Saturday, February 18, 2012

Phytochemicals in Foods - 11 Health Benefits of Allicin

Allicin is phytochemical containing sulfur in the class of organosulfur compound, found abundantly in onion and garlic.

Health Benefits
1. Antibacterial activities
In the
comparison of those of allicin and several clinically useful antibiotics using two representative bacteria commonly found in the human environment, Gram-positive S. aureus and Gram-negative Escherichia coli, indicated that The garlic extract had more potent anti-staphylococcal activity than an equal amount of allicin. In terms of antibiotic potency against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, authentic allicin had roughly 1-2% of the potency of streptomycin (vs. S. aureus), 8% of that of vancomycin (vs. S. aureus), and only 0.2% of that of colistin (vs. E. coli), according to "Antibacterial potential of garlic-derived allicin and its cancellation by sulfhydryl compounds" by Fujisawa H, Watanabe K, Suma K, Origuchi K, Matsufuji H, Seki T, Ariga T.(1)

2. Cognitive effects
In the assessment of the effects of allicin on endogenous antioxidant defenses in hippocampus of cognitively impaired aged mouse, showed that treatment of allicin significantly ameliorated ageing-induced cognitive dysfunction through enhancing of Nrf2 antioxidant signaling pathways. Therefore, allicin could be recommended as a possible candidate for the prevention and therapy of cognitive deficits in aging and Alzheimer's disease, according to "Allicin ameliorates cognitive deficits ageing-induced learning and memory deficits through enhancing of Nrf2 antioxidant signaling pathways" by Li XH, Li CY, Lu JM, Tian RB, Wei J.(2)

3. Chronic Occupational Lead Poisoning
In the investigation of the therapeutic effects of garlic and comparison with d-penicillamine in patients with chronic lead poisoning, found that garlic seems safer clinically and as effective as d-penicillamine. Therefore, garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning, according to "Comparison of Therapeutic Effects of Garlic and d-Penicillamine in Patients with Chronic Occupational Lead Poisoning, according to " Kianoush S, Balali-Mood M, Mousavi SR, Moradi V, Sadeghi M, Dadpour B, Rajabi O, Shakeri MT.(3)

4. Free radical scavenger capacity
In a theoretical study on the free radical scavenger capacity of α-mangostin in Mangosteen and its monoanion is analyzed using the density functional theory approximation, indicated that In thermodynamics and kinetics, α-mangostin and its deprotonated form are good free radical scavenger through the HAT mechanism, with the anionic (deprotonated) form being more reactive than the neutral one. Their capacity to scavenge OOH free radical is similar to that of carotenes, higher than that of allicin, much higher than that of melatonin and N-acetylcysteine amide, and about 15 times lower than that of 2-propenesulfenic acid, according to "Free radical scavenger properties of α-mangostin: thermodynamics and kinetics of HAT and RAF mechanisms" by Martínez A, Galano A, Vargas R.(4)

5. Antimicrobial activity
Alliums are inhibitory against all tested microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Alliums inhibit multi-drug-resistant microorganisms and often work synergistically with common antimicrobials. Allium-derived antimicrobial compounds inhibit microorganisms by reacting with the sulfhydryl (SH) groups of cellular proteins, according to "Antimicrobial properties of allium species" by Kyung KH.(5)

6. Murine T-lymphocytes (EL-4)
In the investigation of the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities of allicin in murine T-lymphocytes (EL-4) and the mechanism of inducing apoptosis in vitro, found that allicin was effective in inhibiting the proliferation of EL-4 cells in vitro in a concentration-dependent manner. Further, allicin could induce the formation of apoptotic bodies, nuclear condensation, DNA spallation, and even activated the expression of caspase-3, -12 and cytochrome C (cyt C). Finally, allicin up-regulated the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 and induced a mitochondrion membrane potential (MMP) decrease. Allicin induced apoptosis in EL-4 cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, in which the mitochondrial pathway might play a central role, according to "Allicin induces apoptosis in EL-4 cells in vitro by activation of expression of caspase-3 and -12 and up-regulation of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2" by Wang Z, Liu Z, Cao Z, Li L.(6)

