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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Blyth

Sulforaphane's Coming of Age

We enjoy reading the scientific publications on Sulforaphane. They are complicated and filled with medical jargon. But they are so rich with proof and evidence of the benefits of Sulforaphane. I encourage you to read this blog post and if you're brave, read the cited publication at the end. It's renewed my love for my health. And sprouting is easy! I take vitamin supplements daily but sprouting is better than all of them! Fresh is best. Grown from my own kitchen. Enjoy! Lindsay

We live in an era where modern medicine is strongly focused on the relief of symptoms with pharmaceuticals. It is apparent that with the most serious diseases, pharmaceuticals only provide short-lived symptomatic relief. Looking back in the past, the global disease burden we faced was infectious diseases. Thankfully with the introduction of better hygiene practices, we overcame the plague, small pox and rubella. But our more recent decades have seen a steady increase in levels of mortality rates from chronic disease. There is a steep incline in the global prevalence of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes so much so that it has reached epidemic proportions.

In good news, recent scientific research has brought to light something that can trigger the body’s natural cellular defence mechanism and this can combat cancer, cardiovascular diseases and illnesses caused by oxidative stress.

Looking back at the last 2 decades, there is an abundance of information on Whole-Food Plant-Based diets and claims they can cure disease and cancer. It’s common knowledge that what you eat affects your health and to eliminate processed foods that can cause oxidative stress. Plants have an extensive range of bioactive phytochemicals functioning via different mechanisms and have significant healing potential in human health. A phytochemical by definition is a plant-derived chemical substance that is biologically active but non-nutritive, i.e. affects the body but has no calories. Although pharmaceutical medicine has historically looked to plants as the source of starting materials for drug development, the resulting medicine is quite different from the original plant-derived source. So to be able get therapeutic medicinal benefits from a direct food source has sparked a keen scientific interest in Sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane is derived in the highest amount from young broccoli sprouts. The Johns Hopkins group found that the 3-day germinated broccoli seed contained 20-50 times more of Sulforaphane than the mature broccoli vegetable and has absolute bioavailability of around 80%, which is immensely higher than commonly used dietary supplements. To be bio-available, something needs to induce adequate gene expression in the target gene and be measurable in the bloodstream. Broccoli-derived Sulforaphane is capable of activating the transcription factor, Nrf2, which in turn activates the Antioxidant Response Element (ARE) of several hundred identified genes; many of which are related to cellular defence processes. It has the potential to modulate the expression of genes associated with metabolic cycles, detoxification of harmful substances, anti-inflammation, and antimicrobial capacity, all key components of the upstream cellular defence processes. What is emerging is that diseases known to be affected by oxidative stress are more responsive to amplification of cellular defences via Nrf2 activation than by administration of direct-acting antioxidant supplements.

Although Sulforaphane is most often associated with the induction of antioxidant and Phase 2 detoxification enzymes, other mechanisms are associated with this phytochemical molecule; including but not limited to the induction of apoptotic pathways, suppression of cell cycle progression, inhibition of angiogenesis and anti-inflammatory activity, and inhibition of metastasis, primarily relevant to cancer.

Of the phytochemicals with Nrf2 inducer capacity, Sulforaphane from 4-day old broccoli sprouts is the most potent, naturally occurring compound, known at this time. It is not only a potent Nrf2 inducer but also highly bioavailable so that modest doses can produce significant clinical responses. The daily Sulforaphane dose found to achieve beneficial outcomes in most of the available clinical trials is around 20-40 mg. That is approximately ½ cup of fresh 4 day old sprouts, easily consumed daily.

Consume fresh broccoli sprouts. You can grow them easily in your kitchen and have access to this anti-oxidant triggering compound. Read further into the science of Sulforaphane and how it can help a wide range of illnesses. They're as safe to consume as regular broccoli but with higher benefits.

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