How Broccoli May Keep The Pain Away

An interesting study conducted at Johns Hopkins provides new evidence phytochemicals contained in fruits and vegetables -- particularly those found in cruciferous plants like broccoli -- block joint inflammation which could lead to better, safer treatments.

Researchers made the discovery while studying the various ways human blood cells and joints respond to pressure gradients generated from liquid moving along their surface, a force called shear stress. That force is good for blood vessels because it may block toxic cancer-causing chemicals.

Unfortunately, it can also be harmful to joints because it can boost a patient's Cox-2 enzyme levels which trigger pain and inflammation and suppress the activity of phase 2 enzymes, eventually killing healthy chondrocyte cells responsible for the smooth functioning of joints.

Rather than using a toxic Cox-2 inhibitor like Vioxx to suppress those enzymes, researchers added phase 2 enzymes that inhibited inflammation and cellular death beforehand.

Where broccoli comes into the picture: Previous research identified phytochemicals in cruciferous plants that naturally boost the production of phase 2 enzymes which were used in this study to suppress Cox-2 enzymes and inflammation.

In fact, one of the lead researchers who uncovered the value of phase 2 inducers mused that patients could obtain those same benefits by eating phytochemical-rich foods, a very safe, healthier and familiar concept to those of you who visit my Web site regularly.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, No. 39, September 27, 2005: 14010-14015

EurekAlert October 3, 2005

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