Sprouts and Stomach Cancer Bugs

broccoli sprouts that can help fight h pylori and stomach cancer

Broccoli Sprouts and H. Pylori

Eating broccoli sprouts can help keep stomach cancer-causing bacteria at bay, research from Japan shows.  This study supports the emerging evidence that they may be able to prevent cancer in humans.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain glucoraphanin, a substance the body metabolises into the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant sulforaphane, Dr. Akinori Yanaka of Tokyo University of Science and his colleagues note in their report.

Sulforaphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium strongly associated with stomach cancer. The researchers had 48 people who were already infected with H. pylori eat 70 grams per day of broccoli or alfalfa sprouts (which don’t contain sulforaphane) for eight weeks. In the men and women eating broccoli sprouts, markers of gastric inflammation were significantly reduced. Markers indicating the amount of H. pylori in gastric tissue also fell, but neither changed in the people eating the alfalfa ones. Once the study participants stopped eating them, their markers of inflammation and H. pylori levels returned to pre-study levels.

Researchers conclude: “The findings in this study strongly suggest that sulforaphane has promise both as an antibacterial agent directed against H. pylori and as a dietary preventive agent against the development of human gastric cancer.”

SOURCE: Cancer Prevention Research, April 2009.

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