Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia (UEA) say that substances found inside broccoli could go a long way in slowing down cartilage wear and tear.
The information was released this month by the medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, and could be important information for those who suffer from diseases worsened by inflammation at the joints.
Scientists found that mice with increased levels of sulforaphane in their system were able to block enzyme signals that begin the inflammation process. They also look at sulforaphane’s effects on human cartilage cells and cow cartilage tissue.
“Until now, research has failed to show that food or diet can play any part in reducing the progression of osteoarthritis, so if these findings can be replicated in humans, it would be quite a breakthrough,” said Alan Silman, medical director for Arthritis Research UK, in a statement.
“We know that exercise and keeping to a healthy weight can improve people's symptoms and reduce the chances of the disease progressing, but this adds another layer in our understanding of how diet could play its part.”
According to the study, broccoli leads the pack when it comes to benefitting from cruciferous vegetables with sulforaphane, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
Scientists already suspected that the sulforaphane found in broccoli had “anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties,” but the new study could indicate relief on the horizons for many Americans suffering from inflammation- which in turn slowly wreaks havoc on human cartilage.
Authors of the study say their next step is to study sulforaphane on humans. Their plan is to study patients who are about to have knee replacement surgery, to see if an increase in broccoli intake has any affect on the joints.
Along with scientists and doctors from the UEA, experts from the University of Oxford and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital were used to complete the study, which was funded by Arthritis Research UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, The Dunhill Medical Trust, and the Diet and Health Research Industry Club.
Arthritis literally means “joint pain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is a broad term that actually includes over 100 conditions that affect joints, body tissues, and connective tissues.
These diseases are usually identified by stiffened joints or pain, and can sometimes be the result of an autoimmune disease, or a condition where the body is sending signals to mistakenly attack healthy parts.
According to information released by the CDC, “Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of nearly 21 million adults.”