- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain a chemical that kills the bacteria responsible for most stomach cancer, say researchers, confirming the dietary advice that mothers have been giving their children for years.
In laboratory tests the chemical, sulforaphane, killed helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers.
There appears to be enough of it in broccoli sprouts and some varieties of broccoli to benefit people who eat the vegetables.
"The levels at which we tested it are such that those could be achieved by eating broccoli or broccoli sprouts. It's a reasonable level that we think would be reached in the stomach," said Jed W. Fahey of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The findings are reported in today's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Broccoli sprouts are tiny 3-day-old plants that resemble alfalfa sprouts and have a peppery flavor.
"I feel quite comfortable suggesting people eat more fruits and vegetables, specifically cruciferous vegetables, specifically broccoli," Mr. Fahey said. "We know it's safe and healthy. We know sulforaphane is effective in protecting against cancers."
In the lab, the scientists found that sulforaphane even killed helicobacter that was resistant to commonly used antibiotics and can kill the bacterium whether it's inside or outside cells. In people, the bacteria can hide in cells lining the stomach, making it more difficult to get rid of the infection, Mr. Fahey said.
The studies concentrated on mice, and the researchers will try to determine whether the same effect occurs in humans.
The findings "could have significant public health implications in the United States and around the world," said Mr. Fahey, a plant physiologist. "In some parts of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia, as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of the population is infected with helicobacter, likely linked to poverty and conditions of poor sanitation."


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