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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cruciferous Vegetables: Cancer Protective Mechanisms of Glucosinolate Hydrolysis Products and Selenium

Authors
item Keck, Anna - UNIV OF ILLINOIS
item Finley, John

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Integrative Cancer Therapies Symposium
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2004
Publication Date: March 1, 2004
Citation: Keck, A.S., Finley, J.W. 2004. Cruciferous Vegetables: Cancer Protective Mechanisms of Glucosinolate Hydrolysis Products and Selenium. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 3(1):5-12.

Interpretive Summary: Dietary professionals urge Americans to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that if the only change people made was to increase their daily intake of fruit and vegetables to five servings each day, cancer rates would decline by as much as 20%. Among the reasons cited for this health benefit are that fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as selenium (Se). Fruit and vegetables also provide non-nutritive components that may provide substantial health benefits beyond basic nutrition; examples are sulforaphane (SF) and indole-3-carbinol (13C) from cruciferous vegetables, both shown to have anticancer properties. Epidemiological studies provide evidence that dietary intake of crucifers protects against cancer more effectively than total fruit and vegetable intake. In this review we discuss the mechanisms by which crucifers protect against cancer. The mechanisms of action of bioactive components in crucifers include altering metabolism, protection against reactive oxygen species, increased detoxification by inducing phase II enzymes, inhibition of activation of pro-carcinogens by lowering the phase I enzymes such as cytochrome P4501A, in addition to slowing cancer growth and inducing apoptosis. Consumption of three servings of crucifers or more per week have been found to significantly decrease the risk for certain cancers.

Technical Abstract: Dietary professionals urge Americans to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that if the only change people made was to increase their daily intake of fruit and vegetables to five servings each day, cancer rates would decline by as much as 20%. Among the reasons cited for this health benefit are that fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as selenium (Se). Fruit and vegetables also provide non-nutritive components that may provide substantial health benefits beyond basic nutrition; examples are sulforaphane (SF) and indole-3-carbinol (13C) from cruciferous vegetables, both shown to have anticancer properties. Epidemiological studies provide evidence that dietary intake of crucifers protects against cancer more effectively than total fruit and vegetable intake. In this review we discuss the mechanisms by which crucifers protect against cancer. The mechanisms of action of bioactive components in crucifers include altering metabolism, protection against reactive oxygen species, increased detoxification by inducing phase II enzymes, inhibition of activation of pro-carcinogens by lowering the phase I enzymes such as cytochrome P4501A, in addition to slowing cancer growth and inducing apoptosis. Consumption of three servings of crucifers or more per week have been found to significantly decrease the risk for certain cancers.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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