New research suggests that broccoli is especially good in the Fight Against Cancer
The new work, led by scientists at Johns Hopkins University, is the latest in a 10-year series of studies on the cancer-fighting potential of broccoli.
It started in 1992, when Hopkins pharmacology professor Paul Talalay and his colleagues showed that sulforaphane, a substance produced in the body from a compound in broccoli, could trigger the production of phase II enzymes. The enzymes can detoxify cancer-causing chemicals and are among the most potent anti-cancer compounds known.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains the phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles, which have significant anti-cancer effects. Research on indole-3-carbinol shows this compound helps deactivate a potent estrogen metabolite (4-hydroxyestrone) that promotes tumor growth, especially in estrogen-sensitive breast cells, while at the same time increasing the level of 2-hydroxyestrone, a form of estrogen that can be cancer-protective. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to suppress not only breast tumor cell growth, but also cancer cell metastasis (the movement of cancerous cells to other parts of the body).
Scientists have found that sulforaphane boosts the body’s detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly. When researchers at Johns Hopkins studied the effect of sulforaphane on tumor formation in lab animals, those animals given sulforaphane had fewer tumors, and the tumors they did develop grew more slowly and weighed less, meaning they were smaller.
A study published in the cancer journal, Oncology Report demonstrated that sulforaphane, which is a potent inducer of Phase 2 liver detoxification enzymes, also has a dose-dependent ability to induce cell growth arrest and cell death via apoptosis (the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate abnormal cells) in both leukemia and melanoma cells.
Sulforaphane may also offer special protection to those with colon cancer-susceptible genes, suggests a study conducted at Rutgers University and published online in the journal Carcinogenesis.
In this study, researchers sought to learn whether sulforaphane could inhibit cancers arising from one’s genetic makeup. Rutgers researchers Ernest Mario, Ah-Ng Tony Kong and colleagues used laboratory mice bred with a genetic mutation that switches off the tumor suppressor gene known as APC, the same gene that is inactivated in the majority of human colon cancers. Animals with this mutation spontaneously develop intestinal polyps, the precursors to colon cancer.
The study revealed that in animals fed sulforaphane, tumors were smaller, grew more slowly and had higher apoptotic (cell suicide) indices. Additionally, those fed a higher dose of sulforaphane had less risk of developing polyps than those fed a lower dose.
The researchers found that sulforaphane suppressed certain kinase enzymes. Kinases are cell signaling enzymes that are present not only in animals, but also in humans. The kinases suppressed by sulforaphane signal cellular activities that promote colon cancer.
According to lead researcher, Dr. Kong, “Our study corroborates the notion that sulforaphane has chemopreventive activity…Our research has substantiated the connection between diet and cancer prevention, and it is now clear that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds in the things we eat.”
Another study, published in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, looked at indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a naturally occurring component of Brassica vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. I3C has been recognized as a promising anticancer agent against certain reproductive tumor cells. This laboratory study evaluated I3C’s effects on cell cycling progression and cancer cell proliferation in human prostate cancer cells. Prostate cancer kills more men than any other kind except for lung cancer. Each year, 680,000 men worldwide are diagnosed with the disease and about 220,000 will die from it.
I3C was shown to suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner by blocking several important steps in cell cycling and also to inhibit the production of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate whose rising levels may indicate prostate cancer. Researchers noted that the results of this study demonstrate that “I3C has a potent antiproliferative effect” in human prostate cancer cells, which qualifies it as “a potential chemotherapeutic agent” against human prostate cancer.
Broccoli (as compared to other cruciferous vegetables) has a particularly powerful type of sulforaphane, which the researchers believe gives broccoli, its particular cancer-fighting properties. The power of nutrition in normalizing chronic disease and helping you achieve optimal health is quite profound.
If you’re looking for the variety of broccoli that will pack the most nutritional punch, broccoli sprouts are as close to a “sure thing” as you will get. Because sprouts are just beginning their growth process, they are packed with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more. The nutrition in sprouts is so concentrated that they are said to be among the healthiest ways to consume vegetables, and broccoli is no exception.
Just 5 grams of broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of the compound glucoraphanin (a precursor to sulforaphane) equal to that found in 150 grams of mature broccoli.
By far the most simple and most effective way to exploit the benefits of sulforaphane is to take a broccoli sprout in a concentrated powder form with a guaranteed level of sulforaphane. DefenCell 12000 is the only product on the market which has been developed through unique Australian technology to yield a standardised product with high sulforaphane activity.
The Medical Sanctuary is currently stocking the DefenCell / EnduraCell broccoli sprout powder in both 100gm and 250gm containers. Contact the clinic for more details.