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?



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

  • Ashley M de Sa 2 months ago

    I think I have a garlic intolerance because any time I eat garlic and a fair amount of it I always have a very upset stomach the next day. My mom thought it was food poisoning at first but this only ever happens when I eat the actual garlic, if it’s garlic infused and no actual garlic is in it I tend to be ok though, even though I hate the taste of garlic now because it’s associated with digestive issues. I also don’t have any other type of intolerance. I can eat gluten, dairy all of those kind of things, I can even digest things people can’t like peppers. I think it’s strange how I’m intolerant to such a rare thing to be intolerant to.

  • wyatt patterson 2 months ago

    Any way to overcome a garlic allergy other than avoiding garlic?

  • Karen Turtill 2 months ago

    I love garlic, but it affects me badly causing bad stomach cramps and backache. I have stopped eating it because of this.

  • I was chatting with a customer in Arby’s the other day as we waited at the counter he mentioned he had gluten issues and I mentioned I had the issues with the garlic he looked up and said him to! I said how did you know? He said he had his doctor run a special test for it. She did not want to believe it before this. But the test came back positive for an intolerance to garlic like a localized reaction! He asked her why this kicked in later in life and she replied every 5 years allergens and food intolerances can change. I had heard about the seven year rule thing in the past. I think it can also be an overexposure that eventually triggers the intolerance later in life. Like the people that are not allergic to poison ivy and suddenly have a problem with it. But I was glad to hear that somebody finally convinced their doctor that it was possible to have a food intolerance to garlic!

  • herbal_nut 3 months ago

    I would like to add a thought about an alternative idea to garlic allergies/sensitivities. For some, sure….it may be a reaction to garlic or something in the garlic. For others, it could rather be a Herx reaction as the garlic kills off parasites or other microbes that release toxins into the blood or bowels when they die. In this case, the die-off symptoms should be temporary. The only way to be sure whether it’s an allergy or intolerance is to have an antibody test done, especially for those who used to be okay after eating garlic but now suddenly can’t seem to tolerate it. Another thing to consider is leaky gut. If leaky gut is an issue than things could be getting into the bloodstream that shouldn’t be there and making you sick. By healing the leaky gut it may be possible to eat garlic once again without the side effects. Just some food for thought.

    • I am starting to think about something along these lines. I mentioned to somebody the sensation of muck going through my body and out my skin and she suggested it’s not the garlic itself but the toxins the garlic is seeing off. I don’t know if it’s possible.

  • Martha 3 months ago

    We are NOT alone! I have most of these symptoms to any kind of garlic Fresh, powder, garlic salt, cooked, raw.. A definite Intolerance & I “try” in this garlic-crazed world to avoid all alliums! The FB Group “Garlic Allergy/Intolerance Group” has been an invaluable support for me. Members around the world. Some members or their children need epi pens!! Anaphylactic!
    I also have the book by Joli Campbell Garlic Allergy The Guidebook for Allergy, Intolerance & Sensitivity. I take her figures here, that approx 3% of the US is allergic to alliums which FDA & medical groups say is a small, rare amount, but she equates that to the approximate population of New York City of about 8.4 million (at time of publishing). How many worldwide? How many don’t know what is causing this set of symptoms?
    There are now a number of Garlic/Allium groups. We all need to FIGHT for ALL ingredients to be listed on all labels.
    Campbell’s Soups has begun to list “garlic”. Yaaay!
    There are several movie stars who have said they can’t eat garlic & the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is either allergic or intolerant. We need a BIG awareness campaign!
    Thank you for helping us all with your garlic journeys. Support in numbers!
    May you all avoid garlic & remain healthy!

  • Allen Huffcutt 3 months ago

    Wow, what an eye-opener. Thanks for highlighting this issue. I am 58, and about five years ago I started having headaches after eating things with MSG. Last week, I had a mild reaction (headache) to home-made enchiladas that were not made from any cans of soup or other things that could include MSG. They did, however, include some minced garlic. When this all started, I remember eating a single piece of garlic bread (with garlic powder on it) and had a three-day headache. But, I have no problem at Red Lobster or other seafood places. Any thoughts?

