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New testing method hints at garlic's cancer-fighting potential
Date:3/1/2010

could have similar antioxidant effects as vitamin C.

The study is published in a recent issue of the journal Analytical Biochemistry.

The research began with the small human study based at Penn State University. Researchers there fed participants a weeklong diet lacking any nitrates or garlic. They then gave the participants a dose of sodium nitrate in a formulation that would not become toxic, but which would show a marker in the urine of the potentially toxic process.

Groups were then treated with capsules containing varying levels of garlic: 1, 3 or 5 grams of fresh garlic, or 3 grams of an aged garlic extract. A separate group received 500 milligrams of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. Both the nitrate formula and treatments were given for seven days. Urine samples were collected from all of the participants every other day for seven days.

That research team then turned to Harrison and colleagues, who explored the methods required to precisely quantify biomarkers in urine for both the garlic consumption and the presence of nitrosoproline, the indicator that nitrosation has occurred.

Harrison's group developed the urine test using a method called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Gas chromatography separates components of a mixture to detect specific substances, and has been used previously to quantify nitrosoproline. The addition of mass spectrometry to the analysis allowed for determination of the chemical structures of molecules in the sample in this case, the presence of a specific compound that is released in urine after garlic is eaten.

When the test was used on the urine samples from the pilot garlic study, it showed that the participants who had taken garlic had lower concentrations of the marker for nitrosation than did those who took no garlic. Though the differences were slight, the consumption of 5 grams of garlic per day was associated with the lowest level of the marker for pot
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Contact: Earl Harrison
harrison.304@osu.edu
614-292-8189
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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