Stomach infections are very common in developing regions of Asia, Africa and South America. They are caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori. About 40 percent of the population in developed countries and 70 percent in developing countries is carrier of Helicobacter pylori. Stomach infection can cause stomach ulcers and can result in the development of stomach tumours. In Japan, stomach tumours are the leading cause of cancer mortality. Treatment with antibiotics is not always possible due to high cost and the development of resistance to antibiotics.
Epidemiological studies show an inverse relationship between stomach tumours and the consumption of fruit and vegetables. The purpose of this study was to investigate the inhibitory action of sulforaphane
, a phytochemical which is abundant in broccoli, against Helicobacter pylori.
For this study, the sulforaphane was isolated from broccoli seeds, which are extremely rich in this phytochemicals. Sulforaphane is a potent bacteriostatic agent against all 3 reference strains (26695, J99 and ATCC43504) and 45 clinical isolates (obtained from patients with gastritis or duodenal ulcers) of Helicobacter pylori. Sulforaphane had significantly more bacteriostatic activity that other phytochemicals such as resveratrol from grape skin and red wine, allixin from garlic or epigallocatechin from tea. Furthermore, sulforaphane blocked the development of stomach tumours in mice, which were treated with the carcinogen benzo-a-pyrene. The mice, which were treated with the sulforaphane, were given a diet containing 442 mg sulforaphane per kg. Feeding of sulforaphane reduced the amount of tumours by 39 percent.
The researchers concluded that the phytochemical sulforaphane, which is available in high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables, could eradicate intracellular and resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori. Sulforaphane also blocks stomach tumours in mice and could have similar effects in humans.
Source: Jed W. Fahey,Dagger, Xavier Haristoy, Patrick M. Dolan, Thomas W. Kensler, Isabelle Scholtus, Katherine K. Stephenson, Paul Talalay and Alain Lozniewski . Sulforaphane inhibits extracellular, intracellular, and antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori and prevents benzo-a-pyrene-induced stomach tumors. PNAS,May 28, 2002;99(11):7610-7615