    • Unfortunately, I’m not a doctor so the only suggestion I can give you is to keep a food diary and monitor it closely!

  • Garlic 4 months ago

    Me too!! I think this case is quiet rare for some people.. for me, I got fever and hurt in swallowing after I eat onions/garlics (it happen around 3 or more hours later), but especially the raw one. I never get any symptoms if I eat them cooked

    • I wonder what the difference is between eating raw and cooked garlic. I know cooking food breaks down the elements in food, but at the end of the day it’s still garlic?!

      • I have loved garlic for years even eating it raw mixed up with butter or mixed into a salad. I got out the habit and stopped eating it for about a year. A couple of weeks ago I thought I should start again for health reasons. I have had it 3 times since and each time felt lousy. It’s weird. It’s like I can feel it running around my body in the blood and seeping through my skin. And a lot of gas churning around my lower gut. God knows what I must smell like. The third time has convinced me but I miss the possible health benefits. Thinking about trying garlic capsules instead.

        • Let’s talk about the day after garlic smell seeping from your pores! I could have the tiniest amount and it’s so strong! I even get post-nasal drip and can literally taste garlic in the back of my throat ALL day long!

    • This is the comment am looking for, I have fever right now.

  • Thank you for writing all this! I didn’t even know such things existed. I always thought maybe my friends and family were right, that maybe I am just a fussy eater 🙁
    My body just can’t take in any garlic, onions, shallots and those in the lily family, not even a little bit ever since I was a kid. I will get really tired, headaches, vomit and lost my appetite for a few days. I hated garlic and its family so much. It just makes me feel so sick after eat them. I never thought that vomiting was a sign of allergy or intolerance. It have also never crossed my mind that it was a garlic allergy or intolerance until I googled, and when people keep questioning why. People just thinks that I am a fussy eater, saying that garlic is good for health so stop whining and that I might be a vampire. Problem is my friends and family cant even smell or taste any garlic in the dishes and but just say that I am over exaggerating things. Its super sad. I just tried my best to avoid them or go garlic free as much as I can. Sadly, most of the food contains garlic and onions, it is super hard to avoid esp when dining outside. T.T

  • Alec Wyn 4 months ago

    For me garlic = no sleep. It’s a 100% guarantee, the statistics are so obvious. I have very restless nights after eating garlic. The day after I am tired although I think it’s not so much the garlic directly but just the lack of sleep.
    It’s gotten worse after I turned 40. And my tongue is always very dry. These days I try to avoid it as much as I can.

    • Sounds familiar to me. The insomnia I suffer from isn’t due to any physical discomfort I’m conscious of – it’s more a “mind racing” kind of insomnia with a distinct, unpleasant taste of garlic in my mouth.
      I also suspect these effects are associated with artificial garlic flavourings in products like mustard, processed spreads, spice mixes, dips and snacks etc. more than natural garlic.

  • Lisa, thank you for posting this article. I have 4 out of 5 symptoms. I love garlic and it’s in pretty much everything we eat. ☹ I thought I just had a weak stomach and it was getting worst. After reading your article and all the comments, I know now to avoid garlic. I had too much garlic Thursday night for dinner and had stomach issues that night and my stomach was still bothering me in the morning. I had garlic again tonight and I had the same issues, so I decided to look up garlic and came across your page. I have the following symptoms for years: digestive issues; fatigue; low blood pressure and insomnia. I just thought I was iron and/or thyroid causing me to be tired plus not getting enough sleep because of insomnia. Everytime I go to the doctor, they always tell me my blood pressure is low. Sometimes the pain in my stomach hurts so bad I pass out because I have vasovagal syncope. Thank you again, this explains a lot and I know now what’s causing the symptoms and I know now to avoid garlic.

  • Megan C. 4 months ago

    Is there anything to take to counteract these side effects from garlic? I get diarrhea, stomach cramps and very drugged feeling after eating it.

