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Broccoli's role against cancer

by Medindia Content Team on  February 8, 2002 at 10:56 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
Broccoli's role against cancer
A cancer preventing compound in broccoli, first isolated a decade ago at Johns Hopkins, may protect against a much broader spectrum of diseases.A new study shows that the compound, sulphoraphane, helps cells defend themselves for two or three days against highly reactive and toxic molecules called oxidants.
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Unlike standard anti-oxidants that use the molecular equivalent of hand to hand combat, broccoli's compound is a covert operative that works indirectly.Oxidants are like molecular hit men, damaging DNA and killing cells, eventually leading to cancer, retinal degeneration, atherosclerosis and other ocnditions unless they are neutralised.

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According to the investigators it turns out that sulphoraphane's anti-cancer properties and its indirect anti-oxidant effects are both due to its ability to make cells create a diverse group of enzymes, called "phase 2" enzymes, that protect against cancer by blocking select chemicals from becoming carcinogens.

The scientists studied sulphoraphane's effects on a variety of cell types and oxidants in laboratory experiments, they report in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sulphoraphane is particularly abundant in three-day-old broccoli sprouts.

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