Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered one of the reasons why broccoli may be good for your health. They found that sulforaphane, a dietary compound from broccoli that’s known to help prevent prostate cancer, may work through its influence on long, non-coding RNAs. This is another step forward in a compelling new area of study on the underlying genetics of cancer development and progression. The findings were published by researchers from Oregon State University in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
The research provides more evidence for how these lncRNAs, which were once thought to be a type of “junk DNA” of no particular value or function, may instead play a critical role in triggering cells to become malignant and spread. Growing evidence shows that lncRNAs, which number in the thousands, have a major role in cell biology and development, often by controlling what genes are turned on, or “expressed” to carry out their genetic function. Scientists now believe that when these lncRNAs are dysregulated (uncontrolled) they can contribute to multiple disease processes, including cancer. The lncRNAs are also of special interest, researchers say, because they are so highly cell- and tissue-specific.
Unlike many chemotherapeutic drugs that affect healthy cells as well as malignant ones and can cause undesired side effects, the control of lncRNAs may offer a new way to specifically prevent or slow the progression of malignant cells. “This could be a turning point in our understanding of how cancer may be triggered and spreads,” said Emily Ho, the endowed director of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health at OSU, a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute. “It’s obviously of interest that this dietary compound, found at some of its highest levels in broccoli, can affect lncRNAs. This could open the door to a whole range of new dietary strategies, foods or drugs that might play a role in cancer suppression or therapeutic control.” For more information, see the following link.
It is a good idea to add cruciferous veggies to your diet. However, while cruciferous extracts from broccoli, kale, cabbage etc. containing small amounts of sulforaphane are commercially available as supplements, it should be noted that the amounts of sulforaphane needed for activity against prostate cancer in men is not known and usually requires considerable amounts of the extract or vegetable to be ingested. Therefore, before taking any extracts, please consult with your health provider.