In the United States today there is greater than 21 million persons who endure the most usual form of arthritis as they get older, osteoarthritis. The condition is caused by the disintegration and ultimate loss of the cartilage in one or more of the joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that is the cushion between the bones and the joints. As the arthritis becomes progressively worse, the cartilage eventually vanishes and bone rubs on bone causing pain and swelling. Conventional medicine can offer temporary relief with medications that can cause harmful effects. These medications such as Tylenol can lead to liver damage along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naxproxen which in long term use can produce ulcers and bleeding. Some of those type of medications can also lead to risk of heart attack and stroke.
University of East Anglia (UEA), United Kingdom, researchers believe they are closely on the path of a way to stop this form of arthritis from ever developing. Their possible answer is a natural bio-active compounded named sulforaphane which can be found in cruciferous vegetables particularly broccoli.
The researchers have already established sulforaphane obstructs the enzymes that create the joint destruction in osteoarthritis. Now the researchers are initiating a cutting-edge project to examine how sulforaphane can operate to slow down and even possibly stop the development of osteoarthritis. The beginning study will make way for more patient trails which could result in safe and effective natural methods of prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis.
Released in a statement given to the media the research team remarked that broccoli has in the past been linked to reducing the risk of cancer. However, the UEA researchers is the very first extensive research into the outcomes of broccoli in joint health. A portion of their three year study they will also examine the effect of other natural compositions on osteoarthritis which will include diallyl disulphide an ingredient of garlic that seems to slow destruction of cartilage in laboratory models.
There have been other note reports of cruciferous vegetables containing disease fighting and health building compounds.
Broccoli’s notable highlights
In 2009, the Journal of Cancer Prevention research, had published a study conducted by John Hopkins University, established that eating just a few ounces of broccoli each day holds the possibility for greatly reducing a persons risks for ulcers and stomach cancer.
Recap of study
Researchers delegated 50 persons in Japan to consumer either 2.5 ounces of broccoli sprouts or 2.5 ounces of alfalfa sprouts every day for two months.
As we are aware of broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains massive amounts of sulforaphane however, alfalfa is not a cruciferous vegetable and therefore does not contain sulforaphane.
At the start and end of this study examined stool samples of the participants for the chemical HpSA acknowledged as a trusted marker of infection containing the Heliobacter pylori bacterium that causes acute inflammation in the stomach lining, which greatly increases risks of stomach cancer, duodenal or stomach ulcers.
Researchers had discovered that the participants which consumed broccoli sprouts, had a decrease of 40% HpSA levels by the end of study. Then the participants were told to stop consuming the sprouts. When two months had passed and levels of HpSA were checked they had returned to the same rate as they were before the study. Alfalfa sprouts held on effects at all on HpSA levels.
Researchers also noted that levels of infection and inflammation were also decreased which advocates the likelihood of gastritis, ulcers and cancer risks are also reduced. This evidence leads to the conclusion that broccoli or its sprouts can aide in the prevention of cancer in persons.
Researchers did warn that supplements will not work because they cannot provide the same benefits as the actual vegetable. Their belief is it is a combination of compounds within the broccoli that is responsible.
Broccoli juice the defender of ultraviolet solar rays
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008, published a study from John Hopkins University, this time noting that extract made from broccoli sprouts increase the body’s natural ability to guard against ultraviolet solar rays that cause skin cancer.
Recap of study
In 1992, Dr. Paul Talalay and associates at the university, first made the discovery of broccoli being high in sulforaphane content. All cruciferous vegetables do contain this content however, three day old sprouts of broccoli hold the highest concentration. Also mentioning the fact it is high in nutrients which include vitamins A,B,C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber. Broccoli is also vastly noted to have cancer fighting benefits when consumed as part of diet.
Sulforaphane has the ability to activate the cells production of what is referred to as Phase 2 enzymes. One of the enzymes gluthathione S-transferase, has been proven to counteract DNA damaging compounds generated by the skin production when hit by ultraviolet radiation. It seems it can also decrease inflammation that can produce precancerous growths to change into matured cancerous tumors. In addition the sulforaphane also advocated the manufacturing of tumor-suppressing proteins.
On a side note due to this research of Dr. Talalay, his son had become chief executive officer of Brassica Protection Products, LLC which manufactures a brand named broccoli sprout health food named “BroccoSprouts”.
Dr. Talalay and associates also had applied broccoli sprout extract to skin of hairless mice and then exposed the mice to ultraviolet radiation. The mice that had been treated with the extract had remarkably fewer skin cancer tumors in comparison to non-treated mice. In the treated mice even the tumors which had developed were smaller than in comparison to the non-treated mice.
Researchers also had exposed six volunteer healthy human participants to ultraviolet radiation in two different areas of the back. One location had been previously smeared with the broccoli sprout extract three days before the exposure.
The areas that were treated had developed 37% less redness and inflammation as compared to the non-treated areas. The effects of the extract varied greatly by each person. It was however noted that from a low of eight percent less redness and inflammation to a high of 78%. Redness and inflammation are both signs of skin damage.
Researchers hold the belief that broccoli sprout extract enables a long term effect due to the body’s cancer fighting systems being activated by sulforaphane, they remain active for days.
There difference between sun screens and broccoli sprout extract is that the extract does not block sunlight from hitting the skin. Which means that it does not hamper the body being able to produce vitamin D, the vital nutrient which production is caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays.
A note on sunscreens
The CDC has reported that 97% of Americans are infected with a toxic chemical found in sunscreens called oxybenzone. It is contained in almost in 600 sunscreen products that also includes the sunscreens for children.
Sunscreens also contains a cancer causing fragrance chemicals along with many petrochemical-derive synthetic substances which in fact due promote cancer. Many Americans currently are opting for natural substances in the prevention of sunburn through the use of boosting antioxidant intake. Examples of such are taking Astaxanthin an antioxidant in tablet form or soft gel form which boosts the body’s resistance to UV damage. Berries also boosts antioxidants in the skin.
Broccoli for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer
This year researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Center also discovered sulforaphane and noted it has the amazing ability to target cancer stem cells, those cells that are liable for feeding the growth of cancerous breast tumors.
When tested in animal studies and breast cancer cell cultures in the lab, it was discovered that the sulforaphane targeted and killed cancer cells along with preventing new malignancies from growing.
It is a known fact that the current chemotherapy treatments will not halt cancer stem cells. This is way the cancer can come back and spread after the treatments. A great number of researchers hold the belief that in order to maintain cancer a way to eliminate cancer stem cells is required.
Sulforaphane now may hold the key for elimination of cancer stem cells. Sulforaphane or broccoli extract holds the possibility that it can prevent or treat cancer by its ability to target the cancer stem cells.
The researchers also had tested it on human breast cancer cell cultures and it did in fact yield the same type of results. This in turn advocates a new possible treatment that may be able to be combined with other types of compounds that can target breast cancer stem cells.
Other noteworthy health benefits
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers also discovered that sulforaphane seems to have the ability to guard against respiratory inflammation which causes asthma, allergic rhinitis, COPD and other conditions which make breathing difficult.
Special notation on sulforaphane
Researchers have discovered that if broccoli is cooked it will lose up to 90% of the beneficial cancer fighting compound sulforaphane. Raw broccoli can produce higher nutrients in the body, faster absorption rates and higher peak plasma amounts.
Cruciferous vegetables in general
The vegetables besides broccoli which contain this compound also include cabbage, cauliflower, collard green, Brussels sprouts, kale, radish, turnip and watercress. Many studies have associated these vegetables to lower the rates of cancer and other health problems and particularly when they are consumed raw.