  • Orsola 5 months ago

    Thank you so much for writing this. I had the same experience. I discovered my intollerance in my 20ies. People don’t believe it and every time I got invited to an indiand restaurant or a fake italian restaurant peope think I am a fussy eater. Not even mentioning the waiters who swear that there is no garlic in the food (as agian they think I ask about it because I want to avoid the garlic breath) with the results that few hours later I got severe cramps and I have to take loads of paracetamol hoping to get KO and fall asleep. My sintoms are immediate tongue rush, sometimes my throat seems to shrink and then stomach ache and cramps. I also suffer from runny nose sometimes but not sure if it’s related. Some food is ok for example I may be ok with hoummus but need to drink litre of diet coke. Other food are simply killing me and I thought that it may be the garlic powder.
    Anyway if it makes you feel better it seems that Queen Elisabeth II hates garlic,too.

  • Peter 5 months ago

    I discovered 10 years ago that a lifetime of night terrors were actually caused by garlic. I was plagued by horrendous nightmares for over forty years. Waking my family during the night screaming over and over since I was a child. I had no other symptoms. My husband figured it out after an especially bad night on vacation after having baked garlic for the first time. In the last decade I have slept peacefully throughout the nights by avoiding garlic in any form. On the rare occasions I’ve had the night terrors again I have been able to trace it back to a product that did not list garlic but did include something like “other spices” or “ other seasonings “ in the ingredient list. The only exception is when I had an infection in my heart lining a few years ago. I was put on a medication called “metoprolol “ for three weeks. I had no problems during the first ten days, but the my insurance company switched me to the generic version when I had the prescription refilled. It caused the same nightmares as garlic. Fortunately my doctor got them to change me back to the brand-name version and all was fine for the remaining several days I had to take it.

  • I’ve known I’ve had these for about two decades. One of the worst allergies (well, hypersensitivity) you can have, in my opinion. Because so many foods have onions or garlic in them! It’s almost impossible to eat Italian or Chinese food! So frustrating. One of the foods I can never eat is Salsa. Until today!!! I wanted to let people who have this allergy and might not know about it that there are two new salsas on the market that have no onions or garlic in them. The RED SALSA and the GREEN SALSA from Del Real Foods. I found it at my local safeway today. Tastes great and only 4 ingredients – and none of them are onion or garlic – YAY!!!! Check it out. I’m so happy!

  • Marian P. 6 months ago

    I never liked garlic since I was a child. I have always found it repulsive and spoiled the taste of food. Since I was one out of a family of four, I thought I was alone. But as I grew up I met people who just didn’t like and couldn’t eat anything with garlic and they too were the lone garlic haters in their family. Sometimes, eat foods in restaurants and the garlic is so slight that I do not realize it until I put my doggy bag in the fridge and it smells up the whole place. Often times these meals have some type of vinegar or wine base.

  • Emma Lee 6 months ago

    This explains why every time I eat more than a clove worth of garlic ,whether it’s in spaghetti, soup, salad etc, I can’t even swallow the food without getting a mild headache or running to the bathroom to spit it out. I thought all those kinda picky Food Network judges were rubbing off on me. Well now I can add Olive Garden and Red Lobster to my list of “restaurants to avoid like the plague” lol

  • Courtney 6 months ago

    I break out in a horrible sweat. It looks like someone is pooring buckets of water over my head. I end up getting sick for an hour or more. This is also only after an hour or two of eating anything with garlic in it. If it’s just a little garlic I still feel very sick but do not actually get sick. I’ve been told so many times over the years that I can’t be allergic to garlic. I’ve always known I was and tried to stay clear of it even though I do love the taste. I’ve had people test me on be allergic without my knowledge and I always get very sick and a little ticked since I told them. I appreciate this article very much!

  • Carol 7 months ago

    I believe I may have an intolerance to garlic. I have often had reactions and not been sure if its garlic or chilli but, the last couple of times I’ve eaten garlic I have woken in the night with severe stomach cramps and the need to run to the bathroom. Then left feeling lethargic and fuzzy headed. It used to be cabbage, then it was grapefruit but both of those have settled down and I can eat them again. I intend not touching garlic in quantity again for a while and will see how that goes!

