THE SCIENCE OF

SULFORAPHANE

On this site, we use the abbreviation SFN.

sulforaphane.jpg

SFN is a compound derived from broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.

Here are 18 reasons for you to take it every day.

 

1. SFN CAN EXTEND YOUR LIFESPAN

When scientists looked at the quantity of cruciferous vegetables people eat per week, they found that those in the top 20% had a 22% lower probability of dying, during a given period—from any cause other than accidents—than others in their age group.

[While the research did not specifically look at SFN, it is likely that most or all of this benefit is due to SFN.]

Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Yang G, Li H, Gao J, Cai H, Gao YT, Zheng W. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):240-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009340. Epub 2011 May 18. PMID: 21593509; PMCID: PMC3127519.

Santín-Márquez R, Alarcón-Aguilar A, López-Diazguerrero NE, Chondrogianni N, Königsberg M. Sulforaphane - role in aging and neurodegeneration. Geroscience. 2019 Oct;41(5):655-670. doi: 10.1007/s11357-019-00061-7. Epub 2019 Apr 2. PMID: 30941620; PMCID: PMC6885086.

 

2. SFN HELPS PROTECT AGAINST PROSTATE CANCER

Epidemiological studies have found that SFN may lower a man’s chances of getting prostate cancer by more than 40% and reduce cancer progression.

 

One study found that taking 60mg per day of sulforaphane slowed the doubling rate of a cancer biomarker called prostate specific antigen (PSA) by 86%, without interfering with testosterone levels.

Kolonel LN, Hankin JH, Whittemore AS, Wu AH, Gallagher RP, Wilkens LR, John EM, Howe GR, Dreon DM, West DW, Paffenbarger RS Jr. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and prostate cancer: a multiethnic case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000 Aug;9(8):795-804. PMID: 10952096.

Cohen JH, Kristal AR, Stanford JL. Fruit and vegetable intakes and prostate cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Jan 5;92(1):61-8. doi: 10.1093/jnci/92.1.61. PMID: 10620635.

Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. A prospective study of cruciferous vegetables and prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 Dec;12(12):1403-9. PMID: 14693729.

Kirsh VA, Peters U, Mayne ST, Subar AF, Chatterjee N, Johnson CC, Hayes RB; Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Prospective study of fruit and vegetable intake and risk of prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 Aug 1;99(15):1200-9. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djm065. Epub 2007 Jul 24. PMID: 17652276.

Richman EL, Carroll PR, Chan JM. Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. Int J Cancer. 2012 Jul 1;131(1):201-10. doi: 10.1002/ijc.26348. Epub 2011 Aug 30. PMID: 21823116; PMCID: PMC3310254.

Cipolla BG, Mandron E, Lefort JM, Coadou Y, Della Negra E, Corbel L, Le Scodan R, Azzouzi AR, Mottet N. Effect of Sulforaphane in Men with Biochemical Recurrence after Radical Prostatectomy. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Aug;8(8):712-9. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0459. Epub 2015 May 12. PMID: 25968598.

Traka MH, Melchini A, Coode-Bate J, Al Kadhi O, Saha S, Defernez M, Troncoso-Rey P, Kibblewhite H, O'Neill CM, Bernuzzi F, Mythen L, Hughes J, Needs PW, Dainty JR, Savva GM, Mills RD, Ball RY, Cooper CS, Mithen RF. Transcriptional changes in prostate of men on active surveillance after a 12-mo glucoraphanin-rich broccoli intervention-results from the Effect of Sulforaphane on prostate CAncer PrEvention (ESCAPE) randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Apr 1;109(4):1133-1144. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz012. PMID: 30982861; PMCID: PMC6462431.

 

3. SFN HELPS PROTECT AGAINST BREAST CANCER

Epidemiological studies have shown that SFN may reduce a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer.

 

The reduction varies between 20% and 50%, depending on the study.

 

Shortly after a woman consumes SFN, its metabolites are found in the epithelial cells of breast tissue—suggesting that SFN is rapidly bioavailable and can efficiently target these cells. 

