Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale contain a powerful and biologically active antioxidant – glucoraphanin1. Through a process called hydrolysis, sulfur-containing glucoraphanin is metabolized into the biologically active isothiocynate sulforaphane, which is associated with a variety of positive effects stemming from its antioxidant activity2,3.For example, sulforaphane2,3:
- Releases hydrogen sulfide when cooked, producing a cardioprotective effect similar to that of garlic
- Induces phase II enzymes, an important part of the body’s detoxification pathways
- Increases expression of antioxidant enzymes
- Exerts other protective antioxidant effects
uced by cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. When these glucosinolates go through hydrolysis, they enter their biologically active form, then called isothiocynates1.
A novel antioxidant is a broccoli seed extract standardized to yield 13 percent glucoraphanin, which metabolizes to sulforaphane and activates Nrf-2 pathways to produce4:
- Antioxidants for reducing oxidative stress
- Phase 2 enzymes, detoxifiers vital for the body’s natural detoxification process
Oxidative stress is a process caused by free radicals – unstable molecules formed during both natural body processes and from exposure to toxins5. Activation of Nrf-2 pathways help target harmful inflammation, thus limiting the extent and magnitude to which inflammation occurs6.
Oxidative stress and unhealthy inflammation is often a primary cause for systemic imbalances in the human body. These imbalances are connected to conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes7.
- Fahey, J.W., Zalcmann, A.T. & Talalay, P. The chemical diversity and distribution of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates among plants. Phytochemistry 2001; 56: 5-51.
- Navarro SL, Schwarz Y, Song X, et al. Cruciferous vegetables have variable effects on biomarkers of systemic inflammation in a randomized controlled trial in healthy young adults. J Nutr. 2014; 144(11):1850-7.
- Bryan, HK, Olayanju, A, Goldring, CE, Park, BK. The Nrf2 cell defense pathway: Keap1-dependent and -independent mechanisms of regulation. Biochem Pharmacol. 2013; 85(6):705-717.
- Turpaey KT. Keap 1-Nrf2 signaling pathway: mechanisms of regulation and role in protection of cells against toxicity caused by xenobiotics and electrophiles. Biochemistry (Mosc) 2013; 78(2):111-126.
- Lee, Jong Hun et al. Dietary phytochemicals and cancer prevention: Nrf2 signaling, epigenetics, and cell death mechanisms in blocking cancer initiation and progression. Pharmacol Ther 2013; 137(2): 153-171.
- Davidson, RK et al. Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis Rheum. 2013.
- Lugrin, J, Rosenblatt-Velin, N, Parapanov, R, Liaudet, L. The role of oxidative stress during inflammatory processes. Biol Chem 2013.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
We are dedicated to advancing the latest insights and information available in nutrition therapy and clinical nutrition through this site and present only the most balanced, credible and reliable clinical nutrition and science available. Partnering with some of the world’s most influential clinical investigators and institutions, information on this site is designed to keep users current in nutrition practices and improving health outcomes—because wholistic health really does matter.
Dr. Conners graduated with his doctorate from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 1986 and has been studying alternative cancer care for over 20 years. He holds AMA Fellowships in Regenerative & Functional Medicine and Integrative Cancer Therapy.
He is the author of numerous books including, Stop Fighting Cancer and Start Treating the Cause, Cancer Can’t Kill You if You’re Already Dead, Help, My Body is Killing Me, Chronic Lyme, 3 Phases of Lyme, 23 Steps to Freedom, and many more you can download for FREE on our books page.