Science Backed Health Benefits of Sulforaphane

Food is Medicine

Hippocrates once said, “thy food is thy medicine, and thy medicine is thy food.” This is a perfect description for one of our favorite foods, broccoli sprouts!

Broccoli sprouts are broccoli seeds that have been sprouted (to learn more about sprouting click here). We love broccoli sprouts for many reasons:

  • Rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and minerals, such selenium, phosphorous, and magnesium.
  • Contain less anti-nutrients (thanks to sprouting), which means they are easier to digest and their nutrients are better absorbed by our bodies.
  • But most of all……Broccoli sprouts have very high levels of phytochemicals that have been shown to be extremely beneficial for our health!

The Phytochemicals in Broccoli Sprouts that Make Them so Special

Broccoli sprouts contain high amounts of health-promoting plant compounds aka phytochemicals, including glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, and colored flavonoids called anthocyanins.

Let us break this down for you…

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale are rich sources of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are not biologically active molecules, meaning that they are unable to have an effect on our human biology and therefore do not impact our health.

However, when plant tissue is ground, chewed, or chopped, it causes a reaction that transforms inactive glucosinolates to bioactive isothiocyanates. Bacteria in our gut microbiome also help to transform some glucosinolates to isothiocyanates!

Because isothiocyanates are active compounds, they are able to have a direct impact on our heath!

The most important isothiocyanate found in broccoli sprouts is sulforaphane!

Why We Should Care About Sulforaphane

Sulforaphane (SFN) has many health promoting properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial (fights off germs such as bacteria and viruses), anti-aging, neuroprotective (protects brain cells), and antidiabetic properties.

Another reason Sulforaphane is so magical is that it has been shown to help prevent and treat a variety of chronic disease conditions, including:

Cancer

In vitro (test tube), animal, and in vivo (human) studies show very promising results when it comes to Sulforaphane and cancer. For example, Sulforaphane has been shown to protect cells from environmental carcinogens (substances in the environment that can cause cancer) and also help to bring about apoptosis in cancer cells (cancer cell death).

One of the reasons that Sulforaphane appears to impact cancer cells is because of its anti-inflammatory properties, since chronic inflammation and cancer development are thought to be closely related.

Human studies that have demonstrated the powerful effect of Sulforaphane on cancer

  • Breast Cancer:

A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial from John Hopkins that involved 34 patients with DCIS breast cancer (cancer in the milk ducts that has not yet spread to the breast itself) used a daily oral broccoli extract supplement that consisted of 100 µmols of sulforaphane every day for 14 days.

Results: After just 14 days of treatment with Sulforaphane, the growth of the patient’s cancer cells slowed.

Study

  • Prostate cancer:

A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial that involved 78 patients with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer after removal of the prostate gland used a daily oral supplement of 60 mg of Sulforaphane for 6 months followed by 2 months without treatment.

Results: The treatment group showed a significant decrease in levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSAs), which are usually elevated in prostate cancer. PSAs are used to monitor the progression of prostate cancer in patients who have already been diagnosed.

Study

    Autism:

      Sulforaphane’s powerful antioxidant activity helps to reduce oxidative stress as well as neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain or spinal cord), and many other biochemical imbalances that are seen in autism.

      Human studies have shown that Sulforaphane helps to reduce negative symptoms of autism.

      A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that involved young men (aged 13–27) with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) received a daily broccoli extract Sulforaphane supplement based on 50 µmol per 100 lbs of body weight every day for 18 weeks, followed by 4 weeks without treatment.

      Results: A significantly greater number of participants receiving Sulforaphane had improvement in social interaction, abnormal behavior, and verbal communication. After the SFN supplement stopped being used, total scores on all behavioral scales increased toward pretreatment levels.

      Study

        Heart Disease

          Currently, only animal studies have been performed to study the effects of Sulforaphane on heart disease, which have shown Sulforaphane to be a powerful protector against heart disease.

          A recent study using rats supplemented with Sulforaphane (broccoli extract) concluded that Sulforaphane helps to regulate the autonomic nervous system, which controls the functioning of the heart and protects the heart from acute cardiac stress, which can weaken our hearts!

          Study

            Diabetes

              Sulforaphane has been shown to reduce glucose production in the liver (contributes to high blood sugar) and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

              A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that involved 97 patients diagnosed with type two diabetes used an oral broccoli extract Sulforaphane supplement (freeze-dried powder that provided a consistent and stable source of Sulforaphane) for 12 weeks.

