Eat Your Broccoli!

            Mom was right about eating your veggies.  In this case, she probably had no idea that Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C) from broccoli might slow the growth of cancer cells, at least in lab animals.  Or maybe your mom was a functional medicine type who already knew the benefits of healthy eating for cancer and hundreds of other health conditions. 

            Researchers and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported in the journal, Science, how this little molecule from everyday broccoli could reverse tumor suppressor gene inhibition in lab animals already experiencing cancer. Don’t get lost in the technical aspect of the prior sentence.  Think of double negatives that your English teacher warned you about. Cancers often turn off our genes that prevent them from growing too fast.  This I3C molecule turns off the mechanism that turns off what prevents cancer.  Okay, that makes a triple negative, but basically this food-based molecule slowed cancer growth for these unlucky lab rats. 

            Before you go out and eat a broccoli tree, you need to know one more thing.  To get the equivalent amount of I3C to inhibit the inhibitor, you will need 6 pounds or so of broccoli.  I haven’t calculated that out in terms of the supplement I3C, but I have seen one patient reverse early cancer changes in cervical cancer with DIM/I3C (DIM is another broccoli chemical called di-indole methane).  I definitely look forward to hearing more research along these lines.

            Until then, at Sanctuary, we keep using the best of natural and conventional medicine to both relieve chronic illness and optimize recovery. We refer cancer patients out to more experienced natural doctors, but our nutritional approach is for all patients to eat an Anti-inflammatory diet that includes crucifers like broccoli.  We personalize each diet plan based on needs, but every one needs to avoid the inflammation associated with processed and high sugar foods if they want to achieve a healthier, more abundant life.


Yu-Ru Lee, Ming Chen, Jonathan D. Lee, Jinfang Zhang, Shu-Yu Lin, Tian-Min Fu, Hao Chen, Tomoki Ishikawa, Shang-Yin Chiang, Jesse Katon, Yang Zhang, Yulia V. Shulga, Assaf C. Bester, Jacqueline Fung, Emanuele Monteleone, Lixin Wan, Chen Shen, Chih-Hung Hsu, Antonella Papa, John G. Clohessy, Julie Teruya-Feldstein, Suresh Jain, Hao Wu, Lydia Matesic, Ruey-Hwa Chen, Wenyi Wei, Pier Paolo Pandolfi. Reactivation of PTEN tumor suppressor for cancer treatment through inhibition of a MYC-WWP1 inhibitory pathway. Science, 2019; 364 (6441): eaau0159 DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0159

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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