Effects of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) Hydroalcoholic Extract on Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone Levels in Rats Exposed to Cell Phone Radiation


avatar Behnaz Hajiuon 1 , *

Department of Physiology, Kazeroon Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kazeroon, Iran

how to cite: Hajiuon B. Effects of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) Hydroalcoholic Extract on Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone Levels in Rats Exposed to Cell Phone Radiation. Zahedan J Res Med Sci. 2014;16(12): 20-25.



The aim of this study was to investigate the probable effects of radiation and consumption of garlic on estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels.

Materials and Methods:

In this experimental study, 5 male and 5 female groups of rat were used: control, sham (under exposed), experimental 1 (receiving garlic extract), and experimental 2 and 3 (receiving both extract and microwaves). After a one month, rats were weighed and serum levels of hormones were measured.


In male the mean body weight in the sham showed a significant decrease, whereas, an increase was seen in the experimental 3 compared with sham. Also, mean plasma testosterone levels in experimental 2 and 3 were reduced. Estrogen showed this decrease in all groups. Also in all groups progesterone showed increase. In female the mean body weights in different groups showed no significant changes, whereas a significant increase was seen in serum level of progesterone in experimental 2 and 3.


Although, microwaves can cause weight lost, presence of allicin and vitamins A and B in garlic can compensate some of this weight lost. Microwaves and garlic extract have fewer effects on female reproductive system, reflected only in the serum progesterone concentration. Also they reflected in the number of Leydig cells and serum testosterone and estrogen concentration. The differences observed in the responses of male and female to cell phone radiation might be attributed to the position of gonads in the body and sensitivity of testis to heat.


As the use of cell phone technology has grown throughout the world in recent years, the tendency for determining its potential harmful impacts on human health has also increased significantly [1]. The spectrum of electromagnetic (EM) waves is very wide, but microwave frequency and wave length range from 300 MHz to 300 GHz and 1 mm to 1 m respectively [2-4]. Microwave spectrum is used in mobile phones and mean frequency they emit is about 900 MHz to 1 GHz [2, 4, 5].

Gonads are very sensitive to electromagnetic waves, and depending on the amount of radiation, they can affect the reproductive activities temporarily or permanently [6-8].

The evidence for the harmful effects of mobile phone on fertility are still equivocal and biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted from these devices are controversial as well [9]. In a study of female rat gonads, Baharara et al. showed that long-term cell phone radiation changes reproductive endocrine system alters the ultra-structure of oocytes and reduces the rate of successful mating [2].

In a study on histopathology of testes exposed to radio frequency field (RF), Ozguner et al. reported a decrease in testosterone level [10].

Similarly, in a research on the effects of 950 MHz electromagnetic field on the adrenal and sex organs of male rabbits in 2010, it was found that there were abnormalities in the levels of testosterone and FSH, likely to affect reproductive functions [9].

On the other hand, recent scientific studies have been focusing on the use of plant products as therapeutic agents [11, 12]. Garlic is one of these plant products, traditionally used for its cytotoxic, antitumor, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti protozoal properties [11].

As a member of the Liliaceous family, Alliums sativum or garlic [13], contains various substances including minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins [14-16]. Vitamins found in garlic include vitamin A, various kinds of vitamin B, such as riboflavin, thiamine, nicotinic acid, and vitamins C and E. Among many different compounds found in garlic, studies suggest that biological and pharmacological effects of this plant are mainly due to its sulfur compounds [15-18]. Some of these sulfur compounds are aliin, allicin, agoene, allylpropyl disulfide, diallyltrisulfide, sallylcysteine, vinyldithiines, S-allylmercaptocystein, and others [11, 17, 18]. Because of their high costs, their potential side effects and restrictions of their use, in recent years, there has been a tendency among researchers in attempting to treat disorders by replacing chemical drugs with some natural plant components [12]. Although, cell phone use is wide spread and some of their inevitable deleterious effects on the body have been documented, there has been little attempt to reduce these effects through diet or use of herbs. Since garlic has some health benefits and microwaves have some adverse effects on the same area of human health, in this study we tried to investigate the effects of cell phone radiation along with the consumption of hydro alcoholic extract of garlic on reproductive system. These studies offer the potential to enhance our understanding of garlic and the optimal use of cell phones.

