There are a handful of molecules that I would characterize as being close to a panacea, in that they can help almost every chronic disease. Sulforaphane is one of them. It’s an incredible molecule that’s most known for its ability to kill cancer. It will help you if you’ve got a Th1 or Th2 disorder. It’s an example of a molecule that is an immune stimulant but also an anti-inflammatory, and these are usually contradictory. Read on to discover 30+ other reasons why you should eat your broccoli (sprouts).
- Introduction: Sulforaphane and Broccoli Sprouts
- Sulforaphane Benefits
- 1) Sulforaphane Promotes Detoxification
- 2) Sulforaphane Prevents and Combats Cancer
- 3) Sulforaphane Lowers Cholesterol
- 4) Sulforaphane Prevents and Combats Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
- 5) Sulforaphane May Combat Obesity
- 6) Sulforaphane Improves Diabetes
- 7) Sulforaphane Can Boost the Immune System
- 8) Sulforaphane Is Antiviral
- 9) Sulforaphane Combats Bacterial and Fungal Infections
- 10) Sulforaphane Protects the Skin
- 11) Sulforaphane Combats Inflammation
- 12) Sulforaphane May Combat Depression and Anxiety
- 13) Sulforaphane Protects the Brain and Restores Cognitive Function
- 14) Sulforaphane May Help with Parkinson’s Disease
- 15) Sulforaphane May Help with Alzheimer’s Disease
- 16) Sulforaphane May Help with Huntington’s Disease
- 17) Sulforaphane May Prevent Seizures
- 18) Sulforaphane Improves Schizophrenia
- 19) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial for Substance Abuse
- 20) Sulforaphane May Improve Autism Symptoms
- 21) Sulforaphane Can Protect Against GI Injury and Inflammation
- 22) Sulforaphane Combats H. pylori
- 23) Sulforaphane Improves Liver Function
- 24) Sulforaphane Reduces Health Damage from Pollution
- 25) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial for Airway Inflammation and Asthma
- 26) Sulforaphane Combats Autoimmune Inflammation
- 27) Sulforaphane Can Reduce Pain
- 28) Sulforaphane Can Promote Bone Formation
- 29) Sulforaphane Can Be Beneficial for Arthritis
- 30) Sulforaphane Can Prevent Muscle Damage
- 31) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial for Muscular Dystrophy
- 32) Sulforaphane Can Protect the Kidneys
- 33) Sulforaphane Can Support Hair Growth
- 34) Sulforaphane Can Increase Alcohol Tolerance
- 35) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial in Pregnancy and May Increase Offspring Health
- 36) Sulforaphane Protects the Eyes
- 37) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial Against Keloids
- 38) Sulforaphane May Improve Bladder Dysfunction
- 39) Sulforaphane May Benefit Children with HGPS
- Sulforaphane Negatives
- Genetics of Sulforaphane Metabolism
- Maximizing Sulforaphane Bioavailability
- My Experience with Broccoli Sprouts
- Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
Introduction: Sulforaphane and Broccoli Sprouts
For example, cutting, chewing, or otherwise disrupting the broccoli plant cells initiates the production of sulforaphane. Compared to the stable glucoraphanin, sulforaphane begins degrading soon after production [R].
Three-day-old sprouts of certain cruciferous vegetables contain 10 to 100 times higher concentrations of glucoraphanin than in mature plants [R].
Levels of glucoraphanin and sulforaphane are highest in broccoli sprouts [R].
Sulforaphane has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, neuroprotective, and anti-diabetic properties [R].
Sulforaphane also protects against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases [R].
Apart from sulforaphane, broccoli sprouts contain many other bioactive, health-promoting compounds, such as gallic, chlorogenic, ferulic, sinapinic, benzoic and salicylic acids, quercetin, kaempferol, and vitamin C [R].
Much of the information given below is derived from animal- and laboratory-based studies. Human studies are falling behind, but will hopefully soon follow.
