A pill made from broccoli extract could prevent tens of thousands of stroke deaths each year, scientists have claimed.
Taken daily the potent, statin-like tablet packed with the healing properties of a naturally occurring wonder chemical could become a game-changing treatment.
Studies suggest the impact of a stroke could be significantly reduced by sulforaphane – which is released when lightly cooked broccoli is eaten.
Researchers are now investigating whether a simple supplement containing the equivalent of three to five weekly portions of sulforaphanerich vegetables could prevent potentially deadly brain bleeds. A breakthrough study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, is under way and could see a widely available therapy within five years. Experts think a daily pill could lessen the damage should someone suffer a stroke and make inroads into cutting the 40,000 deaths every year. Professor Jeremy Pearson, the charity’s associate medical director, said: “In the future we could see people taking a pill every day to prevent a stroke’s debilitating effects, much in the same way people currently take a statin to ward off a heart attack.”
Unlike statins, which protect against heart attack by lowering cholesterol, there is currently no specific treatment to help prevent a stroke. Sulforaphane is found in vegetables like broccoli, sprouts and cabbage but millions of people fail to eat the recommended five-a-day. When someone suffers a stroke the body’s natural defences are overwhelmed, which can worsen brain damage.
Sulforaphane works by boosting a molecule called Nrf2, which protects cells by switching on antioxidant genes within cells and tissues that defend against attack. A pill that contained this compound should not be expensive to produce and we could take it like a statin. Strokes are usually caused by an artery clot or burst blood vessel in the brain. They kill 40,000 people in the UK every year and lead to permanent disability, such as paralysis, in one in four survivors.
Taken from the Daily Express