Regular consumption of Broccoli has many proven benefits, but the most significant set of benefits come from two key compounds: Glucoraphanin and Sulforaphane. They have been the focus of over 650 scientific publications.
Sulforaphane is responsible for the following benefits:
Supports the body’s detoxification processes
Protects cells and more importantly cellular DNA from damage which is the instigator of cancer!
Activates more than 200 genes
Supports normal cell division and growth
Boost endogenous anti-oxidant production
Supports gut health
Supports regeneration of cartilage
Supports Bladder and Prostate Health
Supports Respiratory Health
Helps prevent and treat multiple forms of cancer including prostate, stomach cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, throat cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, and breast cancer to name a few!
Sulforaphane is actually produced from Glucoraphanin in broccoli through the action of an enzyme called myrosinase produced by intestinal bacteria or contained in some foods.
Here is where the challenge lies! Cook broccoli too much and you destroy the Glucoraphanin and the myrosinase. Eating it raw is problematic for sulforaphane production as well so it is really hard to get this just right. Also for many people the taste of broccoli is really unpleasant. In addition to obtain therapeutic amounts of sulforaphane you need to eat about 2 pounds of broccoli each week!
Endogenous vs Exogenous Anti-Oxidants
Everyone has heard of anti-oxidants which are a crucial part of our physiology. Anti-oxidants come through two key sources: from chemicals in food (particularly plants) know as exogenous antioxidants, and from the body producing its own supply of anti-oxidants known as endogenous anti-oxidants. Although both play important roles in health, endogenous anti-oxidants are much more crucial and important to overall health and disease prevention.
In general, Endogenous Anti-Oxidants cannot be consumed and must be generated by the cells of the body. As we age the body produces progressively lower quantities of these vital substances, but there are substances which ramp up endogenous anti-oxidant production. Sulforaphane is one of the most potent substances for increasing the production of endogenous anti-oxidant production and dramatically increasing the detoxification of the many toxins that we encounter in our environment, food and drink. This is critically important for health and one of the most important ways to prevent cancer!
Obtaining Sulforaphane without eating broccoli
The good news is that broccoli sprouts contain 10 – 50 times more sulforaphane that one ounce of broccoli sprouts contain the same amount of sulforaphane as 1.5 pounds of broccoli. So fresh broccoli sprouts are a great alternative and have a light taste. However, some people’s gut contains less than optimal levels of the right types of bacteria which are key for producing the necessary quantities of myrosinase so production of sulforaphane can be limited.
A great way to insure you get myrosinase is to add a little horseradish, mustard, or wasabi (has to be REAL wasabi which is rare) because all of these foods are high in myrosinase. Horseradish contains much larger amounts of myrosinase than broccoli or broccoli sprouts and ALSO contains glucoraphanin so adding a little to broccoli or broccoli sprouts will dramatically boost the benefits. Just a little real horseradish (teaspoon is more than enough) is all you need!
Sulforaphane is not stable as a supplement so consuming it by itself is not a good strategy. That being said there are supplements made from broccoli sprouts and broccoli seeds that contain significant quantities of Glucoraphanin and Myrosinase which generate significant quantities of Sulforaphane when consumed. Broccomax contains standardized quantities of myrosinase and glucoraphanin and is proven to generate significant quantities of sulforaphane in the body, and Mercola Fermented Broccoli Sprouts also provides similar benefits. Both can be found from multiple sources on the internet.