Vegetables are not something that many people adhere to in their diet. That being said, new study finds amazing components in certain vegetables that not just enhance gut health but also helps prevent the possibility of colon cancer in individuals. This new study (R) has been conducted by the researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and states the possible positive effects of vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and kale in the prevention of gut cancer.
The research, which was conducted on mice who were fed with a diet containing indole-3-carbinol which is a compound that’s produced in our body after we end up digesting vegetables from the Brassica genus, mainly like that of kale, cabbage and broccoli. The compound helped prevent any form of gut inflammation all the while ensuring to prevent risks of colon cancer as well.
This conducted study emphasizes the common health benefits of the aforementioned vegetables but fails to draw conclusions to the mechanisms of how the same impacts the overall gut health. The one breakthrough that this study has made is the fact that it concludes for a fact how the presence of indole-3-carbinol in the diet is actually beneficial in getting rid of any form of colon inflammation because of the activation of a protein termed as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR).
Noted Reactions In The Gut
If you are here wondering how the activation of a protein could possibly be effective in ensuring the lessening of the gut inflammation and colon cancer, right? Well, it is believed that the AhR protein acts as an effective environmental sensor which relays down signals to the immune system and the epithelial lining in the gut to protect it from any kind of inflammatory responses induced by the bacteria present in the gut.
One of the lead authors of the study, Dr Amina Metidji from the Francis Crick Institute stated saying that the conducted similar kind of tests on genetically modified mice who do not have the capability of producing the AhR protein and found that the readily developed an inflammation in the gut which later proceeded to the formation of colon cancer at a later date.
Following this observation, the researchers switched the mice to a diet rich in indole-3-carbinol and found a progressive reduction in the gut inflammation and reduced risks of colon cancer as well. Not just that, even the mice, who were already developing the colon cancer when switched to an indole-3-carbinol diet witnessed a noticeable reduction in the formation of tumors in the colon and even the ones produced, for the most part, were benign.
The researchers went on to study the mice as well as the organoids which are the mini guts made from the stem cells and found that the AhR protein plays a very crucial role in repairing the damaged epithelial cells in the gut. Without the proper activation of the AhR protein, the intestinal stem cells effectively fail to differentiate into the specialized stem cells that are responsible for absorbing the required nutrients as well as to the production of mucus layer which is beneficial in the protection of the gut membrane. Instead of doing the deed, they tend to differentiate uncontrollably which later leads to formation of colon cancer in the individual.
Role In Colon Cancer Prevention
The senior author of the study, Dr Gitta Stockinger, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute stated that the research results on the risks and effects on the formatio ofn colon cancer is very pronounced and striking. She further stated that while we tend to often correlate the induction of colon cancer because of the western diet rich in fat and unhealthy carbohydrates and poor vegetable content in the diet, this specifically conducted study is the perfect rendition to those observations.
The researchers found a number of vegetables that tend to actually have positive impacts in activation of the AhR protein in the gut. Proper levels of AhR promoting chemicals in the gut is yet another driving factor that helps correct any kind of alterations of the AhR protein levels in the gut. This is exactly what helps restore the epithelial cell damage, and even provide with protection to the intestinal infections and helps prevent colon cancer.
These findings, as expressed by Dr Stockinger, are a form of positive boost in the field of research. The main reason behind the same is because even though it is not possible to effective to complete mitigate conditions associated with colon cancer, there are easy possibilities of preventing the same from happening with just a few tweaks in the diet and with the addition of a few vegetables.
Possible Human Trials
With hands on conclusions on the positive impacts of these researches on the gut health with the consumption of indole-3-carbinol, the researchers and scientists are on the way to transform this to a clinical trial but experimenting the same on the organoids made from the human gut biopsies.
While prior epidemiological studies have time and time suggested the positive impacts of vegetables on against the risks of cancer, there are little to no concrete studies to back those up. Not just that, while these studies have been superficial till now, there have been no mention of the kind of vegetables that are effective or even how they are effective in prevention of cancer, this current study provides a path to those observations.
The researchers of this study are now ready to test out the possible effects of the same kind of vegetables and proteins in the protection of the human gut from the risks of inflammation and colon cancer. In the meantime, they encourage everyone to include substantial amount of veggies in their diet for a healthier and better life.
Yet another researcher, Professor Tim Key, Cancer Research UK’s expert on diet and cancer, exclaimed saying that it is not merely the fibers in the vegetables like cabbage and broccoli that helped prevent inflammation but there are certain molecules that contributed to the same. This is what helps conclude how effective a healthy and vegetable rich diet could have on one’s overall well being. In order to test out the efficiency of these molecules in humans, new trials are going to be conducted to test out the attached risks with colon cancer as well as gut inflammation.