The influence of heating on the anticancer properties of garlic

J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3s):1054S-7S. doi: 10.1093/jn/131.3.1054S.


Allyl sulfur compounds are the major active constituents found in crushed garlic. Research has revealed that garlic and its lipid- or water-soluble components have many pharmacologic properties; however, studies also demonstrate that heating has a negative influence on these beneficial effects. We recently conducted several studies to investigate the influence of microwave or oven heating on the anticarcinogenesis property of garlic. Our studies showed that as little as 60 s of microwave heating or 45 min of oven heating can block garlic's ability to inhibit in vivo binding of mammary carcinogen [7,12-dimethylbenzene(a)anthracene (DMBA)] metabolites to rat mammary epithelial cell DNA. Allowing crushed garlic to "stand" for 10 min before microwave heating for 60 s prevented the total loss of anticarcinogenic activity. Our studies demonstrated that this blocking of the ability of garlic was consistent with inactivation of alliinase. These studies suggest that heating destroyed garlic's active allyl sulfur compound formation, which may relate to its anticancer properties.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / metabolism*
  • Benz(a)Anthracenes / metabolism*
  • Carbon-Sulfur Lyases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Carcinogens
  • DNA Adducts / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Female
  • Garlic / metabolism*
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / drug effects
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / enzymology*
  • Microwaves
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Rats


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Benz(a)Anthracenes
  • Carcinogens
  • DNA Adducts
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • 7,12-dihydroxymethylbenz(a)anthracene
  • Carbon-Sulfur Lyases
  • alliin lyase