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Broccoli Extract Helps Blood Vessel Health in Diabetics

By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, November 30, 2008, abstracted from “Activation of NF-E2-related factor-2 reverses biochemical dysfunction of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia linked to vascular disease” in the October 2008 issue of Diabetes

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable with a long-held reputation for keeping our cells healthy and providing a number of health benefits for prostate (1), colon (2), detoxification (3), immune system (4), pregnancy (5), breast cell (6), bladder (7) and stomach health (8).

Now a new study (9) has found that broccoli may help blood vessel health in people with diabetes, which currently affects 24 million Americans and costs our healthcare system $174 billion per year (10).

In the study, researchers exposed cells in a diabetic environment (surrounded by high levels of sugar) to an antioxidant in broccoli called sulforaphane. They showed that sulforaphane increased activation of a protein called nrf2. This leads to an increase antioxidant activity and “has a key role in the protection of cells against oxidative stress”, a central characteristic of blood vessel damage in diabetics (11). Specifically, adding 4 micromoles per liter of sulfuraphane doubled the activity of nrf2 compared to placebo. When looking at cell damage, exposure to the high-sugar environment increased cell damage by 300%, but sulforaphane decreased this cell damage by 73%.

For the researchers, “These findings provide the…basis for the link of a vegetable-rich diet with decreased [blood vessel] dysfunction” and that “Cruciferous vegetable consumption…are expected to decrease the risk of vascular disease in diabetics.”

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com


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7  Munday R. Inhibition of Urinary Bladder Carcinogenesis by Broccoli Sprouts. Cancer Res 2008 68: 1593-1600. Published Online First February 29, 2008. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-5009

8  “Broccoli Sprouts Relieve Gastritis in H. pylori Patients; May Help Prevent Gastric Cancer (Abstract #3442)” posted on posted on the American Association for Cancer Research Website www.aacr.org/Default.aspx?p=1275&d=553

9  Xue M. Activation of NF-E2-related factor-2 reverses biochemical dysfunction of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia linked to vascular disease. Diabetes 2008; 57(10): 2809-2817

10  “Number of People with Diabetes Continues to Increase” from the CDC Website www.cdc.gov/Features/DiabetesFactSheet/

11  Thimmulappa RK, Mai KH, Srisuma S, Kensler TW, Yamamoto M, Biswal S: Identification of Nrf2-regulated genes induced by the chemopreventive agent sulforaphane by oligonucleotide array. Cancer Res 62:5196-5203, 2002