Broccoli Sprouts Eaten During Pregnancy May Provide Children with Life-long Protection Against Heart Disease - U of S Study
Posted January 31, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Broccoli Sprouts Eaten During Pregnancy May Provide Children with Life-long
Protection Against Heart Disease - U of S Study
Eating broccoli sprouts during pregnancy may provide your kids with
life-long protection against cardiovascular disease, according to a research
team led by Bernhard Juurlink at the University of Saskatchewan.
Using pregnant rats, the researchers found that not only did the broccoli
sprouts improve the mothers' health, they also seem to improve the health of
their offspring into adulthood - even if the babies never tasted a sprout.
"We looked at the offspring up to six months later and even on a normal
diet, they were in better health than their mothers," says Juurlink, a
professor in the U of S anatomy and cell biology department.
The findings are published in the journal of the Federation of American
Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).The work is a follow-up to the
team's 2004 study that found broccoli sprouts fed to hypertensive rats
lowered their blood pressure.
Juurlink's lab studies the impact of oxidative stress which occurs when the
body produces free radicals, a byproduct of normal metabolism, faster than
it can remove them. These highly reactive molecules can cause a host of
problems such as tissue inflammation, hypertension and stroke. The research
team is trying to find ways to reduce oxidative stress using diet.
So where do the broccoli sprouts fit in? The sprouts are high in a phase 2
protein inducer called glucoraphanin. In fact, they have 20 to 50 times
more glucoraphanin than mature broccoli.
"Phase 2 inducers promote the production of phase 2 proteins which either
promote scavenging of oxidants or decrease the chance of these oxidants
being formed in the first place," Juurlink said.
In effect, broccoli sprouts boost the body's natural defenses against the
oxidative stress that causes high blood pressure and inflammation.
Surprisingly, this dietary change not only improves the health of the
expectant mothers, but also has a lasting effect on the offspring.
"It appears we've instituted a permanent change in the offspring, the
question now is how," Juurlink says.
Human trials are planned in the near future. Juurlink says if humans react
the same way as rats, 200 grams or less of sprouts every other day may be
enough to reduce oxidative stress. If he's right, a simple dietary change
may prevent or delay onset of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension,
or possibly even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
It's important to eat the right variety of sprouts. The Calabrese variety
used in the study produced beneficial effects, but even better, some
commercially available varieties of broccoli sprouts have seven times as
much glucoraphanin. Broccoli sprouts are typically eaten raw in salads or
wraps, or cooked in a variety of dishes.
Funding for this study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research. Other research team members were Hossein Noyan-Ashraf (anatomy
and cell biology) and Lily Wu (pharmacology).
For more information, please contact:
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
College of Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
University of Saskatchewan