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ask: Garlic intolerance = digestive nightmare!

By Anonymous
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I have a self-diagnosed intolerance to garlic that is getting worse with age. My symptoms include terrible gas, bloating and up to 2 days of constipation or diarrhea. I also emit a strong garlic odor on my breath, skin and when I experience gas and bowel movements following a dose. I am frustrated because I have finally admitted to myself that garlic is an issue for me and have been telling restaurants that I am ALLERGIC to garlic. I still get served garlic consistently. I am generally a very healthful person and know garlic has many health benefits. I am wondering if there is a natural supplement of some sort that might counteract garlic's negative effects on me so that I can consume it regularly and without the abdominal pain and digestive issues I experience now.

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EmpowHER Guest

I have suspected garlic causes me problems for years but thought it was probably me over reacting...if I have tomatoes with garlic it is even worse.... My symptoms are extreme bloating, tummy pains, excessive wind that is incredibly smelly ( sorry)... I then range from being constipated to having an upset stomach. Does anyone know is if there is a genuine test to see what foods I react too as I feel if I have been medically tested I will be taken seriously rather than being told I'm doing a fad diet if sorts

September 6, 2014 - 10:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I finally went to my naturopath and paid over $400 for the blood test that test for 95 foods and marks by each one whether you have low reactivity, moderate reactivity, or severe reactivity. I tested severely reactive to Garlic, Eggs, Almond, Pineapple, and Whey. Totally bizarre group I know. I completely believe in this test as difficult as it has been. For the last few years it seemed like anytime I ate a a meal I became red in my face and broke out in tiny whiteheads on my cheeks. It was getting progressively worse, along with bloating and gas but I had always experienced that and thought it was just part of life. I have never been anyone with true allergies, nothing histamine, but these food senstivities are very very real. I call myself a garlic farmer, I have been growing 9 different varieties for almost 20 years now, I used to eat it raw all of the time... which is probably why I developed a sensitivity.

The plan as put forth by my naturopath was to completely eliminate these foods for 6 months. Take a lot of probiotics and work at healing the gut lining. After the six months, do a self-test for each one - reintroduce one at a time and make note of how it makes me feel. I hope to be able to go back to eating moderate amounts of cooked garlic, but I have been feeling so good and my skin is so clear now, so now that I see what optimal health is for me the compromise is more difficult.

Anyways, best of luck. Ignorance was bliss :(

October 31, 2014 - 11:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

I love garlic. Unfortunately, garlic does NOT love me. I'm very much garlic-intolerant. After having had so many people be dismissive of my situation (including doctors and nutritionists), it was nice to come across your website.

While you've provided some terrific insights, I thought I'd share a "treatment" that has worked very effectively for me. As you've suggested, I do try to avoid having significant quantities of garlic. However, especially when dining out, it is often difficult or impossible to eliminate garlic exposure. In those cases, I consume papaya enzymes immediately after the meal. Depending on how much garlic I think I've consumed, I'll take 60,000 to 120,000 USP units of papain (the active component of the papaya enzyme chewable tablet). I find that taking the papaya enzyme helps me to completely avoid any discomfort or, at least, takes the edge off. Unfortunately, this only works with small to moderate amounts of garlic consumption.

Just as every person reacts differently to garlic consumption, I suspect every person will react differently to papaya enzyme. The dosage that works for you might be different than what works for me. So, a bit of trial and error testing will be necessary but might be worthwhile.

I've read elsewhere that bromelain is another digestive enzyme that can help. However, I haven't yet tried it. The recommendation I've read is to take a 500 mg tablet twice per day.

By the way, I'm neither a doctor nor a nutritionist. I'm just a garlic-intolerant guy who has found something that works for me.

August 26, 2014 - 6:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

Carrots lots and lots of carrots something about their oil interacts with the garlic to calm it down I swear by it I get gad bloating excruciating heartburn with migrant and diarrhea from garlic talk about a pain in the butt... along with chest head ...just ewwww... peppermint calms the tummy so peppermint oil peppermint tums peppermi t tea will ease the gastrointestinal carrots will take care of the reSt good luck this is one I wish they would add to labels but it's the unspoken enemy at this point

July 17, 2014 - 6:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have an identical problem, and Beano works great, it is the only thing that I have found that helps.

March 28, 2013 - 11:25am
EmpowHER Guest

I recently made a dish with a few garlic cloves in it. I knew I didn't digest garlic very well, but this is the worst reaction I've ever had ...I was in pain. I used a product that I ordered online from Swanson, called peppermint oil combo, which contains peppermint and thyme oils in a gelcap. It is very helpful for me. I have seen similar products in stores. They are great for gas, bloating and cramps. I wish I could find an enzyme that prevents this reaction, but I never have. To get the health benefits of garlic without the troubles, I take Kyolic aged garlic extract in capsules every day. The aging process seems to make it easier to digest, and I tolerate this with no problems.

February 25, 2013 - 8:17am
EmpowHER Guest

I find that taking charcoal tablets before the meal or even after it helps. They make my diarrhoea less severe and should help with your gas (that's what they're supposed to be used for).

February 10, 2013 - 3:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have had some pretty serious reactions after eating fresh garlic. Normal Stomach medicines didn't help much, but I did find taking Benadryl has helped when taken early after knowing I have consumed garlic.

December 7, 2012 - 6:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

For many years I had the same severe symptons from eating garlic or anything with garlic powder. I found an over the counter medicine to take prior to eating garlic. It worked every time for me. The medication was Omnigest-EZ and was all natural. The only problem is they have recently stopped making it. If anyone knows of a substitute I would like to try it.

February 22, 2011 - 3:13am
Christine Jeffries

Hi Kimberlykoehly,
I have had similar sensitivities to different foods, for me it is a mild allergy. I had a comprehensive blood allergen test done to identify definitively what I suspected (it wasn't cheap, and wasn't covered by insurance, but I had enough with my system being out of whack). Allergies go from 1 to 3. Most of mine are 1s and some are 2s. Those 1s can be tricky, because I can eat them now-and-again, but when I've had too much they can be problematic. The 2s I try and avoid as much as possible because those cause a stronger reaction with either a rash or GI issues, for example. Since taking this blood test, I have been taking high-quality daily vitamins, and a probiotic supplement. I also have been taking a herbal supplement (contains N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, turmeric root and bromelian extract among other things) for allergies. The program my wellness doctor created for me seems to be working. Along with avoiding those foods as I can, it has virtually cured my stomach issues. And when I do come into contact with things like citrus which causes contact dermatitis issues for me, I immediately wash my hands and try to avoid touching it to my lips (otherwise I get little blisters--weird, I know). In the course of this testing, I found that I have a sensitivity to cow's milk, so I also switched to soy, almond or rice milk which also has helped.
Long story short--as I understand it, if your system is functioning well, then it will cause less of a disturbance when you have a 1or a 2 food item in those cases it can't be avoided. I know some people don't believe in the practice of wellness medicine, but I'm living proof that it works. I haven't been sick since early this year, which is odd for me. No colds, no sinus infections, no major stomach issues--hooray! But everyone's different, so it's important to discuss your concerns with a doctor.
Good luck and let us know how you're doing.

September 10, 2010 - 12:28pm
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