1) Sulforaphane Promotes Detoxification
Sulforaphane is an indirect antioxidant. It boosts the antioxidant capacity of cells by at least 2 mechanisms [R]:
- Inducing phase 2 detoxification enzymes – Sulforaphane is the most potent inducer of phase 2 enzymes identified to date. It acts by activating Nrf2 and ARE, and increasing glutathione S-transferase activity [R, R, R, R]
- Increasing cellular glutathione levels
2) Sulforaphane Prevents and Combats Cancer
Of all the molecules I’ve studied, sulforaphane and broccoli sprouts are the most promising at preventing and killing cancer.
Three to five servings per week are sufficient to decrease the risk of cancer by ∼30% to 40% [R].
The great thing about sulforaphane is that it kills cancer cells, but seems to have very little effect on healthy cells [R].
Sulforaphane treatment reduced DNA damage and mutation rate when cancer-causing chemicals bound to DNA [R].
Sulforaphane combats cancer by multiple mechanisms:
- SFN inhibits phase I enzymes that can activate pro-carcinogens [R]
- SFN induces phase II enzymes that are responsible for eliminating chemicals that damage DNA [R]
- SFN changes gene activation/deactivation, and causes demethylation, thereby restoring the activity of important tumor-suppressing and cell-cycle controlling genes [R, R]
- Sulforaphane induces cancer cell death [R]
- Sulforaphane inhibits the NF-κB pathway, thus reducing inflammation [R]
- Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest, and thereby inhibits cancer cell proliferation [R]
Apart from being effective in its own right, sulforaphane also enhances the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs including cisplatin, gemcitabine, doxorubicin, and 5-fluorouracil, toward pancreatic and prostate cancer cells, while limiting their toxicity to normal cells [R].
3) Sulforaphane Lowers Cholesterol
SFN is produced in the body from glucoraphanin.
In 12 healthy subjects, eating fresh broccoli sprouts (100 g/day) for 1 week decreased total and LDL cholesterol, and increased HDL cholesterol. Broccoli sprouts also improved oxidative stress markers [R].
4) Sulforaphane Prevents and Combats Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
A diet rich in Brassica vegetables decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease [R].
SFN further possesses antithrombotic activities. SFN inhibited human platelet aggregation and reduced blood clot formation [R].
Finally, sulforaphane is beneficial in stroke. In rodents, SFN decreased brain infarct (damaged tissue from stroke) volume, and maintained the blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity and neurological function after stroke [R, R].
5) Sulforaphane May Combat Obesity
In mice with Western diet-induced obesity, 3 weeks of sulforaphane supplementation reduced weight gain, leptin and insulin levels, and improved insulin resistance, glucose tolerance, and cholesterol [R].
Similarly, in another study, sulforaphan inhibited high-fat-diet-induced obesity and fat accumulation in mice. It also reduced total cholesterol, leptin, and liver triglyceride levels [R].
6) Sulforaphane Improves Diabetes
Broccoli sprouts improve many parameters in diabetes. In type 2 diabetics, eating broccoli sprouts increased blood antioxidant capacity and HDL cholesterol, and decreased oxidative stress, triglycerides, insulin, insulin resistance, and CRP [R, R, R].
- Tissue damage
- Vascular complications
- Diabetes-induced heart dysfunction
- Thickening of the heart muscle
- Heart damage in mice
7) Sulforaphane Can Boost the Immune System
Broccoli sprouts enhanced human antiviral responses [R].
SFN blocked HIV infection in macrophages. Macrophages play a critical role in HIV infection, forming long-lived viral reservoirs and distributing the virus in the body [R].
9) Sulforaphane Combats Bacterial and Fungal Infections
In one study, 23 out of 28 tested bacterial and fungal species were inhibited by sulforaphane [R].
Mycobacterium abscessus is frequently found in patients with cystic fibrosis and in immunosuppressed patients. Pretreatment of macrophages with sulforaphane significantly decreased bacterial burden [R].
Human β-defensin-2 (HBD-2) plays an important role against bacterial invasion. Sulforaphane is able to increase antimicrobial peptides such as HBD-2 [R].
