Download Participant Information Sheet


Study Title

A dietary intervention trial to examine the
protective effect of broccoli bioactives
(specifically sulforaphane) on

Why Broccoli?

Our previous studies have shown that a compound called sulforaphane, which is found naturally in broccoli, may protect against osteoarthritis.

Aim of this study

To determine whether eating broccoli (soup) can improve pain and function symptoms in people with osteoarthritis.

Who can take part?

  • People with knee osteoarthritis and pain
  • People who like broccoli
  • People over 50 years

What is involved?

  • The trial runs for 12 weeks
  • 4 visits to your local team
  • Eat our soup 4 times a week, for 12 weeks
  • Questionnaires about your pain
  • Questionnaires about your diet

Who is carrying out this research?

The University of East Anglia and our partners the University of Leeds and the NHS National Institute for Health Research. We have two study centres in the United Kingdom, one in Norwich and one in Leeds.

More information?

  • Download the Participant Information Sheet for more details.
  • Contact us and find out if you are eligible.

Recruitment closed

fully responsive

The BRIO study

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease and affects at least 8 million people in the United Kingdom. This pilot study is a multi-centre, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind dietary intervention designed to look at whether broccoli can affect pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis. This means that participants will be randomly assigned to consume the control soup or broccoli soup. Nobody will know which group the participants are assigned until after the trial has finished. This pilot study is crucial for the design and implementation of a full-scale trial that may benefit millions of people.

How will this help?

  • Osteoarthritis and pain
  • Pilot study
  • RCT Design
  • Dietary intervention
  • Norwich and Leeds study sites
  • Broccoli soup

We're here

The study is a collaboration between the University of East Anglia and Leeds University.

Postal Adress: BRIO Research Team, Biomedical Research Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44(0) 1603 591471


Contact Us

Please indicate if you are close to Leeds or Norwich

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions and Answers
If you still have questions, please contact us
This study is only suitable for people who like broccoli since you might be eating it four times a week for 12 weeks!
You don’t need to live in Norwich or Leeds, but you will need to be able to visit your research team four times during the study. Contact us for more information to help you decide.
Maybe. If you have osteoarthritis pain in a knee that has not been replaced, you may still be able to take part, even if you have had a replacement of the other knee. If you anticipate having a partial or whole knee replacement during the study you will not be able to take part.
Unfortunately not. People with any inflammatory arthritis cannot be included in this study.
Hopefully all our participants will enjoy the soup! If you have any problems or questions during the trial, our research team members are always happy to help. You are free to withdraw from the study at any time for any reason.
Sorry, but no. This is a randomised controlled, double-blind study, which means that participants are randomly selected for each group by a computer and given a code. Nobody on the research team will know which group you are in until the trial has finished. This is to make sure everything is controlled as best it can be.
The broccoli is prepared as a soup. You must eat one portion (350ml) once daily, four times a week, over a 12 week period. Remember you might be in the control group, so you might not be eating any broccoli at all. The broccoli and controls soups are designed to be the same in appearance, texture, smell and taste.
Neither our researchers nor participants will know who has which soup until the trial has finished and all the data has been analysed. The control group is just as important as the broccoli group. If we don’t have a control group it will be impossible to find out whether broccoli affects osteoarthritis pain.
Yes, if you normally use analgesics to control your pain, you can continue to take these. We will ask you about your usual medication at the screening stage to determine if you are eligible.
Four times. The first visit is a screening visit (1), and then if you are eligible to start the trial you will to attend three more appointments: 2) baseline visit, 3) 6-week follow-up and 4) 12 week follow-up visit.
Yes please. We will ask you to provide three urine samples and three blood samples over the course of the trial.
Absolutely. We would like to offer all our participants reimbursement of their travel expenses.
We cannot be sure if the trial will benefit you, although you will get lots of free soup!
Some medications are allowed. Please contact us to find out if you can still take part.
We are more than happy to answer any questions. Please see the Contact Us section. You can talk to us by telephone (we will call you back), by email or using the Contact Us form. We also suggest that you download the Participant Information Sheet as this contains lots of information about the study.

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Our Publications

Meet the



Prof Alex MacGregor

Chief Investigator

Chair of Chronic Diseases and Genetic Epidemiology (UEA)


Prof Ian Clark


Chair of Musculoskeletal Biology


Prof Philip Conaghan


Chair of Musculoskeletal Medicine


Dr Sarah Kingsbury


Osteoarthritis Strategic Lead


Prof Aedin Cassidy


Professor of Nutrition


Dr Allan Clark

Co-Investigator, Biostatistician

Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics


Prof William Fraser


Chair of Medicine


Dr Rose Davidson

Trial Manager

Research Scientist


Mrs Laura Watts

Senior Research Associate