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Sulforaphane – The Magical Compound

Sulforaphane – The Magical Compound

Ages ago I wrote an article about broccoli – the original superfood. I was contrasting the stock standard vegetable from the “eat your greens” directives handed out by mums (work it out Americans – it’s like mom but we use a “U”) all over the world with the claims (by shysters) of new and exotic so called “superfoods” such as acai berries and quinoa.

Now since I wrote this article I have found out so much more about the chemical that makes broccoli such a potent food. In fact so potent that is should be at the top of your shopping list. I don’t say this lightly by the way. I must always see powerful benefits in what I advocate – bang for bucks.. whether it be vitamin d (the vitamin responsible for more gene processes that any other) or magnesium (an essential mineral for DNA repair), To me, the end game is increase your healthspan (the period of your life during which you are fit and healthy) to as as far as it will go.

By the way, this compound is present in all cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, bok choy and so on.

To that end, the active compound in broccoli makes the grade as an essential ingredient. Once again, listening to a Joe Rogan podcast with Rhonda Patrick as guest pays dividends. So why hear about it here? Why not go to the source? Well because here you get the relevant stuff in between 500 and 100o words, whereas there you have to sift through 3 hours of podcasts to get the relevant information.

So let’s go to the key points of the benefits of sulforaphane,

  1. It helps guard against cancer. OK, this one is the claim made about many so called super foods. Well it’s been proven in the case of sulforaphane. In particular there have been studies with patients with prostate cancer in which the growth of the tumour was reduced by 50% when the patients took a daily dose of sulforaphane.
  2. It aids with brain health. In particular, it alleviates depression; it improves the symptoms of schizophrenia; it improves the brain function of people with autism spectrum disorder.
  3. In addition to this research is ongoing about its role in guarding against Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Sulforaphane detoxifies. I know this one is a favourite among purveyors of woo and pseudo-science, but in this case it’s actually true (for a change). In particular it helps the body excrete benzine, a major carcinogen. Hence I guess why it is protection against cancer.
  5. It lowers cholesterol.
  6. It prevents and combats heart disease.
  7. It is powerfully anti inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases.

That’s just a short (but powerful) list. Enough for you to say let’s get more cruciferous vegetables in my diet. You can find longer lists on the benefits out there, but I think there’s enough there to convince me.

However, there’s a problem. The way we prepare broccoli and the like pretty much destroys the sulforaphane in the vegetables. To get the benefit of sulforaphane, best to eat the broccoli raw.

Alternatively there is some suggestion that adding mustard power to the broccoli (or other cruciferous vegetables) when you cook them will preserve the sulforaphane. I can’t verify that this is actually true.

If you’re skeptical like me, you won’t be taking my word for this; there’s a lot of pseudoscience on the web. I’m not going to link to scientific papers or anything like that. However Rhonda Patrick does have sources in the video I have embedded below. If you have an inclination to listen to 45 minutes and my summary isn’t enough for you, check it out.


About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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