How to Get Rid of Garlic Breath

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After study participants took some garlic, researchers gave them whey protein, lemon juice, green tea, chlorophyll, 7UP soda, a raw pink lady apple, a cooked apple, parsley, spinach, and mint leaves. Which do you think worked best?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Approximately one in three people suffer from halitosis—bad breath. What can we do about it? I’ve got videos on tongue cleaning, gum chewing, and the best mouthwash. Population studies suggest that those who eat fewer fruits and vegetables may be at higher risk, but there are a lot of things associated with worse diets that are also linked to halitosis, though the fruit and vegetable link seemed to remain even after controlling for these other factors.

It works in dogs. Vegetable chew toys seem to help, but what about people? There is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables that can effectively eliminate the volatile sulfur compounds like the rotten egg gas hydrogen sulfide. These are the foul gases that cause bad breath produced mainly from the breakdown of sulfur-containing amino acids concentrated in animal protein—cysteine and methionine. The cruciferous compound gloms onto the sulfur compound and prevents it from going gaseous, whereas peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, and many of the flavors in breath mints and chewing gum didn’t actually treat the cause, and just have kind of have a masking effect. Something like broccoli chewing gum might help at least temporarily, but why not just eat broccoli instead?

Researchers have tried using a compound that clears cysteine from the tongue for those who don’t just want to try to cut down on casein and other animal proteins that are concentrated in it. The compound they used is derived from kiwi fruit, so can you just eat kiwis instead? No word on halitosis, but twice-daily kiwi fruit consumption for two months showed significant improvements in gingivitis, plague, and gum disease.

Of course, not all fruits are going to be beneficial. Durian fruit may give rise to the most profound bad breath because the fruit itself stinks to high heaven, as many of you will remember from my harrowing experience with it in medical school that I sheepishly related in my book How Not to Die. And the vegetable that comes to mind when you think bad breath is garlic. Is there anything you can do to deodorize garlic breath using different kinds of foods? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. After giving people some garlic, they tried whey protein, lemon juice, green tea, chlorophyll, 7UP soda, a raw pink lady apple, a cooked apple, parsley, spinach, and mint leaves. Anyone want to take a guess as to which worked best?

Parsley, spinach, and mint treatments were effective in the deodorization of garlic breath stinky compounds. They’re all green, so they wondered if it was the chlorophyll, and it turned out nope, chlorophyll alone didn’t help. Here are the graphs. There are four stinky garlic compounds. If you don’t do anything after the garlic, the stench kind of goes away on its own. And taking chlorophyll didn’t seem to change that at all, but parsley, spinach, and mint did, starting almost immediately. What do we think was going on?

Raw apples worked better than cooked apples, which are basically the same food except for the enzymes being destroyed by heating, so maybe there was some enzymatic deodorization. Here are the data. And yes, raw worked better than cooked, but cooked still worked better than nothing, and so did the lemon juice and green tea, even though they didn’t have active enzymes since they were both pasteurized.

Here are the beverages data. The whey protein in water didn’t seem to work at all, even compared with the soda, though green tea and lemon appeared to do better. Maybe the acidic pH was involved in the deodorization from the lemon juice and soft drink breath experiments, since they used a sour lemon-lime soft drink.

Garlic breath volatiles (allyl methyl disulfide, diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, and allyl methyl sulfide) were significantly reduced by parsley, spinach, mint, raw and microwaved apple, soft drink, green tea, and lemon juice treatments in comparison to water (the control). But they were not reduced by chlorophyll and whey protein treatments. And perhaps the polyphenol phytonutrients were the active ingredient in green tea. With consumption of full-flavor garlic, it is not yet possible to completely avoid malodorous breath associated with garlic consumption, but there are some chasers that may help you bring it down a notch.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Avo Media

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Approximately one in three people suffer from halitosis—bad breath. What can we do about it? I’ve got videos on tongue cleaning, gum chewing, and the best mouthwash. Population studies suggest that those who eat fewer fruits and vegetables may be at higher risk, but there are a lot of things associated with worse diets that are also linked to halitosis, though the fruit and vegetable link seemed to remain even after controlling for these other factors.

It works in dogs. Vegetable chew toys seem to help, but what about people? There is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables that can effectively eliminate the volatile sulfur compounds like the rotten egg gas hydrogen sulfide. These are the foul gases that cause bad breath produced mainly from the breakdown of sulfur-containing amino acids concentrated in animal protein—cysteine and methionine. The cruciferous compound gloms onto the sulfur compound and prevents it from going gaseous, whereas peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, and many of the flavors in breath mints and chewing gum didn’t actually treat the cause, and just have kind of have a masking effect. Something like broccoli chewing gum might help at least temporarily, but why not just eat broccoli instead?

Researchers have tried using a compound that clears cysteine from the tongue for those who don’t just want to try to cut down on casein and other animal proteins that are concentrated in it. The compound they used is derived from kiwi fruit, so can you just eat kiwis instead? No word on halitosis, but twice-daily kiwi fruit consumption for two months showed significant improvements in gingivitis, plague, and gum disease.

Of course, not all fruits are going to be beneficial. Durian fruit may give rise to the most profound bad breath because the fruit itself stinks to high heaven, as many of you will remember from my harrowing experience with it in medical school that I sheepishly related in my book How Not to Die. And the vegetable that comes to mind when you think bad breath is garlic. Is there anything you can do to deodorize garlic breath using different kinds of foods? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. After giving people some garlic, they tried whey protein, lemon juice, green tea, chlorophyll, 7UP soda, a raw pink lady apple, a cooked apple, parsley, spinach, and mint leaves. Anyone want to take a guess as to which worked best?

Parsley, spinach, and mint treatments were effective in the deodorization of garlic breath stinky compounds. They’re all green, so they wondered if it was the chlorophyll, and it turned out nope, chlorophyll alone didn’t help. Here are the graphs. There are four stinky garlic compounds. If you don’t do anything after the garlic, the stench kind of goes away on its own. And taking chlorophyll didn’t seem to change that at all, but parsley, spinach, and mint did, starting almost immediately. What do we think was going on?

Raw apples worked better than cooked apples, which are basically the same food except for the enzymes being destroyed by heating, so maybe there was some enzymatic deodorization. Here are the data. And yes, raw worked better than cooked, but cooked still worked better than nothing, and so did the lemon juice and green tea, even though they didn’t have active enzymes since they were both pasteurized.

Here are the beverages data. The whey protein in water didn’t seem to work at all, even compared with the soda, though green tea and lemon appeared to do better. Maybe the acidic pH was involved in the deodorization from the lemon juice and soft drink breath experiments, since they used a sour lemon-lime soft drink.

Garlic breath volatiles (allyl methyl disulfide, diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, and allyl methyl sulfide) were significantly reduced by parsley, spinach, mint, raw and microwaved apple, soft drink, green tea, and lemon juice treatments in comparison to water (the control). But they were not reduced by chlorophyll and whey protein treatments. And perhaps the polyphenol phytonutrients were the active ingredient in green tea. With consumption of full-flavor garlic, it is not yet possible to completely avoid malodorous breath associated with garlic consumption, but there are some chasers that may help you bring it down a notch.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Avo Media

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