How pineapple, broccoli stop superbugs, cancers
Can the enzymes found in the stems and roots of pineapple fruit and broccoli help in the war against drug-resistant superbugs, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer?
Two separate reports published in DailyMailUK Online suggest that pineapple and broccoli may provide the next novel drugs for superbugs and chronic diseases.
Australian scientists have found that enzymes found in pineapples can cure diarrhoea in piglets. The finding could be crucial, because humans and pigs are so similar in terms of anatomy and physiology.
Doctors hope the enzymes will add an extra weapon in the depleted arsenal in the battle against bacteria in humans.
Rob Pike, a biochemist at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, said the enzymes used to treat piglets might well work in people was well.
“Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has resulted in resistant bacteria,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “And this contributes to the rise of superbugs.”
Having alternatives to antibiotics would aid the battle against multi-drug resistant bacteria.
Unlike antibiotics, which target the bacteria, the three enzymes found in the pineapples take action in the pig’s gut, making it difficult for the bacteria to stick to the gut cells and stopping diarrhoea from taking hold.
Pike added: “I believe this is a whole new way of going about the treatment of diarrhoea. It means that the pig cells are no longer vulnerable to bacteria.”
The three enzymes are called bromelain and were first discovered in the 1930s.
However, it was only 30 years ago that their antibiotic qualities were discovered.
“The momentum to develop alternatives to antibiotics is there now because people believe antibiotics are on the way out and we need something to replace them,” Pike said.
Anatara Lifesciences, which has conducted animal trials, is developing the alternative treatment with Professor Pike and colleague Lakshmi Wijeyewickrema.
Also, a new study suggests that eating broccoli could lower your risk of having coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer.
Scientists claim flavonoids found within the ‘superfood’ could aid the body’s response to diseases.
Just consuming the vegetable once every three days could improve the immune system by aiding inflammation.
And scientists believe they are now one-step closer to creating other vegetables such as kale and cabbage with mega-doses of phenolic compounds.
Researchers have shown that potent doses of broccoli sprout extract activate a “detoxification” gene and may help prevent cancer recurrence in survivors of head and neck cancer.
It is the first study demonstrating that the extract protects against oral cancer, with the results of human, animal and laboratory tests reported in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. This research is funded through Pitt’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant in head and neck cancer from the National Cancer Institute.
“With head and neck cancer, we often clear patients of cancer only to see it come back with deadly consequences a few years later,” said lead author Prof. Julie Bauman, co-director of the UPMC Head and Neck Cancer Center of Excellence. “Unfortunately, previous efforts to develop a preventative drug to reduce this risk have been inefficient, intolerable in patients and expensive. That led us to ‘green chemoprevention’-the cost-effective development of treatments based upon whole plants or their extracts.”
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress, have a high concentration of the naturally occurring molecular compound sulforaphane, which previously has been shown to protect people against environmental carcinogens.
Bauman and her colleagues treated human head and neck cancer cells in the laboratory with varying doses of sulforaphane and a control, and compared them to normal, healthy cells that line the throat and mouth. The sulforaphane-induced both types of cells to increase their levels of a protein that turns on genes that promote detoxification of carcinogens, like those found in cigarettes, and protect cells from cancer.
Geneticist Dr. Jack Juvik from the University of Illinois, United States, said: “Phenolic compounds have good antioxidant activity, and there is increasing evidence that this activity affects biochemical pathways affiliated with inflammation in mammals.
“We need inflammation because it’s a response to disease or damage, but it’s also associated with initiation of a number of degenerative diseases.
“People whose diets consist of a certain level of these compounds will have a lesser risk of contracting these diseases.”