Broccoli Sprouts extract supplement health benefit and use for cancer prevention or treatment
February 1 2019 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane, a substance that has anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, and watercress. It is a potent inducer of protective enzymes that provide defense against cancer-causing chemicals. Eating more broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of bladder cancer. Broccoli sprouts contain 20 to 50 times the concentration of sulforaphane that mature broccoli does. Cooking reduces the levels of sulforaphane in broccoli. Steaming broccoli preserves potential power to fight cancer, American Institute for Cancer Research, news release, Nov. 7, 2013.

Q. I've read that at least one company suggests that broccoli extract is only really effective if the ingredient listed is "sulforaphane glucosinolate" or SGS. I guess they are saying that if it says only glucoraphanin then it's not as effective. They claim that their process is patent pending and they know exactly the amount of sulforaphane glucosinolate in their seeds / sprouts. Is this accurate or will any brand do the same? Is 30 mg of sulforaphane glucosinolate each day too a high dose because I noticed that the Source Naturals is listed as only 2 mg per day?
    A. Any statements regarding sulforaphane as it relates to the ideal form or the ideal daily dosages are speculative since hardly any human trials are available to determine the proper dosages and frequency of use, what the benefits are for humans when sulforaphane is ingested in supplement form, and whether there are any side effects.

Benefit of broccoli sprouts, how they work
Human Study Finds Broccoli Sprouts Boost Body's Ability to Eliminate Cancer-Causing Toxins - Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health have observed that broccoli sprouts can help the body detoxify carcinogens, which may reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. The study used three-day-old broccoli sprouts with known levels of sulforaphane glucosinolate and involved 200 subjects. November, 2005 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

Compounds in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called isothiocyanates appear to target and block mutant p53 genes associated with cancer growth. Gene p53 is known as a tumor suppressor gene and plays a critical role in keeping cells healthy and protecting them from cancer. When this gene is damaged or mutated, it stops offering this protection. These mutations are found in about half of all human cancers. Isothiocyanates are capable of removing the defective p53 gene while leaving healthy versions of the gene alone.

Cruciferous vegetables and cancer
Eating more broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer. A number of studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower can be beneficial to your health.

Allergy and asthma
Dr. Marc A. Riedl, an assistant professor at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.gave 65 healthy volunteers various doses of a broccoli sprout preparation or a "placebo" made from alfalfa sprouts over three days. The researchers took samples of the volunteers' nasal fluids to measure the activity of so-called Phase II enzymes, which control oxidative stress. They found that the broccoli sprout preparation led to an increase in the protective enzymes, whereas the alfalfa-derived placebo did not. The benefit may be due to sulforaphane, which is found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Dr. Marc A. Riedl does not yet know whether broccoli sprouts can actually alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms. Clinical Immunology, 2009.

Food Funct. 2014. Sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract attenuates nasal allergic response to diesel exhaust particles. The generation of oxidative stress by ambient air pollution particles contributes to the development of allergic sensitization and asthma, as demonstrated by intranasal challenge with well-characterized diesel exhaust particle (DEP) suspensions in humans. This effect is due to the presence of redox active organic chemicals in DEP, and can be suppressed by antioxidants and inducers of phase II enzymes in animals. In this communication, we determined whether the administration of a standardized broccoli sprout extract (BSE), which contains a reproducible amount of the sulforaphane (SFN) precursor, glucoraphanin, could be used to suppress the nasal inflammatory response in human subjects challenged with 300 μg of an aqueous DEP suspension (equivalent to daily PM exposure levels on a Los Angeles freeway). Since the SFN dose in these studies is equivalent to the consumption of 100-200 g broccoli, our study demonstrates the potential preventive and therapeutic potential of broccoli or broccoli sprouts rich in glucoraphanin for reducing the impact of particulate pollution on allergic disease and asthma.

Arthritis or osteoarthritis
A compound found in broccoli could help prevent or slow the progress of the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a joint disease caused by the breakdown of cartilage and bone in joints. It most often affects the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees. The main symptoms are pain and stiffness. Research in mice shows that the compound sulforaphane slows down the destruction of cartilage in joints. Clark, I. Arthritis and Rheumatism. News release, 2013, University of East Anglia. Arthritis Research UK. NHS Choices: "Osteoarthritis."

