Garlic Sulfur Compounds Suppress Cancerogenesis and Oxidative Stress: a Review

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Abstract

Garlic has long been considered a food with many health benefits. Several studies have confirmed that sulfur compounds are responsible for the positive effects of garlic on organisms. Garlic acts as an antioxidant by increasing antioxidant enzyme activity, reducing reactive oxygen species generation, and protecting proteins and lipids from oxidation. Garlic suppresses carcinogenesis through several mechanisms: (1) it reduces oxidative stress, and therefore, prevents damage to DNA; (2) it induces apoptosis or cell cycle arrest in cancer cells; and (3) it modifies gene expression through histon acetylation. The positive effects of garlic could be mediated by several mechanisms. It influences signalling pathways of gasotransmitters such as hydrogen sulfide. Garlic enhances hydrogen sulfide production both through its direct release and through an increase in activity of enzymes which produce hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide acts as a signalling molecule in various tissues and participates in the regulation of many physiological processes. We can presume that garlic, which is able to release hydrogen sulfide, exhibits effects similar to those of this gasotransmitter.

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