    • Sarah Tallarico 6 months ago

      I first discovered a garlic intolerance in my 20s. My symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, headaches. It’s in everything. I rarely go out for dinner as it’s such a problem eating out. I can’t even cheat and have a ready made meal as 9/10 it’s got garlic added to the ingredients. I’ve been laughed out of restaurants serving Italian , Chinese, Mexican, Greek, French, Japanese, Indian foods. It’s in everything.
      Biggest pain in the butt. Ever.

  • Rick Coen 7 months ago

    (I know I am necro-ing an old thread, but I’m just now doing some research.)

    The last three weeks (a Saturday, a Friday, and a Friday), I have had a weird response to something I ate (sorry for excess detail):

    1) Horrendously gassy – can hear the gas churning from across the room, can feel weird shifts in my gut as the gas pushes its way through my intestines, yuck!  (Side effect, besides flatulence: complete emptying of the bowels, but not exactly diarrhea.)

    2) Unable to sleep – not just because I’m getting out of bed every 45 minutes to return to the toilet, but actually feeling mentally charged up.  (Which is really weird, because I am *always* tired, chasing after 3 kids, 2 jobs, and trying to have some personal time.)

    3) Consistent need to urinate – basically, every time I returned to the toilet due to the gas, I felt like I had at least a half-full bladder as well.

    Now, the first week, I assumed it was some stupidity on my part.  I was with my brother-in-law and some other friends for my birthday, and he laid out a fantastic spread.  Marinated flank steak (with fresh garlic cloves), Mediterranean “garlic paste”, baked vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and whole onions), Girl Scout Cookies, Oreos, tortilla chips… an evening’s fuel for games and good times.  Added to that three Mike’s Hard Watermelon, and a Diet Mountain Dew.  Then we were up until 1:15am, and a 45 minute drive home…. and I spent the rest of the night pretty much in the bathroom, finally able to get some sleep around 6:30am.   I have been “off” caffeine for 2 months now, so the Mountain Dew I thought could have been the wakefulness issue.  I avoided most gluten (though I did have tortilla chips for the garlic paste), and had no dairy at all.  I did use garlic paste to snatch up loose garlic cloves from the steak…

    Week 2, an end-of-season sports banquet.  Salad, vegetables (no onion, was thinking that might be suspect), rosemary pork, chicken and capers, roasted potatoes, and some really thick and delicious cookies.  No caffeine, no alcohol, but a “virgin Shirley Temple” with lots of sugar.  No broccoli, no cauliflower, minimal dairy in the chicken, no idea what might have triggered the response.  However, I did overindulge, so I thought that might be an issue.

    Week 3, catered Qdoba at work.  Small beef tortillas with shredded cheese, and guaccamole. On my last one, I pulled some green peppers out of the “fajita-style veggies”, which of course includes onions.  This is lunch, mind you.  Dinner was a couple organic hotdogs (normal buns, a single slice of cheese broken up to put on the two buns), and a glass of Baileys, around 6:30.  Nothing afterward, not even water.  I was wide awake when my wife got home from Girl’s Night at 2am, and having the same symptoms all night, finally getting some sleep around 7:15 am after half a slice of pumpernickel toast.

    WTH?  Are these the same types of symptoms other people are having from allium intolerance?  I put Garlic Salt on almost everything, always have.  We add garlic cloves to meals every week or every other week.  Onions aren’t a common ingredient for us, but I have always had sauteed onions on my steaks when we go out.  I’m lost and confused on this, and I can’t afford another weekend that starts with no sleep!

    From this article, looks like I did it to myself with the garlic paste in Week 1; probably was garlic or onions in the sauces in Week 2, and a nice delayed response activation from just the onion juices at lunch in Week 3? Insomnia, check. Digestive issues, check. Headache (didn’t even think about that, but) check.