10) Sulforaphane Protects the Skin
UV radiation induces direct DNA damage and inflammation, and suppresses the immune response. Sulforaphane-rich extracts of 3-day-old broccoli sprouts increased phase 2 enzymes in human and mouse skin, protected against UV radiation-induced inflammation and edema in mice, and reduced susceptibility to erythema (skin redness) in humans [R].
UVA irradiation plays a role in the premature aging of the skin by triggering oxidative stress, and inducing collagen degradation, a hallmark of photoaged skin. Pretreatment of mouse skin with sulforaphane protected against UVA-mediated collagen depletion [R].
Epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) is a rare inherited condition in which the skin loses its integrity after mechanical trauma.
11) Sulforaphane Combats Inflammation
12) Sulforaphane May Combat Depression and Anxiety
Inflammation has been recognized as one of the causes of depression. By reducing inflammation, sulforaphane can help combat depression.
Repeated SFN administration reversed depression- and anxiety-like behaviors in chronically stressed mice, likely by inhibiting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and inflammatory responses to stress [R, R].
In another study, Nrf2 deficiency in mice resulted in depressive-like behavior, while the induction of Nrf2 by sulforaphane had antidepressant-like effects [R].
Also, dietary intake of glucoraphanin during the juvenile and adolescent periods in mice prevented the onset of depression-like behaviors at adulthood [R].
13) Sulforaphane Protects the Brain and Restores Cognitive Function
Sulforaphane promoted microglia differentiation from pro-inflammatory M1 to anti-inflammatory M2 state. This reduced brain inflammation and restored spatial learning and coordination in rats [R].
Sulforaphane is beneficial in various pathological conditions, as it:
- Improved cognitive performance and reduced working memory dysfunction in rats after traumatic brain injury [R]
- Weakened cognitive deficits in mouse models of psychiatric disease. Also, the intake of glucoraphanin during the juvenile and adolescent periods prevented the onset of cognitive deficits at adulthood [R]
- Alleviated brain swelling in rats, by attenuating the blood-brain barrier disruption, decreasing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and inhibiting NF-κB; it also increased AQP4 (a water channel protein) levels, thereby reducing brain swelling [R, R]
- Prevented memory impairment and increased the survival of hippocampal neurons in diabetic rats [R]
SFN, as a potent Nrf2 activator, may help in the treatment of these diseases.
14) Sulforaphane May Help with Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain. In animal models of Parkinson’s disease, sulforaphane improved deficits in motor coordination and inhibited dopaminergic neuronal loss [R, R, R, R].
15) Sulforaphane May Help with Alzheimer’s Disease
Abnormal production and aggregation of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide are major factors implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Broccoli sprouts protected against Aβ-induced cell death, and sulforaphane inhibited Aβ-related inflammation [R, R, R].
16) Sulforaphane May Help with Huntington’s Disease
Sulforaphane activated the protein degradation machinery that promotes huntingtin degradation and reduced huntingtin toxicity in mice [R].
17) Sulforaphane May Prevent Seizures
18) Sulforaphane Improves Schizophrenia
Methamphetamine can induce psychosis in susceptible people. Sulforaphane weakened behavioral abnormalities in mice after administration of methamphetamine or phencyclidine, suggesting that it may help with schizophrenia [R].
Sulforaphane protected against antipsychotic-induced toxicity in dopaminergic neurons [R].
19) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial for Substance Abuse
Sulforaphane weakened behavioral and neuropathological changes associated with methamphetamine exposure in mice. Pretreatment with sulforaphane weakened acute hyperlocomotion (increase in movement) in mice after a single administration of methamphetamine [R].
Also, the development of behavioral sensitization after repeated administrations of methamphetamine was significantly reduced by pretreatment with sulforaphane [R].
20) Sulforaphane May Improve Autism Symptoms
Sulforaphane activates genes that protect cells against oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA-damage, all of which are associated with autism spectrum disorder [R].
