Sulforaphane (broccoli)

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Sulforaphane is associated with several health benefits, particularly cardiovascular and brain health. Want to know more about it?

Sulforaphane is a compound that is present in some vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale. It is a type of isothiocyanate that is mainly responsible for the health benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables.

In particular, it is noted for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It is also thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease, some cancers and autism. What does science say about it? Here are the details.


Benefits of sulforaphane

For a number of years, scientists have been investigating the possible positive health effects of sulforaphane. And although further investigation is needed, some of them can be detailed.
  • Cancer prevention
On numerous occasions, a high intake of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower incidence of cancer. This is largely due to the presence of isothiocyanates, notably sulforaphane.

As Su, Jiang, Meng and other authors point out, the mechanisms involved are diverse. The result is inhibition of tumour growth and activation of apoptosis (cancer cell death). Similarly, due to antioxidant activity, it is possible to stop DNA damage, mutations and inflammation.

It is these actions that allow us to think of sulforaphane as a chemopreventive agent in some cancers (bladder, cervical, breast, lung, prostate or colon). It could also improve the effectiveness of a commonly used chemotherapy drug.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that most studies have been conducted with sulforaphane extract. In addition, the effects have been tested on animals. Therefore, the possible positive effect on humans is unknown.
  • Cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in many countries around the world. Because of this, ways to reduce its impact and improve the quality of life of those affected have become a public health issue.

In this respect, sulforaphane has aroused some interest, as its antioxidant activity is beneficial. Studies in both humans and animals have shown a protective effect against hypertension, atherosclerosis and diabetes. Therefore, it is thought that it may protect against heart disease.
  • Autism
The Journal of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States has published a study to evaluate the use of sulforaphane as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder. The results show an improvement in the behaviour of those affected.

This advance is thought to be linked to protective activity against oxidative stress, inflammation and DNA damage. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
  • Neurodegenerative pathologies
This was another area of research that made it possible to assess sulforaphane's ability to activate various protective responses that could prevent neurodegeneration. Thus, it would improve memory and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis.


Sulforaphane Properties

  • Cleanses the cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of myocardial infarction,
  • destroys Helicobacter pylori bacteria,
  • improves digestion,
  • stops protein sugaring, i.e. protects the body's cells from being destroyed by sugar consumption,
  • increases testosterone levels,
  • restores brain tissue after injuries and strokes,
  • eases the condition of asthma and viral respiratory infections,
  • reduces chronic inflammation,
  • protects eyesight,
  • blocks the secretion of joint-destroying enzymes, i.e. preserves bone integrity and inhibits the development of osteoporosis,
  • activates the antioxidant glutathione and genes that inhibit tumour growth and eliminate carcinogens from the body; suppresses breast cancer stem cells,
  • removes toxins and free radicals from the body.



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