Wu YC, Zheng D, Sun JJ, Zou ZK, Ma ZL. Meta-analysis of studies on breast cancer risk and diet in Chinese women. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Jan 15;8(1):73-85. PMID: 25784976; PMCID: PMC4358431.

Zhang CX, Ho SC, Chen YM, Fu JH, Cheng SZ, Lin FY. Greater vegetable and fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. Int J Cancer. 2009 Jul 1;125(1):181-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24358. PMID: 19358284.

Bosetti C, Filomeno M, Riso P, Polesel J, Levi F, Talamini R, Montella M, Negri E, Franceschi S, La Vecchia C. Cruciferous vegetables and cancer risk in a network of case-control studies. Ann Oncol. 2012 Aug;23(8):2198-2203. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr604. Epub 2012 Feb 10. PMID: 22328735.

Terry P, Wolk A, Persson I, Magnusson C. Brassica vegetables and breast cancer risk. JAMA. 2001 Jun 20;285(23):2975-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.23.2975. PMID: 11410091.

 

4. SFN IS A POWERFUL NRF2 ACTIVATOR

SFN is the most potent naturally occurring dietary activator of the NRF2 genetic pathway, which regulates over 200 genes.

 

Many of these genes are associated with keeping us healthy—by fighting oxidative stress and inflammation—and by inactivating harmful compounds we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Houghton CA. Sulforaphane: Its "Coming of Age" as a Clinically Relevant Nutraceutical in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Oct 14;2019:2716870. doi: 10.1155/2019/2716870. PMID: 31737167; PMCID: PMC6815645.

 

5. SFN HELPS PROTECT AGAINST GASTRIC ULCERS

SFN appears to be as effective as modern antibiotics against the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers—and may provide a solution for treating antibiotic-resistant strains.

 

Studies of human subjects have found that SFN significantly reduces the level of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the lining of the stomach—which is the primary cause of gastritis and ulcers.

Yanaka A, Fahey JW, Fukumoto A, Nakayama M, Inoue S, Zhang S, Tauchi M, Suzuki H, Hyodo I, Yamamoto M. Dietary sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts reduce colonization and attenuate gastritis in Helicobacter pylori-infected mice and humans. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2009 Apr;2(4):353-60. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0192. PMID: 19349290.

Fahey JW, Haristoy X, Dolan PM, Kensler TW, Scholtus I, Stephenson KK, Talalay P, Lozniewski A. Sulforaphane inhibits extracellular, intracellular, and antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori and prevents benzo[a]pyrene-induced stomach tumors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 May 28;99(11):7610-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.112203099. PMID: 12032331; PMCID: PMC124299.

Yanaka A. Role of Sulforaphane in Protection of Gastrointestinal Tract Against H. pylori and NSAID-Induced Oxidative Stress. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(27):4066-4075. doi: 10.2174/1381612823666170207103943. PMID: 28176666; PMCID: PMC5759180.

 

6. SFN MAY SLOW AGING THROUGH AUTOPHAGY

Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells to make way for new ones.

 

“Auto” means self and “phagy” means eat; so, literally, the word describes cells eating themselves.

 

Autophagy is the primary source of the many health benefits of fasting. SFN has been shown to promote autophagy (without fasting) throughout the body.

Herman-Antosiewicz A, Johnson DE, Singh SV. Sulforaphane causes autophagy to inhibit release of cytochrome C and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. Cancer Res. 2006 Jun 1;66(11):5828-35. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-0139. PMID: 16740722.

Liu H, Smith AJ, Ball SS, Bao Y, Bowater RP, Wang N, Michael Wormstone I. Sulforaphane promotes ER stress, autophagy, and cell death: implications for cataract surgery. J Mol Med (Berl). 2017 May;95(5):553-564. doi: 10.1007/s00109-016-1502-4. Epub 2017 Jan 12. PMID: 28083623; PMCID: PMC5403866.

Liu HJ, Wang L, Kang L, Du J, Li S, Cui HX. Sulforaphane-N-Acetyl-Cysteine Induces Autophagy Through Activation of ERK1/2 in U87MG and U373MG Cells. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;51(2):528-542. doi: 10.1159/000495274. Epub 2018 Nov 20. PMID: 30458452.