21) Sulforaphane Can Protect Against GI Injury and Inflammation
Indeed, in another study, treatment with SFN decreased inflammation in mice with colitis [R].
22) Sulforaphane Combats H. pylori
SFN is beneficial against Helicobacter pylori infections [R].
These effects were temporary, because values went back to their original levels 2 months after treatment was discontinued [R].
In another study, broccoli sprout extract did not inhibit H. pylori colonization, but nevertheless protected the stomach lining [R].
In H. pylori-infected type 2 diabetic patients, broccoli sprout powder, in addition to standard triple therapy, considerably improved H. pylori eradication, and also improved heart health in these subjects [R].
H. pylori increases oxidative stress, thereby causing damage to the stomach lining, slowing down damage repair, and eventually inducing gastric cancer. Sulforaphane activates Nrf2-dependent antioxidant enzyme activities, thereby protecting stomach cells from oxidative injury [R].
Sulforaphane can also protect the stomach lining by reducing inflammation [R].
Improved stomach lining health also makes it more difficult for H. pylori to colonize the stomach, which explains the reduced rate of colonization found in some human studies [R].
23) Sulforaphane Improves Liver Function
Broccoli sprouts activated detoxification and glutathione production, increasing GST while decreasing AST and ALT in rat livers [R].
24) Sulforaphane Reduces Health Damage from Pollution
Sulforaphane helped the body detoxify airborne pollutants, pesticides, and heavy metals by activating detoxification systems, mainly the phase II enzymes.
In a farming community exposed to airborne pollutant with a high risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, broccoli sprouts enhanced the detoxification of airborne pollutants and reduced the risks of cancer [R].
Sulforaphane induced phase II enzymes in the upper airway of human subjects [R].
Sulforaphane reduced the pro-inflammatory and pro-allergic effects typically caused by exposure to diesel exhaust particle [R].
Sulforaphane inhibited the mutagenicity caused by heterocyclic amines (cooked food mutagens) [R].
25) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial for Airway Inflammation and Asthma
Broccoli sprout extract suppressed airway inflammation in humans exposed to diesel exhaust particles (equivalent to daily PM exposure levels on a Los Angeles freeway) [R].
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have innate immune dysfunction in the lung, resulting in frequent bacterial infections. Sulforaphane restored bacteria recognition and phagocytosis in lung macrophages from COPD patients [R].
Sulforaphane enhanced bacterial clearance by lung macrophages and reduced inflammation in mice exposed to cigarette smoke for 6 months [R].
26) Sulforaphane Combats Autoimmune Inflammation
Sulforaphane decreases autoimmune inflammation [R].
SFN can be beneficial against T-cell driven autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis-like diseases in animals, but studies in humans are still lagging.
NRF2-deficient mice have exacerbated pathology in this model [R].
Sulforaphane activated the Nrf2/ARE pathway, which helps combat the disease [R].
27) Sulforaphane Can Reduce Pain
In mice, sulforaphane lessened pain, reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increased anti-inflammatory cytokines. Sulforaphane blocked COX2 and iNOS in injured nerve cells, the 2 key enzymes implicated in inflammation and neuropathic pain [R].
28) Sulforaphane Can Promote Bone Formation
In females, low levels of estrogen, such as during menopause or after an ovary removal surgery, can lead to reduced bone mass (osteoporosis).
Sulforaphane promoted bone formation and increased bone volume (∼20%) in both normal mice and mice without ovaries. Sulforaphane diminished bone resorption, thereby shifting the balance to a state favoring bone acquisition [R].
29) Sulforaphane Can Be Beneficial for Arthritis
A sulforaphane-rich diet improved osteoarthritis in mice. Sulforaphane inhibited key metalloproteinases implicated in osteoarthritis, independently of Nrf2, and blocked inflammation through NF-κB to protect against cartilage destruction [R].
SFN reduced the severity of arthritis in mice by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines [R].
Several inflammatory autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, switch the polarization of monocytes into classically activated pro-inflammatory macrophages (M1 type).
M2 (Th2) decrease inflammation and encourage tissue repair.
