Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, kills the helicobacter pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and several types of stomach cancer, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the French National Scientific Research Center.
Researchers found that purified sulforaphane even killed H. pylori that was resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics, and can kill the bacterium whether it is inside or outside cells, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In humans, cells lining the stomach can be like reservoirs of H. pylori, making it more difficult to heal the infection.
Even though the pure compound kills H. pylori, researchers have yet to see whether dietary sources of sulforaphane, including broccoli or broccoli sprouts, have similar effects.
“We’ve known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity,” said Jed Fahey, plant physiologist and lead researcher. “However, its potency against helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise.”
Source: Medical Week staff, week of June 2, 2002