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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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January 2020 (Vol. 4 Issue 11)

How broccoli fights cancer
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

How broccoli fights cancer image

Everyone knows that broccoli is one of the ‘power vegetables’ that prevent cancer—and now scientists have figured out how it does it.

The vegetable contains a molecule that nullifies a gene that plays a key role in the growth of most common cancers. The molecule—13C (indole-3-carbinol)—is also found in other cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and kale.

The molecule interferes with the cancer process, which begins when PTEN, a cancer-fighting gene, mutates, and allows the disease to take hold. Its mutation begins when it comes up against an enzyme that is produced by the WWP1 gene.

In laboratory tests, researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center discovered that the 13C molecule, taken from broccoli, inactivated the WWP1 gene, and allowed the PTEN gene to do its cancer-fighting work.

If you already have cancer, you'd have to eat six pounds of the vegetable, and in its raw state, every day to attack the WWP1 gene. Juicer, anyone?


(Source: Science, 2019; 364 (6441): eaau0159)

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