Materials and Methods

In this experimental study, soaking method (Maceration) was used to prepare garlic extract [19]. Sixty Wistar rats with average body weight of 200±10 g and 80 to 90 days old were used in this study. In order to adapt to new environmental condition all animals were kept in the Animal House of Kazeroon Islamic Azad University for 1 week before entering into the trial. They were placed in special cages under standard conditions of 23-25°C and 12 h of light and 12 h of dark cycle. They had unlimited access to food and water, and all moral principles on using and treating animals were taken into consideration.

Animals were randomly divided into 5 male and 5 female groups of 6, including control (left untreated), sham group (exposed to wavelength of 900 MHz), the experimental group 1 (receiving 400 mg/kg garlic extract), experimental group 2 (receiving 200 mg/kg extract plus 900 MHz waves), and experimental group 3 (receiving 400 mg/kg extract plus 900 MHz waves). Groups receiving radiation were exposed 12 times a day, each time 10 min. Nokia 1200 cell phone was used to make EMF and cages were surrounded by aluminum foil to focus waves and limit the electromagnetic field to the interior of the cages. During wave exposure, the cell phone was sat in different modes, including call, missed call and turn on mode (without real talk). After the first round of irradiation, animals of experimental groups 2 and 3 received the extract followed by 11 rounds of daily exposure.

At the end of the experiment (lasting a month), animals were weighed, blood samples were collected and serum levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone were measured using ELISA kits (Made by Biosouece Europe). The results were examined by SPSS-19.0.1 software and ANOVA/Tukey tests and the significant difference was sat at <0.05.


Results of body weight and serum estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels are shown in table 1. In male there is a significant decrease in the mean body weight of sham group and an increase in the experimental group 3 in respect to the sham group (p<0.01) (Table 1). Also, there were no significant differences in the mean testicular weights of various groups (Fig. 1). As seen, in female there are no significant differences in the mean body weights of various groups (Table 1).

In addition, in male mean serum levels of testosterone in the experimental groups 2 and 3 showed a significant decrease compared to control (p<0.01). But there were no significant differences in serum levels of testosterone in female (Table 1). In male, mean serum levels of estrogen in the sham group and experimental groups 1, 2 and 3 showed a significant decrease compared to control; and in female this decrease in experimental groups compared to the control was no significant (p<0.01) (Table 1). In contrast, in male rats mean serum levels of progesterone in the sham group and experimental groups 1, 2 and 3 were significantly increased, and in female mean serum of progesterone compared to the control increase in group experimental 2 and 3 (p<0.01) (Table 1).

Table 1. Results of body weight and serum estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels in different groups
GroupsWeight (g)Estrogen (ng/mL)Progesterone (ng/mL)Testosterone (nM/L)
Control 243.7±30.44227.3±5.230.44±0.021.53±0.083.3±0.1110.8±0.15.1 0.170.85±0.01
Sham 217.7±17.67*228.5±3.330.35±0.011.48±0.093.7±0.0611.5±0.24.7±0.120.82±0.02
Ex. 1 220.5±15.13219±6.320.33±0.011.28±0.064±0.0611.3±0.144.8±0.160.78±0.01
Ex. 2 216.5±14.07215.6±6.790.33±0.021.4±0.083.9±0.0911.9±0.374.1±0.360.79±0.01
Ex. 3 248.7±12.17**244.8±3.560.33±0.011.23±0.044±0.0111.8±0.284±0.10.87±0.02
Mean testicular weight differences among various groups exposed to cell phone radiation and/or received garlic extract



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