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
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 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ 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
How Cell Growth Triggers Cell Division
Researchers in Jan Skotheim's lab have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that controls how large cells grow, an insight that could one day provide insight into attacking diseases such as cancer.
Metabolomic Platform Reveals Fundamental Flaw in Common Lab Technology
A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) shows that a technology used in thousands of laboratories, called gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), fundamentally alters the samples it analyzes.
Newly Identified Biochemical Pathway Could Be Target for Insulin Control
Researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of Alberta are reporting the identification of a new biochemical pathway to control insulin secretion from islet beta cells in the pancreas, establishing a potential target for insulin control.
Dirty,Crusty Meals Fit for (Long-Dormant) Microbes
Researchers apply the latest analytical techniques to further our understanding of desert biocrusts.
CSI -- On The Metabolite's Trail
Bioinformaticians at the University of Jena make the most efficient search engine for molecular structures available online.
Developing a Breathalyzer-Type Low Blood Sugar Warning Device For Diabetes
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has been awarded a $738,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a breathalyzer-type device to detect the onset of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar episodes, in people with diabetes.
Identifying The 'Dimmer Switch' Of Diabetes
University of Alberta research gives new insight into what causes Type 2 diabetes.
10 to 1: Bugs Win in NASA study
Bugs are winning out, and that's a good thing according to NASA's Human Research Program.
MYC Oncogene Disrupts Cancers Rhythm
Findings inform time-dependent treatment for reducing side effects and increasing effectiveness of cancer medications.
Keeping Gut Bacteria in Balance Could Help Delay Age-related Diseases
A new study suggests that analyzing intestinal bacteria could be a promising way to predict health outcomes as we age.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos