Archive for October 16th, 2008

The Many Benefits of Broccoli…

October 16, 2008

Go to fullsize imageI am a fan of Brocolli.  I thought of making broccoli the star of today’s post and thought of what ways can this veggie benefit us all.

A recent study done in University of Warwick published in the Journal Diabetes showed some interesting findings that made me realize how lucky am I to enjoy Broccoli.  The study looked at a compound present in broccoli that has the potential to help prevent complications of diabetes.


RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS–: Human microvascular HMEC-1 endothelial cells were incubated in low and high glucose concentrations (5 and 30 mM) and activation of nrf2 assessed by nuclear translocation. The effect of SFN on multiple pathways of biochemical dysfunction, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, hexosamine pathway, protein kinase C pathway and increased formation of methylglyoxal, was assessed.

RESULTS–: Activation of nrf2 by SFN induced nuclear translocation of nrf2 and increased ARE-linked gene expression. For example, 3 – 5 fold increased expression of transketolase and glutathione reductase. Hyperglycemia increased the formation of ROS – an effect linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and prevented by SFN. ROS formation was increased further by knockdown of nrf2 and transketolase expression. This also abolished the counteracting effect of SFN, suggesting mediation by nrf2 and related increase of transketolase expression. SFN also prevented hyperglycemia-induced activation of the hexosamine and protein kinase C pathways, and prevented increased cellular accumulation and excretion of the glycating agent, methylglyoxal.

CONCLUSION–: We conclude that activation of nrf2 may prevent biochemical dysfunction and related functional responses of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia in which increased expression of transketolase has a pivotal role.


This study is particularly interesting because it is known that patients with diabetes are at higher risk to develop complications especially heart disease.  And from previous studies, it has also been shown that eating vegetables like broccoli was significantly linked to reduced heart disease.  The relationship stems from the finding that damage to blood vessels is due to an increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the presence of high sugar.  The recent study has confirmed that the substance Sulforaphane present in Broccoli can indeed prevent damage brought about by these ROS with high sugar level. 

Sulforaphane substance present in abundance in broccoli was able to reduce ROS level by 73% and likewise results in activation of an gene regulator in the cells that resulted in the increase of antioxidant compounds. Great news!!! Great findings!!!

But does this mean lets all eat broccoli? We have to wait for studies that will look at end result.  But whatever it is…we know veggies are healthy food, broccoli for one has the potential to be a “star” vegetable due to its touted many benefits including prevention of cancer, cataracts Plus this new finding which am sure will make my diabetic patients crave for more broccoli.

Eat Veggies…Eat Broccoli… for Health!