 

7. SFN HELPS THE BODY ELIMINATE TOXINS

SFN has been robustly shown to increase Phase 2 detoxification enzymes.

 

These enzymes are known to help the body eliminate carcinogens and other toxins, such as those found in pesticides.

 

One of the worst—and most common—toxins we are all exposed to is benzene, which is in car exhaust and second-hand smoke.

 

SFN has been shown to increase the body’s ability to eliminate benzene by 60% or more.

Egner PA, Chen JG, Zarth AT, Ng DK, Wang JB, Kensler KH, Jacobson LP, Muñoz A, Johnson JL, Groopman JD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zhu J, Chen TY, Qian GS, Carmella SG, Hecht SS, Kensler TW. Rapid and sustainable detoxication of airborne pollutants by broccoli sprout beverage: results of a randomized clinical trial in China. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug;7(8):813-823. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0103. Epub 2014 Jun 9. PMID: 24913818; PMCID: PMC4125483.

Brooks JD, Paton VG, Vidanes G. Potent induction of phase 2 enzymes in human prostate cells by sulforaphane. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2001 Sep;10(9):949-54. PMID: 11535546.

Boddupalli S, Mein JR, Lakkanna S, James DR. Induction of phase 2 antioxidant enzymes by broccoli sulforaphane: perspectives in maintaining the antioxidant activity of vitamins a, C, and e. Front Genet. 2012 Jan 24;3:7. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2012.00007. PMID: 22303412; PMCID: PMC3264924.

Riedl MA, Saxon A, Diaz-Sanchez D. Oral sulforaphane increases Phase II antioxidant enzymes in the human upper airway. Clin Immunol. 2009 Mar;130(3):244-51. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2008.10.007. Epub 2008 Nov 22. PMID: 19028145; PMCID: PMC2668525.

Kensler TW, Ng D, Carmella SG, Chen M, Jacobson LP, Muñoz A, Egner PA, Chen JG, Qian GS, Chen TY, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Groopman JD, Yuan JM, Hecht SS. Modulation of the metabolism of airborne pollutants by glucoraphanin-rich and sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout beverages in Qidong, China. Carcinogenesis. 2012 Jan;33(1):101-7. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgr229. Epub 2011 Nov 1. Erratum in: Carcinogenesis. 2012 Mar;33(3):722. PMID: 22045030; PMCID: PMC3276337.

 

8. SFN HELPS FIGHT OBESITY AND WEIGHT GAIN

SFN has been robustly shown to increase brown adipose tissue (AKA “brown fat”)—which helps us lose weight.

 

SFN has also been shown to increase leptin responsiveness, which decreases hunger.

 

In mouse studies, SFN has significantly reduced obesity and weight gain.

Zhang HQ, Chen SY, Wang AS, Yao AJ, Fu JF, Zhao JS, Chen F, Zou ZQ, Zhang XH, Shan YJ, Bao YP. Sulforaphane induces adipocyte browning and promotes glucose and lipid utilization. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Oct;60(10):2185-2197. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500915. Epub 2016 Jun 16. PMID: 27218607; PMCID: PMC5111775.

Nagata N, Xu L, Kohno S, Ushida Y, Aoki Y, Umeda R, Fuke N, Zhuge F, Ni Y, Nagashimada M, Takahashi C, Suganuma H, Kaneko S, Ota T. Glucoraphanin Ameliorates Obesity and Insulin Resistance Through Adipose Tissue Browning and Reduction of Metabolic Endotoxemia in Mice. Diabetes. 2017 May;66(5):1222-1236. doi: 10.2337/db16-0662. Epub 2017 Feb 16. PMID: 28209760.

Shawky NM, Segar L. Sulforaphane improves leptin responsiveness in high-fat high-sucrose diet-fed obese mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 2018 Sep 15;835:108-114. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.07.050. Epub 2018 Jul 29. PMID: 30063917; PMCID: PMC6110095.

