Broccoli: Tasty and Good for COPD

COPD symptoms can get better with broccoli

May 5, 2011 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) Everybody knows smoking is bad for you because it can give you lung cancer. What about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? COPD is usually caused by smoking too!

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in America and has symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Researchers have found ways to possibly alleviate the symptoms though.

"Eat more broccoli to reduce COPD."

Johns Hopkins University provided a study with mice and humans to determine the possible effects a compound found in broccoli would have on COPD symptoms. COPD symptoms are usually caused by malfunctioning macrophages, a cell that cleans up the bad stuff in your body.

Previous research suggested macrophages weren’t working properly because of oxidative stress, too many peroxides and free radicals bumping and damaging cells.

The researchers found a molecule, Nrf2 that can make more antioxidants to alleviate the oxidative stress and allow macrophages to do their job properly. Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, is used to activate Nrf2 to combat oxidative stress.

Experiments with mice and human cells were used. The study was successful at showing sulforaphane was able to increase the productivity of macrophages to decrease inflammation and amount of bacteria build up. Clinical trials are now being tested to see if sulforaphane can relieve patients with COPD.

The Study

  • Dr. Shyam Biswal and Robert Wise lead research from Johns Hopkins University
  • Study done on mice cells and lung cells from humans
  • Nrf2 increases antioxidant production
  • COPD patients have decrease Nrf2
  • Broccoli contains compound that activates Nrf2
  • Broccoli extract was given to human COPD patients and lead to increase antioxidants and macrophage activity in blood cells
  • Clinical trials are now being tested
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Review Date: 
May 4, 2011
Last Updated:
May 26, 2011