| Updated at: 1902 PST, Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
NEW YORK: The researchers believe that the broccoli-sprout extract provides a long-lasting effect because once the body's cancer-fighting mechanisms are activated by sulforaphane, they remain active for days.
"It's very important work," said Michael Sporn, a professor of pharmacology at Dartmouth Medical School and former head of the National Cancer Institute's program on cancer prevention by means of natural products. Activating the body's inherent defensive mechanisms, he said, "is a new and promising approach."
Broccoli-sprout extract does not actually block sunlight from striking the skin. Therefore, it does not take away the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D, which is a critical nutrient for the body that is produced by exposure to ultraviolet rays. The majority of Americans, Canadians and British citizens do not get enough vitamin D. A deficiency in Vitamin D can cause an increased risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, depression, and bone disorders, such as osteoporosis.
Talalay and colleagues are hoping to develop a broccoli-sprout extract that will protect people against skin cancer. They first have to figure out how to get the right concentration of sulforaphane, get the active ingredient to have a longer shelf life and determine how to get the chemical to absorb into the skin effectively.
It looks like Mom was right - broccoli is good for you. While this veggie sunscreen might be a few years away in the making, it could be a great option for protecting you from the sun's rays.
A recent discovery indicates that broccoli sprout extract boosts the body’s natural ability to protect itself against the ultraviolet solar rays that causes skin cancer. This is according to studies that were conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. These findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
If a product was made from the broccoli sprouts to protect the body from the sun rays, this would be a new option for sun protection other than typical sunscreens that contain many carcinogenic chemicals.
"If you apply an extract of broccoli sprouts that contains high levels of sulforaphane to regions of human skin, you can protect them very substantially," said study co-leader Paul Talalay. "We believe, to the best of our knowledge, that this is the first demonstration of protection against a known carcinogen in humans."