Advanced research in the usefulness of plant compounds in a diet led to the discovery of sulforaphane; a natural plant compound gotten from broccoli ,brussel sprouts, and other cruciferous plants. The compound is found to have several positive effects on the immune system including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. These interesting properties have caused health experts to further their research into its application in possibly preventing cancer, and heart and brain pathologies.
Sulforaphane naturally occurring in cruciferous plants is found in an inactive form called glucoraphanin. This resting compound is converted to the active form by an enzyme myrosinase. This enzyme is activated by chewing or chopping, and the activation process can also be triggered by bacteria found in the gut.
In this article, we shall be discussing the practical application of Sulforaphane, its health benefits, recommended dosage, and possible side effects.
- Active ingredient(s): Sulforaphane
- Alternate names: Sulphoraphane, sulforafan, 1-Isothiocyanato-4 (methylsulfinyl)butane
- Legal status: Available over the counter (OTC)
- Suggested dose: No standard recommended dose; discuss with a medical personnel of choice.
- Safety considerations: High doses may cause sedation, weakened dexterity, and reduced muscle strength. Sulforaphane may interact with anticonvulsant medication.
Practical applications of Sulforaphane
Sulforaphane can be commercially consumed as a supplement. Self-medication is not recommended and supplements should be prescribed by medical personnel such as a doctor, pharmacist, or nutritionist. Research surrounding sulforaphane is not concerning its ability to cure or treat disease but its contribution in possibly lowering the risk of health conditions such as cancer, health disease, blood sugar, and several brain defeats.
Among other properties like its anti-inflammatory effects which directly contribute to cancer prevention as inflammation contributes to tumor formation, Sulfophane also contains chemoprotective effects. This is its ability to interrupt the possible attachment of carcinogens to DNA. These properties have caused medical research to look into its further application in cancer treatment.
Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects also have a positive effect on our cardiovascular health. Oxidants negatively affect blood flow and body inflammations are seen to be common symptoms of many cardiovascular diseases, its positive properties have caused researchers to further investigate its capacity in preventing heart disease.
Protects the brain
Sulforaphane supplement may play a role in keeping your brain more active for a longer time, in more neurological terms, it protects brain function and cognition for longer periods. Some studies conducted in 2016 documented in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, showed that during an experiment conducted on rats put into a state of hyperammonemia, which is a state where there are high levels of ammonia in the blood, it was seen that sulforaphane had reversed the events of cognitive disruption.
Sulforaphane may also aid in the prevention of other neurological defects such as Alzheimer’s disease by increasing the effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF).
These factors play a role in protecting neurons from early apoptosis and promoting the growth of new cells in the brain. 2018 studies also showed that its inflammatory, antioxidant and Anti-tumor effects also contribute to its protective effects against brain diseases.
Helps in weight loss and prevents obesity
A hormone called leptin, which is mainly produced in the small intestine and fat tissues helps regulate the feeling of hunger or fullness ensuring a consumer eats just the right amounts at the right times. It also helps to manage the storage of fat in the body. High leptin levels help to signal the brain that a consumer is full and should stop eating, It also informs the brain that you have enough fat stored and there is no need for more.
Scientists studying the use and effects of concentrated forms of sulforaphane such as glucoraphanin on the human body usually make use of an extract rather than a food source. The glucoraphanin is converted to sulforaphane in the stomach by bacteria containing a myrosinase-like enzyme. However, the use of these supplements does not provide a consumer with the same amount of sulforaphane they would be getting if they ate fresh broccoli sprouts. This is because the myrosinase enzyme cannot be activated without cutting or chewing the whole food. In summary, regardless of the taste of broccoli, it has adverse positive health effects on the body of a consumer.