Broccoli study volunteers needed

Date 29 October 2010

Volunteers to a scientific study in Norfolk will be asked to eat a new kind of broccoli that has been specially developed using conventional breeding to be enriched in a naturally-occurring compound called glucoraphanin. This compound is thought to be important in maintaining health and preventing diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Over 2 million people are affected by heart disease in the UK each year.

Scientists at the Institute of Food Research on the Norwich Research Park want to find out whether eating this new broccoli can have an impact on conditions such as high cholesterol in the over-50s. High cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease developing.

Prof Richard Mithen and Dr Charlotte Armah take delivery of broccoli

Volunteers will be asked to eat, as part of their normal diet, servings of either standard broccoli, the glucoraphanin-enriched broccoli or peas every week for 12 weeks. Peas contain many of the compounds in broccoli but lack others such as glucoraphanin so comparing results from the three groups will help the scientists understand what is happening.

To find out whether the high-glucoraphanin broccoli is better than standard broccoli, the scientists will need to take blood samples, measure blood pressure and determine how ‘stiff’ volunteers’ arteries are before and after the 12 weeks.

We are looking for men and women over the age of 50 who live within a 40 mile radius of Norwich who are

  • not diabetic (this means that if you are diabetic you cannot take part)

  • not suffering from any form of cancer or have done so within the past 5 years (if you have had cancer within the past 5 years, you cannot take part)

  • not suffering from or have ever had a stroke, heart attack or any heart condition requiring treatment (if you have ever had a stroke heart attack or any heart condition requiring treatment, you cannot take part)

  • not on any medication to lower cholesterol or associated with a heart condition (if you are on statins or any similar cholesterol lowering medication, you cannot take part)

  • not suffering from  any gastrointestinal disease unless asymptomatic (if you have a gastrointestinal disease, you cannot take part)

If you fit the criteria and are interested in taking part or getting more information about the study, print and fill out the reply slip on page 11 of the volunteer information sheet, return it to the Institute of Food Research in an envelope with the freepost address on it and a member of the study team will be in touch.

If you do not have a printer and would like us to post the above information to you (and you live within 40 miles of Norwich), please send an email with your address with “No Printer” in the subject heading to so we can deal with your request efficiently.  Due to the large number of calls and emails we have received regarding the Diet and Vascular Health Study, we may not be able to contact you by phone straight away.

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