5 Signs You Have A Garlic Intolerance

5 Signs You Have A Garlic Intolerance
5 Signs You Have A Garlic Intolerance

Garlic is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound and one of the most widely used cooking ingredients, found in practically every cuisine in the world. For someone who has a sensitivity to garlic it’s widespread use can be a nightmare. An intolerance to garlic can easily go under the radar, especially since more obvious culprits, such as gluten and dairy are so widespread nowadays.

I’m 100% Italian but I have a secret – I don’t eat garlic! The reason? I believe I’ve developed an intolerance to it over the years. I’m confident in my ability to self-diagnose since there’s no denying the symptoms I get post consumption of garlic – sometimes even after the most minimal amounts. When I tell people that I do not eat garlic the usual response is always “But you’re Italian?!” Sure, I’m Italian, however, not all Italians consider garlic a main component of every meal. Take for example the Sardinians, albeit they cook with garlic, they usually remove the large pieces of garlic before serving and only add them in recipes to add a touch of garlicky flavour.

The flavour or garlic is one thing, and consequently easily digested. On the other hand, profuse amounts of potent garlic wreak havoc on my entire body, causing side effects such as lethargy, foggy-brain, and headaches. Garlic intolerance symptoms are often delayed and can take hours or, in some cases, up to a day or more to appear. Different people experience garlic intolerances in different ways. As with all food intolerances, garlic intolerance symptoms are highly individual. These 5 signs will help you understand if you have a garlic intolerance:

  1. Digestive Issues
    Consuming too much garlic can cause cramping, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, and stomach acids mixed with the strong compounds of cooked or raw garlic can have a burning effect in the stomach.
  2. Excessive Garlic Body Odour
    We all know that consuming large amounts or garlic often results in body odour, but for those with an intolerance to garlic even the smallest amount can cause this. Garlic breath is a result of the sulphur from the garlic being released into to the lungs and expelled from the body.
  3. Unexplained Fatigue
    In some cases, the day after consuming garlic people can suffer from extreme fatigue, with severe cases including prolonged chronic fatigue. Lethargy, foggy-brain and overall weakness are also symptoms of a sensitivity to garlic.
  4. Low Blood Pressure
    Garlic is known to be an essential compound for reducing blood pressure. However, those with a garlic sensitivity who also suffer from low blood pressure can experience exaggerated signs of low blood pressure after consuming garlic, including lethargy, ringing in the ears, and headaches.
  5. Insomnia
    Regular, excessive consumption of garlic can apparently affect your sleep. Despite the suggestions that garlic helps us sleep better, those with an intolerance can suffer from the opposite effects.

Do you think you suffer from a garlic allergy? What are your symptoms?



109 thoughts on “5 Signs You Have A Garlic Intolerance”

  • Tony C 1 week ago

    Maybe we’re vampires..??

  • Naye 1 month ago

    So, I’m on the food intolerance train. The past two days I have eaten garlic and I can’t sleep, but also this may sound weird, but my hands and fingers get super hot like burning like and my stomach is bloated and I have a stomach ache or I’ll have burning itchy ears or a weird feeling in my ankles…. could this also me a food insensitivity towards garlic? I have been on a food elimination diet for almost 3 months, and its been helpful but I have had flare ups. I have a food sensitivity towards 27 foods, I’d be so upset if garlic is on that list.

    • I’ve had some auto-immune reactions (to what I don’t know) and I ALWAYS get itchy ears!! 27 foods?? That’s awful!! Maybe garlic is the culprit. The only way you’ll know if you omit it from your diet completely for a few weeks, and then add it back in and see what happens!

    • Dave 1 month ago

      Nate You mentioned the weird feeling of the ankles. As a child when I was given penicillin I ended up with swollen ankles and could not put my shoes on. That is how we found out I was allergic to penicillin at age 5. Since sulfa was given at the same time they did not want to take a chance to find out which was causing the problem. But if you’re getting swelling in the ankles with it or any other joints that would be an indication of a true allergy. One could probably go to a really good very experienced allergist to have it tested with a little needle prick test that the allergist would prepare like he did for me with a test for shrimp, Pollock, salmon Etc.
      I’m beginning to wonder if part of the problem is and where the garlic is grown and the mineral content it absorbs from the soil. We know this is true of other naturally grown products such as grapes or cane used in clarinet and saxophone reeds as well as Lumber. If it’s grown up the base of the mountain it gets different mineral content than if it’s at the top of the mountain. Or like the vidalia onions in the summer that are mild and in the winter are grown elsewhere that are not mild. So perhaps garlic grown in our backyard might be different and garlic grown somewhere else with a different acid content from the soil. It’s just a thought. Some people can tolerate garlic powder some people can tolerate girl that cooked in the food and removed and some people cannot tolerate any of the oils from the garlic or onions at all. But I can tell when it’s been slipped in the food no matter what someone tells me. Because for the next three days I have an upset stomach as though I’m coming down with a stomach bug until it clears my system and quiets down.

      • Dave 1 month ago

        Naye sorry about the Talk to Type errors but I think you understood what I was saying

      • I definitely think there’s some validity in what you mentioned about where the garlic is grown!

        • Tara R 3 weeks ago

          Wanted to mention that I definitely have a garlic intolerance and digestive enzymes from Health Food store really help Must be of good quality Sometimes I have to use four or five but can eat at a sushi restaurant!

