Garlic Extract Stops Leukemia Growth
Studies are now showing that an ingredient extracted from garlic blocks the growth of human leukemia cells.
Research on garlic constituent
In a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Oncology, scientists tested a garlic extracted constituent against leukemia cells. The study utilized the extracted compound called diallyl trisulfide, and applied it to human U937 leukemia cells within a laboratory tissue system. The researchers found that diallyl trisulfide stopped the growth and expansion of leukemia cells in the laboratory.
The researchers also tested the compound against growing leukemia systems, and against found that it beat down the leukemia cells and prevented the further growth of the cancer.
This research was confirmed by a 2012 study published in the Journal of Biomedical Science . Again, the study determined that diallyl trisulfideone inhibits the growth and spread of leukemia.
The research found that diallyl trisulfide inhibited the growth of leukemia by generating a special type of reactive oxygen species that took apart the leukemia cells.
What is Diallyl trisulfide?
Diallyl trisulfide is a key active compound of garlic, and it is commonly extracted from garlic oil. Other research has found both garlic and diallyl trisulfide to have antimicrobial effects against a variety of infective agents, including both bacteria and fungi. Garlic has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of thrombosis – the major cause of strokes and heart attacks. Garlic has also been shown to inhibit the growth of other types of cancer cells.
The unique mechanism involved in garlic’s killing of leukemia cells surprised the researchers. Reactive oxygen species are often produced by toxins and unstable foods, and these can be destructive to the body’s tissues. But the garlic extract produced a type of intercellular reactive oxygen species (or free radical) that destroyed the mitochondria of the leukemia cells. As mitochondria are essential for the survival of the cell, the leukemia cells died.
This mechanism might be compared to a smart bomb, which has the ability to take out a specific target without blowing everything else up.
Interestingly, when the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) was added to the leukemia cell system prior to the garlic extract, garlic’s inhibitory effects of leukemia were reduced. The researchers found that the NAC was able to shut down the garlic-produced ROS before they could damage the leukemia cells.
This would indicate that using garlic for leukemia or other anticancer therapy may be more effective when not taking antioxidants.
Fresh garlic also contains another compound that halts the growth of leukemia, called quercetin.
How to conserve Diallyl trisulfide in garlic
We can get this constituent from fresh garlic. But when the garlic is cooked or otherwise heated, the compound can be lost or reduced. The best way to consume garlic that has Diallyl trisulfide is to eat it raw. A great way to consume raw garlic is to chop it into small pieces and swallow it like a supplement. Fresh carrot juice can help reduce the spiciness of the garlic.
Ling H, He J, Tan H, Yi L, Liu F, Ji X, Wu Y, Hu H, Zeng X, Ai X, Jiang H, Su Q. Identification of potential targets for differentiation in human leukemia cells induced by diallyl disulfide. Int J Oncol. 2017 Feb;50(2):697-707. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2017.3839.
Choi YH, Park HS. Apoptosis in leukemia cells from garlic through generation of reactive oxygen species. J Biomed Sci. 2012 May 11;19(1):50.