How broc­coli can help fight can­cer

Lesotho Times - - International -

LON­DON — Chil­dren and adults alike are en­cour­aged to eat their greens, with five-a-day con­sid­ered the di­etary gold stan­dard.

The list of ben­e­fits from eat­ing fruit and veg­eta­bles is end­less.

But now, a team of sci­en­tists have added weight to the ar­gu­ment of mak­ing broc­coli among your five-a-day. They found a com­pound in the green veg­etable not only helps pre­vent

can­cer, it can also treat the dis­ease.

Sul­foraphane, which is also found in other cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles such as cab­bage, kale and Brus­sels sprouts, was found to in­hibit the de­vel­op­ment of colon and prostate can­cer cells.

The high­est con­cen­tra­tions of the can­cer-fight­ing com­pound are found in young sprouts of broc­coli, in ad­di­tion to a di­etary sup­ple­ment called broc­coli sprout ex­tract.

Re­searchers from Texas A&M Health Sci­ence Cen­tre have con­cluded that the sup­ple­ment can be used as a “field-to-client” way to pre­vent – or even treat – colon can­cer. Broc­coli sprout ex­tract should not be used in lieu of tra­di­tional chemo­ther­apy or ra­di­a­tion treat­ments, they warned.

In­stead, the study shows the sup­ple­ment can be used as an aid to help can­cer drugs work more ef­fec­tively – and pre­vent the dis­ease from oc­cur­ring in the first place. Us­ing the sup­ple­ment ap­pears to be “gen­er­ally” safe, re­searchers


Dr Praveen Ra­jen­dran of Texas A&M, a co-au­thor of the study, said: “We have not seen any se­ri­ous ad­verse events in healthy vol­un­teers who con­sumed BSE pills for seven days.”

How­ever, he added that not all broc­coli sup­ple­ments are nec­es­sar­ily as ef­fec­tive as the ones his team tested, since they used a stan­dard­ized broc­coli ex­tract pro­vided by Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity for the study.

“The BSE sup­ple­ment is be­ing eval­u­ated in sev­eral other clin­i­cal tri­als around the coun­try, but I’m not sure other, sim­i­lar sup­ple­ments avail­able to the pub­lic have the same level of ac­tive in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing sul­fora­phone,” Dr Ra­jen­dran said.

A sep­a­rate clin­i­cal study of 28 hu­man vol­un­teers over the age of 50 – each of whom were un­der­go­ing rou­tine colono­scopies – were sur­veyed for their cru­cif­er­ous veg­etable-eat­ing habits.

Af­ter their colon biop­sies were ex­am­ined, it was de­ter­mined that those who ate more serv­ings had higher lev­els of ex­pres­sion of the tu­mour sup­pres­sor gene p16.

The same ef­fect held true for peo­ple who didn’t eat those veg­eta­bles ev­ery sin­gle day – even though a sin­gle serv­ing of sul­foraphane is

typ­i­cally cleared from the body in less than 24 hours.

There­fore, re­searchers de­ter­mined that eat­ing veg­eta­bles that con­tain sul­foraphane can ac­tu­ally change peo­ple’s genes to make their body bet­ter able to pre­vent tu­mour growth.

In an­i­mal mod­els, how­ever, sul­foraphane was de­ter­mined to gen­er­ally in­hibit the de­vel­op­ment of colon can­cer – while also in­duc­ing a pro­tein called Nrf2.

The pro­tein has ben­e­fi­cial an­tiox­i­dant and detox­i­fy­ing ef­fects – which makes it good for fight­ing can­cer. But later in the de­vel­op­ment of can­cer, Nrf2 is thought to play a role in tu­mour growth and even en­hance the buildup of plaque in ar­ter­ies.

“Be­cause of all this, we be­lieve that Nrf2 sta­tus is wor­thy of fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion, not just for can­cer treat­ment but for its role in mod­u­lat­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease,” Dr Ra­jen­dran said.

Re­searchers said their study has shown that sul­foraphane can pre­vent can­cer, but that they aren’t ready to rec­om­mend that ev­ery­one take a broc­coli sprout ex­tract yet.

“It’s cer­tainly worth re­it­er­at­ing what nu­tri­tion­ists have said for years: Eat your veg­eta­bles,” Dr Ra­jen­dran said.

The study was pub­lished in the jour­nal Clin­i­cal Epi­ge­net­ics. — Daily Mail.

A com­pound in broc­coli helps pre­vent and treat can­cer.

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