Blog | Monday, March 19, 2012

Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are good for you


An interesting article featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, Diet and Intestinal Immunity, addressed some basic science that may prove that our mothers were right all along.

Photo from the USDA Agricutural Research Service/Photo by Scott BauerHerbert Tilg, MD, reviews the works by Kiss et al. Li et al. that demonstrate a certain protein in the cells of our body, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, turns on certain genes when it bound to certain molecules found in the environment.

It was demonstrated that molecules from broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are natural stimulators of this receptor and more importantly that the genes that are turned on by this receptor are important for the development of our intestinal immune system.

It is unknown at this time what the implications of this finding will be for our future understanding of inflammatory bowel disease, infections, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

In the mean time I'll keep eating my Brussels sprouts!

Justin Penn, MD, ACP Associate Member, attended medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at the University of Rochester, where he is serving as Chief Resident. This post originally appeared at his blog, Musings of an Internist.