HomeScience & InnovationScientific Explanation: Why does garlic give bad breath?

Scientific Explanation: Why does garlic give bad breath?

Garlic is often used in cooking but its ingestion is inevitably accompanied by undesirable breath. Similar to onions, the chemicals that cause this smell are not present in whole garlic but are formed when cut.

When garlic cloves are mechanically opened, alliinase, an enzyme normally retained inside the cells is released. This enzyme degrades alliin, which is found in the pods, into allicin.

This process is actually a mechanism for protecting the garlic against insects or fungi. Allicin is the main flavor component of minced garlic. It is rather unstable and degrades into various organic sulfur compounds, many of which give the breath a garlic smell.

Scientific Explanation Why does garlic give bad breath-2-min
Source: Unsplash

How Does Garlic Cause Bad Breath?

Research has identified four key components that contribute to this: diallyl disulfide, methyl allyl sulfide, allyl mercaptan, and methyl allyl disulfide. While some are quickly broken down in the body, others take longer to disappear.

Methyl allyl sulfide is the compound that the body takes the longest to break down. It is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and passes into the bloodstream and then migrates to other organs, particularly the skin, kidneys and lungs, where it is excreted with sweat, urine and breath.

This effect can last for 24 hours, until all of the compound is eliminated from the body, generating a slight but lingering smell of garlic.

So what can be done to eliminate the smell? Research has shown that certain foods like parsley, milk, apple, spinach, and mint ease garlic breath. So, do not hesitate to consume it if necessary!

Why Does Garlic Make Breath Smell Bad?

Image Source: Unsplash

Mehmet S. Kaya
Mehmet S. Kaya
Mehmet is one of the administrator of Teknonel. As a software developer, he loves to share his knowledge in related topics. He is highly familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, publishing, and performance analysis as well as product reviews.

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