Cancer treatment or prevention

Bladder cancer
An extract from broccoli sprouts can reduce the risk of bladder cancer by providing a high dose of isothiocyanates, in particular sulforaphane. Rats fed an extract of broccoli sprouts show increased production in their bladder tissue of two enzymes crucial for protecting cells from oxidants and cancer-promoting chemicals. People lacking these enzymes are at increased risk of bladder cancer. Isothiocyanates are a well-known class of cancer chemopreventive agents, and broccoli sprouts are a rich source of several isothiocyanates. Cancer Research, 2008.

Inhibition of urinary bladder cancer by broccoli sprouts.
Cancer Res. 2008; AgResearch Limited, Ruakura Agricultural Research Center, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Isothiocyanates are a well-known class of cancer prevention agents, and broccoli sprouts are a rich source of several isothiocyanates. We report herein that dietary administration to rats of a freeze-dried aqueous extract of broccoli sprouts significantly and dose-dependently inhibited bladder cancer development induced by N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine. The incidence, multiplicity, size, and progression of bladder cancer were all inhibited by the extract, while the extract itself caused no histologic changes in the bladder. Moreover, inhibition of bladder cancer by the extract was associated with significant induction of glutathione S-transferase and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 in the bladder, enzymes that are important protectants against oxidants and carcinogens. Broccoli sprout extract is a highly promising substance for bladder cancer prevention and the isothiocyanates in the extract are selectively delivered to the bladder epithelium through urinary excretion.

Prostate cancer
Eating broccoli may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Richard Mithen, a biologist at Britain's Institute of Food Research. believes sulforaphane, found in high amounts in broccoli, initiates hundreds of genetic changes, activating some genes that fight cancer and switching off others that stimulate tumors. Richard Mithen divided into two groups 24 men with pre-cancerous lesions that increase prostate cancer risk and had them eat four extra servings of either broccoli or peas each week for a year. Men who ate broccoli showed hundreds of changes in genes known to play a role in fighting cancer. Richard Mithen thinks that the benefit would likely be similar in other cruciferous vegetables that contain a compound called isothiocyanate, including Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress and horseradish. Broccoli, however, has a particularly powerful type of the compound called sulforaphane.

Selenium enrichment of broccoli sprout extract increases chemosensitivity and apoptosis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2009.
Selenium-enriched broccoli sprouts were prepared using a sodium selenite solution. Their anticancer properties were evaluated in human prostate cancer cell lines and compared with those of a control broccoli sprout extract. Selenium-enriched broccoli sprouts were superior to normal broccoli sprouts in inhibiting cell proliferation, decreasing prostate-specific antigen secretion, and inducing apoptosis of prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, selenium-enriched broccoli sprouts but, not normal broccoli sprouts, induced a downregulation of the survival Akt/mTOR pathway. Our results suggest that this enrichment could potentially be used as an alternative selenium source for prostate cancer prevention and therapy.

Skin cancer
Broccoli sprout extract reduces skin redness and damage. Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University found that broccoli sprout extract boosted the production of protective enzymes that defend against UV-related damage. Dr. Paul Talalay has been looking into the benefits of sulforaphane -- a compound in broccoli sprout extract -- since the early 1990s. Dr. Paul Talalay and colleagues tried broccoli sprout extract on six people, testing different doses of the extract on several small patches of skin, which was then exposed to a short pulse of UV radiation sufficient to cause varying degrees of sunburn. At the highest doses, the extract reduced redness and swelling. The researchers think broccoli sprout extract might be useful in protecting against exposure to UV radiation, especially in people with suppressed immune systems who are most at risk for skin cancer.

Protection against UV-light-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 high-risk mice by sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprout extracts.
Cancer Lett. 2005.
The UV-radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis in 'initiated high-risk mice' was substantially inhibited by broccoli sprout extracts containing sulforaphane.

