What it is
Sulforaphane is a powerful anticarcinogen and antibacterial compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, collard greens, turnips, and turnip greens. It stimulates the production of antioxidant enzymes that neutralize free radicals from external and internal sources.
Touted for its cancer-fighting potential, sulforaphane also fights high blood pressure by reducing free radicals in the blood. Plus, it combats bacterial infections such as Helicobacter pylori.
A new study by the UCLA School of Medicine indicates that sulforaphane may protect against asthma and other respiratory ailments. Researchers fed 65 study participants either broccoli sprouts (which contain high levels of sulforaphane) or alfalfa sprouts (which do not contain sulforaphane) for three days. The participants who consumed the broccoli sprouts showed a two- to threefold increase in antioxidant enzymes in the nasal passage cells, which may help block the harmful effects of air pollution and airway inflammation.
How to take it*
To reap the compound’s antioxidant benefits, take 40 mg daily. Or eat raw broccoli. Sulforaphane and broccoli-sprout extracts can be purchased in many natural products stores.
Sulforaphane has no known side effects, although people taking prescription drugs should check with their physician before dramatically increasing their intake of sulforaphane.
*Talk with your health care provider before starting any supplement regimen.