Eat your greens

| Post published on June 1, 2004
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We have known for some time that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale may help protect us against cancer. Some of this activity has been attributed to a compound in these vegetables called sulphurophane which has attracted much attention since its discovery in 1992. The mechanism underlying this compound’s anti-cancer activity has remained unclear, until now. In a study published in the US Journal of Nutrition scientists describe how this compound works. Keith Singletary and colleagues at the University of Illinois exposed malignant human breast cells to sulphurophane in the laboratory and saw that it inhibited cell division and DNA synthesis in the cancer cells. Singletary suggests that sulphurophane works by disrupting cellular components called microtubules. These are long slender cylinders of a protein called tubulin that are required for the normal separation of the duplicated chromosomes during cell division. The findings may be useful in developing new treatments for breast cancer.

Jackson SJ, Singletary KW. 2004. Sulforaphane inhibits human MCF-7 mammary cancer cell mitotic progression and tubulin polymerization. Journal of Nutrition.134 (9) 2229-2236.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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