Garlic’s famed therapeutic properties have made the bitesize bulbs hugely popular among HIV positive folks. But a recent NIH study reports that in people on the protease inhibitor saquinavir (Fortovase) who took garlic caplets for a mere three weeks, blood levels of the med were cut by half -- a complication that could lead to viral resistance. Worse, this effect lasted for up to 10 days after stopping the herb. And what about garlic’s interaction with other PIs? That’s a big question mark. And you garlic gourmets who may pause before eating the flavor-filled flowering -- well, researchers don’t know if cooking neutralizes the effect. For now, the take-home is that if you’re on saquinavir, best leave the garlic for the vampires.
February 1, 2002 • By John Hatchett