How Cruciferous Veggies Crucify Cancer

Cancer turns up its nose at cruciferous vegetables

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Ya either love 'em or you hate 'em. You know those cruciferous vegetables that are among the best things for you on and from the earth. Scientists are getting to know more about why broccoli blocks cancer.

Suforaphane, the amazing and versatile compound found in cruciferous vegetables, provides two ways to prevent the formation of cancer. 

"Get and keep and crush on cruciferous vegetables."

Broccoli is overflowing with sulforaphane, which is also found in other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and kale.

A great deal of research - both laboratory and clinical studies - has found that diets high in cruciferous vegetables can help prevent cancer.  

Researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have worked with existing knowledge of the mechanisms at play, and turned over new leaves in understanding how these vegetables help to stave off disease.

Okay, hold your nose while this technical stuff goes down. The healthy compound sulforaphane blocks so-called histone deacetylases, or HDACs, enzymes that interfere with genes that suppress cancer and keep it at bay.

OSU researchers have found that in addition to this mechanism, a second process called DNA methylation plays a role in keeping cells healthy. 

Emily Ho, an associate professor in the Linus Pauling Institute and the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, explains that these two beneficial processes work together to keep maintain healthy cell cycles "They sort of work as partners and talk to each other."

"Cancer is very complex, and it's usually not just one thing that has gone wrong," Ho said. "It's increasingly clear that sulforaphane is a real multi-tasker. The more we find out about it, the more benefits it appears to have," she said.

The research looked at the effect of these sulforaphane on prostate cancer cells. Researcher suggest the same processes are most likely involved in other cancers.

This  research was published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 8, 2012
Last Updated:
March 8, 2012