Silliker-Utah Receives NIH Grant to Research the Bioavailability of Allicin in Garlic Products

Silliker, Inc., Utah has received a $599,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health / National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH/NCCAM) to conduct a study on the allicin bioavailability of garlic products.

Under the direction of Research Director Larry Lawson, Ph.D., the study will evaluate the human bioavailability of allicin from a variety of commonly consumed powder supplements and garlic foods. Allicin is the main pharmacologically active compound of garlic and provides the greatest reputed health benefits.

Based on in vitro data, allicin bioavailability from most garlic supplements has been predicted to be very low (3-15%) as compared to raw garlic (100%). But without a validated method for measuring allicin bioavailability, it is difficult to reach real conclusions. This obstacle was removed in 2005 when Dr. Lawson successfully developed an assay for measuring allicin bioavailability. Currently, the Orem, UT, facility is the only laboratory in the world employing this highly complex method.

The NIH/NCCAM grant covers a minimum two-year period. When completed, the study will provide clinical researchers with: 1) An understanding of what type of supplements should be used in a clinical trial and in what form it should be consumed; 2) How results can be extrapolated to crushed raw garlic, all of which are necessary to establish whether or not garlic or garlic supplements can have a health benefit. It will also provide supplement manufacturers with a correct standard for the design and evaluation of garlic supplements.

Since 1991, Silliker-Utah, formerly known as Plant Bioactives Research Institute, has been a pioneer in the analysis of dietary supplements using validated methods. Over the past four years, the laboratory has received two NIH grants to explore the mechanisms of potential benefit from garlic.

For more information on the Utah laboratory, please call (801) 226-3002 or log on to

ABOUT SILLIKER: With locations worldwide, Silliker provides consulting, testing, auditing, research and education services that help assure safety and nutrition worldwide.

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