Fortified broccoli, tomato powders show anti-prostate cancer power

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Broccoli, Prostate cancer, Lycopene

Biofortification of broccoli and tomatoes may lead to increased levels of potentially anti-cancer compounds, according to results of an American study.

When tested in rats, broccoli and tomato powder with enhanced bioactive contents was found to promote the activity of enzymes linked to detoxification, according to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​.

Results also showed that levels of tomato’s and broccoli’s main active compounds, such as lycopene, indole glucosinolates, or selenium, were raised in the body tissues of the animals.

“These encouraging findings suggest that bioactive-enriched vegetables should be tested for cancer prevention,”​ wrote John Erdman, Jr. and his co-workers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The health benefits of broccoli and tomatoes, particularly linked to their content of the indole-based compound indole-3-carbinol, and the carotenoid lycopene.

“Many studies have evaluated the cancer -preventive potential of individual bioactives from tomatoes and broccoli, but few have examined them within the context of a whole food,”​ explained the researchers.

Erdman and his co-workers used male rats and fed them diets supplemented with 10 per cent powders of a standard tomato powder, a lycopene-enriched tomato powder, a standard broccoli floret powder, and a broccoli sprout powder. All of these powders were obtained from FutureCeuticals. Additional groups of rats were supplemented with powders made from indole glucosinolates-enriched broccoli, selenium-enriched broccoli, or carotenoid-enriched tomatoes, prepared by the USDA-ARS.

After one week of feeding on these diets, the researchers report that all the broccoli diets resulted in an increase in the activity of the detoxifying enzyme called colon quinone reductase (NQO1). Furthermore, consumption of either the indole glucosinolate-enriched broccoli and selenium-enriched broccoli resulted in an increase in levels of the enzyme in the liver, as well as activity of cytochrome P450 1A, an enzymes involved in the metabolism and detoxification of many environmental carcinogens.

Following consumption of the different tomato diets the researchers noted an alteration in the accumulation of lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene in the liver.

“We have demonstrated that levels of bioactive components in tomatoes and broccoli can be altered through agronomic means,” ​wrote the researchers.

“Enhancing bioactive content of tomatoes and broccoli may enhance efficacy in the prevention of prostate cancer,”​ they concluded.

Over half a million men worldwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, with over 200,000 deaths from the disease. The lowest incidence of the cancer is in Asia and the Far East, in particular India and China.

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf901926b
“Feeding Tomato and Broccoli Powders Enriched with Bioactives Improves Bioactivity Markers in Rats”
Authors: A.G. Liu, S.E. Volker, E.H. Jeffery, J.W. Erdman, Jr

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