Broccoli contains many beneficial nutrients and is known to have a healthy impact on the body. But could it be the key to treating arthritis? Researchers at UK drug company Evgen Pharma think so.
The vegetable contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which is known to block the inflammation and damage to cartilage associated with arthritis. However, significant benefits could only be gained by eating several pounds of broccoli a day. With this in mind, Evgen Pharma has developed a stable, synthetic version of the chemical, which offers the potential of a sulforaphane pill treatment for arthritis.
A single dose of the drug, called Sulforadex or SFX-01, contains the amount of sulforaphane you’d find in 5.5lb of broccoli. When tested on mice, it significantly improved bone architecture, gait balance and movement.
“These initial results are very positive for such an experiment and we have convinced ourselves that sulforaphane is a promising agent for the treatment of osteoarthritis,” says Professor Andrew Pitsillides, who co-led the research at the Royal Veterinary College in London. “The clinical development of sulforaphane has been held back by the fact that it is inherently unstable. SFX-01 is a major advance in this area.”
“Nearly nine million people in the UK have osteoarthritis, and it costs the NHS more than £5billion every year,” he adds. “There is no cure or effective treatment for the disease other than pain relief or joint replacement, so the potential for SFX-01 is massive.”