March 26, 2018
2 min read

Broccoli sprouts may promote anti-inflammatory effect in adults with overweight

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Healthy adults with overweight who consumed fresh broccoli sprouts daily for 10 weeks experienced a 38% reduction in interleukin-6 and a 59% reduction in C-reactive protein, two biomarkers associated with inflammation, according to findings published in Clinical Nutrition.

Diego A. Moreno-Fernández, PhD, a staff scientist at CEBAS-CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) in Murcia, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from 21 men and 19 women aged 35 to 55 years with a BMI between 24.9 kg/m² and 29.9 kg/m², recruited from Catholic University of Murcia, Spain (mean age, 47 years; mean BMI, 28.9 kg/m²). Researchers gave participants fresh, raw broccoli sprouts weekly (seven trays of sprouts, 30 g each) for 10 weeks; sprouts were consumed daily as part of a normal diet. Participants were asked to avoid cooking the sprouts. After the intervention, participants were followed for 90 days and asked not to consume broccoli sprouts during that time. Fasting blood samples and 24-hour urine samples were collected at baseline and days 70, 90 and 160. Researchers assessed concentrations of IL-6, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-1-beta, as well as body weight, BMI and fat mass percentage. Levels of glucosinolates, isothiocyanates and their metabolites found in broccoli sprouts were also measured in urine samples.

Within the cohort, participants consumed an average of 51 mg glucoraphanin and 20 mg neoglucobrassicin via broccoli sprouts for 70 days.

Researchers did not observe changes in body weight or BMI during the study period. However, body fat mass decreased from a mean of 30.34% at baseline to a mean of 29.32% at day 70 (P = .02586), before returning to baseline levels at day 90 (mean, 30.29%).

Plasma IL-6 levels also fell for the cohort, from a mean of 4.76 pg/mL at baseline to a mean of 2.11 pg/mL at day 70, and continuing to fall to a mean of 1.2 pg/mL at day 90, according to researchers. They also observed a marked decrease in C-reactive protein, from a mean of 2.42 µg/mL to a mean of 1.52 µg/mL at day 70, remaining below baseline throughout follow-up.

“The consumption of broccoli sprouts in a real dietary serving is able to affect IL-6 and C-reactive protein levels in overweight subjects, hence attenuating chronic inflammation,” the researchers wrote. “Further researcher with broccoli sprouts, including other biomarkers and mechanistic studies, are necessary to elucidate the role of this healthy, rich and nutritious food product, but these promising results support the current evidence on the properties of this Brassica specie for disease prevention.” – by Regina Schaffer


Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.