Cruciferous vegetables have gained considerable attention in recent years for possessing a plethora of unique health benefits. One of the best known members
of the cruciferous family – broccoli – contains a powerful nutrient compound known as sulforaphane. Hidden deep within those luscious green stalks piled high on your dinner plate is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been under intense scientific scrutiny and hundreds of published studies suggest it might be an effective weapon in the fight against cancer and beneficial for many other conditions. Scientists globally have expressed amazement over what this naturally derived nutrient compound is capable of.
A recognized chemoprotective agent, sulforaphane shows up more than 600 times in the U.S. Government’s PubMed database when queried in conjunction with the word “cancer.” This shows it’s been extensively studied, and for good reason: sulforaphane is among the world’s leading go-to nutrients for people looking to thwart the formation and progression of cancer.
Can Sulforaphane Switch Off Cancer Genes?
Cancer is often blamed on “genetic defects,” though this claim is more speculative than actual fact. Even so, sulforaphane exhibits a unique ability to regulate human genes in such a way as to protect them from mutagenesis, which is just a fancy word for detrimental genetic mutations. Sulforaphane works variably to help the body avoid such genetic failures, and thus operates as a cancer antagonist.
The human body was designed with natural, cancer-suppressing genes of its own that, due to various environmental and dietary factors, sometimes go awry. This is where sulforaphane comes in. Studies have shown that this amazing compound is capable of switching on and off genes for the purpose of stopping tumoral cells from replicating and spreading. Sulforaphane may also cause cancer cells to self-destruct, a process known as apoptosis.
Research has shown that sulforaphane not only blocks DNA methylation, which is implicated in the epigenesis of cancer formation, but also steps in to regulate certain cell cycle progression processes that would otherwise contribute, under the right circumstances, to cancer taking hold.
Dr. Talalay’s Game-Changing Sulforaphane Study
“Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads and may offer a simple dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk,” Dr. Paul Talalay reported in a 1997 Johns Hopkins press release.
Dr. Talalay is the Founding Director of the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chemoprotection Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is one of the top biomedical researchers in the world and a pioneer in the field of phytochemicals.
Talalay’s ground-breaking study, completed in 1991, was one of the first to focus on cancer prevention through diet. It was the very first to isolate sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables as a cancer preventer. Sulforaphane works its magic by boosting Phase 2 enzymes in the body, whose job it is to neutralize the processes of disease.
Talalay and his team fed broccoli sprout extracts to female rats for five days. They then exposed them and a control group to a carcinogen. The rats that had received the extract developed fewer tumors. Those that did have tumors developed smaller ones that took longer to grow than the control group’s did.
Not surprisingly, the first publishing venue Talalay and his colleagues approached about their findings (Science magazine) rejected it. The study was eventually published a year later in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Since then, there have been hundreds of published reports proving the healing effects of phytochemicals such as sulforaphane.