Stomach cancer
Dr. Akinori Yanaka of Tokyo University of Science, says broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain glucoraphanin, a substance the body metabolizes into the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant sulforaphane. He thinks eating broccoli sprouts can help keep stomach cancer-causing bacteria in check. Dr. Akinori Yanaka adds that there is evidence from lab, animal and human studies that sulforaphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium associated with stomach cancer. He and his fellow researchers evaluated the effects of broccoli sprouts in mice infected with H. pylori and fed a high-salt diet, which can promote stomach cancer. Rodents fed the sprouts showed less inflammation in their stomach tissue, and less H. pylori in their stomachs. But mice genetically engineered to lack a gene important in producing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proteins didn't show these effects. Then, the investigators asked had 48 people infected with H. pylori to eat 70 grams a day of broccoli sprouts or alfalfa sprouts, which don't contain sulforaphane, for eight weeks. In the men and women eating broccoli sprouts, markers of gastric inflammation were significantly reduced. Markers indicating the amount of H. pylori in gastric tissue also fell, but neither changed in the people eating alfalfa sprouts. Once the study participants stopped eating the sprouts, their markers of inflammation and H. pylori levels returned to pre-study levels. Cancer Prevention Research, 2009.

A human trial conducted in China shows broccoli sprouts can help the body detoxify carcinogens, which may reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. A team from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, in collaboration with scientists at the Qidong Liver Cancer Institute, Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, conducted the study. It is published in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. The blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted in Jiangsu Province near Shanghai, a rural area where the incidence of liver cancer is extremely high due to consumption of foods tainted with aflatoxin, a powerful carcinogen produced by mold contaminating the grain that the population grows and eats. The toxin binds to DNA and becomes a chemical indicator, or biomarker, for an increased risk of developing liver cancer. Three-day-old broccoli sprouts with known levels of sulforaphane glucosinolate were grown at the site in China and prepared as a liquid extract to ensure standard dosages. One hundred test subjects drank five ounces of the extract (equivalent to eating about two ounces of broccoli sprouts) each day for two weeks. A control group drank a similar extract that contained virtually no SGS. Tests of subjects' urine showed carcinogens were being detoxified and removed from the body in those who drank the SGS extract. As the levels of sulforaphane derivatives in the urine increased, the amount of DNA damage decreased, which may indicate a reduction in cancer risk. In 1992, scientists at Johns Hopkins first determined that broccoli contained high levels of the long-lasting antioxidant sulforaphane. In 1997, they discovered that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contained more than a 20 times higher concentration of SGS than mature broccoli.

Heart disease and atherosclerosis
Researchers at Imperial College London have found evidence a chemical in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables could enhance a natural defense mechanism that protects arteries from the clogging that can cause heart attacks. In a study funded by the British Heart Foundation charity and conducted on mice, sulforaphane could "switch on" a protective protein which is inactive in parts of the arteries vulnerable to clogging. Scientists already know that arteries don't clog up in a uniform way, but that there are bends and branches of blood vessels -- where blood flow is disrupted or slower -- which are much more prone to the build-up of fatty plaques that cause heart disease. In the more vulnerable areas, a normally protective protein known as Nrf2 is inactive. Sulforaphane may protect those regions by switching on the Nrf2.

Immune system
Diindolylmethane also known as DIM, the compound in broccoli and other Brassica vegetables such as cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts, helps to boost the immune response when give to mice.

Thyroid gland
I'd like to know if the broccoli sprouts extract has goitrogenous effect for someone with latent hypothyroid condition, kept in check with diet and supplements but no medication (no Eltroxin)?
    I have not seen such studies but I do not think there would be any concern, but the final decision rests with your doctor.

Broccoli and lung health
UCLA researchers report that a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may help protect against respiratory inflammation that causes conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Published in the March edition of the journal Clinical Immunology, the research shows that sulforaphane, a chemical in broccoli, triggers an increase of antioxidant enzymes in the human airway that offers protection against the onslaught of free radicals that we breathe in every day in polluted air, pollen, diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke.

Broccoli Sprout safety, side effects
Safety, tolerance, and metabolism of broccoli sprout glucosinolates and isothiocyanates: a clinical phase I study.
Nutr Cancer. 2006.
Broccoli sprouts are widely consumed in many parts of the world. There have been no reported concerns with respect to their tolerance and safety in humans. A formal phase I study of safety, tolerance, and pharmacokinetics appeared justified because broccoli sprouts are being used as vehicles for the delivery of the glucosinolate glucoraphanin and its cognate isothiocyanate sulforaphane in clinical trials. Such trials have been designed to evaluate protective efficacy against development of neoplastic and other diseases. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical study of broccoli sprout extracts containing either glucosinolates (principally glucoraphanin, the precursor of sulforaphane) or isothiocyanates (principally sulforaphane) was conducted on healthy volunteers who were in-patients on our clinical research unit. No significant or consistent subjective or objective abnormal events (toxicities) associated with any of the sprout extract ingestions were observed.

