What a Dozen Cloves of Garlic Will Do

Studies on the benefits of this food or that supplement often contradict each other, and the message can change over time.

One new study on the potential benefits of garlic shows just how complex things can get and how important dosage is.

Various research has shown garlic to be good for the heart. It lowers total cholesterol levels, for one thing, and it makes blood less likely to clot. The new experiment, done on rats, finds that garlic's effects on cholesterol depend on dosage.

Shela Gorinstein of the Hebrew University and colleagues fed rats garlic doses that ranged from 500 milligrams to 1,000 per kilogram of body weight. Only the 500-milligram dose lowered cholesterol and affected blood clotting.

The researchers stress that the study cannot be applied to humans. But they note that the dose they're talking about would translate into a whopping 12 cloves of garlic per day for a 150-pound person. Break out the breath mints.

The results will be detailed in the June 14 issue of the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. And yes, more work needs to be done.