Effects of garlic supplementation on oxidative stress and antioxidative capacity biomarkers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Phytother Res. 2021 Jun;35(6):3032-3045. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7021. Epub 2021 Jan 23.


Evidence suggests that garlic supplementation may have an effect on oxidative stress by augmenting the rate of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and diminishing pro-oxidant enzymes. Given inconsistencies across studies, we aimed to systematically review the current literature and quantify the effects of garlic supplementation on oxidative stress. We conducted a systematic search with multiple databases (Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science) to find relevant articles published prior to October 2020. Results were reported as bias-corrected standardized mean difference (Hedges' g) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using random-effects models. Cochrane's Q and I squared (I2 ) tests were used to determine heterogeneity among the studies included. Twelve randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Garlic doses ranged from 80 to 4,000 mg/day, and intervention duration varied between 2 and 24 weeks. Garlic supplementation increased serum level of total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (Hedges' g: 2.77, 95% CI: 1.37 to 4.17, p < 0.001) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) (Hedges' g: 13.76, 95% CI: 4.24 to 23.29, p = 0.004), while it reduced the malondialdehyde serum level (MDA) (Hedges' g: -1.94, 95% CI: -3.17 to -0.70, p = 0.002). Due to limited data available, glutathione (GSH) was not considered for the current meta-analysis. The nonlinear dose-response effect of garlic supplementation was not observed with regard to serum TAC and MDA levels (TAC: p-nonlinearity = 0.398; MDA: p-nonlinearity = 0.488). Garlic supplementation appears to improve serum levels of TAC, MDA, and SOD. Garlic supplementation may be useful to reduce oxidative stress and related diseases. Future studies with large sample sizes and longer duration are required to confirm these findings.

Keywords: diet; garlic; meta-analysis; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Garlic*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Plant Preparations
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Glutathione