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What safety considerations should one keep in mind during garlic use?

Although garlic has been used safely in cooking, excessive consumption can cause some side effects, in addition to strong breath and body odors. Garlic occasionally causes allergies that can range from mild irritation to potentially life-threatening problems. Ingestion of fresh garlic bulbs, extracts, or oil on an empty stomach may occasionally cause heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some animal and human studies suggest that garlic can lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin.
Garlic has been shown to interfere with several prescription drugs, especially the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) HIV medication saquinavir (brand name Invirase). Garlic can lower the serum levels of saquinavir by as much as 50 percent. Garlic also acts as a natural blood thinner and, thus, should be avoided by pregnant women, people about to undergo surgery, and people taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (brand name Coumadin).
Garlic bulbs are sometimes contaminated with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum can grow and produce botulinum toxin in garlic-in-oil products that are not refrigerated and do not contain antibacterial agents.
In addition, chemical burns, contact dermatitis, and bronchial asthma can occur when garlic is applied to the skin. Garlic should also be avoided by people who are prone to stomach conditions, such as ulcers, as it can exacerbate the condition or cause new ones.
This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.