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Garlic as effective as d-penicillamine at detoxifying lead
A study published in the journal Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology finds garlic is as effective as a common chelation drug known as d-penicillamine at detoxifying heavy metals like lead. And garlic does not induce side effects while d-penicillamine can cause damage to multiple organs and tissues.
The study titled “Comparison of Therapeutic Effects of Garlic and d-penicillamine in Patients with Chronic Occupational Lead Poisoning” was intended to confirm previous animal studies that have already shown that garlic (allium sativum) can effectively reduce lead in the blood and tissues.
In the study, 117 workers at a car battery plant were enrolled and divided into two groups, one group assigned to take 1,000 mg of garlic extract with 1.2 milligrams of allicin), three times a day, and the other group to take 250 mg of d-penicillamine, three times daily. The treatments lasted for four weeks.
With garlic treatment, patients experienced a significant clinical improvement in irritability, headache, and decreased deep tendon reflex and mean systolic blood pressure. The improvement was not found in the group treated with de-penicilamine.
Also with garlic treatment, the blood lead concentrations were reduced from 426 to 347 ug/L while with d-penicillamine, the lead concentrations were reduced from 417 to 315 ug/L. The difference was insignificant.
The side effects were more often experienced by participants in the group treated with d-penicillamine than those in the group treated with garlic.
The study concludes that garlic can be recommended as a treatment for mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.
Globally, lead poisoning is responsible for 0.2% of all deaths and 0.6% of disability. Exposure to toxic heavy metals like lead can harm the cardiovascular, skeletal, gastrointestinal, kidney, reproductive and nervous systems in human beings.
Infants, children and those developing nervous systems were more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults. A study published in 2008 in PLoS finds that when people were exposed to lead in their childhood, they would have smaller brains as adults.
d-penicillamine is commonly used, but it can cause a myriad side effects including breast enlargement, bone marrow suppression, anorexia, collagen disorders, diarrhea, dyspepsia, damages to the kidney, liver and muscles.
The treatment with d-penicillamine is so toxic that 30 to 60% of patients experience side effects. By contrast, garlic used in the dose indicated poses zero risk.