 

9. SFN LOWERS 'BAD CHOLESTEROL'

Human clinical trials have found that SFN lowers plasma levels of LDL (‘bad cholesterol’).

In animal studies, SFN significantly lowered LDL and increased HDL (‘good cholesterol’).

Armah CN, Derdemezis C, Traka MH, Dainty JR, Doleman JF, Saha S, Leung W, Potter JF, Lovegrove JA, Mithen RF. Diet rich in high glucoraphanin broccoli reduces plasma LDL cholesterol: Evidence from randomised controlled trials. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 May;59(5):918-26. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400863. Epub 2015 Apr 7. PMID: 25851421; PMCID: PMC4692095.

Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Hosseinpanah F, Rajab A, Asghari G, Azizi F. Broccoli sprouts powder could improve serum triglyceride and oxidized LDL/LDL-cholesterol ratio in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012 Jun;96(3):348-54. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2012.01.009. Epub 2012 Feb 9. PMID: 22325157.

Murashima M, Watanabe S, Zhuo XG, Uehara M, Kurashige A. Phase 1 study of multiple biomarkers for metabolism and oxidative stress after one-week intake of broccoli sprouts. Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):271-5. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520220154. PMID: 15630296.

 

10. SFN HELPS PROTECT AGAINST LUNG CANCER

One study of smokers found a 55% lower risk of lung cancer among those who consumed SFN.


In animal studies, SFN has been shown to slow the proliferation of lung cancer cells.


Additional human studies investigating the effectiveness of SFN against lung cancer are now underway.

Tang L, Zirpoli GR, Jayaprakash V, Reid ME, McCann SE, Nwogu CE, Zhang Y, Ambrosone CB, Moysich KB. Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely associated with lung cancer risk among smokers: a case-control study. BMC Cancer. 2010 Apr 27;10:162. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-162. PMID: 20423504; PMCID: PMC2874783.

Wang DX, Zou YJ, Zhuang XB, Chen SX, Lin Y, Li WL, Lin JJ, Lin ZQ. Sulforaphane suppresses EMT and metastasis in human lung cancer through miR-616-5p-mediated GSK3β/β-catenin signaling pathways. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2017 Feb;38(2):241-251. doi: 10.1038/aps.2016.122. Epub 2016 Nov 28. PMID: 27890917; PMCID: PMC5309754.

Zheng Z, Lin K, Hu Y, Zhou Y, Ding X, Wang Y, Wu W. Sulforaphane metabolites inhibit migration and invasion via microtubule-mediated Claudins dysfunction or inhibition of autolysosome formation in human non-small cell lung cancer cells. Cell Death Dis. 2019 Mar 15;10(4):259. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-1489-1. PMID: 30874545; PMCID: PMC6420664.

Jiang LL, Zhou SJ, Zhang XM, Chen HQ, Liu W. Sulforaphane suppresses in vitro and in vivo lung tumorigenesis through downregulation of HDAC activity. Biomed Pharmacother. 2016 Mar;78:74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2015.11.007. Epub 2016 Jan 14. PMID: 26898427.

 

11. SFN REDUCES BLADDER CANCER MORTALITY

One study looked at a group of people with bladder cancer and found that those who regularly consumed a modest level of SFN were twice as likely to survive, compared to those who consumed little or no SFN.

 

Multiple animal studies have shown SFN to be effective in reducing the rate of bladder cancer.

Michaud DS, Spiegelman D, Clinton SK, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Apr 7;91(7):605-13. doi: 10.1093/jnci/91.7.605. PMID: 10203279.

Abbaoui B, Riedl KM, Ralston RA, Thomas-Ahner JM, Schwartz SJ, Clinton SK, Mortazavi A. Inhibition of bladder cancer by broccoli isothiocyanates sulforaphane and erucin: characterization, metabolism, and interconversion. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Nov;56(11):1675-87. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200276. Epub 2012 Oct 5. PMID: 23038615; PMCID: PMC3863390.