  • Bernard L. 8 months ago

    I can’t eat raw garlic anymore either. Feel bloated the next day, flatulent as hell and feel drugged and foggy. Feelings of fatigue, poor concentration and pain in my legs. I’m staying away for good.

  • I’m not alone! Large amounts of garlic — especially raw — make me very sick and I can taste it all day. My parents used little garlic when I was growing up, and my ancestors are Norman, so the intolerance could be genetic or acquired. But I’m building up tolerance as I eat more Indian and middle eastern foods. Garlic POWDER, however, makes me violently ill. A naturopath told me that they use a chemical binder to keep the garlic flavour from fading in powders and those binders make it almost impossible to digest. Now I never use garlic or onion powder or seasonings that contain them. Only fresh. Indian chefs are sticklers for this too, so that might be why I can eat garlic-heavy Indian food with no problem. If you get sick from garlic or onions, check to see if the cook used powdered or that bottled, prechopped stuff. They are both evil. Many foods made from packets of powder use the powdered type too. Remember, garlic is not an herb, it’s a vegetable, and a lot of processing is required to make a vegetable into a shelf-stable powder. (and, frankly, the powder tastes very little like fresh).

  • Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve dealt with a garlic allergy for years! However, no one believed me because I can eat garlic if it’s low on the list. Like, the fifth or higher ingredient. Trace amounts of cooked garlic are okay. So, no one ever believed me even though I would have issues breathing, stomach cramps, runny nose, coughing, and diarrhea. My own family didn’t believe me until I broke out in hives one day and almost passed out from biting into a heavily garlic soaked Hawaiian Pizza.

    Even my current husband didn’t believe me until we were at Red Lobster and they accidentally gave me a crab cake coated in garlic butter. Bring on the instant headache, intimidate skin color change, coughing, runny nose and hard time breathing.

    I know it’s really rare but I hate it when I’m told, “It’s all in my head.”

  • Justin 9 months ago

    Thank you for writing this article. I have been battling garlic-induced gastroparesis for years. I only recently tried a garlic elimination challenge. It has worked wonders. Through this, I discovered that it wasn’t only gastric issues, but enteric as well (cramping, diarrhea). It is dose dependent. However, that dose was once large. Over time, the effective dose for illness has gotten smaller and smaller. Now, even the smallest dusting of granulated garlic on a large pot of food that gets simmered for hours WILL induce symptoms. Sadly, every restaurant in Austin seems to have proudly garlic-forward items for everything on the menu. And I continue to get surprised, like when I got sick from ketchup recently. Garlic was once scarce in many cuisines (e.g. Japanese) but is now pervasive. It’s a quick, cheap method to cover up poor quality food. I’d love to see a compendium (perhaps crowd-sourced) of garlic-safe restaurants and menu items, as I often need to eat out for work. Thoughts?

    • My sentiments exactly! When garlic is used for flavour that’s one thing. An ENTIRE dish overwhelmed by the flavour of garlic is another! I definitely think there should be garlic-safe options on menus, but the question is, how long will that take to come into effect? Think about other intolerances like gluten, dairy, etc. I’ve been living in Italy and I can that they’re finally understanding the problem. Years ago I couldn’t find any thing gluten-free, but now that’s changed. I guess we’re going to have to be patient 😉

    • Caroline Munro 7 months ago

      Interesting article. My partner and I are both intolerant to garlic. Its vile.

      I also cant stand the smell of it.
      Eating out in the UK is such hard work, its in EVERYTHING!! .

      I Had a cooked breakfast in Brighton and the eggs were cooked in garlic butter WHY ???

      Eating out in Italy NO problem .. they wrre stunned when i requested no garlic please on pizza.

      Please speak out..

      • Eggs cooked in garlic butter? WHY? My thoughts exactly. And it’s true, I have less issues with garlic in Italy. These use it to flavour food, not overpower it. And if they remove the garlic, the dish is still delicious!

