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Broccoli protects the lining of the intestine and prevents diseases

Broccoli protects the lining of the intestine and prevents diseases

healthy vegetables

Robert Klatt

A specific molecule found in broccoli improves cell function in the small intestine. This reduces the risk of contracting various diseases.


Pennsylvania (USA). It is known in science that broccoli has a positive effect on human health. For example, various studies have shown that increasing consumption of this cabbage plant can reduce the risk of developing cancer and type 2 diabetes. A study recently published by researchers in Penn State University (PSU) also shows that special molecules in the plant dock receptors in mice and thus protect the mucosa of the small intestine and thus prevent the development of diseases.


“We all know broccoli is healthy. But what exactly happens in our bodies when we eat broccoli? Our research helps unravel these processes and reveal the benefit of broccoli and other foods to the health of mice and possibly humans as well. It makes a compelling case that cruciferous vegetables, like vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, And Brussels sprouts, they should be part of a balanced and healthy diet.”

As Gary H. Perdue explains, the wall of the small intestine performs an essential function, letting in water and nutrients that are beneficial to the body while flushing out potentially harmful particles and bacteria. The different cells that line the small intestine play a major role in this. Enteric cells, which absorb water and nutrients, goblet cells, which create a protective layer of mucus on the intestinal wall, and Paneth cells, which secrete lysosomes that contain digestive enzymes. All of these cells work together to regulate the functioning of the small intestine and maintain a healthy balance.

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It affects the functions of cells in the small intestine

According to what was published in the specialized magazine Laboratory investigations Purdue researchers discovered that certain molecules in broccoli, called aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands, bind to aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AHR), a special type of protein known as a transcription factor. They discovered that this compound triggers a range of activities that affect how cells in the small intestine function.

experiments on mice

In the course of their study, the scientists fed a test group of mice a diet containing 15 percent broccoli. For humans, that equates to about 3.5 cups per day. On the other hand, a control group of mice received a conventional laboratory diet without broccoli. The animals’ tissues were then analyzed to determine the degree of AHR activation, as well as the amount of different cell types, mucus concentrations, and other factors in both groups.


The research team found that mice that were not fed broccoli lacked AHR activity. This led to a change in the function of the small intestinal barrier, reduced transit time for food in the small intestine, reduced number of goblet cells and protective mucus, reduced Paneth cells and lysosome production, and decreased number of enterocytes.

“The gut health of mice that did not eat broccoli was compromised in several ways known to be associated with the disease. Our research suggests that broccoli and other foods likely may serve as natural sources of AHR linkages and that a diet rich in these linkages contributes to the elasticity of the small intestine.”

Laboratory Tests, doi: 10.1016/j.labinv.2022.100012