Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful inflammatory condition of unknown origins. Among various factors that make some people more likely to develop it is sex, with women being more prone to it than men.1
Garlic is perhaps best known for its anti-inflammatory actions, which – besides bringing relief during common colds – could potentially benefit those with rheumatoid arthritis.
This 2020 study was conducted to determine the effects of garlic supplements on women with rheumatoid arthritis.
There were 70 female participants in this clinical trial who were randomly assigned to two groups. All women were diagnosed with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
The first group was given two tablets per day, each containing 500 mg of garlic (equivalent to 2,500 mg of fresh garlic). The second group received two visually similar placebo tablets daily, each containing 500 mg of starch. The intervention lasted for eight weeks.
Researchers took various measurements of oxidative status before and after the study, including serum levels of total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and malondialdehyde (MDA). Women's quality of life was also measured using a Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ).
After eight-week garlic supplementation, there was a significant increase in serum levels of total antioxidant capacity. No major changes were seen after placebo supplementation.
Also, the levels of malondialdehyde have substantially decreased in women taking garlic supplements in comparison to those in the placebo.
In terms of quality of life, HAQ scores were greatly improved in women taking garlic tablets. For reference, HAQ measures functional disability and personal health across eight categories, such as walking, hygiene, and standing up, among others.
What Does this Mean?
Researchers demonstrated in this clinical trial that garlic supplementation can improve oxidative stress in women with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, taking garlic has shown to improve pain and quality of life of the sufferers.
This is the first clinical trial assessing the effects of garlic on oxidative stress in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The results were published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
- International Journal of Clinical Practice, A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, evaluating the garlic supplement effects on some serum biomarkers of oxidative stress, and quality of life in women with rheumatoid arthritis, 2020
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Rheumatoid arthritis. Retrieved February 23, 2021 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648