Broccoli's 'Anti-Cancer Compound' Offers Unexpected Health Benefits Broccoli's 'Anti-Cancer Compound' Offers Unexpected Health Benefits

Broccoli's 'Anti-Cancer Compound' Offers Unexpected Health Benefits

Broccoli's 'Anti-Cancer Compound' Offers Unexpected Health Benefits

Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia have discovered a chemical compound found in broccoli that can prevent blood clots that cause strokes.
The researchers conducted a series of tests that included 23 common compounds in plants to determine their tendency to bind to platelets, which play a crucial role in sealing wounds to stop bleeding, but may also form dangerous clots that completely block blood flow under certain circumstances.

The research team found that a common chemical compound in broccoli and cauliflower, called sulforaphane (SFN), acts as an anti-clotting agent.

This compound has received great attention in the past for its ability to prevent cancer and lower cholesterol.

A careful analysis of the effect of SFN at the molecular level revealed its ability to slow platelet aggregation and prevent the formation of clots, by modifying the activity of a protein called PDIA6.

Biomedical scientist Suyu Lu, from the University of Sydney, says: “The broccoli compound is not only effective in improving the effectiveness of anti-clotting drugs after stroke, but it can be used as a preventive agent for patients at risk of stroke.” 

SFN can also be used in emergency situations, i.e. within the treatments given to stroke patients, in order to try to reduce the effects on the brain.

Current drugs to prevent clots, such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), only protect against brain damage in about 20% of cases. In experiments on mice, when SFN was combined with tPA, researchers found that the success rate could reach 60%.

“The substance naturally found in broccoli does not cause any signs of bleeding, a common side effect associated with blood-thinning agents that have been tested in stroke treatment,” Lu says.

So far, no tests have been conducted on humans, Lu explains: “We are very excited to isolate a natural compound that may have tremendous beneficial effects.”

The research was published in the journal ACS Central Science.

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