Investigating the potential of using broccoli to treat osteoarthritis

Disease - Osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Professor Alexander MacGregor

Organisation - University of East Anglia

Type of grant - Clinical Studies

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £153,482.72

Start date - 2 April 2018

Reference - 21772

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring compound, gained from eating vegetables such as broccoli. Previous research has indicated that exposure to these compounds at the levels found in the diet influence the way in which osteoarthritis develops. This is the first clinical trial to test the benefits of eating broccoli on pain and physical function in osteoarthritis.

Why is this research important?

There are no current treatments which prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. This study could be an important step towards providing a simple solution that involves a change in diet. As mentioned above, previous research has shown that sulforaphane is able to reduce inflammation, and the breakdown of cartilage in osteoarthritis.

The study will involve a small number of people with osteoarthritis eating a soup containing the sulforaphane rich broccoli and a control group of patients who will be given a soup without the broccoli, but looking and tasting the same. Pain and the effect on movement will be measured throughout the trial.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The findings from this study may help to develop a larger clinical trial which could determine the right dose of sulforaphane as a treatment for osteoarthritis. It could also assess if giving a sulforaphane supplement is as successful as eating foods rich in sulforaphane. This could lead to a well-tolerated, safe and low-cost treatment for osteoarthritis.