30) Sulforaphane Can Prevent Muscle Damage
31) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial for Muscular Dystrophy
In mouse models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, sulforaphane significantly increased muscle mass, muscle force (∼30%), and running distance. Sulforaphane also reduced muscle hypertrophy, heart muscle hypertrophy, and inflammation [R].
32) Sulforaphane Can Protect the Kidneys
33) Sulforaphane Can Support Hair Growth
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes androgenic baldness. Sulforaphane increased the production of enzymes that degrade DHT [R].
34) Sulforaphane Can Increase Alcohol Tolerance
Many East Asians are highly intolerant to even modest alcohol consumption. These people accumulate acetaldehyde, the primary metabolite of alcohol, because of a genetic polymorphism in aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) that metabolizes acetaldehyde to nontoxic acetate. Sulforaphane upregulated ALDH2 by dietary means, thereby reducing acetaldehyde toxicity [R].
In mice, SFN dramatically increased tissue ALDH2 and doubled the rate of elimination of acetaldehyde after the administration of alcohol [R].
SFN activated human salivary aldehyde dehydrogenase (hsALDH) and increased its activity towards acetaldehyde [R].
35) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial in Pregnancy and May Increase Offspring Health
When glucoraphanin was administered to pregnant female rats, their offspring had lower blood pressure and less tissue inflammation in adulthood, regardless of their subsequent diet [R].
36) Sulforaphane Protects the Eyes
Oxidative stress due to excessive light exposure can exacerbate a variety of human retinal diseases by accelerating photoreceptor cell death (photoreceptors are cells that receive light and translate it into nerve impulses) [R].
SFN protected human retinal cells from UVA light-induced damage [R].
SFN protected human lens cells against oxidative stress and could potentially delay the onset of cataracts [R].
Also, SFN may help prevent complications after cataract surgery [R].
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a condition in which a deficiency in Nrf2 is observed. SFN significantly improved oxidative stress-induced cell death in FECD human cells [R].
37) Sulforaphane May Be Beneficial Against Keloids
38) Sulforaphane May Improve Bladder Dysfunction
In rats with bladder outlet obstruction, SFN treatment increased bladder capacity and bladder compliance [R].
39) Sulforaphane May Benefit Children with HGPS
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare childhood premature aging disorder linked to mutations in the LMNA gene. Protein clearance and autophagy are impaired in HGPS cells. SFN stimulated protein clearance by autophagy and reversed cellular phenotypic changes, both of which are the hallmarks of HGPS [R].
1) Sulforaphane May Transiently Decrease Genome Stability
Sulforaphane increases the activation of many beneficial genes, including tumor suppressor genes. However, sulforaphane also activates long terminal repeats (LTRs), DNA sequences found within our genome that impair genome stability and cause mutations [R].
Consumption of broccoli sprouts by human volunteers caused a 10-fold increase in LTR activation in white blood cells. These effects are transient, and it remains to be determined whether they are biologically meaningful [R].
Other studies on human volunteers recorded no abnormal events related to broccoli sprout consumption [R].
Genotoxic effects were observed in unpublished studies with pigs fed with 600 g of raw broccoli for 12 days. These pigs had an increase in DNA strand breaks by 21% in the colon [R].
Also, after feeding raw or steamed broccoli to mice and rats, an increase in DNA adducts (cancer-causing chemicals binding to DNA) was observed [R].
However, all these effects in animals were observed for mature broccoli plant consumption. An additional benefit of broccoli sprouts is that they contain negligible quantities of indole glucosinolates, which predominate in the mature vegetable, and may give rise to degradation products (e.g., indole-3-carbinol). This can enhance tumorigenesis [R].
2) Excessive Consumption May or May Not Cause Liver Toxicity
There is a single case report of liver toxicity after drinking large amounts of broccoli juice for 4 weeks (800 ml/day). Transaminases, aspartate aminotransferase, and c-glutamyltrans-peptidase were elevated, but decreased to normal within 15 days [R].
