Chemicals in vegetables prevent colon cancer in mice.

A new study from London’s Francis Crick Institute confirms what we’ve been hearing for years. Eat your veggies! Researchers have confirmed that chemicals in vegetables prevent colon cancer in mice.

The research paper, published on August 21 2018, in  Immunity, shows that mice on a diet rich in indole-3-carbinol – which comes from a diet of vegetables from the Brassica genus (cruciferous veggies)  were protected from gut inflammation that can cause colon cancer. The chemicals are produced by vegetables like kale, cabbage and broccoli, and could help to maintain a healthy gut. Maintaining healthy gut flora may prevent colon cancer according to this study.

Broccoli Is Good For You!

Of course, the benefits of vegetables have been well-established. Many of the mechanisms behind the benefits have remained unknown. This study shows that by activating a protein called aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), I3C can prevent colon inflammation. It is important to note that inflammation in the colon can lead to cancer.

Furthermore, AhR acts as asensor, sending signals to the immune and epithelial cells in the gut lining to protect from inflammatory responses to the trillions of bacteria that live in the gut.

Lead author, Dr. Amina Metidji from the Francis Crick Institute explained, “We studied genetically modified mice that cannot produce or activate AhR in their guts.  We found that they readily developed gut inflammation which progressed to colon cancer. However, when we fed them a diet enriched with I3C, they did not develop inflammation or cancer. Interestingly, when mice whose cancer was already developing were switched to the I3C-enriched diet, they ended up with significantly fewer tumours which were also more benign.”

Good news for those of us who enjoy our broccoli!