  • Rosemary 9 months ago

    I’m Italian and I get so sick if I eat garlic or onions. My Mom would make separate sauces for me when I was growing up. At age 12 they found a ulcer . Sometimes I think that is why I can’t tolerate it. I have to ask in every restaurant I go to . I ordered fried Shrimp and got so sick . I called the restaurant the next day just to find out there is garlic in the crust!!! Yikes

    • Thank goodness I can at least eat onions! I had some pasta yesterday with clams and garlic (I didn’t prepare it!) and had just a few pieces of garlic. I woke up with swollen eyes!!! It can’t be the garlic? That little of it? It seems to be getting worse!

      • “It seems to be getting worse”

        That seems to be a common theme with this group.

        Take me for example.

        I got home from work tonight. I was feeling a little peckish and didn’t really want to make something or eat something healthy like some fruit or veggies.

        So what did I do?

        Well there was a bag of potato chips in the pantry. A type and flavor that I have eaten often.

        So I had a few, really just a handful, just to take the edge off my hunger so I can go to sleep.

        Wrong.

        Something is in those chips.

        Reading the ingredients AGAIN

        Yup there it is. GARLIC!

        I don’t remember reading garlic before.

        What the heck. We had some last month and no reaction.

        Now I am sitting here, my mouth is buzzing, my stomach is upset, it is making some terrible grumbling sounds.

        Sleep will not be happening anytime soon.

        Yes, definitely getting worse.

        UGH!

        Oh, and onions don’t bother me as long as they are cooked. I can take a few small pieces raw but too much and I have a bit of a reaction. Mild version of the garlic reaction.

    • I found out the Kentucky Fried Chicken uses garlic as one of their 11 secret herbs and spices. And one week I had a hankering to go there about 3 times and wondering why my stomach started giving me trouble till I ask them to look at the ingredients on the box of the spices and they confirmed it was garlic in the spices
      Even Chinese food such as chow mein sauces can contain garlic depending upon the restaurant so you need to ask at each restaurant and take the time to read the contents of any food and question at Food Store

  • It’s about 8PM and I can’t stay awake. I’ve been to bed since I got home from work, and going back after I write this. Yesterday I had some pizza that had garlic in it, but not fresh garlic. I have struggled with this forever. Today I went to a little Greek place to grab lunch to go. I asked to have them make my sandwich without onions. When I got to school there were various things in my sandwich/sauce. I decided to eat it since I didn’t have another lunch. It was so delicious, but I here I am now hours later feeling drugged. Don’t like that others are suffering, but feels good to know I am not crazy all these years when I have told others how I feel.

    • ‘Drugged”…sounds pretty accurate. I get SO lethargic the day after I eat garlic. It amazes me how garlic is in just about EVERYTHING! You can’t get away from it!

  • Siri Be 10 months ago

    This is such a great article! Thank you and thank you to all who responded. I no longer feel alone or crazy when I tel people about my harmonic issues.
    I discovered after been given OxyContin a few years ago that I had serious reaction to, I can no longer eat garlic, red onions, (onion rings seem to be fine) chili, jalapeno and ginger.
    I feel like a rush of heat comes over me from all of these, excessive sweating and chest pains, and sometimes diarrhea. My lips and tongue swell up.
    And then I’ll feel hungover despite not having any alcohol.

    My pcp ordered food allergy testing, but the food allergy specialist said they could only test for dairy and peanuts, no other food allergy test had been invented. This was 2017.
    I should say, I take no medication for anything and if I have issues now I tend to use natural remedies like propolis for infections, elderberry and such for flue or cold.
    I have other family members seriously allergic to OxyContin.

    Just had dinner at a restaurant and told waitress I had garlic allergies. She still brings out mayo with garlic in it. Who the heck puts garlic in mayo!?
    I started sweating like crazy and chest tightness and my tongue and mouth swelled up.
    So now I feel ‘hung-over’ from that meal. Ugh

    I’m so thrilled I found this article!
    Thank you again

  • Tony C 10 months ago

    Maybe we’re vampires..??

  • 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!

    • 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.

      • 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 10 months 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 11 months 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 11 months 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 11 months 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 11 months 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!

