An analysis of the existing scientific documentation on the benefits of garlic intake to prevent cancer, in which several academic institutions have participated, shows that no relationship can be established and that rigorous studies on the subject are lacking.
The evaluation was carried out by Nutrimedia, a project of the Observatory of Scientific Communication of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), and was attended by the Ibero-American Cochrane Center and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), as reported by UPF today in a statement.
Nutrimedia has analyzed the available scientific evidence on this subject and has come to the conclusion that with the existing tests it can not be affirmed or denied that garlic may have any protective effect against cancer.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only this year 2018 have accounted for about 8.1 million new cases of cancer.
"Given the magnitude of this health problem, it is not uncommon for the population to look for ways to prevent the disease," says the note, which adds that the abundance of messages linking the consumption of certain foods and substances with the reduction of cancer risk "is a source of confusion for the public", and hence the analysis of all available scientific evidence on this subject.
After the analysis, Nutrimedia believes that it can not be said that garlic has any protective effect, since the studies carried out so far are "observational, which does not allow establishing a direct relationship between the benefits of garlic consumption and risk reduction Of cancer".
According to the UPF, "there is a lack of rigorous studies that offer us greater confidence in the findings on this subject".
Garlic is a fundamental ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, cultivated for more than 7,000 years, and its use in the kitchen as usual, with abundant literary and even pictorial references.
In ancient times it was consumed for its supposed therapeutic properties, and Herodotus (5th century BC) recounts in his work "Historiae" that the food of the slaves who built the pyramids had a supplement of garlic because it was believed that they had an effect bracing.
For this same reason, the Olympic athletes of classical Greece, the legionaries and the Roman gladiators did not hesitate to bring garlic to chew them when they considered it necessary.
In the first century after Christ, Dioscorides (doctor, pharmacologist and botanist of ancient Greece) refers to garlic in his work on natural remedies, as a food that helps eliminate flatulence.
Garlic belongs to the genus of Allium plants (onions, garlic, leeks and tender onions, among others), which are characterized by a high content of organosulfur compounds and antioxidants, as well as vitamins, amino acids, fructooligasaccharides and other micronutrients.
Depending on how garlic is processed, organosulfur compounds are converted into different derivatives to which different health properties are attributed.
Thus, if raw garlic is cut or chopped, it gives rise to allicin; with cooking, however, allicin is destroyed and adenosine and ajoene are released, which act as anticoagulants.
The analysis of the UPF considers that the alleged anticancer properties of garlic "are not justified".