ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
CANCER
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
The Food Irradiation Story
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
When Clocks Change, Body May Need Time to Adjust
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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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