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Broccoli Sprouts Help Detoxify Inhaled Air Pollutants

Scientists have found that daily consumption of a broccoli sprout beverage led to the increased detoxification of the air pollutants benzene and acrolein.

| June 19, 2014 | Health

AsianScientist (Jun 18, 2014) – A team of scientists from China and the US has shown that drinking half a cup of broccoli sprout beverage every day results in rapid, significant and sustained levels of air pollutant excretion from the human body, providing a potential food-based solution to tackle the detrimental effects of air pollution to our health.

Air pollution is a global health problem that leads to seven million deaths a year worldwide. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified air pollution and particulate matter (PM) from air pollution as carcinogenic to humans.

Diets rich in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been found to reduce the risk of cancer. In particular, broccoli sprouts contain high levels of glucoraphanin, which, in conjunction with the enzyme myrosinase, produces sulforaphane that helps expunge air pollutants from the body.

To investigate whether broccoli sprouts could improve the health of people living in polluted environments, the team conducted a clinical trial involving 300 Chinese men and women residing at Qidong in the Yangtze River delta region of China. In the trial, participants either took a “control” beverage of pineapple and lime juice or the beverage containing broccoli sprout powder daily for 12 weeks.

The research, which was published in Cancer Prevention Research, found that participants who took the broccoli sprout beverage excreted 61 percent more metabolized benzene in their urine. They also excreted detoxified acrolein, a lung irritant, at a rapidly increasing rate within the 12 weeks.

“This study points to a frugal, simple and safe means that can be taken by individuals to possibly reduce some of the long-term health risks associated with air pollution,” said co-author Dr. Thomas Kensler, who is Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The article can be found at: Egner et al. (2014) Rapid and Sustainable Detoxication of Airborne Pollutants by Broccoli Sprout Beverage: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial in China.

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Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Photo: Laura Rush/CC/Flickr.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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