participant, taking into account how much sick he was, according to his own data. The results indicate that regular intake of garlic can improve the functioning of immune cells.

Stimulating the immune system enables people with HIV to stay healthy. However, research does not confirm that eating garlic protects HIV carriers from infection.

The National Cancer Institute (USA) admits that garlic actually has some anti-cancer properties. Given that people with HIV are particularly susceptible to certain types of cancer, if their risk of getting sick can be reduced, the overall outlook will improve in some cases.

The authors of one systematic review conducted a meta-analysis of 14 studies on the effects of garlic on colon cancer. Based on their findings, consuming garlic does not reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. It is worth noting that there are no studies showing effects on the most common cancers in HIV.


Garlic supplements can affect the dosage of HIV medication a person needs.
Garlic supplements can interact with HIV medication.

Some studies show that garlic supplements affect the levels of certain antiviral drugs that doctors prescribe to treat HIV. For example, a  systematic analysis of current research published in   The International Journal of STD & AIDS  shows that certain forms of garlic supplements can lower levels of certain antiviral drugs. It's worth noting that many of these studies, which show a link between garlic and ART, are several years old. During this time, ART drugs have changed and continue to evolve.

Another study involved 77 women with HIV who self-reported consuming garlic supplements. The results showed that short-term use of garlic supplements did not affect antiretroviral drug frequency, CD4 cell count, or viral load.

The compounds in garlic are tricky. For example, allicin is rapidly converted to other chemicals. For this reason, researchers do not fully understand the interactions of garlic with various HIV medications.


Effective HIV treatment depends, among other things, on the general health of the person and the presence of comorbidities. Different HIV treatment regimens include different classes of drugs, some of which may interact differently with garlic. People with HIV who plan to take garlic supplements should ask their doctor questions about the option of taking garlic supplements. For example, it is vital to ask your doctor if garlic supplements are safe with your current ART regimen. It is also best to discuss the optimal dosage.

A discussion of the typical side effects of garlic is also needed. Side effects of a garlic supplement may include:

  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • stomach upset.

Because the side effects of garlic can sometimes include an upset stomach, this can interfere with taking HIV medications.

As with any supplement, it is important to weigh the benefits and risks.


Researchers are still trying to determine the medicinal properties of garlic. It is possible that garlic supplements may provide health benefits, but their impact on HIV treatment is currently unclear.

Some studies suggest that garlic supplements interfere with HIV treatment, but other studies have not shown the same link.

Because the evidence is inconclusive, people living with HIV should always discuss it with their doctor before taking any supplement.


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To order or get more information; you can contact our experts on +22951856076 direct line or by WhatsApp at the same number.


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