Working in Japan where there is high incidence of chronic H. pylori-infection, the research team gave 25 H. pylori-infected subjects two and a half ounces (70 grams) per day of broccoli sprouts for two months. Another 25 infected people consumed an equivalent amount of alfalfa sprouts which, although rich in phytochemicals, don't contain sulforaphane.
The researchers assessed the severity of Helicobacter infection at the start of the study, after four and eight weeks of treatment, and again eight weeks after intervention was stopped. They used breath tests to assess colonization by H. pylori bacteria and blood tests to judge the severity of inflammation in the stomach lining; in addition, they looked for antigens in stool samples to help determine the extent of the infections.
"We know that a dose of a couple ounces a day of broccoli sprouts is enough to elevate the body's protective enzymes," Fahey says. "That is the mechanism by which we think a lot of the chemoprotective effects are occurring.
"What we don't know is whether it's going to prevent people from getting stomach cancer. But the fact that the levels of infection and inflammation were reduced suggests the likelihood of getting gastritis and ulcers and cancer is probably reduced."
In disclosure of a potential conflict of interest, Fahey is a cofounder of, but holds no equity in, a company that is licensed by The Johns Hopkins University to produce broccoli sprouts. A portion of the proceeds is used to help support cancer research, but no such funds were provided to support this study.
|Contact: Maryalice Yakutchik|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions