This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Nutrition scientists have been proclaiming the health benefits of the bioactive compound sulforaphane, found in crucifers such as cauliflower and broccoli, for the past 10 years. Prior research studies have concluded that the chemical directly alters the expression of our genes to lower the risk of many different types of cancer. It appears that mainstream medical science has finally caught on as studies are showing that the extracted compound can effectively treat one of the most aggressive and invasive forms of leukemia that primarily afflicts children.
A group of researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine has published the results of a study in the journal PLoS ONE demonstrating that a concentrated form of the compound sulforaphane found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables has been shown to reduce the number of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in a lab setting. Lead study author Dr. Daniel Lacorazza noted that “acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a type of cancer of the white blood cells common in children… there is about an 80 percent cure rate, but some children don’t respond to treatment. For those cases, we are in need of alternative treatments.”
Past studies have shown that sulforaphane is effective in preventing and treating solid tumors, but no research to date has indicated that the vegetable-derived compound can provide an effective remedy to fight blood-borne cancers such as leukemia. To study the effectiveness of sulforaphane, the scientists incubated human-derived leukemic cell lines and primary lymphoblasts from pediatric patients with the compound. They found that the cancer cells died while the healthy cells obtained from healthy donors were unaffected.
The study team indicated that sulforaphane works by entering the cellular matrix and interacting with critical proteins that are needed for cancerous proliferation. They indicate that further work will be required to determine precisely which proteins are affected and the exact mechanism of action.
Dr. Lacorazza concluded that “sulforaphane is a natural product. However, what we used in this study is a concentrated purified form… so while eating cruciferous vegetables is good for you, it will not have the same effect as what we saw in the lab.” Eating crucifers regularly (three to four half-cup servings per week) and supplementing with a concentrated extract of sulforaphane provides a potent and natural shield against leukemia and many cancer lines.