Xia Y, Kang TW, Jung YD, Zhang C, Lian S. Sulforaphane Inhibits Nonmuscle Invasive Bladder Cancer Cells Proliferation through Suppression of HIF-1α-Mediated Glycolysis in Hypoxia. J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Jul 17;67(28):7844-7854. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b03027. Epub 2019 Jul 9. PMID: 31241937.

Leone A, Diorio G, Sexton W, Schell M, Alexandrow M, Fahey JW, Kumar NB. Sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of bladder cancer: molecular mechanism targeted approach. Oncotarget. 2017 May 23;8(21):35412-35424. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.16015. PMID: 28423681; PMCID: PMC5471065.

Juengel E, Erb HHH, Haferkamp A, Rutz J, Chun FK, Blaheta RA. Relevance of the natural HDAC inhibitor sulforaphane as a chemopreventive agent in urologic tumors. Cancer Lett. 2018 Oct 28;435:121-126. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2018.07.017. Epub 2018 Jul 17. PMID: 30026053.

 

12. SFN HELPS MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BRAIN

In animal studies, SFN has been shown to increase BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor), which protects existing brain cells and promotes the growth of new ones—as well as increased connectivity among brain cells.

 

Multiple animal studies have shown that SFN can protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and schizophrenia.

 

Human studies validating these results have not yet been completed.

Kim J, Lee S, Choi BR, Yang H, Hwang Y, Park JH, LaFerla FM, Han JS, Lee KW, Kim J. Sulforaphane epigenetically enhances neuronal BDNF expression and TrkB signaling pathways. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Feb;61(2). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600194. Epub 2016 Nov 30. PMID: 27735126.

Zhang J, Zhang R, Zhan Z, Li X, Zhou F, Xing A, Jiang C, Chen Y, An L. Beneficial Effects of Sulforaphane Treatment in Alzheimer's Disease May Be Mediated through Reduced HDAC1/3 and Increased P75NTR Expression. Front Aging Neurosci. 2017 May 1;9:121. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00121. PMID: 28507518; PMCID: PMC5410605.

Klomparens EA, Ding Y. The neuroprotective mechanisms and effects of sulforaphane. Brain Circ. 2019 Apr-Jun;5(2):74-83. doi: 10.4103/bc.bc_7_19. Epub 2019 Jun 27. PMID: 31334360; PMCID: PMC6611193.

Morroni F, Tarozzi A, Sita G, Bolondi C, Zolezzi Moraga JM, Cantelli-Forti G, Hrelia P. Neuroprotective effect of sulforaphane in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Neurotoxicology. 2013 May;36:63-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Mar 18. PMID: 23518299.

Zhang JC, Yao W, Dong C, Yang C, Ren Q, Ma M, Han M, Wu J, Ushida Y, Suganuma H, Hashimoto K. Prophylactic effects of sulforaphane on depression-like behavior and dendritic changes in mice after inflammation. J Nutr Biochem. 2017 Jan;39:134-144. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Oct 11. Erratum in: J Nutr Biochem. 2020 Nov 23;88:108550. Erratum in: J Nutr Biochem. 2020 Dec 17;89:108562. PMID: 27833054.

Wu S, Gao Q, Zhao P, Gao Y, Xi Y, Wang X, Liang Y, Shi H, Ma Y. Sulforaphane produces antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects in adult mice. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Mar 15;301:55-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.12.030. Epub 2015 Dec 22. PMID: 26721468.

Shiina A, Kanahara N, Sasaki T, Oda Y, Hashimoto T, Hasegawa T, Yoshida T, Iyo M, Hashimoto K. An Open Study of Sulforaphane-rich Broccoli Sprout Extract in Patients with Schizophrenia. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015 Apr 30;13(1):62-7. doi: 10.9758/cpn.2015.13.1.62. PMID: 25912539; PMCID: PMC4423155.

 

13. SFN CAN REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM

Studies of children with autism have found that SFN supplementation significantly reduces symptoms of autism among a majority of the subjects.

