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Gazzetta Medica Italiana - Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2020 April;179(4):247-56

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.19.04091-9

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Garlic adverse reactions and interactions with homocysteine levels

Alberto ANSALONI 1 , Margherita LONGO 2, Gian M. DIANA 3

1 Associazione Pro Ammalati “Francesco Vozza” Onlus, Fatebenefratelli Ophtalmic and Macedonio Melloni Hospital, Milan, Italy; 2 Unit of Clinical Microbiology, Virology, and Emergency Diagnostics, ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, Milan, Italy; 3 Unit of Transfusion Medicine, Fatebenefratelli-Ophthalmic Hospital, ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, Milan, Italy



BACKGROUND: This statistical research work highlights a little-investigated phenomenon: the existence of an adverse reaction to food, symptoms “mild”, but extremely widespread within the population, triggered by the ingestion of garlic used in food seasonings.
METHODS: The research was carried out over 450 subjects: an anonymous questionnaire was administered to the subjects attending the Blood Drawing Center of Fatebenefratelli Hospital (Milan, Italy) and to blood donors attending the Blood Transfusion Center of the same hospital.
RESULTS: Approximately 29% of the subjects tested has at least a symptom caused by intake of garlic with food. The presence of hyperhomocysteinemia decreases the incidence of this intolerance: subjects with normal blood homocysteine levels have, overall, a percentage of digestive disorders caused by the intake of garlic significantly higher compared to patients with hyperhomocysteinemia. The border was assumed between normal and pathological blood homocysteine level (11 µmol/L). This conclusion is validated by statistical test of chi square, which shows that the difference between the values obtained by those intolerant normals (blood homocysteine content) and the values of those hyperhomocysteinemic is highly significant (with a significance level with error probability less than 1%). The number of subjects tested is identical between those who submit blood homocysteine level normal (<11 µmol/L) and those with pathological (>11 µmol/L). As regards age, gender, therapies and diseases related, other blood values, the subjects are uniformly and randomly distributed between the two groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The explanation of the phenomenon (i.e. that the presence of hyperhomocysteinemia decreases the incidence of intolerance with garlic) could probably be sought in the metabolic mechanism of the human body: in fact the sulfides of garlic we engage in the same metabolic pathway traveled from homocysteine.


KEY WORDS: Blood donors; Hyperhomocysteinemia; Garlic; Allyl sulfide

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