On his blog, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains broccoli’s potential ability to help humans fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria with its cruciferous compound. He writes”
Cruciferous vegetables have long been cherished for their health benefits. Broccoli, cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy, just to name a few, contain several plant compounds that are important for optimal health, including powerful chemoprotective compounds.
One of the most well-known of these is sulforaphane, an organic sulfur. Studies have shown sulforaphane supports normal cell function and division while causing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in colon,1 liver,2 prostate,3 breast4 and tobacco-induced lung cancer.5 Just three servings of broccoli per week may reduce a man’s risk of prostate cancer by more than 60%.6
Another important phytochemical found in cruciferous veggies is indole-3 carbinol (I3C),7 which in your gut is converted into diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM in turn boosts immune function and, like sulforaphane, plays a role in the prevention and treatment of cancer.8,9
Cruciferous Compound Can Break Antibiotic Resistance
Interestingly, researchers now believe that DIM may be a potent weapon against antibiotic-resistant pathogens as well.10,11 Israel21c.org reports:12
“A phytochemical derived from cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, breaks down the biofilm that lets bacteria resist antibiotics, according to a study from Ben-Gurion University in Israel … The paper,13 co-authored by researchers from Near East University and Girne American University in Cyprus, was published in the journal Pharmaceutics.
The scientists found that phytochemical 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) successfully broke down the biofilms protecting pathogens including Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa 65% and 70% of the time, respectively …
When the team introduced DIM into an infected wound, it sped up the healing process significantly. ‘Our findings show promise for other avenues of research in addition to known classes of antibiotics,’ said [professor Ariel] Kushmaro.”
Antibiotic Resistance Is a Serious Problem
This could potentially be the breakthrough we’ve been searching for. Antimicrobial resistance has been on the rise for decades, thus making infections that were previously easy to treat a serious threat again. According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance is “one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity,”14 and the primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the widespread misuse of antibiotics.
Antibiotic overuse occurs not just in human medicine, but also in food production. In fact, agricultural uses account for about 80% of all antibiotic use in the U.S.,15 so it’s a major source of human antibiotic consumption.
Animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses for disease prevention and growth promotion, and those antibiotics are transferred to you via meat and other animal products, and even via the manure used as crop fertilizer.
Many pathogens have also developed resistance to more than one drug, so-called pan-resistance, which makes treating them even more problematic. And, while pan-resistant superbugs are increasing, the development of new antibiotics to tackle them has come to a near halt. According to the WHO:16
“In 2019 WHO identified 32 antibiotics in clinical development that address the WHO list of priority pathogens, of which only six were classified as innovative. Furthermore, a lack of access to quality antimicrobials remains a major issue. Antibiotic shortages are affecting countries of all levels of development and especially in health care systems.
Antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective as drug-resistance spreads globally leading to more difficult to treat infections and death. New antibacterials are urgently needed — for example, to treat carbapenem-resistant gram-negative bacterial infections as identified in the WHO priority pathogen list.
However, if people do not change the way antibiotics are used now, these new antibiotics will suffer the same fate as the current ones and become ineffective.”
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