Lynch R, Diggins EL, Connors SL, Zimmerman AW, Singh K, Liu H, Talalay P, Fahey JW. Sulforaphane from Broccoli Reduces Symptoms of Autism: A Follow-up Case Series from a Randomized Double-blind Study. Glob Adv Health Med. 2017 Oct 26;6:2164957X17735826. doi: 10.1177/2164957X17735826. PMID: 29147630; PMCID: PMC5672987.

Sulforaphane Treatment of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – A Progress Report (N1.002) Andrew Zimmerman, Eileen Diggins, Susan Connors, Kanwaljit Singh • Neurology Apr 2018, 90 (15 Supplement) N1.002

Singh K, Connors SL, Macklin EA, Smith KD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zimmerman AW. Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 28;111(43):15550-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1416940111. Epub 2014 Oct 13. PMID: 25313065; PMCID: PMC4217462.

McGuinness G, Kim Y. Sulforaphane treatment for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. EXCLI J. 2020 Jun 26;19:892-903. doi: 10.17179/excli2020-2487. PMID: 33013262; PMCID: PMC7527484.

 

14. SFN FIGHTS INFLAMMATION

Inflammation is the single most important driver of human aging, and it is a factor in cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  Virtually all people who live to be 100 have very low inflammation.

 

SFN has been shown in multiple studies to significantly reduce markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein and IL-6.

 

These markers are known to have profound effects on overall health, energy level and cognition.

Jiang Y, Wu SH, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Ji BT, Milne GL, Cai Q, Zhang X, Gao YT, Zheng W, Yang G. Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely correlated with circulating levels of proinflammatory markers in women. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 May;114(5):700-8.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.12.019. Epub 2014 Mar 13. PMID: 24630682; PMCID: PMC4063312.

Jurk D, Wilson C, Passos JF, Oakley F, Correia-Melo C, Greaves L, Saretzki G, Fox C, Lawless C, Anderson R, Hewitt G, Pender SL, Fullard N, Nelson G, Mann J, van de Sluis B, Mann DA, von Zglinicki T. Chronic inflammation induces telomere dysfunction and accelerates ageing in mice. Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 24;2:4172. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5172. PMID: 24960204; PMCID: PMC4090717.

Arai Y, Martin-Ruiz CM, Takayama M, Abe Y, Takebayashi T, Koyasu S, Suematsu M, Hirose N, von Zglinicki T. Inflammation, But Not Telomere Length, Predicts Successful Ageing at Extreme Old Age: A Longitudinal Study of Semi-supercentenarians. EBioMedicine. 2015 Jul 29;2(10):1549-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.07.029. PMID: 26629551; PMCID: PMC4634197.

Navarro SL, Schwarz Y, Song X, Wang CY, Chen C, Trudo SP, Kristal AR, Kratz M, Eaton DL, Lampe JW. Cruciferous vegetables have variable effects on biomarkers of systemic inflammation in a randomized controlled trial in healthy young adults. J Nutr. 2014 Nov;144(11):1850-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.197434. Epub 2014 Aug 27. PMID: 25165394; PMCID: PMC4195422.

Parvin Mirmiran, Zahra Bahadoran, Farhad Hosseinpanah, Amitis Keyzad, Fereidoun Azizi, Effects of broccoli sprout with high sulforaphane concentration on inflammatory markers in type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, Journal of Functional Foods,Volume 4, Issue 4, 2012, Pages 837-841, ISSN 1756-4646

 

15. SFN HELPS DIABETICS REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR

Studies have shown that people with Type 2 diabetes can reduce their fasting blood glucose by 20% or more by consuming SFN.

 

Animal studies have provided strong evidence that SFN can help all of us maintain blood sugar at healthy levels.

Axelsson AS, Tubbs E, Mecham B, Chacko S, Nenonen HA, Tang Y, Fahey JW, Derry JMJ, Wollheim CB, Wierup N, Haymond MW, Friend SH, Mulder H, Rosengren AH. Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Jun 14;9(394):eaah4477. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah4477. PMID: 28615356.

Joseph, Erica. Sulforaphane for Glucose Control in Diabetics.  Natural Medicine Journal. September 2017 Vol. 9 Issue 9.