This was also caused by consuming the mature plant and may be caused by other substances found in the broccoli plant, unrelated to sulforaphane.
Genetics of Sulforaphane Metabolism
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GSTs are a large family of glutathione conjugating enzymes, which attach glutathione to the substance that needs to be detoxified out of the body. Three of them, GSTM1, GSTP1, and GSTT1 have been implicated in the metabolism of isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane in particular [R].
Individuals with GSTM1-null mutations may benefit more from SFN due to the decreased degradation of SFN, which therefore increases exposure [R].
However, several other studies suggest otherwise. In these studies, GSTM1-positive individuals benefited more from either broccoli or cruciferous vegetable consumption compared to GSTM1-null individuals. GSTM1-null carriers excrete more SFN and SFN-metabolites, and excretion is faster [R].
Null mutations in the GSTT1 gene result in the absence of a functional enzyme. The frequency of the GSTT1-null variation has been estimated to be between 10 and 21% for caucasian populations and as high as 64% for Asian populations [R].
Broccoli sprouts are more effective in detoxification when GSTT1-positive carriers are exposed to airborne pollution compared to the null carriers [R].
Maximizing Sulforaphane Bioavailability
Broccoli Sprouts Are the Richest Source of Sulforaphane
The amount of sulforaphane (glucoraphanin) can vary widely in vegetables [R].
Broccoli is not the only cruciferous vegetable which has SFN, but it yields the highest amounts, with glucoraphanin content around 75% of total glucosinolates [R].
Do not confuse broccoli sprouts with Brussels sprouts.
Myrosinase Is Necessary for Sulforaphane Production
The majority of SFN is formed when glucoraphanin gets processed by myrosinase, upon plant tissue damage (e.g. chopping, chewing). When plant myrosinase is inactive or absent, a small amount of SFN may still be formed by gut bacteria-derived myrosinase activity [R].
Gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Bacteroides, have been reported to possess myrosinase-like activity [R].
SFN absorption was sevenfold lower for glucoraphanin supplements than equivalent glucoraphanin-containing fresh broccoli sprouts with the active enzyme [R].
SFN absorption from a glucoraphanin powder devoid of myrosinase activity improved when consumed along with an active source of myrosinase (such as air-dried broccoli sprouts) [R].
Also, combining broccoli sprouts with the broccoli powder enhanced SFN absorption from the broccoli powder [R].
Processing Inactivates Myrosinase
The bioavailability of sulforaphane from fresh broccoli is much higher than that from cooked broccoli [R].
Higher amounts of sulforaphane were found in the blood and urine when broccoli was eaten raw (bioavailability of 37%) versus cooked (3.4%) [R].
Cooking and/or blanching (during freezing process) of cruciferous vegetables inactivates myrosinase and decreases sulforaphane bioavailability [R].
Boiling for more than 1 minute, or steaming for more than 4 to 5 minutes, inactivates myrosinase [R].
Mustard seeds contain a more resilient form of myrosinase. The addition of powdered mustard seeds to heat-processed broccoli significantly increased the production of sulforaphane [R].
Avoiding Nitrile Formation
Broccoli also contains significant amounts of epithiospecifier protein (ESP), an inhibitor of myrosinase. ESP produces inactive sulforaphane nitrile. Under certain conditions, as much as 75% nitrile is created [R].
ESP is more heat sensitive than myrosinase. Steaming for 1 to 3 minutes provides less nitrile and more sulforaphane yield from a broccoli meal [R].
Once SFN is distributed, there is evidence that it can accumulate in tissues and produce anticancer blocking and suppressing effects [R].
In the blood, sulforaphane-glutathione accounts for more than 50% of total sulforaphane metabolites [R].
Maintenance of SFN concentrations in the body can be achieved by consuming recommended servings of cruciferous vegetables once a day [R].
My Experience with Broccoli Sprouts
I started consuming broccoli sprouts about 5 years ago, but stopped about 9 months ago after I didn’t notice any significant effects.
I used to cut the top or green part off and put them on a salad.
