Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This week on Reactions, we’re talking garlic. Hey, it’s good for your taste buds and good for your body, but you’ve got to wonder, how can something that adds such a brilliant flavor to food leave you with such bad breath after you eat it? Our buddies over at Compound Interest have some answers for us, so sit back, get peeling, and get ready for some hard chemistry facts about garlic. Garlic contains four major volatile organic compounds that are responsible for that notorious garlic breath. Interestingly enough, none of these compounds are present in garlic until it’s crushed up or chopped. When garlic’s structure is damaged, enzymes convert the compound alliin to allicin – which is responsible for garlic’s distinctive smell. Allicin is then broken down into the four compounds that were just mentioned. Once you take your first bite, the allyl methyl sulfide compound is broken down in your body much slower than the rest of the gang, so it’s mostly responsible for your garlic breath. This compound is then passed into your bloodstream and organs, and is excreted when you sweat, breathe, and when you have to pee. But hey, if you’re worried about garlic breath, try eating some parsley or drinking milk. These two foods are actually known to reduce garlic breath! There’s also more to garlic than its delicious flavor accompanying bad breath. You may have heard people telling you that garlic is good for you health. Well, they’re right! Garlic carries antibacterial properties, and three compounds in particular do the dirty work. Sulfur-containing organic compounds like these can penetrate the cell membranes of bacteria cells, and combine with certain enzymes or proteins to alter their structure, which ultimately damages the cells. Also, along with these organosulfur bacterial assassins, allicin has similar antibacterial properties. Well, now all you people out there are properly armed with some chemical facts to back up your love affair with garlic, maybe you want to check out this other video about the chemistry of Sriracha, and hey, why not check out Chemistry Life Hacks Volume 2. It’s got a little tip for an unwanted effect of the other most loved allium, onions. So thanks for watching, we’ll see you again soon, and don't forget to subscribe!