               Results: There was a significant change in fasting blood glucose in the broccoli extract treated patients compared to those treated with placebos. By the end of the study, fasting blood glucose and HbA1c was improved in the patients taking the Sulforaphane supplement.

              Study

                Gut Health

                  Sulforaphane in combination with fiber has been shown to be amazing for gut health!

                  A study using mice found that a Sulforaphane supplement helped to increase beneficial bacterial species in their microbiome, thereby helping to balance the composition of gut microbes and helped to repair injuries to the gut barrier. It also helped to decrease inflammation and immune response!

                  Study

                    Mental Health

                      Studies have shown anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects of Sulforaphane.

                      A study using mice found that, due to its anti-inflammatory effects, a Sulforaphane supplement could suppress their inflammatory response to stress and suppress their stress response system.

                      This study concluded that anxiety-like behaviors of chronically stressed mice were significantly reversed with the SFN treatment.

                      It is hypothesized that due to Sulforaphane’s low molecular weight, it can easily cross the blood brain barrier to produce anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects in animal studies, which means that there is potential for the same thing to happen in humans.

                      Study

                      Why Broccoli Sprouts are the Ultimate Source of Sulforaphane

                      • They contain the most amount of Sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts contain up to 100x more sulforaphane than mature broccoli. This is because broccoli seeds, which are sprouted, contain the highest amount of glucosinolates than any other part of the broccoli plant.
                      •  They contain the highest amount of phytochemicals, including Sulforaphane! Eating broccoli sprouts gives you the highest concentration of phytochemicals (more phytochemicals = more health benefits!). This is because sprouts are essentially young plants that produce more phytochemicals, which help to fight off insects and other natural predators (as the plant grows, it loses some of these protective phytochemicals).

                      SeeReal Contains Sulforaphane

                      Our SeeReal line is a raw & sprouted, superfood cereal that not only contains broccoli sprouts, but also has  2.7mg (Banana Bread), 3mg (Fruity), 6.7mg (Dark Chocolate) dose of sulforaphane in every serving! This means that while you’re eating your breakfast, Sulforaphane and other nutrients are working their magic in your body.

                      Foodnerd—Expert Broccoli Sprout Connoisseurs

                      We expertly sprout broccoli seeds to the three-day mark, which is when they hit their peak amount of sulforaphane.

                      Also, it’s important to note that the amount of glucosinolates are significantly changed during heat treatment. No glucosinolates means no Sulforaphane. That’s why we use minimally processed ingredients that are never treated with high pressure or heat.

                      Conclusion

                      Studies have shown the powerful health-promoting effects that sulforaphane can have on our bodies, which have proven to be even more powerful than some pharmaceutical drugs! It is very simple, eat broccoli sprouts every day to take full advantage of Sulforaphane’s magical health benefits.

                      You can get your daily dose of Sulforaphane with our new SeeReal line.

                      One of the best things you can do for your health is eat real food and our goal is to make it very easy to accomplish that! SeeReal is the first ever raw and sprouted mega-food cereal that contains high-quality broccoli sprouts.

                      Sources:

                      1. · Axelsson, Annika S., et al. "Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes." Science translational medicine 9.394 (2017).
                      2. · He, Canxia, et al. "Sulforaphane normalizes intestinal flora and enhances gut barrier in mice with BBN‐induced bladder cancer." Molecular nutrition & food research 62.24 (2018): 1800427.
                      3. · Mokhtari, Reza Bayat, et al. "The role of Sulforaphane in cancer chemoprevention and health benefits: a mini-review." Journal of cell communication and signaling 12.1 (2018): 91-101.
                      4. · Pereyra, Katherin V., et al. "Dietary supplementation of a sulforaphane-enriched broccoli extract protects the heart from acute cardiac stress." Journal of Functional Foods 75 (2020): 104267.
                      5. · Singh, Kanwaljit, et al. "Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111.43 (2014): 15550-15555.
                      6. · Study to Evaluate the Effect of Sulforaphane in Broccoli Sprout Extract on Breast Tissue - Full Text View. Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov, 2013, clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00982 319?term=NCT00982319.
                      7. · Vanduchova, Alena, Pavel Anzenbacher, and Eva Anzenbacherova. "Isothiocyanate from broccoli, sulforaphane, and its properties." Journal of medicinal food 22.2 (2019): 121-126.
                      8. · Wu, Shuhui, et al. "Sulforaphane produces antidepressant-and anxiolytic-like effects in adult mice." Behavioural brain research 301 (2016): 55-62.

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