Tubbs E, Axelsson AS, Vial G, Wollheim CB, Rieusset J, Rosengren AH. Sulforaphane improves disrupted ER-mitochondria interactions and suppresses exaggerated hepatic glucose production. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2018 Feb 5;461:205-214. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.09.016. Epub 2017 Sep 18. PMID: 28923347.

 

16. SFN PROTECTS A CRUCIAL ANTI-CANCER GENE

The p53 gene is central to the study of cancer prevention and treatment.  More than 50% of adult cancers have a broken p53 gene.

 

SFN has been shown to protect the p53 gene from degradation or damage.

 

This indicates a potential key role for SFN in helping to prevent a wide range of cancers.

Clarke JD, Dashwood RH, Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):291-304. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.04.018. Epub 2008 May 27. PMID: 18504070; PMCID: PMC2579766.

Asher G, Lotem J, Sachs L, Kahana C, Shaul Y. Mdm-2 and ubiquitin-independent p53 proteasomal degradation regulated by NQO1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Oct 1;99(20):13125-30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.202480499. Epub 2002 Sep 13. PMID: 12232053; PMCID: PMC130597.

Role of Nrf2 and NQO1 in the attenuation of oxygen-mediated pulmonary toxicity by sulforaphane. Renjithkumar Kalikkot Thekkeveedu, Chun Chu, Bhagavatula Moorthy Pediatrics May 2018, 142 (1 MeetingAbstract) 178; DOI: 10.1542/peds.142.1_MeetingAbstract.178

Soussi T, Wiman KG. Shaping genetic alterations in human cancer: the p53 mutation paradigm. Cancer Cell. 2007 Oct;12(4):303-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2007.10.001. PMID: 17936556.

Asher G, Lotem J, Kama R, Sachs L, Shaul Y. NQO1 stabilizes p53 through a distinct pathway. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Mar 5;99(5):3099-104. doi: 10.1073/pnas.052706799. Epub 2002 Feb 26. PMID: 11867746; PMCID: PMC122479.

 

17. SFN HELPS PREVENT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Studies have shown that people who consume higher levels of SFN have lower risk of heart disease.

 

This is not surprising, since SFN has been shown to prevent inflammation and to lower ‘bad cholesterol’, which are both considered risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Bai Y, Wang X, Zhao S, Ma C, Cui J, Zheng Y. Sulforaphane Protects against Cardiovascular Disease via Nrf2 Activation. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015:407580. doi: 10.1155/2015/407580. Epub 2015 Oct 25. PMID: 26583056; PMCID: PMC4637098.

Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Yang G, Li H, Gao J, Cai H, Gao YT, Zheng W. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):240-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009340. Epub 2011 May 18. PMID: 21593509; PMCID: PMC3127519.

Evans PC. The influence of sulforaphane on vascular health and its relevance to nutritional approaches to prevent cardiovascular disease. EPMA J. 2011 Mar;2(1):9-14. doi: 10.1007/s13167-011-0064-3. Epub 2011 Feb 12. PMID: 23199123; PMCID: PMC3405367.

Xin Y, Bai Y, Jiang X, Zhou S, Wang Y, Wintergerst KA, Cui T, Ji H, Tan Y, Cai L. Sulforaphane prevents angiotensin II-induced cardiomyopathy by activation of Nrf2 via stimulating the Akt/GSK-3ß/Fyn pathway. Redox Biol. 2018 May;15:405-417. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2017.12.016. Epub 2018 Jan 2. PMID: 29353218; PMCID: PMC5975128.

 

18. POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF SFN TO COVID-19

As of this writing, no clinical studies of SFN applied to COVID-19 have been performed. However, SFN has been shown to be effective against the flu virus—specifically by reducing the viral load inside the nose.

 

Some scientists have published the opinion that SFN’s profound effect on the NRF2 pathway may make it effective against COVID-19, but this opinion has yet to be validated.

