To date, more the 6,000 studies have been conducted on the anti-cancer potential of Sulforaphane. Relevant researches shown that sulforaphane has possible anti-carcinogenic properties, possibly beneficial in fight against prostate and bladder cancer, fight obesity, beneficial in fight against H. Pylori, detoxification of airborne pollutants and skin protection against UV damage.
POSSIBLE ANTI-CARCINOGENIC PROPERTIES
Ingestion of sulforaphane as a supplement may benefit those who are fighting cancer. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sulforaphane was found to be a potent inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes in mice tissues. Sulforaphane has also been found to offer protection against tumour development in a paper published in Cancer Letters. It was found that sulforaphane blocks carcinogenesis (formation of cancer cells) by blocking certain enzymes that convert procarcinogens, substances that aren’t carcinogenic on their own but can be converted into carcinogens..
- Zhang Y, Talalay P, Cho CG, Posner GH. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992;89(6):2399–2403.
- Clarke JD, Dashwood RH, Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Letters. 2008;269:291–304. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.04.018
In a study conducted by Kanazawa University in Japan on mice, sulforaphane was found to help to fight against obesity. The mice were fed a high-fat diet, but half the mice were supplemented with sulforaphane. In the mice that were fed sulforaphane, it was found that the mice had 15 percent less weight gain and 20 percent visceral fat reduction, reduction in the rise of fatty liver and also a drop in blood glucose level. Additionally, sulforaphane was found to fight obesity by browning of adipocytes to increase energy consumption. An increase in brown adipose tissue could improve insulin sensitivity and plays an important role in bone health and density. In the same study, sulforaphane was found to improve the gut bacterial flora even after having a high-fat diet with associated inflammation of the adipose tissues and liver.
- Naoto Nagata, Liang Xu, Susumu Kohno, Yusuke Ushida, Yudai Aoki, Ryohei Umeda, Nobuo Fuke, Fen Zhuge, Yinhua Ni, Mayumi Nagashimada, Chiaki Takahashi, Hiroyuki Suganuma, Shuichi Kaneko, Tsuguhito Ota. Glucoraphanin Ameliorates Obesity and Insulin Resistance Through Adipose Tissue Browning and Reduction of Metabolic Endotoxemia in Mice. Diabetes, 2017; db160662 DOI: 10.2337/db16-0662
BENEFICIAL IN FIGHT AGAINST H. PYLORI
H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is a kind of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers which could lead to stomach cancer. A study published in the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Journal has found that sulforaphane was a ‘potent bactericidal agent’ against H. pylori in nude mice grafted with human gastric cells. All of the grafts were infected by H. pylori and then treated with sulforaphane. 8 of the 11 sulforaphane-treated grafts were found to be completely eradicated of H. pylori in a short amount of time with a dose that can be achieved in the human diet.
- Haristoy X, Angioi-Duprez K, Duprez A, Lozniewski A. Efficacy of sulforaphane in eradicating Helicobacter pylori in human gastric xenografts implanted in nude mice. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003;47:3982–84
DETOXIFICATION OF AIRBORNE POLLUTANTS
Living in a country that’s undergoing mass urbanisation means living in an environment that has higher levels of air pollution. Airborne pollutants such as radon, asbestos, formaldehyde and chromium have been associated with the rise in lung cancer cases. In a 12-week randomised clinical trial held in China, it was found that in the participants given doses of glucoraphanin and sulforaphane, they excreted higher levels of glutathione-derived conjugates of benzene and acrolein (known air pollutants) compared to participants given a placebo. This suggests that supplementation with broccoli sprouts could enhance the detoxification of airborne pollutants.
- Egner PA, Chen JG, Zarth AT, Ng DK, Wang JB, Kensler KH, Jacobson LP, Muñoz A, Johnson JL, Groopman JD, Fahey JW, Talalay P, Zhu J, Chen TY, Qian GS, Carmella SG, Hecht SS, Kensler TW, Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug; 7(8):813-823.
POSSIBLY BENEFICIAL IN FIGHT AGAINST PROSTATE AND BLADDER CANCER
A radical prostatectomy is an operation to remove the prostate gland and some surrounding tissues in order to remove prostate cancer. After a radical prostatectomy, an increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) could happen which points to a relapse in prostate cancer. In a research article published in the American Association for Cancer Research, sulforaphane was found to slow the increase of PSA levels and its effects were more prominent three months into taking sulforaphane. Thus, taking sulforaphane shows promise in preventing relapse of prostate cancer.
Bladder cancer has significant burden because of its high recurrence rate of about 70 percent, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. In a study published in Oncotarget, a bio-medical journal covering research on oncology, it was found that sulforaphane could help in preventing bladder cancer in vitro. Additionally, it was found that sulforaphane was associated with a 39 percent reduction in bladder cancer risk.
- Cipolla BG, Mandron E, Lefort JM, Coadou Y, Della Negra E, Corbel L, et al. Effect of sulforaphane in men with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy. Cancer Prev Res 2015;8(8): 712–719.
- Prognosis and survival for bladder cancer. Canadian Cancer Society <www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/bladder/prognosis-and-survival/?region=bc>
- Leone, A., Diorio, G., Sexton, W., Schell, M., Alexandrow, M., Fahey, J. W., & Kumar, N. B. (2017). Sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of bladder cancer: molecular mechanism targeted approach. Oncotarget, 8(21), 35412–35424. http://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16015
SKIN PROTECTION AGAINST UV DAMAGE
Living in the tropics means lots of sun exposure which could lead to significant UV radiation damage. Prolonged exposure without proper protection could cause photoaging which means premature aging of the skin caused by repeated exposure to UV radiation. Symptoms of photoaging include wrinkles, spider veins, leathery and loose skin, age spots and pre-cancerous red and scaly spots. In worse cases, skin cancer may also develop.
In a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, sulforaphane was found to have a protective effect 48 hours after UV irradiation and reduced the number of sunburn cells up to 29 percent. Sulforaphane was also found to boost cellular capacities to protect against oxidative stress via gene expression. This means that sulforaphane altered the gene expression of the test subject so their cells could protect themselves better against oxidative stress, which could lead to photoaging over a period of time.
- Sikdar, S., M. Papadopoulou and J. Dubois (2016) What do we know about sulforaphane protection against photoaging? J. Cosmet. Dermatol. 15, 72–77.
BREAST CANCER CELL INHIBITION AND ENHANCEMENT OF CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC DRUG
A study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found that sulforaphane inhibits the growth of human breast cancer cells in laboratory tests. Additionally, it was found that sulforaphane also suppressed gene expressions that cause inflammation. Breast cancer treatment sometimes require the administration of chemotherapy drugs and in this study, it was found that sulforaphane enhanced the effects of gemcitabine, a chemotherapeutic drug. This suggests that sulforaphane, taken together with gemcitabine could potentially elevate the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug while minimising toxicity to healthy cells.
- Hussain A, Mohsin J, Prabhu SA, et al. Sulforaphane inhibits growth of human breast cancer cells and augments the therapeutic index of the chemotherapeutic drug, gemcitabine. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev2013;14:5855-60
This fact sheet by the Genefood provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.