Garlic is a common ingredient in many dishes but also has properties that make it a highly effective supplement for many people.
Garlic is supplemented primarily for fighting viruses and improving heart health, but also has applications for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts as well.
The use of garlic dates back thousands of years to around 2,500 B.C. in ancient Egypt. Cloves of garlic were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen and were likely a large part of the diet of most Egyptians during that era.
Garlic has also been used historically across many different civilizations and has been recognized as a powerful vegetable that can help improve your overall health, immunity, energy levels, and vitality.
What Are the Benefits of Garlic?
The main benefits of garlic for muscle growth are improved circulation, increased strength and endurance, improved cardiovascular health, and heightened testosterone levels. Below is a list of all the benefits that garlic has that have been proven by current available research.
- Improved blood flow
- Increased strength
- Reduced fatigue during exercise
- Increased endurance during exercise
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased concentrations of testosterone
- Better cognitive function and memory
- Enhanced immunity
Does Garlic Improve Circulation?
One of the main positive effects of garlic supplementation is improved circulation and blood flow.
Garlic can improve circulation by increasing nitric oxide and relaxing blood vessels.
This study done on garlic and peripheral blood flow found that garlic supplementation is able to increase resting tissue blood flow.
Improved circulation and blood flow translates into better recovery from training, better pumps during lifting, improved health, and enhanced performance during training as well as all other physical activies.
This vasodilation effect of garlic is likely responsible for a large number of the positive effects that garlic has on building muscle and boosting athleticism.
Does Garlic Increase Strength During Lifting?
Adding to improved circulation, garlic can also increase strength during training.
The amount of weight you can lift is one of the most frequently used metrics to determine how successful your workouts and training methods are.
As your strength increases, so does your muscle mass and physique development.
Garlic has been found to increase strength when taken regularly in conjunction with resistance training.
This study on the correlation between consuming raw garlic and grip strength found that raw garlic consumption increases grip strength in both men and women.
Garlic is able to increase strength by elevating nitric oxide and testosterone while also helping to reduce fatigue and improve exercise endurance.
Can Garlic Increase Exercise Endurance?
Endurance during training is another frequently used metric to determine how effective your workout regimen is and how much progress you’re making.
This study using garlic oil and a treadmill stress test found that garlic significantly reduced the work load on the heart and increased the tolerance to exercise.
By lowering the strain put on the heart during exercise, you will be able to work out for longer and get better hypertrophic returns on the training sessions you’re doing.
Does Garlic Lower Fatigue During Resistance Training?
Along with strength and endurance, the amount of fatigue you experience during training is another way to measure how much progress you’re making and whether or not progressive overload is being properly applied.
Fatigue can potentially prevent you from getting a full workout in by increasing the amount of rest needed between sets and lowering the amount of volume you are able to fit in to each session.
Based on the current research, garlic is capable of reducing your fatigue and helping you manage with stress better.
One study done on how aged garlic consumption affects properties of muscle performance was able to find that consuming garlic can reduce fatigue and can increase the total amount of work able to be done during a resistance training session.
This second study on the anti-fatigue function of garlic confirms that garlic can lower the fatigue response to exercise and can even increase tolerance to cold as well as other causes of stress or fatigue besides exercise.
Garlic and Cardiovascular Health
Another positive effect of garlic consumption is improved cardiovascular health.
This review on the effect of garlic on cardiovascular disorders found that garlic consumption has a significant cardioprotective effect and is capable of preventing a large number of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
It also asserted that garlic is the cheapest way to prevent cardiovascular disease currently available.
Additionally, this meta-analysis on how garlic affects blood pressure and gut microbiota found that garlic is able to improve cardiovascular health by decreasing arterial stiffness, reducing blood stickiness, and lowering cholesterol.
Garlic and Testosterone
Another positive effect of garlic consumption is that garlic can optimize your hormonal profile.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and is important for building muscle, increasing strength, maintaining a normal libido, being driven, and living a high quality of life.
This study on supplementing garlic found that garlic can increase both testicular testosterone and LH (luteinizing hormone).
LH is a hormone needed for testosterone to be produced by the testes. Without high quantities of LH, testosterone would not be manufactured and sperm would not be produced.
By increasing both testosterone and LH, garlic supplementation ensures that your hormonal function is optimized and your body has enough of what it needs to keep sex hormone production high.
A second study on the impact of garlic extract on testicular cell integrity also found that garlic can increase serum testosterone by promoting proliferative activity in the interstitial cells, including the leydig cells in the testes.
Garlic and Cognition
In addition to circulation, strength, endurance, lowering fatigue, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing testosterone, supplementing with garlic can also have a positive effect on your overall cognitive function and memory.
A study published in 2019 on the ability of garlic to reduce memory problems from old age found that consuming garlic can help maintain healthy gut microorganisms and promote healthy cognitive function.
It also found that garlic is able to improve both short and long term memory consolidation by elevating the levels of NDNF (neuronal-derived natriuretic factor) gene expression.
Garlic and Immunity from Illness
Finally, garlic can increase your immunity from illnesses and diseases.
A 12-week long study on 146 volunteers found that those who took a garlic supplement on a daily basis had 63% less colds than the group who did not take garlic.
Another study on 120 volunteers also found that taking a garlic extract reduces the number of days sick with a cold or flu, this time by 61%.
Both of these studies were done with placebo groups and took place over an extended period of time to ensure the results were accurate and consistent.
When Is the Best Time To Take Garlic For Muscle Growth?
To maximize these benefits from garlic, you should try and time your dose so that you absorb as many of the compounds in garlic as possible.
The best time to take garlic for muscle growth is on an empty stomach before breakfast.
Research shows that if garlic is eaten before other food, it’s antibiotic effects are amplified and it’s more potent overall.
If your stomach can’t handle raw garlic before eating other food, then you can take it at any other time, such as before a workout or with a post-workout meal since once your body is already digesting food, the timing of when you take garlic does not matter.
How Much Garlic Should You Take For Muscle Growth and Weightlifting?
In order to attain the benefits that garlic has on muscle growth and weightlifting, it is important to take enough for it to be effective.
If you are supplementing with a garlic extract, the best dose to take daily is 600-1,200mg.
If you are consuming garlic as a food, the best amount to eat every day is 2-5 cloves, or 14-35 grams.
As with most things, it’s always best to start with a lower amount to see how you react then build up the dose from there. A good dose to start with is 500-800mg of garlic extract or 1-2 cloves of raw garlic if you are eating it as a food.
Where To Buy a Garlic Supplement?
The best garlic supplement in terms of value, quantity offered, and price is this pack by Bulk Supplements.
While Bulk Supplements does occasionally have quality control problems, they generally offer the best deals on supplements and tend to have better prices than other supplement companies.
A good non-powder garlic supplement is this one on Amazon by Sport Research if you prefer to take garlic as gel rather than in powder form.
To summarize, garlic is a powerful adaptogen and herb that has a variety of benefits including improved blood flow, boosted strength, lowered fatigue, decreased stress, improved exercise endurance, enhanced cardiovascular health, increased testosterone, improved memory, better cognitive function, and better immunity.
The best dose of a garlic extract is 600-1,200mg or 2-5 cloves if you are eating garlic whole.
In general, garlic is absorbed best on an empty stomach so consuming garlic as the first thing you eat in the morning is optimal.