Cuadrado A, Pajares M, Benito C, Jiménez-Villegas J, Escoll M, Fernández-Ginés R, Garcia Yagüe AJ, Lastra D, Manda G, Rojo AI, Dinkova-Kostova AT. Can Activation of NRF2 Be a Strategy against COVID-19? Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2020 Sep;41(9):598-610. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2020.07.003. Epub 2020 Jul 14. PMID: 32711925; PMCID: PMC7359808.

Kim J. Sulforaphane as a Treatment for COVID-19. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. 2020 Apr 4.

Müller L, Meyer M, Bauer RN, Zhou H, Zhang H, Jones S, Robinette C, Noah TL, Jaspers I. Effect of Broccoli Sprouts and Live Attenuated Influenza Virus on Peripheral Blood Natural Killer Cells: A Randomized, Double-Blind Study. PLoS One. 2016 Jan 28;11(1):e0147742. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147742. PMID: 26820305; PMCID: PMC4731143.

DOSAGE

Most human studies that use pure SFN have subjects take 40mg to 60mg per day.

 

Many studies use other forms of SFN that deliver smaller quantities and still show significant benefits.

Cipolla BG, Mandron E, Lefort JM, Coadou Y, Della Negra E, Corbel L, Le Scodan R, Azzouzi AR, Mottet N. Effect of Sulforaphane in Men with Biochemical Recurrence after Radical Prostatectomy. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Aug;8(8):712-9. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0459. Epub 2015 May 12. PMID: 25968598.

Fahey JW, Wade KL, Wehage SL, Holtzclaw WD, Liu H, Talalay P, Fuchs E, Stephenson KK. Stabilized sulforaphane for clinical use: Phytochemical delivery efficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Apr;61(4). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600766. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PMID: 27935214.

G. Cancel-Tassin, V. Ondet, C. Gaffory, C. Orsoni, T. Efstathiou, O. Cussenot, Effets pharmacogénomique du Prostaphane® sur des cellules cancéreuses de prostate, Progrès en Urologie, Volume 25, Issue 13, 2015, Pages 837-839, ISSN 1166-7087

PRECURSORS

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables don’t contain pure sulforaphane. They contain its precursor, glucoraphanin (AKA “sulforaphane glucosinolate”) and an enzyme, myrosinase.

 

When you chew the vegetable, the two are combined, and sulforaphane is produced in your body.

Myrosinase can be inactivated by heat, so the amount of SFN you get from cooked vegetables is highly variable.

Fahey JW, Wade KL, Wehage SL, Holtzclaw WD, Liu H, Talalay P, Fuchs E, Stephenson KK. Stabilized sulforaphane for clinical use: Phytochemical delivery efficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Apr;61(4). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600766. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PMID: 27935214.

BIOAVAILABILITY

“Bioavailability” refers to the proportion of a substance that enters circulation in your body, enabling it to have an active effect.

 

Below are approximate bioavailability percentages:

Pure sulforaphane: 70%

 

Glucoraphanin (AKA sulforaphane glucosinolate) + myrosinase: 30%

 

Glucoraphanin (AKA sulforaphane glucosinolate) without myrosinase: 10%

Fahey JW, Wade KL, Wehage SL, Holtzclaw WD, Liu H, Talalay P, Fuchs E, Stephenson KK. Stabilized sulforaphane for clinical use: Phytochemical delivery efficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Apr;61(4). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600766. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PMID: 27935214.

HOW TO GET YOUR SFN

If you want to get your SFN directly from a vegetable, your best bet is fresh, uncooked broccoli sprouts.  But you won’t know exactly how much active SFN you’re getting.

 

Alternatively, you can take a supplement.  

 

Most SFN supplements contain glucoraphanin—not sulforaphane—meaning the bioavailability will be 10% to 30%.

 

To get 70% bioavailability, you’d need to find a supplement with pure stabilized sulforaphane.

 

Be sure to look for independent lab results from the manufacturer, documenting actual sulforaphane content.

Fahey JW, Wade KL, Wehage SL, Holtzclaw WD, Liu H, Talalay P, Fuchs E, Stephenson KK. Stabilized sulforaphane for clinical use: Phytochemical delivery efficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Apr;61(4). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600766. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PMID: 27935214.