  • Shelby 1 month ago

    I’ve recently figured out that I’m garlic intolerant, but I noticed this has came about after starting new medication for rheumatoid arthritis (I’m only 26) It’s so frustrating as I love Italian food and love cooking from scratch but find it difficult to get the same taste from a dish when leaving out the garlic. And it’s amazing how many food actually contain garlic when you stop to look…

    • Hi Shelby! Yes, it IS in everything!! I am not allergic so I can still cook with it but cannot consume hardly any. I find that if I cook with the garlic whole and then remove it it actually adds enough flavour. For example, if I’m making sautéed vegetables I’ll sauté the garlic in some olive oil first for 2-3 minutes, then add the veggies…then I add the garlic before serving. You should try it!

      • Shelby 1 month ago

        Thanks Lisa, though over the past week I’ve gotten worse, dipped my finger in to taste a sauce my sister in law was making and within 15 mins I was out in a rash, and stuck in the bathroom for well over an hour. Having a phone consultation with my gp later today as it has came on so suddenly since being on my new arthritis meds.

        • Oh no! I hope you get this figured out soon!

          • Shelby 1 month ago

            Just off the phone, gp said that my arthritis meds are making my stomach more sensitive to any allergens, that’s why it’s got so bad since starting the new medication. It’s just a case of weighing up which is worse, the crippling joint pain, or the severe reaction to something with is in practically any food which has taste (unless I cook everything from scratch)

        • Carlos 4 weeks ago

          Omg my life. If I smell the stuff I get the unpredictable runs. It’s terrible. I’m constantly taking Imodium and that’s terrible and I know I need to stop. But this stuff is in everythinggggg it’s crazy frustrating. Nice to know others feel my pain, when I tell people they think I’m crazy.

          • Whenever I tell people that I think I’m intolerant to garlic, they laugh at me! What makes it worse is that I’m Italian!

  • Rick Williams 2 months ago

    Thanks for this information on garlic sensitivity. Crazy that so many people are also suffering. I’m half Italian and did not begin to notice problems until several years ago. I now shop at Whole Foods since the labels are typically more accurate. Unfortunately, the same item from another chain grocery store may cause symptoms…and then I find out later that the label has garlic listed.

    My wife has eliminated garlic from anything she makes at home for me. As noted by several others, eating out is always a challenge and takes even greater vigilance.

    I take charcoal capsules before I eat but that doesn’t always help. It would be great if there were “anti-garlics” pills!!! Going to try antacids as suggested to treat surprise garlic reactions.

    I’m also focused on reducing preservatives from my diet. I’ve made 20 trips to China and I notice that I am healthier there (while also avoiding garlic whenever possible) which made me think more about China’s emphasis on farm-to-table meals vs the outrageous explosion of preservatives in our American diet.

    • Hi Rick! Thanks for stopping by. I love your idea about anti-garlic pills, lol! Getting into comparing diets around the world is an entirely different story!! It seems that every other country is healthier than us. Our society focuses on how to heal/cure our bodies AFTER we fall ill, yet in other countries (who have maintained their farm to table culture) they eat to take care of their bodies.

      I’m living in Italy right now and it amazes how different the food culture is here. It’s NORMAL for everyone to have their own garden, buy fresh foods daily, nibble on snacks as opposed to devouring them at all hours, and of course the food is fresher and better prepared.

      It’s really sad…but I do think that North Americans are waking up! More and more people I know are reconsidering their diets and making healthier lifestyle choices!

  • Hello crew.

    I found this article while I was searching for a garlic free Ranch Dressing recipe. Don’t ask me how I got here, but I did.

    What a marvelous article the comments are great.

    I too suffer from a garlic intolerance. My brother also suffers and I have a cousin that has a garlic allergy.

    Like several of you here, I started off the same way. I am 60. My mother was an incredible cook. She was from German heritage but liked to cook in many different styles.

    I loved it and have had a love for food ever since.

    Fast forward years from living at home to having a wife and family. My mom taught me how to cook so my wife and I always shared kitchen duties. I admit that I was always way more wild in my cooking.

    A nice obnoxious Caesar Salad (obnoxious because of the amount of garlic) a nice dish of a garlicky tomato sauce on some pasta and a plate of garlic bread, accompanied by a nice dry red wine was a favorite meal. Mmmmmmm.

    NOT ANYMORE!

    About 15 years ago I noticed that the raw garlic in the salad was not agreeing with me.

    I would get an upset stomach, not too much more.

    As the years progressed, I found that it took less and less garlic to set me off. First it was raw garlic, then it was garlic powder, then it was cooked garlic. I tried to infuse olive oil with garlic and use it but still no luck.

    Now I know within a few minuets if there is any garlic in food. Not really sure how to describe it. My mouth starts to” buzz”. My tongue gets rough, for lack of a better word. It stays with me for hours and hours. Forget about sleep and the next day is not pleasant at all.

    A few years ago, when I was still able to use it in a cooked form, i was slicing some up and a small piece fell on my bare foot. I never noticed it until it started to burn. It raised a small blister just like a chemical burn would.

    I have had some pretty intense first aid training in the past, just below the paramedic level so I recognize anaphylaxis. I don’t think that I have an allergy YET, but I am worried that it might progress to it.

    Onions are still okay if cooked, and tolerated in small amounts raw.

    If I do get “Garlic-ed” I will take a couple of charcoal capsules and eat some rolaids. I suffer for a few hours and then it will back off. The peppermint and the calcium in the rolaids seem to take the edge off the feeling in my mouth. The charcoal seems to relive the sick feeling that comes with it.

    Eating out is always fun.

    Most of the people that we associate with understand that I have a dietary problem and are good with it, but sometimes they just plain forget. I understand, who really thinks about the small little dash of garlic powder, you just do it out of habit, don’t even think twice. It is always fun when about 3 or 4 bites into a meal I have to put my fork down and excuse myself.

    One of my problems now is that I am so sensitive I find that being around someone who has just eaten some garlic or has had it even in the last 12 hours or so has an aroma that just about turns my stomach. Garlic breath is enough that I have to leave the room before I start to gag, it is that bad.

    Other than my brother and my cousin, I have never heard of anyone else having these issues. While I do feel sorry for those of us who can’t tolerate garlic, I am happy to find out that I am not just a freak of nature hahaha.

    I just found your site Lisa so I will be nosing around it and having a good look around. And thanks for posting this article, I will be sending it off to a few of my friends.

    • Hi Brian! You are so spot on with some of what you wrote! First of all, the ‘obnoxious’ amount of garlic put into foods is ridiculous. What is more ridiculous is that many people (mainly North Americans) associate ALL Italian food with garlic – and that is SO not the case. Most people I know here in Sardegna do not cook with garlic – unless they add whole pieces in for flavour and then remove them. Anyhow, somewhere along the line in North America garlic became THE ingredient to incorporate into Italian food. We NEVER go eat out to eat Italian food…well, because we can cook it at home, but also because of the garlic! And let’s talk about garlic breath…I literally get post-nasal garlic drip for the entire next day. Horrible!!!

      As for remedies, I have actually never heard of charcoal capsules, but I’m curious now. I might try those when I go out to eat and know I can’t avoid the garlic. I’ve been getting into Ayurveda and essential oils lately…I find that peppermint and ginger are helping a lot!

      Thanks so much for visiting, and for your interest in the Blog! I do hope you find some more articles/recipes that you will enjoy. Come and comment again! And thanks for sharing this article!!

      • Hello again Lisa.

        My wife is the one who suggested charcoal to me.

        There are a few things about charcoal that I thought might help lessen the discomfort that I get.

        Charcoal is thought to help Alleviates Gas & Bloating, to help to remove toxins and also to be a digestive cleanse. All things that I thought might help.

        To anybody that wants to try charcoal, do some research first, there are a few things about charcoal that you need to read before trying, .

        While it is not a miracle, magic cure all pill, it does seem to help. I go from suffering the whole night and some of the next day to mere hours. How many hours seems to depend on how much of a dose I got.

        As far as the garlic craze goes. When did it start? When did it become such a trendy ingredient that it need to be in everything.

        Remember when Emril Legasse was the famous chef of the day. Him with his 40 cloves of garlic, the audience egging him on to add more.

        To me, that seemed to be the time that it became THE ingredient to use.

        It has been around for centuries, used as a medicinal ingredient. My mother had a story about how my grandfather used to drink garlic tea during one of the flu seasons that went through Canadian prairies in the 20’s or 30’s. He claims that it kept the sickness away. All his family told him that he never got sick be he smelled so bad, no one would get close enough to him to pass on the virus.

        • Emeril!!! I think you’re right! SO much garlic in his food!! Let’s blame him 😉 I actually wish I could eat garlic because I know it has amazing health properties…and I do believe your grandfather never got sick because he drank it during the flu season! I also know that there are also many other natural substitutes that help boost the immune system…that’s why I’ve been getting into essentials oils and Ayurveda!

  • Lisa I was talking to my neighbor about the garlic allergy and the relationship to penicillin and sulfa. He mentioned something about the Allison Factor and that garlic is related to sulfa. Note all the comments about the antibody properties of garlic. And if this is true that explains the problem. Since I was given penicillin and sulfa at age 5 and my joints swelled up. We have never tried sulfa on its own since I was given it at the same time as the penicillin. Many people allergic to penicillin are also allergic to sulfa. On a side note One thing to remember is many eye medicines have sulfa in them.

    • Whoops meant to say allium Factor not Allison Factor sorry about that The Talk to Type Gremlins attacked again

    • Good to know Dave. Now, I’m even more curious if I have issues with either of the two. It makes sense though. Would never have thought of eye medication containing sulfa. I’m not a big fan of medicine in general…good thing I’ve been getting into essential oils lately!! 😉

    • Amanda E. 2 months ago

      Dave, are we talking about OTC eye drops as well? Is sulpha a preservative or there to eradicate bacteria or something else?

