Sulforaphane Benefits

What is Sulforaphane?

Sulforaphane is found in sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cabbage. The highest concentration of sulforaphane (SFN) is found in broccoli sprouts. The naturally occurring compound glucoraphanin, is converted to SFN when exposed to an enzyme called myrosinase. SFN is linked to many health benefits associated with cruciferous vegetables.

The Benefits of Sulforaphane

  • Antioxidant – protective against free radical damage, which can hinder the production of healthy cells. Free radicals accumulate as a result of pollution, toxins, UV damage and inflammatory foods.
  • Anti-Cancer – inhibits carcinogens from damaging DNA. Research indicates it can also inhibit DNA mutations and trigger apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. 
  • Blood Sugar Balance – reduces fasting glucose, and lowers blood sugar.
  • Anti-pathogenic – Studies have show it to be beneficial for addressing a variety of pathogens, including H. pylori and COVID-19.
  • Detoxification – enhances the production of detoxification enzymes.
  • Brain Benefits – because SNF has an affinity for the brain, it has the potential to reduce mental decline and improve recovery post brain injury.

Sulforaphane Activation

As mentioned previously SFN is activated when glucoraphanin and myrosinase are combined. Myrosinase functions as a defense mechanism in plants, by releasing a mustard oil bomb that is toxic to herbivores and pests. But when we consume cruciferous vegetables, we experience the benefits of SFN as a result of glucoraphanin converting to SFN, with the help of the myrosinase. Chopping and chewing cruciferous vegetables releases the myrosinase enzyme. Consuming cruciferous vegetables raw, provides the highest concentration of SFN.

What are Cruciferous Vegetables?

  • Broccoli & broccoli sprouts
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Watercress
  • Collards
  • Radish

Supplementation

SFN is available in supplement form- capsules, powders and even in skincare products. For the most SFN benefit, supplements should contain both broccoli seed extract and myrosinase. Some companies are showing the benefits can last up to 72 hours. For preventative measures, dosing a couple times a week can be beneficial. A daily or therapeutic dose may be more appropriate for addressing specific concerns listed above.