7. Anti tumor activities
The combination treatments using chemotherapeutic agents with distinct molecular mechanisms are considered more promising for higher efficacy; however, using multiple agents contributes to added toxicity, in-vitro and in-vivo studies in the last few decades, showed that some phytochemicals derived from 'natural products' such as fruits, vegetables and certain spices, referred to as chemopreventive agents, including capsaicin, trans-anethole, thymoquinone, diosgenin, allicin, can not only reduce the risk of acquiring specific cancer but also have been shown to suppress cancer cell proliferation, inhibit growth factor signaling pathways, induce apoptosis, inhibit nuclear factor-κB, AP-1, Akt, MAPK, Wnt, Notch, p53, AR, ER, and JAK-STAT, etc., activation pathways, inhibit angiogenesis, suppress the expression of antiapoptotic proteins, and inhibit cyclooxygenase-2, according to "Antitumor promoting potential of selected phytochemicals derived from spices: a review" by Rajput S, Mandal M.(7)

8. Antioxidants and anti cancers
In the evaluation of the potential anticancer effects of different type of processed garlic extracts on WEHI-164 tumor cells in inbred BALB/c mice and correlate the tumor growth rates with some garlic constituents, showed that three weeks following tumor inoculation, the mean tumor size in garlic extract-treated groups was reduced with significant reductions observed in the fresh and microwaved extract groups compared with the control group (P<.05). The antioxidant capacity and the amounts of allicin, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds in differentially processed garlic were evaluated and correlated with their anticancer activities, according to "Correlation between antioxidant activity of garlic extracts and WEHI-164 fibrosarcoma tumor growth in BALB/c mice" by Shirzad H, Taji F, Rafieian-Kopaei M.(8)

9. Dental caries and periodontitis
In the testing the antimicrobial activity of garlic allicin on oral pathogens associated with dental caries and periodontitis, found that the result support the traditional medicinal use of garlic and suggest the use of allicin for alleviating dental diseases, according to "Garlic allicin as a potential agent for controlling oral pathogens" by Bachrach G, Jamil A, Naor R, Tal G, Ludmer Z, Steinberg D.(9)

10. Prevention and treatment of the common cold
In the review the evidence supporting complementary and alternative medicine approaches to treatment and prevention of the common cold in adults, indicated that for prevention, vitamin C demonstrated benefit in a large meta-analysis, with possibly increased benefit in patients subjected to cold stress. There is inconsistent evidence for Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Allicin was highly effective in 1 small trial. For treatment, Echinacea purpurea is the most consistently useful variety; it was effective in 5 of 6 trials. Zinc lozenges were effective in 5 of 9 trials, likely owing to dose and formulation issues. Overall, the evidence suggests no benefit from probiotics for prevention or treatment of the common cold, according to "Complementary and alternative medicine for prevention and treatment of the common cold" by Nahas R, Balla A.(10)

11. Neuroprotective diseases
In the investigation of the neuroproyective effects of (1) flavonoid polyphenols like epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) from green tea and quercetin from apples; (2) non-flavonoid polyphenols such as curcumin from tumeric and resveratrol from grapes; (3) phenolic acids or phenolic diterpenes such as rosmarinic acid or carnosic acid, respectively, both from rosemary; and (4) organosulfur compounds including the isothiocyanate, L-sulforaphane, from broccoli and the thiosulfonate allicin, from garlic, indicated that alternative mechanisms of action have also been suggested for the neuroprotective effects of these compounds such as modulation of signal transduction cascades or effects on gene expression. Here, we review the literature pertaining to these various classes of nutraceutical antioxidants and discuss their potential therapeutic value in neurodegenerative diseases, according to "Nutraceutical antioxidants as novel neuroprotective agents" by Kelsey NA, Wilkins HM, Linseman DA.(11)

12. Etc.


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