      • NOT the over the counter but the prescription antibiotics . there are only about 3 that I can use. One of the ones that I CAN use is tobradex

  • For years I too started with a garlic intolerance not knowing what it was because it occurred after eating chow mein as well until Chef friend told me that some chow mein can contain garlic I asked a friend of mine who owns a Chinese restaurant and she confirmed this now I have to ask for no garlic in chow mein. I too am allergic to penicillin and sulfa and have experienced eczema as a child. I mention this to an Italian friend of mine whose family owned a restaurant. She too has a girl like intolerance and told me that her mother left one crumb of garlic in their sauce she would be ill. I spoke to a pediatric nurse who said like peanut allergies garlic allergies can worsen overtime. Now I read every label for garlic content and I’ve only found about two of the Tomato sauces that do not contain garlic. The other thing I watch is salt levels. It’s hard getting around the combination of the two. One time I ate a plate full of pasta and sauce ironically enough when I was visiting my mother at the hospital. I thought there was onions in it but on the way home I felt like I was coming down with a stomach virus. For the next three days the garlic repeated for my stomach and I realized I had overdosed on garlic. This was about 10 years ago. Now even Trace Amounts are a problem. I even make sure I stay away from raw onions such as a diced ones you might get on a hamburger in a fast food place. I can tell when someone has slipped any form of garlic into their sauce or my food. Because for the next three days my stomach is upset. Thank you for posting this because it confirms what I had pretty much figure it out on my own.

    • Many readers have been commenting on the fact that they also have issues with onions. So far, I don’t think they’re an issue for me! I am concerned that a garlic allergy can worsen just like any other allergy. I have never been given penicillin, but I wonder if I would have any issues with it seeing as garlic bothers my system!

  • Suzanne Iveson 2 months ago

    I also have an intolerance to garlic. Hit me about 10 years ago. I was raised in an Italian family and ate garlic all my life…that is, until eating garlic made me sick. First it was just raw garlic. Then cooked garlic made me sick. Now even small amounts of garlic powder or garlic salt will do it. I have stomach pain, headaches, lethargy, stomach distension, bloating and gas…sometimes for 5 or more days! The taste can stay in my mouth for 2 or 3 days. I have tried EVERYTHING. Eating lemons (with the skin), peppermint tablets, Benadryl, charcoal, Tums, Gas-X, Pepto Bismol, Chinese herbs, ginger, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, etc etc etc…you name it and I have tried it. Does ANYONE have a remedy that has worked for them? My family does not believe me and gives me a hard time. My sister in law even told me there was no garlic in a dish (when there was)…They think I’m joking. WHY would I do that!!! Eating out is close to impossible. I am the pariah friend you don’t want to take out to a restaurant. I would pay GOOD money for the antidote to this problem. It is adversely affecting my life!!!

    • Wow! You have tried everything, or at least I think you have! It’s easy to avoid at home, but our in restaurants…forget it! My intolerance is so mild compared to that my readers have been writing in response to this post. I feel for all of you. It makes me wonder though if my ‘mild’ intolerance will continue to worsen!

    • Suzanne, I can totally identify with everything you’ve written. About ten years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac. Until that time I ate everything. Apparently, since it’s a genetic issue, I had been living with it for 50 years (not good). I ate everything and anything. Then, boom. With Celiac came lactose intolerance and garlic intolerance. The smell of garlic will make my stomach hurt; the ingestion of garlic will cause all sorts of GI issues that will stay with me for at least a day and a half, and I usually have to stay in bed.. I continue to have this horrible taste in my mouth. It’s frustrating. For years I loved garlic bread and Italian food. Not so much these days. Like you, I am the pariah. No one wants to have me over to dinner for fear of making me sick. If I am invited, I am usually told I will need to bring my own meal. I figure… what’s the point? Please let there be a cure! At least being “garlicked” isn’t half as bad as being “glutined.”

  • Amanda E. 2 months ago

    When I was a child, my mom cooked garlic breads, pasta sauces, pizza etc that were all store bought from the frozen section and contained heavy amounts of processed garlic. Lots of foods made me sick. Garlic bread was the worst offender and every time I ate it, I would get sick and vomit several hours later. Eventually, I figured out that it was the garlic I couldn’t eat.

    As I got older, and having heard that people often outgrow childhood food intolerance, I was introduced to fresh garlic and seemed to be able to eat it with no concern… or so I thought. For years, I had a constant stomach ache caused by an unknown source (I hadn’t thought about my garlic issue for years), but wasn’t really interfering with my daily life, until several years ago. It started with feeling hung over for the entire next day after dining at a restaurant (even if I only had one glass of wine). That led to eventually severe digestive upset, vomiting, diarrhea, the worst migraines with aura imaginable, trouble breathing, insomnia, swollen throat, runny nose and sinus problems, confusion, aphasia, vision problems, joint issues, and what eventually manifested itself as a full blown rheumatological autoimmune disease that would render me completely dysfunctional for 1-7 days at a time. I had chronic inflammation and low-grade fevers for about 2 years straight (recorded by doctors). Also, night sweats that were falsly attributed to peri-menopause (at 28 years old).

    I saw every specialist possible, went to a neurologist every 6 weeks for nerve block and trigger point injections because none of the traditional migraine meds were helping. Most of my tests came back normal except for some autoimmune markers. I even had an allergy panel done and was blown off as being dramatic by the allergist… but there was one allergen that they didn’t test for… garlic. After years of suffering, and dairy, meat, and gluten dietary eliminations trying to figure out the problem, I remembered my childhood and realized it was the GARLIC.

