ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
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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