BALTIMORE, April 6 (UPI) -- Three-day-old broccoli sprouts suppress Helicobacter pylori -- a cause of infections and a major cause of stomach cancer -- U.S. researchers said.
Jed Fahey of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore said the cancer-protective effects of sulforaphane, a phytochemical from broccoli, have been known for almost two decades, but this is the first study to show an effect of broccoli in humans on the bacterial infection that leads to stomach cancer.
The researchers enrolled 48 Helicobacter-infected Japanese men and women and randomly assigned them to eat 70 grams, or 2.5 ounces, of fresh broccoli sprouts daily for eight weeks or an equivalent amount of alfalfa sprouts.
"Broccoli has recently entered the public awareness as a preventive dietary agent. This study supports the emerging evidence that broccoli sprouts may be able to prevent cancer in humans, not just in lab animals," Fahey said in a statement.
The researchers assessed the severity of H. pylori infection at the beginning of the study, and again at four and eight weeks, using standard breath, serum and stool tests.
The study, published in the Cancer Prevention Research, found the H. pylori levels were significantly lower at eight weeks on all three measures among those patients who had eaten broccoli sprouts, while they remained the same for patients who had eaten alfalfa sprouts.