Broccoli Sprouts Help Allergy
and Asthma Sufferers
People with nasal allergies or asthma may want
to add broccoli sprouts to their diets, if early research findings
In a study of 65 healthy volunteers, researchers found that an
oral preparation made from broccoli sprouts trigger an increase
in inflammation-fighting enzymes in the upper airways.
The credit appears to go to a compound called sulforaphane, which
is found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
Sulforaphane triggers an increase in antioxidant enzymes that
help counter cell damage and inflammation brought on by oxidative
stress -- from sources like air pollution and environmental allergens.
"Based on this study, compounds in broccoli sprouts have a very
potent effect in boosting the airway's self-defense system against
oxidative stress," explained lead researcher Dr. Marc A. Riedl,
an assistant professor at the University of California Los Angeles
David Geffen School of Medicine.
Whether broccoli sprouts can actually alleviate allergy and asthma
symptoms is not yet known, Riedl told Reuters Health.
"Further studies will be needed to investigate the clinical significance,
and so it's too early to give advice on a beneficial 'dose' of
cruciferous vegetables," he said.
He noted, however, that broccoli sprouts contain 20 to 50 times
the concentration of sulforaphane that mature broccoli does. So
a person would have to eat large amounts of broccoli to get the
sulforaphane dose that young broccoli sprouts provide.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Immunology, included
65 healthy men and women who were given various doses of the broccoli
sprout preparation or a "placebo" made from alfalfa sprouts over
The researchers took samples of the volunteers' nasal fluids
to measure the activity of so-called Phase II enzymes, which control
oxidative stress. They found that the broccoli sprout preparation
sparked an increase in the protective enzymes, whereas the alfalfa-derived
placebo did not.
The findings, Riedl said, show that "induction of protective
enzymes can be accomplished using well-tolerated, readily available
This diet-based approach, he said, "may add another weapon to
our fight against the increasing health burden of allergy and
SOURCE: Clinical Immunology, March 2009.
Reference Source 89
March 12, 2009