    • Siri Be 10 months ago

      Shelby look at allium intolerance.
      But more importantly look at diets that specifically help alleviate arthritis.
      This could be night vegetables etc. There are things to avoid when you have arthritis.
      Another thought tho, have you ever wondered if perhaps the arthritis could be symptoms of food allergies?
      I’ve actually met and spoken with people who have healed their bodies after arthritic diagnoses.

    • Niki M 8 months ago

      Shelby–I feel your pain (literally!). I love the flavor of garlic but hate what the smallest amount does to me! When you cook, have you tried keeping garlic cloves whole, smash with a knife and sautéed for a few minutes…then TAKE IT OUT and toss it??? Gives you a lot of the flavor but none of the pain!

      • Shelby 8 months ago

        Thanks for your reply 🙂 I’ve came off certain medication and been gradually reintroducing garlic into my diet, and so far no massive issues as long as I keep it to a minimum (1 clove in a pot of soup that serves 8) I’ll definitely try the keeping it whole and removing it to get more flavour

  • Rick Williams 11 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. 11 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 12 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.”

      • Irene Mackay 8 months ago

        Hi Beverly. I too have a coeliac condition, which has been with me for decades. I also get lactose intolerance and am on a restricted diet in which I do not use garlic. Over the Christmas period I had a couple of meals in good quality restaurants. Neither of the meals I selected mentioned garlic however, I was so I’ll after each meal. Suffering from many of the symptoms mentioned in these posts all related to the digestive system plus headaches and general fatigue. These symptoms lasted for about 3 days. I smiled at your last comment you obviously have a serious vomiting, fainting and 3 day episode with the gluten episode. You are correct too with the eating at home, it is the only safe option. I love going out for a meal as long it is for the socialisation and not the eating!

  • Amanda E. 12 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 12 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 12 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.

    • @michelle galletto

      I am trying to figure out if my symptoms are from the garlic and onions themselves, or like you said, reaction to parasites dying off. I go through phases when I get paranoid about parasites and increase my consumption of raw garlic and onions (which I love!!!) and when I do, that’s when I get REALLY sick. It’s frustrating not knowing for sure.

  • 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!

    • Kim 1 year ago

      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 1 year 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 1 year 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 already have issues with raw garlic, I can just imagine how bad processed garlic would be for my system!!

  • I miss garlic 1 year 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!!

    • I believe you.

      I take high str3ength garlic capsules to lower blood pressure.

      If I take one, I’m OK. However, for a while I was taking two a day and after a few days of this, I felt like I had what bodybuilders call “roid rage”. I had a vile temper and had a row with various family members.

      I don’t get this from eating garlic in food. It must be simply the extremely high levels in a double dose.

      On the plus side – if I take just one, I’m OK and have lots of extra energy. I don’t take it every day.

  • Linda 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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!

    • Siri Be 10 months ago

      Edward, I discovered the same issue about Allium family.
      I sat next to tiger lilies at someone’s house and got this massive migraine.
      I had purchased lilies for my office and didn’t realize or understand why I got such a massive headache.
      So I did my research and found out about Allium allergies. Onions, garlic, and lilies to name a few things.

  • Debbie 1 year 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.

  • Anna 1 year ago

    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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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.

  • Jim 1 year ago

    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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 2 years 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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

    • Chrissa 10 months ago

      This reminds me of cases of C. Diff. You poor thing!!! You should see a GI, but as another person with IBS, I think you have a gut bacterial problem. You might want to think about an FMT. As horrible as it sounds, it may be able to cure your symptoms. Not a lot of places do FMT’s, so your GI may not even suggest it. Good luck!!

  • 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 2 years 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.

    • Definitely! I actually KNOW that every time I eat an excessive amount of garlic, I feel horrible the next day.

  • 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.

    • It is definitely an amazing ingredient for holistic purposes, and it does frustrate me that I can’t eat it!

  • Kelly M. 2 years ago

    Garlic is one of my most disappointing migraine triggers!

  • Chasity Lynn Boatman 2 years 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 2 years 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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