You Should Avoid Garlic If You're Taking This Medication

Garlic is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. As Eat This, Not That! points out, it boasts a variety of health benefits that include a stronger immune system and improved cognitive function. It might even help lower your blood pressure.

That said, garlic has a few drawbacks. You might be all too aware of garlic breath, which is caused by small particles called allyl methyl sulfide (AMS), per WebMD. Your body does not metabolize AMS, and it can make its way back up your digestive system and into your mouth where it is released. Eat This, Not That! reports that garlic contains fructan, which can cause bloating in some people. The outlet also explains that if you have any problems with your stomach or digestion, such as GERD, garlic might make them worse because it can weaken the muscles your body uses to keep stomach acid from moving back up your esophagus. Moreover, garlic may interact negatively with certain medications.

Garlic interferes with HIV/AIDS medications

According to Medical News Today, HIV medications are antiretroviral, meaning most of them work by releasing a compound called a protease inhibitor. This protease is an enzyme that helps the HIV virus replicate itself in the body. Essentially, protease inhibitors, such as saquinavir, prevent the HIV virus from making new viruses in cells.

However, compounds in garlic can have a negative effect on how antiretroviral medications work to combat autoimmune conditions. Data published in 2017 in the International Journal of STD & AIDS revealed that some forms of garlic significantly decrease the levels of antiretrovirals like those used in HIV medications. A small 2002 study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that long-term use of garlic resulted in a "significant decline" in the amount of saquinavir in the bloodstream, thereby potentially inhibiting the effectiveness of this specific type of HIV protease inhibitor.

You should talk with your doctor about any garlic herbs or supplements you consume while also taking HIV medications. As Healthline explains, your doctor can offer guidance on the interactions garlic may have with HIV medication and advise on the appropriate amounts of garlic for your diet.