FUNIBER researcher explores the use of broccoli to treat Alzheimer’s and other illnesses

FUNIBER researcher explores the use of broccoli to treat Alzheimer’s and other illnesses

Researchers from the Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER) and the Universidad Europea del Atlántico (European University of the Atlantic, UNEATLANTICO), including Maurizio Battino, Sandra Sumalla, and José L. Quiles, analyze a broccoli by-product for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and aging. 

Broccoli is a widely consumed and popular plant that is used as a vegetable in many diets and markets. However, the broccoli harvesting process generates a large amount of waste and by-products that apparently have no economic value. These materials comprise more than 95% of the total harvest. However, the agri-food industry has begun to recognize that these by-products could have high nutritional value and functional ingredients, allowing them to create higher value-added products. 

Broccoli and its derivatives are especially rich in dietary fiber, vitamins (A, C), and essential mineral nutrients, such as calcium and iron. They also contain various bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and glucosinolates. These compounds have been shown to have beneficial biological properties, including reducing the risk of chronic and neurodegenerative diseases and promoting good health. 

One of the most scientifically important challenges is the aging of the population. Aging itself is not a disease, but it is closely related to several age-associated diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive impairment and memory loss. Oxidative stress is thought to play a key role in the disease, causing the accumulation of amyloid plaques and tangles of hyperphosphorylated tau protein. As the population ages, the incidence of AD is increasing, and it is important to find approaches to prevent or slow neurodegeneration. 

In this context, this study explores the profile and bioactive and antioxidant compounds of a broccoli by-product. The impact of the extract on toxicity and AD-related markers was also evaluated using the experimental model of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans

The results showed that the broccoli by-product extract had a high antioxidant power and content of bioactive compounds such as hydroxycinnamic acids, flavonoids, and glucosinolates. Furthermore, there was no evidence of toxicity at the concentrations tested in the animal model, making it promising for biomedical applications. The extract was also observed to have protective effects against Aβ toxicity associated with amyloid plaques and inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). 

If you want to know more about this fascinating study, click here

For further research, check the UNEATLANTICO repository. The Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER) offers various programs in the field of Health and Nutrition, such as the International Master in Diet and Nutrition.