Consumption of vegetables, especially crucifers,
reduces the risk of developing cancer. Although the
mechanisms of this protection are unclear, feeding of vegetables
induces enzymes of xenobiotic metabolism and thereby
accelerates the metabolic disposal of xenobiotics.
Sulforaphane is the most potent inducer, and the presence of oxygen on sulfur
enhances potency. Sulforaphane and its sulfide and sulfone
analogues induced both quinone reductase and glutathione
transferase activities in several mouse tissues. The induction of
detoxication enzymes by sulforaphane may be a significant
component of the anticarcinogenic action of broccoli.