Why Does Garlic Make Your Breath Smell?

Why Does Garlic Make Your Breath Smell?

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This week on Reactions, we’re talking garlic. Hey, it’s good for your taste buds and good for your body, but you’ve got to wonder, how can something that adds such a brilliant flavor to food leave you with such bad breath after you eat it? Our buddies over at Compound Interest have some answers for us, so sit back, get peeling, and get ready for some hard chemistry facts about garlic. Garlic contains four major volatile organic compounds that are responsible for that notorious garlic breath. Interestingly enough, none of these compounds are present in garlic until it’s crushed or chopped. When garlic’s structure is damaged, enzymes convert the compound allin to allicin – the compound responsible for garlic’s distinct smell. Allicin is then broken down into the four compounds that were just mentioned. Once you take your first bite, the allyl methyl sulfide compound is broken down in the body much slower than the rest of the gang, so it’s mostly responsible for your garlic breath. This compound is then passed into your bloodstream and organs, and is excreted when you sweat, breathe, and when you have to pee. But hey, if you’re worried about garlic breath, try eating some parsley or drinking milk. These two foods are actually known to reduce garlic breath! There’s also more to garlic than its delicious flavor and accompanying bad breath. You may have heard people tell that you garlic is good for you health. Well they’re right! Garlic carries antibacterial properties, and three compounds in particular do the dirty work: Diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide. Sulfur-containing organic compounds like these can penetrate the cell membranes of bacteria cells, and combine with certain enzymes or proteins to alter their structure, which ultimately damages the cells. Also, along with these organosulfur bacterial assassins, allicin has similar antibacterial properties. Well now all you people out there are properly armed with some chemical facts to back your love affair with garlic, maybe you want to check out this other video about the chemistry of Sriracha, and hey, why not check out Chemistry Life Hacks Volume 2 – it’s got a little tip for an unwanted effect of the other most loved allium, onions. So thanks for watching folks, we’ll see you again soon, and don’t forget to subscribe.

20 thoughts on “Why Does Garlic Make Your Breath Smell?”

  1. I don't like that you celebrate garlic's antibacterial properties without putting it into context or explaining its lack of interaction with intestinal flora.  Just saying "antibacterial = healthy" can mislead certain types of people into doing unusual and unhealthy things…

  2. It's like how you enjoy sniffing your own farts but your second hand farts smell nasty to other people. Nobody likes second hand ass garlic. That's my medical stance on the subject.

  3. Garlic is delicious but you Koreans seriously have garlic breath everywhere I go. At least chew some gum. Don't get me wrong i eat garlic raw with food too but y'all stink up the elevator always! Aside from that you're alright!

  4. After 1:15, the left formula is a duplicate of the middle one and doesn't match its name. I would expeet a professional would have spotted this.

  5. I always thought Garlic was the cause of Garlic breath. Maybe this video will tell me that's not the case.

  6. Hey, Just Released a new Spoof on my channel!! Go check it out, leave me your comments and give me tips on what t do, thanks i appreciate the feed back!

  7. The video says the compounds that cause bad breath are created when garlic is chopped or crushed. If you cook it before crushing it (as in roasting a whole bulb), will those compounds be created?

  8. You left out the fact that Garlic is a blood cleanser and a detoxer of chemicals and heavy metals. Garlic locks on to these unwanted pollutants and allows your body to dispose of them through your breath, sweat, urine, feces etc. Once your body is free of these pollutants the smell of garlic will be gone a few hours after eating it. Most evening for supper I will eat at least 6 to 8 raw cloves of garlic with my meal as someone might eat olives. And my wife who is very sensitive to the smell of garlic would let me know immediately because she knows that it means that I have come into contact with a chemical or heavy metal!

  9. To whoever reads this,
    I hope you have a wonderful day and no matter what stay happy as that is what matters most in life,
    You are truly amazing and no one can ever take that away from you,
    Be happy and enjoy life,
    We don't have long on earth so make the most of it,
    Have a wonderful day, Cheers, from doge in a rain coat!

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