Cruciferous Vegetables, Broccoli Microgreens, and Sulforaphane
Ive just spent the day educating myself on the benefits and importance of sulforaphane. Dr. Ronda Patrick has a hefty and in-depth look at sulforaphane and its impacts on cancer, aging, inflammation, depression, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases in her video.
It is full of information referencing human and animal studies. I’ll embed the video below so you can watch but I also will list all the studies she references, link them to the paper, and provide some of the key points of each so you can get an idea of what they’re about incase you’re not keen on reading the whole article.
Sulforaphane is produced when its precursor glucoraphanin is broken up, releasing the enzyme myrosinase, either by crushing, chewing, light heating, blending, or even freezing.
Glucoraphanin is found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mustard. Broccoli sprouts and microgreens have been found to have significantly higher levels, up to 100x more.
Sulforaphane has been found to activate the NRF2 pathway which commands over 200 genes including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory genes, and genes that make harmful compounds inactive. Interestingly the NRF2 pathways is naturally activated in the body every 129minutes, but when stimulated with sulforaphane it is activated every 80minutes.
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 1-2 servings (1/2-1 cup) per day has been associated with lower risk of breast cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease – isothiocynates, of which sulforaphane is one, are the likely cause.
Sulforaphane has been linked to preventing the activation of Phase 1 Biotransformation Enzymes which have been associated with the conversion of pro-carcinogenic compounds into active carcinogens. Isothiocynates have also been found to activate Phase II Detoxification Enzymes which help to deactivate pro-carcinogenic compounds converting them into water-soluble compounds easily excrted from the body.
Sulforaphane has also been found to prevent DNA Adducts which is a type of damage to DNA shown to lead to cancer. Adducts not removed or expelled from the body cause mutations and increase the risk of cancer.
Sulforaphane may help to slow the aging process by reducing inflammation. Inflammation has been identified as a significant factor in aging, impacting physical ability, cognitive function, and increasing the risk of disease making people more susceptible to infection.
In one of the studies listed below, sulforaphane was found to reverse hair loss and baldness in mice through the degradation of dihydrotestosterone which is responsible for reducing hair growth.
In animal studies, sulforaphane, and its precurser glucoraphanin, administered to depressed mice reduced depressive behaviours such as the avoidance of social situations. I’m not aware if any human studies yet though.
In other animal studies, sulforphane had positive impacts on alzheimers, parkinsons, and huntingtons disease. All of which have a relationship with brain inflammation, oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species, and abnormal protein aggregates. Things that sulforaphane has been shown to positively impact in other studies.
If you’re not already focussed on getting sulforaphane into your diet, you should! Eat more cruciferous vegetables, get a hold of broccoli sprouts or broccoli microgreens. Before doing all this research and watching Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s video I was only having my broccoli microgreens occasionally but now I am committed to having them daily in my morning smoothie. I keep a live tray on the bench next to my smoothie machine and through a big handful in.
Dr. Rhonda Patrick – Sulforaphane and Its Effects on Cancer, Mortality, Aging, Brain and Behavior, Heart Disease, & More
I counted a total of 59 references presented in the video. Here they are for those interested in some further bed-time reading.