FOODS     TOOLS     ABOUT        

Broccoli Sprouts Kill H. Pylori Bacteria, But There's a Caveat

Can Broccoli Sprouts Kill H Pylori Bacteria?

Turns out, broccoli sprouts may help kill Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium that lives in the stomach of the infected people. This is certainly great news for the millions of people who have been infected with H pylori. As you may already know, H pylori bacteria can cause serious health problems, including peptic ulcers and even stomach cancer. Although mild H pylori infections can usually be cured effectively with antibiotic drugs, scientists are constantly looking for alternative treatments as H pylori strains are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. One substance that has received considerable attention from scientists in this context is sulforaphane, a compound that is naturally present in broccoli sprouts (in the form of glucoraphanin).

The Evidence

A study published in the April 2009 edition of the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that mice infected with H. pylori bacteria reaped significant benefits when they were fed sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts for two months. Not only did the sprout treatment reduce bacterial colonization in the stomach, it also appeared to reduce some markers that have been linked to an increased risk of gastric cancer.

The researchers responsible for the experiment described above also conducted a study to investigate the ability of broccoli sprouts to cure H. pylori infections in humans. Forty-eight H. pylori-infected people were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Those in the first group were supposed to eat broccoli sprouts for eight weeks, while the controls in the placebo group were asked to consume an equal amount of alfalfa sprouts.

The results were promising: Those in the broccoli sprout group, but not those in the placebo group, had a drop in urease levels measured by the urea breath tests and H. pylori stool antigen tests. Both urease levels and the presence of H pylori antigens in the stool are biomarkers of H. pylori colonization. In addition, the study participants who ate broccoli sprouts, instead of alfalfa sprouts, showed decreased levels of serum pepsinogens I and II, which are considered reliable biomarkers of gastric inflammation.

However, there was one big caveat: the broccoli sprouts were not capable of completely eradicating H. pylori, and two months after the treatment had been stopped, the values had already returned to their original levels

Consequently, further studies – perhaps using different concentrations and/or a longer trial period – are certainly warranted. It might also be interesting to carry out a study to investigate whether broccoli sprouts (or sulforaphane extracts) might work synergistically with some other anti-bacterial foods or substances. In previous studies, cranberry juice has been shown to kill H pylori more effectively when combined with oregano, blueberry, or grape seed extracts.

Sponsored Links / Ads