ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The same source of garlic's pungent aroma and taste may provide its benefits to health, scientists say.

They say an acid produced by the decomposition of an organic compound called allicin provides the food's health benefits.

It's long been suspected that allicin, which gives garlic its aroma and flavor, might also be a powerful antioxidant. But researchers haven't been able to determine how allicin works or how it compares to other antioxidants, which stop the damaging effects of free radicals on cells.

"We didn't understand how garlic could contain such an efficient antioxidant, since it didn't have a substantial amount of the types of compounds usually responsible for high antioxidant activity in plants, such as the flavonoids found in green tea or grapes," study leader Derek Pratt, a chemistry professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said in a university news release. "If allicin was indeed responsible for this activity in garlic, we wanted to find out how it worked."

In a series of experiments, Pratt's team found that the decomposition of allicin produces sulfenic acid, which rapidly reacts with radicals.

"Basically, the allicin compound has to decompose in order to generate a potent antioxidant. The reaction between the sulfenic acid and radicals is as fast as it can get, limited only by the time it takes for the two molecules to come into contact. No one has ever seen compounds, natural or synthetic, react this quickly as antioxidants," Pratt said.

The study was published in the January issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie.

"While garlic has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries, and there are many garlic supplements on the market, until now, there has been no convincing explanation as to why garlic is beneficial," Pratt said. "I think we have taken the first step in uncovering a fundamental chemical mechanism which may explain garlic's medicinal benefits."

More information

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about garlic.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Queen's University, news release, Jan. 30, 2009

Last Updated: Feb. 10, 2009

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