Sulforaphane is a phytochemical that is part of the isothiocyanates family; phytochemicals have antioxidant activity. It is an anti-wonder! Anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-microbial properties are all of its attributes, plus more that are still being discovered and studied. It was first identified in broccoli sprouts, and the research exploded from there. Sulforaphane has many beneficial properties that can help the human body with different things; just what we need! There is not an exact amount that we have to get each day because it is not necessary to the functioning of the body; however, if we do eat it, it will do nothing but help us. If you’re at risk for cancer, you may find it very beneficial and it can give a sense of safety in all that it does in fighting off cancer-causing agents. There is a recommended amount to eat in order to receive its benefits: 200-400 micrograms per day; because there is no RDA, we cannot be deficient in this phytochemical. Here is everything you need to know about this antioxidant.
The world of research is always an exciting thing; the more we know about nutrients, antioxidants, and any other sort of substance imaginable, the better off we will be as a human race. Some “items” being researched are well beyond the stages of understanding and have moved into the stages of past knowledge, while other items have just been introduced into the researching world. Researchers are always looking for things to help cure diseases, or at least help fight them off, and that has been found with sulforaphane (among many other things).
Health Benefits of Sulforaphane
Sulforaphane has been identified to have effects on our health. A lot of it is scientific related and is a bit confusing, but the gist of it is antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are free-radical fighting agents. Free radicals that are “floating” in our bodies can cause DNA mutations and other such problems; they are also capable of starting cancer. One mutation in a cell can turn into something cancerous and then it’s just a domino effect from there. Besides fighting cancer, however, sulforaphane is believed to help with diabetes and in preventing microbial problems; it is also said to help with the skin in preventing cancer on that front. No side effects have been reported as of now.
Anti-cancer activity. Studies show that people who consume sulforaphane have a lower incidence of cancer, particularly breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Once sulforaphane enters the body, it immediately starts fighting against carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and free radicals (as defined above). It releases enzymes (referred to as phase 2 enzymes) that perform this job. They catch the cancer-causing agents before they can damage any cells or molecules in the body. It has shown the ability to detoxify a number of carcinogens.
How it Works
Sulforaphane is a glucosinolate phytochemical. The enzyme myrosinase transforms glucoraphanin (which is a glucosinolate) into sulforaphane; this occurs upon damage to the plant, such as through chewing. Research is still happening about more things that sulforaphane can be beneficial for.
Sources of Sulforaphane
The highest concentration of sulforaphane is found in broccoli sprouts. However, there are other sources of the phytochemical; they are other cruciferous vegetables. Aged broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, Chinese broccoli, broccoli rabe, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, arugala, and watercress are good sources of it.
There are extracts of broccoli sprouts that can be bought for consumption if you’re interested in the activity of this phytochemical. It is important to consult with a doctor before taking a supplement, even though there aren’t any side effects that are known.