It may, say scientists—by altering bacteria found in the gut.
University of Louisville researchers gave allyl sulfide, the compound responsible for garlic’s health benefits, to 24-month-old mice—the equivalent of people between the ages of 56 and 69. They then compared the rodents to other mice of the same age as well as to mice who were only four months old.
The mice in the allyl sulfide group did better on long- and short-term memory tests than older mice that weren’t supplemented. The mice in the first group also had healthier gut bacteria.
According to results reported to the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting, the study group believed that allyl sulfide was able to increase expression of a gene, NDNF, which codes for a substance that promotes memory formation.