Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Eating Broccoli Retunes Metabolism

Published: Thursday, August 01, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, August 01, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers have obtained the first evidence from human studies of how diets rich in glucosinolates can 're-tune' cellular processes that get disrupted as we age.

Retuning these processes to normal may contribute to the reduced risk of cancer seen in people who eat diets rich in broccoli and similar vegetables. A high glucoraphanin broccoli variety, called Beneforté, is now available in UK supermarkets.

Inside each of our cells are specialised structures called mitochondria, which act as the engines of the cell. Mitochondria either burn up dietary fats and sugars to make energy or export them to be used by the cell as the building blocks to make other compounds needed for health. Mitochondria can also convert fats and sugars into forms for storage, which is how we can put on weight if we eat too much. For good health, we need to balance all these different metabolic activities.

Excessive fat or sugar in the diet can overload the mitochondrial machinery. Also, as we age, this machinery works less efficiently, especially if we do not have sufficient exercise. This is because of the build-up of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in the mitochondria that inhibit some of the metabolic processes. The mitochondria may also begin to produce other compounds that can cause chronic inflammation. Disturbed metabolism and badly functioning mitochondria are associated with the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.

To study what effects glucosinolate consumption has on metabolism, the researchers at the IFR carried out human dietary intervention trials. These involve making controlled and very specific changes to people's diets over a period of time, and provide the best possible evidence for the effects specific foods have on our bodies and metabolism.

48 volunteers were randomly split into three groups. Over a period of 12 weeks, one group ate high glucoraphanin broccoli, one group ate standard broccoli, and the third ate no broccoli. The researchers measured 346 metabolites in the blood before and after the 12 week period. They found that people who ate the high glucoraphanin broccoli had improved metabolism, and most of them had reduced levels of fatty acids in the blood and other lipid compounds that are associated with inflammation. They concluded that this was because of a bioactive compound called sulforaphane that is derived from glucoraphanin. This switched on 'antioxidant' genes which reduced the excessive ROS in the cells enabling their metabolic machinery to work better.

A number of studies have shown that diets rich in cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, type II diabetes and other chronic diseases of ageing through the actions of glucosinolates. This new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, provides the first evidence from human intervention trials of the mechanism behind this protective effect. This is being followed up by another study with a larger number of volunteers that is also looking at metabolism and biomarkers of cardiovascular health.

In 2011, a high glucoraphanin variety of broccoli was launched in UK supermarkets following significant investment in research from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Beneforté 'super broccoli' represents a special achievement for UK bioscience: a consumer-focused, nutritionally-enhanced product. Beneforté broccoli was developed through traditional breeding techniques by the Institute of Food Research and the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park, both of which receive strategic funding from BBSRC.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,100+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Study Maps Human Metabolism in Health and Disease
Scientists have produced an instruction manual for the human genome that provides a framework to better understand the relationship between an individual's genetic make-up and their lifestyle.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Scientific News
Integrated Omics Analysis
Studying multi-omics promises to give a more holistic picture of the organism and its place in its ecosystem, however despite the complexities involved those within the field are optimistic.
Fatty Liver Disease Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
Recent study identifies factors causing insulin to misbehave in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
New Pathway for COPD Biomarker Development
A study from Philip Morris International has highlighted multi-lipid profiling as a potential new pathway for COPD biomarker development.
Clinical Trial Finds Medicine Program Alters Blood Serum
Meditation, yoga and vegetarian diet linked to decline in plasma metabolites associated with inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk.
3D-Printing in Science: Conference Co-Staged with LABVOLUTION
LABVOLUTION 2017 will have an added highlight of a simultaneous conference, "3D-Printing in Science".
Lab-on-a-Chip Detects Effects of Poison
A fast and efficient mixer has been developed for testing the effect of toxic substances faster by using a new lab-on-a-chip.
Targeting Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors May be Important Across a Lifetime
The study suggests efforts to prevent risk factors should extend to those older than 65.
Beige Fat Formation Linked to Anti-diabetic Effect
Researchers at UTSW have found that the protein connexin 43 forms cell-to-cell communication channels on the surface of emerging beige fat cells that amplify the signals from those few nerve fibers.
Adipose Tissue Secretes Factors That Activate Metabolism
Study finds brown adipose tissue secretes signalling factors that activates metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Gene Deletion Reveals Cell Secrets
Researchers have deleted 174 genes in yeast to analyse the effect of individual gene deletion.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,100+ scientific videos