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Daily baby broccoli helps control gut bug

6th April 2009

A new study has shown that consuming 2.5 ounces of broccoli sprouts every day may offer protection against H pylori bacteria.

broccoliandbacon

International researchers studied 50 people in Japan to see if eating the vegetable had an effect on the bug, which is associated with stomach ulcers and cancer.

They split the group into two, gave the first group broccoli and the second alfalfa sprouts.

The group eating broccoli - which contains sulforaphane - had 40% lower levels of the HpSA (a "marker" for H pylori). Levels were not altered in the group who were given alfalfa sprouts.

When broccoli was removed from the diets of the first group the amount of HpSA in their stools went back to its regular level, demonstrating that the sprouts reduced but did not kill off the bacteria.

Dr Jed Fahey, of Johns Hopkins University in the US, who headed the study, said: "The fact that the levels of infection and inflammation were reduced suggests the likelihood of getting gastritis and ulcers and cancer is probably reduced."

Dr Fahey also performed tests on mice with the H pylori infection in order to gauge the effects of the vegetable.

A group of mice were given sprout smoothies to drink for two months, while others were given water. Mice who drank the smoothies had "significantly lower" amounts of the bacteria in their stomachs.

Nell Barrie of Cancer Research UK said: "We know that H pylori is a major risk factor for stomach cancer but only three in a 100 people with the infection will develop the disease, so there are clearly other factors at work."

"This means we can't conclude that eating broccoli sprouts makes any real difference to the chance of getting stomach cancer."

 

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