Broccoli and Leaky Gut: Who Knew

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Anticancer foods, foods for colon cancer, foods for breast cancer, Breast Cancer, Cancer, colon cancer on October 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

broccoli sprouts aIt is no revelation that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli fight cancer in many ways.  Notably, broccoli contains a high amount of the cancer-busting and immune boosting substance sulforaphane. New research, however, shows that broccoli –and its cousins– actually heal leaky gut as well.

Leaky gut, or gut permeability, has risen to the forefront of medical concern as it has been found to be a source of many maladies, including cancer. This is because leaky gut blocks nutrient absorption and allows toxins from ingested foods to enter the blood stream. Dr Max Gerson had concern for this years ago, citing insufficient nutrition and overwhelming environmental toxicity to be the root cause of many dis-ease. Good gut-barrier function helps protect the intestines from toxins while allowing nutrients to be absorbed.

“There are a lot of reasons we want to explore helping with gastrointestinal health and one reason is if you have problems, like a leaky gut, and start to suffer inflammation, that may then lead to other conditions, like arthritis and heart disease,” said Perdew. “Keeping your gut healthy and making sure you have good barrier functions so you’re not getting this leaky effect would be really big.” Gary Perdew, the John T. and Paige S. Smith Professor in Agricultural Sciences, Penn State.

Recent research shows that gut health affects overall health, including systemic inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. Broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, appears to offer assistance.

AHR (Aryl hydrocarbon receptor) is found in many organs. It binds environmental toxins, detoxifying the carcinogenic effects. Cruciferous vegetables contain an organic chemical compound called indole glucosinolates, which breaks down in the stomach into substances known as indolocarbazole (ICZ).

In a recent study performed at Penn State University, it was found that ICZ  activates AHR. In doing so, it  boosts immune function and improves the balance of the microbiome in the human gut, enhancing host barrier function.[i]

How much do you need?  Well, a lot —  and every day.  Consider a good fist-full of broccoli sprouts, a cup of Brussels sprouts, or about 3 and half cups of broccoli per day (note that when sliced, you will yield more per cup of Brussels or broccoli, so you will need less).

Just remember that it is important to avoid things that irritate the gut lining; otherwise, it could be an uphill battle. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, coffee, chocolate, chemicals in foods, gluten, processed foods, antibiotics, NSAIDs,  as well as vinegar and other fermented foods (for some people).  Candida also contributes to leaky gut. Some people may also need to avoid grains. This is because grains can be difficult for the body to breakdown and digest, resulting in inflammation in the digestive tract.


So, What’s the Big Deal About Sulforaphane?

Sulforaphane, abundant in broccoli, is a sulfur-containing compound found in cruciferous vegetables. It supports matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity which reduces the breakdown of connective tissue within a cell that impede the expansion of existing tumors. Matrix MMP-9 plays important roles in tumor invasion and angiogenesis. Secretion of MMP-9 has been reported in various cancer types including lung, colon, and breast cancer.

Sulforaphane also kills off cancer cells, including cancer stem cells, which is essential for combating cancer metastases. It also restrains certain pro-inflammatory compounds that are associated with chronic inflammation and cancer.

Sulforaphane also helps support the anti-inflammatory Nrf2 pathway which protects cells against oxidative and free radical activity. It supports the detoxification process by inducing Phase 2 detoxification enzymes, inhibiting the activation of pro-carcinogens, and by boosting cellular glutathione levels.  Sulforaphane promotes cancer cell death and inhibits cancer cell proliferation. It also supports the immune system and in particular, increases Natural Killer Cell activity.

This is just one more reason to enjoy cruciferous vegetables daily.  Cauliflower, watercress, kholrabi, and arugula are a few of the other amazing crucifers aside from broccoli.kholrabi

Just remember to lightly steam or cook crucifers.  Adding some organic grass-fed (pastured) butter or olive oil can help as well.  Avoid overcooking as this will destroy the health benefits.  If you prefer your veges to be, well, a bit more well-done, then chop them and allow to sit for 40 minutes before cooking. This allows the family of enzymes known as myrosinase to form. Myrosinase converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane.  Without myrosinase, the body cannot absorb surlforaphane. It also helps to consume myrosinase-containing foods, such as mustard seed, with cruciferous veges as this will further maximize sulforphane availability.

A tasty side dish could include lightly cooked broccoli dressed with lemon-infused olive oil, black pepper, and some mustard seeds or powder. Freshness counts, so when possible, shop your local farmer’s market and cook your produce the same day (much of the value is lost after 5 days or so).

Curcera-SGS is an excellent supplement if you cannot find broccoli sprouts.

For more information on the benefits of cruciferous vegetables, please read my post Broccoli and Watercress Sprouts Fight Cancer.

Another good read is Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It.

~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

ej portrait 150resElyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and holistic cancer strategist who helps people make better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the former Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

Follow Elyn on Facebook


[i] http://news.psu.edu/story/486322/2017/10/13/research/it-or-not-broccoli-may-be-good-gut

  1. Great article!! So encouraging!!! Thank you!!!!  _____________________________________________________________  Rose Green, M.A., R.D., C.H.C. Naturopath Practitioner/Nutritionist Montclair, New Jersey, 07042 973-220-6961 Go Green!!! Have you eaten your 7-9 fruits and vegetables today?

  2. So very glad you found it helpful Rose, have a blessed evening.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: