What is Sulforaphane?

Sulforaphane is a compound within the Isothiocyanate group of organosulfur compounds. It is identified in broccoli sprouts (which has the highest concentration of Sulforaphane), Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Bok choy, kale, collards, Chinese broccoli, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, arugula, and watercress.

It is produced when the enzyme myrosinase transforms glucoraphanin into Sulforaphane upon damage to the plant (such as from chewing), which allows the two compounds to mix and react.

Sulforaphane accumulates in brain, prostate, liver, colon, lung, kidney, and the small intestine mucosa as well as plasma.

Basic research shows it may affect neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, spinal cord injury or gastric diseases, and autism. In laboratory studies, Sulforaphane has shown toxicity to a number of human cancer cell lines, including prostate, breast, ovarian, colon and pancreatic cancer, and in animal studies it decreased metastases of prostate cancer.

How Sulforaphane Works in Cancer
  • It seems that the activating of MAPKs in prostatic cancer cells is due to the release of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas
  • Mechanistically, it inhibits the activation of HDAC6 which then reduces the ability of androgens to signal through the prostate
  • Appears to be an effective kidney protective compound during periods of toxin or physical stressors to the kidneys, with protection only existing during periods of Sulforaphane consumption
  • One other study measuring apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells (PaCa-2 and Panc-1) in vitro noted synergism with, Curcumin, and Aspirin
  • Synergistic with Curcumin in regards to anti-inflammatory actions in Macrophages.
  • Sulforaphane acts as a Histone Deacetylase inhibitor at concentrations that can be achieved in serum
  • Sulforaphane appears to act on the prototypical anti-inflammatory mechanism of inhibiting NF-kB translocation, a mechanism which disrupts inflammatory signals to the nucleus.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects of Sulforaphane are mediated by preventing NF-kB from translocating to the nucleus, which disrupts pro-inflammatory signals from the cytosol and serum from acting in the nucleus
  • Hydrogen sulfide is one of the three major gasotransmitters alongside with nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. Sulforaphane can release hydrogen sulfide in the body following oral ingestion, suggesting that many of its mechanisms would parallel that of garlic or SAMe (other H2S releasing supplements)
  • Possibly secondary to these mechanisms, Sulforaphane has been found to inhibit cancerous cell growth and induce apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro.
  • Sulforaphane is confirmed to reach the prostate following oral ingestion, and it appears to bioaccumulate in the concentrations required for its mechanisms of action
  • One study assessing possible nutrient interactions noted, with Curcumin and EGCG form Green Tea Catechins tested in LNCaP cells alongside Sulforaphane, that pairing either of the two nutraceuticals with Sulforaphane showed efficacy in reducing cell proliferation relative to control and combining all three trended to be more significant.

Scientific Support & Reference Citations