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Sulforaphane is an organosulfur compound found in high concentrations in broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, but also available as a supplement. If there was one compound that you should aim to get more of it would be sulforaphane. Intake of cruciferous vegetables high in this compound has been consistently shown to be beneficial for human health.
When I first started eating cruciferous vegetables, I wasn’t really a fan. In fact, I had to get used to the taste, which took me a few days. But eventually I made it through and broccoli became one of my favorite foods to eat and a staple in my diet.
We all know that vegetables are good for us, but so many people avoid eating them. This is really unfortunate as they offer many health benefits. One of the reasons people often give for avoiding cruciferous vegetables is the taste. Taking a supplement is one way around it.
There are many supplements to choose from, but only a few provide a decent amount of sulforaphane. The best sulforaphane supplements are the ones which contain active myrosinase.
There are cheap options like Jarrow Formula – Brocco Max which provides myrosinase and would be a great choice if you want quality but you’re on a budget. While other more expensive options are also available and have been used in clinical studies. (Scroll down for more details).
Now let’s have a look how this compound works to improve health and protect against disease! 🙂
How does sulforaphane work to improve health?
There are many ways that sulforaphane is able to protect against disease. It’s known for its ability to boost antioxidant protection, reduce inflammation, and remove harmful substances from the body.
Sulforaphane is a potent activator of the NRF2 pathway and this is one of the reasons behind its amazing health benefits. Many animal studies and population studies in humans have been conducted over the years on vegetable intake and the risk of common diseases like heart disease and cancer.
One thing that keeps popping up in these studies as a significant factor in the development of cancer is how often people eat cruciferous vegetables.
How many servings of cruciferous vegetables do you need to eat per week to decrease the risk?
According to some studies, just three to five servings per week can reduce the risk of cancer by 30-40%.  Consuming broccoli sprouts would get you most sulforaphane due to its high amount of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin.
Sulforaphane works in many ways to protect against cancer
- It’s is a potent inducer of phase II enzymes – responsible for enhancing the excretion of harmful carcinogens in the body which can lead to cancer. . Sulforaphane is also a potent activator of glutathione S-transferase and increases intracellular glutathione activity in human cells.
- It inhibits phase I enzymes – These P450 enzymes are responsible for the activation of pro-carcinogens and cause cancer.
- Encourages death of cancer cells – It increases the expression of pro-apoptotic genes involved in cell death while leaving healthy cells alone.
- Blocks inflammation – It suppresses and blocks the activation of transcription factors such as NF-Kappa B which is a key regular in inflammation and the encouragement of cancer cell growth.
- Restores immune function – Studies show that it’s able to boost natural killer cells and restore immune function which has declined because of aging. The ability of the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells is crucial for cancer protection.
- Inhibit blood vessel growth – The compound may inhibit or reduce the growth of blood vessels which feed tumors.
There are also many other benefits of sulforaphane!
- Anti-viral – It’s shown to have antiviral activity against many viruses including HPV, influenza, Epstein-bar virus and hepatitis virus.
- Anti-bacterial – It can inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria like Mycobacterium and H.Pylori
- Autism – In a study using sulforaphane, researchers observed an improvement in behavioral symptoms associated with autism. The improvement was significant with 54% having a significant reduction in abnormal behavior, 46% had improved social interaction, and 42% had improvements in verbal communication. Sulforaphane has also been shown to reduce levels of oxidative stress, inflammation and other markers associated with the condition. 
- Cholesterol benefits – Reduces LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Although protects LDL against oxidation.
- Anti-glycation – Reduces advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are responsible for hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, diabetes, skin aging and more.
- Neurodegenerative disease – It has the ability to induce the expression of heat shock proteins which may help reduce the incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
These are just some of the amazing health benefits, but there are many more! Cruciferous vegetables also provide other compounds such as I3C and DIM that are also important in the benefits of broccoli, kale, sprouts, and other vegetables in this family.
After you finish here, check out this video for more benefits.
How to choose the best sulforaphane supplement?
There are many different supplements available which promise to deliver a large amount of sulforaphane, but the amount of sulforaphane you get can vary wildly. This is not only dependent on how the supplement was formulated but also depends on the person taking the supplement.
Some supplements use mature broccoli extract, which has the least amount of sulforaphane, while other popular supplements are using broccoli seed extract (Jarrow) or broccoli sprouts.
To get the most sulforaphane, you want to choose a supplement which uses part of the plant which at most is days old. Pharmaceutical grade broccoli seed extract supplement tends to be a lot more expensive, provide a much higher amount of sulforaphane, and are also the ones used in clinical trials.
What if you wanted to get sulforaphane from food?
According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick (video above), the amount of sulforaphane you would get from every 1 gram of fresh broccoli sprout would be around 2.4 micromoles (0.425 mg). So in order to get between 40 to 60 mg of sulforaphane, you’d have to eat between 100 – 140 grams of broccoli sprouts.
For comparison, each serving of Avmacol Broccoli extract blend has 44 micromoles.
One way to get the most out of cheaper broccoli powder supplements which don’t contain active myrosinase is to take a broccoli sprout extract powder supplement and eat broccoli sprouts which contain the enzyme. This way the sprouts which contain the myrosinase can hydrolyze glucoraphanin from the supplement.
If this is manageable for you, then go with eating fresh broccoli sprouts, if not, check out some of the supplements below.
#1. Avmacol Sulforaphane Supplement – Used in the US and International clinical trials
If you want to one of the best and highest quality sulforaphane supplements, then it’d be a good idea to go for pharmaceutical grade or supplements used in clinical trials. And that’s exactly what Avmacol supplement provides you.
It contains 350 mg of its proprietary broccoli extract blend which contains over 25 mg of glucoraphanin and also active myrosinase.
Avmacol products have been validated by human tested with the detection of sulforaphane metabolites in the urine. They measured an average sulforaphane product of 44 micromoles of sulforaphane per serving. This varies due to differences in gut bacteria and metabolism.
#2. Onco Plus Max – Concentrated Brocco Raphanin from Broccoli Seed Extract – Pharmaceutical Grade
Each 500 mg of BroccoRaphanin capsule contains a standardized extract which contains 10% sulforaphane. To get the equivalent amount of from your diet, you would need to consume 100 grams of fresh broccoli sprouts.
This sulforaphane supplement was created from a proprietary form of broccoli seed which was grown and processed in the United States. Using very clean and non-toxic extraction methods (supercritical CO2 extraction).
Compared with many other supplements available Onco Plus Max contains one of the highest doses of glucoraphanin.
#3. Jarrow Formula – Brocco Max Capsules containing 30 mg of sulforaphane glucosinolate
A proprietary blend which contains myrosinase enzyme which is needed to convert glucosinolates into sulforaphane.
Tests have shown that BroccoMax yields at least 8 mg of pure sulforaphane potential per capsule, which is considerably higher than many other supplements available.
The process by which the supplement is manufactured is also standardized to deliver the highest purity and quality, and the ingredients are encapsulated for delayed release. This ensures that you get the maximum amount of sulforaphane possible.
The addition of calcium ascorbate in the supplement also facilitates the conversion of glucoraphanin into sulforaphane when it reaches the intestine.
Compared to other sulforaphane supplements, this one is relatively cheap and provides a significant amount of sulforaphane per dose.