    About half my doctors don’t even acknowledge that garlic can be a food allergy… when I mentioned to my primary doc that I thought the culprit was garlic, he actually responded, “Uhm, no. Keep looking.” My neurologist said, “Absolutely, garlic can be the cause”, since she has seen it in her practice dealing with migraine patients. I realized during the years my symptoms were at their worst, I had started purchasing a yearly CSA which always had fresh garlic! We were putting it in EVERYTHING! It also made sense that I would seriously stink for days after eating or touching a small amount. What I discovered is that I can no longer eat ANY form of garlic… not fresh, processed or powder. I read on an allergist’s website that, if you are continuously exposed to an allergen you cannot process, eventually, the first line symptoms will disappear and lead to harder to diagnose symptoms.

    Since eliminating it entirely from my diet, I am VERY happy to say that my last rheumatological check-up in August, revealed total remission of my symptoms and am significantly better. Mystery solved. I do not consider my issue an intolerance, I believe it is a full blown allergy, given my symptoms. I also believe I do have some lasting and permanent physiological effects from eating it all those years. I accidentally eat garlic, I now know immediately. My throat swells, itches, and I get an instant headache. I take Benadryl right away and it seems to stop the progression. I also cannot eat chives or raw white onion/large amounts of cooked white onion but I don’t have as severe a reaction as to garlic. Eating out is a challenge because restaurant staff do not always take me seriously when I tell them I’m allergic. I still find that many people and medical professionals will not recognize it as an allergy – I’m not really sure why, aside from the fact that it would be damaging to a food economy that puts garlic in everything and a medical industry that is making billions off of people’s autoimmune diseases.

    I don’t really care if people want to believe me, they don’t have to live with it or suffer the consequences of accidentally ingesting it. Garlic allergy is real and I would bet far more common than thought, I hope that my story helps others on this site. I would never want anyone else to go through what I did.

    • Hi Amanda! Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t believe (and didn’t realize) that many in the medical profession don’t acknowledge garlic allergy!! You were spot on when you said it felt like being hungover – that’s exactly how I feel the day after, albeit my symptoms are nowhere near as bad as yours. I’m glad to hear you followed your intuition and got to the bottom of this!

  • Steve 2 months ago

    I have an intolerance as well that includes all the allium family. No more onion soup for me. I did read somewhere years ago when I first found out about this, that this type of allergy is sometimes a result of leached mercury in the body from silver mercury (amalgam) tooth fillings. As I have a mouthfull of these because as a kid I ate to much sugar, Apparently the it’s not sulphur in the garlic, its what are called ‘high free thiol content’ reacts to the mercury and creates a chemical and immune reaction which causes an sever eczema like rash. Which is one of the symptoms I suffer from. It is also worth noting that there can also be a ‘tipping over’ point. Where you can eat it maybe once a month and not suffer any extreme symptoms. But if you eat a wide range of foods that also have ‘high free thiol content’ (but not garlic) it can still create the same symptons IBS, skin rash etc. Thanks for the tip on using whole garlic in the cooking but removing before eating, I’ll try that soon.

  • Ginger Fisher 3 months ago

    Wow, I am not alone!! I developed an allergy when I was 30, it feels as if I have been poisoned, if I eat garlic 🙁 yesterday I had a burger, why they put garlic in there, ugh !! I have to be hypervigiliant, about my food, and people roll thier eyes, and say they never heard of a garlic allergy, and that garlic is good for you, well it makes me vomit all night 🙁

    • I think that garlic has to be one of the hardest foods to avoid…it’s EVERYWHERE!! I know that it is good for you, and it’s unfortunate that I can’t eat it for that reason ;-(

  • Erin Buerschen 4 months ago

    I am fairly certain I have a garlic allergy. It gives me terrible indigestion (lots of belching and nausea). It is so bad that I have to take days off of work to recover. I get bad gas, pain, pressure and bloating. There is usually diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. I also can’t eat anything except toast for days after. I have a hard time sleeping as well! It is so awful! I do my best to not eat pizza or pasta as those have been the culprits for me. I am also finding that as I’m getting older I’m developing a lot of food issues and food intolerances. I do not eat unhealthy (never get fast food, rarely eat anything that is not organic, etc), but it is getting worse. Now I am developing anxiety around eating because I get so sick. Bad feeling! I also notice around my monthly cycle my body is more sensitive. Thanks so much for this info on here! I will continue to learn and try to take care of myself. I’m going to rest more as I’m sick now and have stayed home from work again! Ugh! Thank you and take care!

    • That sounds awful! I definitely notice that I am also more sensitive to those foods that bother me around my monthly cycle. Maybe because out immune systems are weakened at that time??

      • Marie Freeman 3 months ago

        I completely understand what your going through. My same complaints as well. I’m sooo tired of people telling me how great and wonderful garlic is for your body !!! Makes me sick and Ill l

  • MICHELLE GALLETTO 4 months ago

    HI.. I have noticed my intolerance and i think it goes deeper than just allergy.. I was never allergic all of my life to garlic. Now i get headaches. Garlic is a parasite repellent. I am wondering if the link is to PARASITES. They do not like garlic so when we ingest it they go haywire and start burrowing to hide from GARLIC>> After watching specials on PArasites. medical alilments can all be traced back to these F#%RUOI parasites. I would not be surprised to find out that my parasites want me not to eat garlic….because it kills them..:) IF not.. well how can I just magically build an intolerance after eating Garlic my whole life? I find it hard to believe!..