I decided to revisit broccoli sprouts as a result of me being afraid of cancer and an improved understanding of gut health.
I’ve also been afraid of getting/having a possible bacterial infection, which often produce products that block the vitamin D receptor and cause autoimmune disease. Broccoli sprouts are strong anti-microbials.
However, I realized there was a gap between my experience and the research. Whenever this happens, I step back and ask why. In this case, I figured I just wasn’t getting enough.
So then, I thought it would be too annoying to buy more broccoli sprouts and cut the tops off. I then wondered what would happen if I just put the whole container in the blender – with the bottom.
I didn’t do that before because I wasn’t sure if the bottom part was edible. Well, I still don’t know, but years of experimentation have made me somewhat fearless (perhaps a little too much for my own good).
My result? The effects are day and night from consuming the green part to putting the whole thing in a blender.
It’s a relaxant, an antidepressant, a potent anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant. It felt like it would steamroll any negative gut pathogens in its way.
Overall, it’s very powerful, and I now know I’m getting the full effects when I do this. I wouldn’t want any more of an effect, anyway.
It’s critical that you put the whole container in the blender. I usually get 4 oz. containers.
On the downside, it temporarily decreases cognitive function, as does all powerful antioxidants. The brain needs some ROS to function properly. It’s honestly too strong to take daily. But, if I had cancer, I would take it daily.
When I take it at night it keeps me up, so I don’t recommend taking it at night.
Sulforaphane Is an Indirect Antioxidant:
- SFN activates Nrf2 by binding Keap1 [R, R]
- SFN reacts with Keap1, thereby releasing Nrf2 from Keap1 binding [R]
- SFN promotes ARE-driven gene expression [R, R]
- SFN increases other phase II enzymes: NQO1, GSTA1, and HO-1 [R, R, R, R]
- SFN inhibits phase I enzymes CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1, CYP2B2, and CYP3A4 [R, R]
- SFN blocks SXR [R]
Sulforaphane Inhibits Inflammation:
- SFN inhibits NfkB [R, R, R]
- SFN decreases TNF-α, NLRP3, IL-1β, IL-18, IFN-gamma and IL6 [R, R, R, R, R, R]
- SFN increases IL-10, IL-4, Arg1, and YM-1 [R, R, R, R]
- SFN decreases NO, iNOS and COX-2 [R, R, R]
- SFN silences Th17/Th1 responses [R, R]
- SFN decreases IL-17 [R, R]
- SFN decreases TGF-β/Smad [R]
- SFN decreases IL-23 and IL-12 expression [R]
- SFN decreases MMP-9 [R, R]
- SFN decreases LDH and PGE2 [R]
Sulforaphane Changes Gene Expression:
- DNA hypermethylation can inhibit tumor suppressor genes and genes involved in cell cycle regulation and apoptosis (cell death). DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) methylate DNA, and an overexpression of DNMTs is observed in a number of cancers, including leukemia, gastric, lung, and prostate cancer [R, R]
- Sulforaphane inhibits DNMT1 and DNMT3A [R]
- SFN is one of the most potent (histone deacetylase) HDAC inhibitors found to date [R]
- SFN inhibits HDAC1, HDAC2, HDAC3, and HDAC4 [R, R]
- SFN decreases miR-21 and TERT [R]
Sulforaphane Induces Cell Death (Apoptosis) in Cancer:
- SFN activates caspase-3, caspase-7, caspase-8, caspase-9 [R, R]
- SFN decreases anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL [R, R]
- SFN increases pro-apoptotic Bax [R]
- SFN induces p21 (CDKN1A) and p53 [R, R]
- SFN inactivates PARP [R]
- SFN decreases HIF1A [R]
- SFN decreases β-catenin (CTNNB1) [R]
Sulforaphane Inhibits Weight Gain:
- SFN‐induced browning of white adipocytes (fat cells) [R]
- SFN decreases PPARγ and C/EBPα [R]
- SFN increases AMPK [R]
Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:
- Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
- SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
- SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
- Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics
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