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WASHINGTON — Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say a compound derived from cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation.[1]

Their study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.

The compound, known as DIM (3,3′-diindolylmethane), previously has been found to have cancer preventive properties.

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Researchers reporting in the journal Cell[1] on October 13th, in the journal Science[2] on Oct 27th and Nature Reviews Immunology[3] earlier in the year are among the first to describe a mechanistic link between dietary compounds and intestinal immune function.

These scientists have found another good reason to eat your green vegetables, although it may or may not win any arguments with kids at the dinner table. It relies on a complex application of immunology and systems biology, the sort of quandary we all love to try and summarise in a few easy sentences whilst becoming lost in a sea of complexity.

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00bookDiindolylmethane (DIM)
A phytonutrient and plant indole found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, with potential antiandrogenic and antineoplastic activities. As a dimer of indole-3-carbinol, diindolylmethane (DIM) promotes beneficial oestrogen metabolism in both sexes by reducing the levels of 16-hydroxy oestrogen metabolites and increasing the formation of 2-hydroxy oestrogen metabolites, resulting in increased antioxidant activity. Although this agent induces apoptosis in tumor cells in vitro, the exact mechanism by which DIM exhibits its antineoplastic activity in vivo is unknown. Check for active clinical trials using this agent. (NCI Thesaurus)

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