    • Wow! I have never heard of this! I’m wondering if I should be getting some tests done!

    • Marlo Ostler 2 months ago

      Michelle, I am experiencing a similar situation and, I think you are on the right track. I too am undergoing these difficulties and have had my suspicions. However, when I have been tested for parasites, by main stream doctors, the results are always negative. Recently, I purchased Diatomacceous Earth, Food Grade and started to take a tablespoon daily. I could have sworn, what appeared to be clear, snail formed ‘whatever’ slipping from my rectum, as I had a bowel movement. Definitely, I am going to start taking it again. Also, I watched a video on YouTube that suggested eating the seeds of a papaya. Supposedly, this rids one’s body of parasites, as well. I just can’t imagine with all the crap on our fruits and vegetables, things we cannot see, that we would not pick up something or other. Listen to that inner voice/ good luck.

  • I accidentally found this thread whlst surfing around….haha, I have been allergic to garlic all of my life, causing me to vomit and run a mid grade fever….the vampire jokes are endless. I am also allergic to pennicillin, and was just reading how the antibiotic properties in garlic are similiar to those in pennicillin….link maybe?

    • I hadn’t even thought of the vampire jokes!!! Ahahaha! And I hadn’t ever thought of the penicillin link? Interesting!

    • Wow! This is amazing to hear! I am allergic to penicillin and I have always cooked with TONS of garlic in everything. I have been getting extremely sick and even been to the hospital and no results as to what causes me to be so sick. Once again today I am sick and was looking for a possible answer, I had a super small amount of spaghetti last night…. WITH GARLIC.. U have answered my prayers! Going to try no garlic anymore. Thanks for the insight!

      • So glad to hear that this info might help you! Mind you, I’m not a doctor however, I think this is something you should really look into! I’d love for you to come back and let me know the results!

  • Haley 4 months ago

    I am so happy to have read this post! About 15 years ago my roommates and I would have “garlic nights” and would use as much garlic as possible in our dishes. Sounds crazy but it was delicious! I think I overdid it once because after one of these nights, my stomach got so upset! I had HORRIBLE garlicky gas and diarrhea. Ugh. Since then every time I eat roasted garlic cloves or anything with a lot of garlic, I get the same results! 🙁 I don’t know of anyone else with this type of reaction so I’m glad to know it can be common.

  • Gregory Dietzway 4 months ago

    My intolerance is strange. I get pretty bad diarrhea for about a day, but only from processed garlic i.e. jarred minced garlic or minced garlic found in the Land o’ Lakes brand garlic butter in the little tubs. I have zero issue with fresh garlic, including large chunks.

  • I miss garlic 4 months ago

    I started noticing my intolerance to garlic after being diagnosed with IBS and it was recommended to cut it out as a high fodmap food. Once I started eating it again I noticed some side effects. Not sleeping, lethargy, constipation and strangest of all, there is a big difference in my mood and I feel anger and impatience like I wouldn’t normally.

    Very few people believe me when I say I have a mood change related to eating garlic, but I’ve tried and tested in for over 3 years now and it always correlates. I love garlic but it turns me into the Hulk!

    Small amounts effect me, in pre prepared foods, sauces, store made guacamole. Garlic is in everything.

    • Wow! I’ve never heard about the mood issues…that’s so odd. I love your analogy about the Hulk!! Haha I definitely agree with the lethargy..it’s horrible. And yes, garlic is EVERYwhere!!

  • Linda 4 months ago

    I think I have a garlic intolerance too. I’ve limited my garlic intake for years, but I had no idea that I was experiencing an intolerance. Tonight I ate raw garlic and I had stomach cramps and diarrhea within 30 minutes. I fell asleep for an hour and now I’m wide awake! I never would’ve associated the insomnia with the garlic so thank you for writing this article and explaining how people with the intolerance experience their symptoms. I also have the ringing in the ears. I am able to eat garlic salt; and I’ve used garlic in cooking soup, I just remove the garlic before serving. So it’s good to know that it’s the raw garlic that causes me the most problems.

    • I’ve never really noticed the difference between the side effects of raw and cooked garlic myself but I always head that raw garlic is worse. Removing it before cooking is the best option for me…I still get that hint of flavour, but no stomaches and other side effects.

  • Maria 4 months ago

    I think I also developed an allergy to garlic as an adult, although I have Mediterranean blood and was brought up on food including garlic (and by the way I once knew an Italian who had an allergy to garlic!). I am OK with a small amount well cooked in food, but even a tiny amount of raw garlic will give me a reaction like the usual mild food poisoning – I get very nauseous, palpitations, chest pain, dehydration and afterwards, feeling terribly weak. I looked into what I was eating and discovered with disappointment that it must be the garlic. I love garlic! But what can you do? The feelings afterwards are so horrible that I have become very careful with it now. I looks like my cooking is going the “Sardinian way” with it!

    • So strange that you grew up eating it and then discovered an allergy. It’s almost like ‘too much of a good thing!’ If you can manage to digest some cooked garlic you should definitely do what the Sardinians do…adding cloves of garlic adds flavour to food, without the heavy addition of garlic that you have to end up digesting – or not digesting!