There have been no reported concerns with respect to the tolerance and safety of broccoli sprouts in humans. A formal study of safety was conducted with 200 healthy volunteers at the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland. They were given high dosages of broccoli sprouts extracts for a period of one week. Thirty-two types of chemistry tests were done before, during, and after the treatment period. Liver enzymes and thyroid hormone levels were examined in detail. No side effects of any significance were found nor were there any untoward changes in the blood chemistry. However, we don't know the long term effects of daily ingestion of a broccoli sprout extract for several months or years.

I'm taking two tablets daily of Source Naturals broccoli sprout extract and note that it gives me severe constipation. Have others observed this effect?
   This is the first report we have had.

Interactions with medications
I have just started on Coumadin for a DVT. Does broccoli extract contain vitamin K?
    Not that I am aware of, we have not seen any studies that indicate vit k is present in broccoli extract.

Combining with other dietary supplements
Brocolli sprout extract 1000 mg I take along with Triphala 500 mg. pill twice a day and am planning on including Chanca Piedra from Raintree 500 mg. Have any tests been done on long term side effects? On rats, or humans? Is it safe in that quantity for extended periods of time? Like years, or forever?
   No such studies are available as of 2010, so it is difficult to know.

Can a broccoli sprout supplement be used the same day as saw palmetto or krill oil?
   I don't see any conflict between these supplements.

Broccoli sprouts supplements sold online
There are a number of different products available over the counter. One product provides 500 mg of broccoli spout extract containing 1 mg of sulforaphane. Another product has 100 mg of broccoli sprout extract providing 0.5 mg of sulforaphane. One pound of fresh broccoli contains about 2 mg of sulforaphane.

Broccoli Sprouts pills by Source Naturals vitamin company, Broccoli Sprouts Extract, 60 Tablets

Q. Regarding Source Naturals Broccoli Sprouts Extract, It provides 2,000 mcg of sulforaphane in 2 pills? How many pills would it take to equal the benefit of about 3 oz. of 3 day old brocolli sprouts?
   A. This is difficult to say since the sprouts have other benefits in addition to sulforaphane. I have not seen specific studies addressing this matter.

Your website indicates that this extract is equal in sulphoraphane to over a bound of broccoli or 2,000mcg sulphoraphane daily. Do you know how many ounces of broccoli sprouts would provide the same daily amount? If in fact broccoli sprouts provide 20-50 times the amount than just broccoli I would think/extrapolate that eating an once of sprouts a day would be much more potent than taking a supplement? I hope I made my question clear? If a pound of broccoli = 2,000mcg sulphopane than theoretically an once of sprouts at a minimum of 20x potency of regular broccoli would deliver more sulphopane than a daily supplement?
   Although we are are not sure of the complete accuracy of this calculation, it does make sense and, furthermore, the sprouts would also have other nutrients that are of a health benefit.

Can you tell me if this Oncoplex ES product is any good. And what to use it for?
   A google search reveals Oncooplex ES to have Glucoraphanin (from broccoli extract) (Brassica oleracea italica seed) 100 mg. I am not aware of any particular human studies with this product.

Jarrow Formulas, BroccoMax, Myrosinase Activated, 60 Veggie
Buy Broccoli Sprouts capsules

A number of studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower have health promoting properties. Researchers have isolated a key active component of broccoli called sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate believed to stimulate enzymes in the body. Freshly germinated Broccoli sprouts contain 30 to 50 times the concentration of isothiocyanate as mature broccoli.
Freshly germinated Broccoli sprouts contain 30 to 50 times the concentration of isothiocyanate as mature broccoli.

Dosage: One pill daily or as recommended by your doctor.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Serving Per Container: 60
  Amount Per Serving % DV
Sulforaphane Glucosinolate (Brassica oleracea L. Italica) (A proprietary blend of Sulforaphane Glucosinolate, SGS [aka Glucoraphanin], and Myrosinase Enzyme from De-Oiled Broccoli Seed Powder Plus Calcium Ascorbate) 30 mg *