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Broccoli may help COPD

[Posted: Mon 15/09/2008 by Joanne McCarthy www.irishhealth.com]

Eating broccoli may help patients with chronic lung disease, US research has indicated.

A decrease in lung concentrations of certain antioxidants is linked to the severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in smokers. However, according to the researchers, broccoli contains a compound that prevents the degradation of these antioxidants.

COPD is a serious respiratory disease that can lead to significant disability for patients. It is mainly caused by smoking and has become a major public health problem in Ireland, with some 110,000 people suffering from it in this country.

In this study, researchers examined tissue samples from the lungs of smokers with and without COPD to determine if there were differences in levels of the antioxidant NRF2. Those with COPD showed much lower levels of the antioxidant.

“Increasing NRF2 may also restore important detoxifying enzymes to counteract other effects of tobacco smoke,” said Dr Peter Barnes of the National Heart and Lung Institute in London. He added that this occurs naturally in broccoli and wasabi.

The researchers added that future studies should target NRF2 as a new way of increasing antioxidant protection in the lungs, and test its ability to decrease exacerbations and improve lung function in patients with COPD.

The results of the study, which was conducted in Johns Hopkins Medical School, were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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