  • Edward Phillips 5 months ago

    Since puberty I have been allergic to many spices, including garlic (everything in the Allium family), black pepper, ginger, turmeric, etc. Within a few minutes of eating these spices, my face breaks out with bumps, turning red, looking like acne, but eventually disappearing after a few days if I abstain from such spices. Eating out was always problematic, since one or more these spices are in nearly every food item listed on a restaurant menu!

    My dermatologist suggested a new drug call Dupixent (pronounced du-pix’-ent), developed for treatment of eczema. It works on the cause of the body’s reaction to these spicy ‘foreign invaders’, instead of just treating the symptoms like most other treatments. It is a shot, every two weeks, first given to me in the doctor’s office, that my wife now gives me. The results are amazing! I can now eat anything with spices, including Italian & Mexican foods. My face does not break out even after eating heavily spices foods. This is what I’ve been waiting for all of my adult life!

    • Wow, I’ve never heard of anyone being allergic to all those spices! And yes, they are everywhere! I’ve also never heard of that medication but you must be so relieved that doctor suggested it so you can finally enjoy the foods you love!

  • Debbie 5 months ago

    Wow, reading all of this makes me feel less of a freak! I am violently sick after eating anything with fresh garlic in it. It leaves me very tired too.

  • I never realised I had an intolerance until yesterday . My husband and I had a garlic bread with some pasta. We haven’t been off the toilet since! I had a bad reaction with acid and a whooshing sound in my ears . I am very upset because I love garlic but this reaction was quite severe .

    • Really? Are you sure it wasn’t something else? I’m sure you’ve had garlic before!

    • Sally 5 months ago

      If your husband has the same symptoms, it’s not garlic intolerance. It sounds like food poisoning or a stomach flu bug.

      • I was thinking that too…only because it seems a little ‘sudden!’ I surely hope it wasn’t garlic that did that!!

      • Sally the intolerance can mimic a stomach bug. I ate a plate full of pasta with what I thought was onions in the sauce while visiting my mother in the hospital. When I got home I thought I had picked up a stomach bug. But then for the next three days are repeated garlic. And realized I have been overdosed on garlic.

    • Megan 5 months ago

      My intolerance can on quickly as an adult. When I was 35. It has gotten worse but there are pills that help. Food intolerance digestive aid.

  • Tiana 6 months ago

    I just found out i have a garlic intolerance from a blood test however i have no noticeable symptoms? It’s in practically everything, i don’t know how im supposed to cut it out. This will be a real challenge.

    • Oh no! It IS everywhere. You wouldn’t think so but it’s a very hard ingredient to avoid! I’m wondering now if I should get a test done…

    • Sally Thomas 6 months ago

      If you have no symptoms, do you really have an intolerance? I think if I had no symptoms, I’d not worry about the amount that you find in prepared foods.

  • My intolerance to garlic began when I was around 22-24. Never once did I have a problem with garlic before, but fresh garlic absolutely kills me. I can get violently ill (even going as far as vomiting) within about 15-30 minutes after consuming raw garlic or even cooked garlic, othertimes, it might take a couple of hours. Sometimes it causes me to sweat as if I’ve got the flu. Too much in the air causes my eyes to burn and also the digestive discourse symptoms. Some people think it’s funny, but I fail to see the humor.

    Onions, leeks, shallots do not bother me in the least. And if I need the garlic flavor for cooking, I have found elephant garlic doesn’t bother me as it’s a type of leek.

  • My wife has sensitivity. Immediately tell waitstaff and ask that the chef make suggestions. Lots of places can cook almost anything without garlic. More can substitute. Some have pre-prepared sauces/marinades and we have to leave. Northern Italian used to have garlic free dishes. No longer.

    Our first big date, off to Tutti Bene 40 miles away. Jane had to remove shoes and rings coming home due to swelling.

    Read back of every box, bottle and can every time you shop. More and more old favs are adding garlic. Not a single garlic-free canned tomato sauce in Winn Dixie today. (That’s what drove me to this site – hoping a fix had been discovered.) Hunt’s went to the dark side since last shopping trip. Mustard, Worschestersire, mayo, etc. all changed. Boxed stuff – forget it. BBQ sauce, butt rub. Jane has to make her own chili powder!

    Garlic in very small quantities adds a brightening of flavor with no calories, fat cholesterol – like MSG without the bad ( except for the minority, sensitive souls.

    Copious red wine taken immediately helps!

    Jane’s husband, Jim

    • Wow, thanks for all the info! I know garlic is everywhere…for me, it’s mainly when it’s fresh or cooked, as opposed to in sauces (although the flavour is still too pungent for me!). It’s too bad because garlic has so many healing properties. As for the red wine, I also have a sensitivity to the sulfites!!! ;-(

    • After spending 45 minutes at the food store reading every label of every jar of tomato sauce. I found that both Ragu meat sauce and Corona low sodium marinara do not contain garlic. At least these are reasonably priced because the more expensive ones including the Organics all contained garlic. some in dried garlic form , some have garlic oils , some have actual garlic. What I do to boost the flavor of the marinara and keep the salt levels down is to add a little bit of Ragu to the corona marinara. Otherwise we’ll have a slight Citrus flavor. I Guess That’s How The Preserve it.

      • Whoops that brand name should read Colonna low sodium marinara not Corona sorry about that talk to type Gremlins attacked again LOL

  • Lisa Sickels 8 months ago

    I have a garlic allergy. If I smell garlic or eat garlic I don’t breath well. It started with hives and after about 6 months it got worse. Needless to say garlic is not good for me and it is in everything. 7 years ago I use to eat garlic. Now if my neighbors are grilling something with garlic I have to go inside with the windows closed. I have been to the doctor to be tested and that did not go well. After 2 shots of epinephrine, 5 breathing treatments and a handful of pills the doctor wrote me a prescription epic pen and was told to stay away from garlic.

    • Wow! Really? I never thought someone could be anaphylactic to garlic! That’s awful, especially since SO many people, including practically every restaurant cooks with garlic!

  • Tisha 8 months ago

    I have discovered over the years that I definitely have an intolerance to garlic (vs. an allergy to it). Sometimes it hits me right away with cramps as bad as labor and sometimes it will not happen until the middle of the night. The only thing that has helped me (through trial and error) is Beano. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the soup I consumed for dinner last night had garlic in it until 4 o’clock this morning, when I woke up to severe stomach pains. So, I now know that I will have to be super careful to make sure to find out if there’s garlic in my food. It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older (I’m 45). Beano has been a miracle worker to help process it in my body. I only wish that I’d known I needed it last night.

    • I remember using Beano way back when…not for when I ate garlic though. Maybe I should revisit it now, especially for those times when I go out to eat and can’t control the amount of garlic in my food! I’m curious if there is an allergy or intolerance test to garlic!

      • Sally Thomas 7 months ago

        Yes there is. I went to a clinic that offered blood testing for food allergies and that’s how I learned that I had developed a severe garlic intolerance. I very carefully monitored what I ate and my gastrointestinal symptoms went away. I also learned that I have a moderate intolerance to green beans so I can’t eat them more than once a week.

  • Great post! My sister loves garlic and she has such a difficult time sleeping, I will have to share this with her as well. I’m always telling her that she consumes way to much garlic, garlic is good for the body but I know she eats way to much of it!

  • Ally gordon 10 months ago

    One of my favourite flavours was garlic and truthfully, it still is. But the effects on my body is so bad, I have given it up altogether. Even just the smallest amount, cooked or raw, will cause my stomach to distend and I feel in so much pain for up to 72 hours after. I look like I’m nine months pregnant, and for a 57 year old, the look is alarming I wish there were something that I could take that diminishes the pain and distension when I have inadvertently eaten garlic. Are there any ideas out there that have helped?

    • Wow! My intolerance is nowhere near that bad! I really don’t know what would help for those symptoms, except to not eat garlic! If I am eating out in a restaurant I’ll make sure to drink a ton of water…it’s so hard to avoid, especially in restaurant food because garlic is in everything!!! What if you used garlic salt, as opposed to raw garlic? Or garlic flavoured oils? Have you tried those options?

    • Laurie 8 months ago

      I Have a similar reaction but it doesn’t last nearly as long as your symptoms do. The more garlic that is in a dish, the quicker my reaction time is. I try to avoid garlic and it can be very hard to eat out, especially at Italian restaurants. I’ve never thought of using Beano.

    • Megan 5 months ago

      I buy a food digestive aid for food intolerance from CVS. It doesn’t cure me but makes it much better. I take one every time I eat out. I have been intolerant for about 8 years and found this pill 5 years ago.

    • Natalia 4 months ago

      Wow. Thank you for writing. I ate tatziki yesterday and all day long my stomach is in pain and abdomen/stomach feels swollen so bad that when I breath my stomach hurts and I feel like I can’t breath properly/take a full breath.

      I wish I could take something for it

  • I never thought garlic affects sleep. Very informative. Great post!

  • Honestly I didnt know that there was such a thing. But I guess there are intolerance for everything. I would have never thought of these things being from Garlic. Thank you for this information. Could help people feel better!

  • alisonrost 11 months ago

    I’d be forever sad if I couldn’t have garlic .. I put it in everything it seems! I’m so glad you started the conversation. Food intolerances and sensitivities can be a big deal health wise for people .. and sometimes it’s hard to know unless you have a blood test.

  • I did not know that you can develop intolerance to garlic. This is something new I learned today. Although the symptoms you mentioned here could also be the same symptoms of other diseases, it is still best to be checked by a doctor.

  • I love to cook with garlic. I would be so sad if I developed an allergy to it. I will have to share this with my friends. It might help someone discover what is wrong with them.

  • This is really neat information. I am sure I would never have known otherwise. I will have to pass this on to my mom, she is a garlic fanatic but does have a hard time sleeping.

  • Really interesting. I love garlic. I’m glad I haven’t had any intolerance. Nice share here, really informative.

  • Wow this was very educational! I had no idea people could get an allery or an intolerance to garlic. I am glad I dont because it actually is a great healing root to have around for holistic reasons.

  • Kelly M. 11 months ago

    Garlic is one of my most disappointing migraine triggers!

  • Chasity Lynn Boatman 11 months ago

    I didn’t even know that people could have an intolerance to garlic! I personally love it in everything particularly soups and pastas.

  • Paula Parker 11 months ago

    Thanks for these 5 signs you have issues with garlic. I will have to pass this on to my sister . She has low blood pressure and eats a lot of garlic. She too has a hard time sleeping. No garlic body odor, thank goodness. I appreciate the article!

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