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This is a special relaunch of The Essential Boomer podcast so I want to share with you a great topic that can be of immense benefit to you, and everybody else who listens. Therefore, I have chosen to share with you the awe and wonder of….
Okay, now don’t get all bleary-eyed on me now. I promise that if you listen to, or read, this whole podcast that you will be consuming sulforaphane within a week. So hang in here with me. It will be worth it.
Now, What if I were to tell you that there is a natural food supplement available that has been researched extensively in animal AND human studies that are shown to be one of, if not the, most powerful NATURALLY OCCURRING anti-inflammatory AND anti-oxidizing substances known to exist?
And… what if I told you that this substance has been shown to significantly lessen your chances of getting cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and depression among many others?
And…what if I told you that this same substance has been shown to successfully treat many of these serious conditions if you already are struggling with them?
And… what if I told you that this supplement can significantly affect both your quality of life and your lifespan?
And…what if I told you that this supplement is readily available in your supermarket or that you can easily and quickly grow your own with a minimal investment of just a few pennies a week?
I bet I have your attention now.
Well, all that is true. That supplement is called sulforaphane and the best source for this amazing compound is from cruciferous vegetables.
Yup, Cruciferous veggies.
Wasabi? … YES WASABI!
And… Broccoli Sprouts!
We’ll talk a lot more about broccoli sprouts in a bit.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Yea, yea. I know that a diet with veggies are healthy and good for you and all that blah blah blah. I thought that this was going to be about something truly powerful.”
Au contraire mon frere… I’m talking about a lot more than just a healthy diet with veggies. I’m talking about a very powerful substance for the prevention and treatment of the diseases that are game-enders for people like you and me.
Stay with me here…
First, Let’s take a broad look at some of the studies involving cruciferous veggies.
Back in 2011, there was a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that showed that the people in the top 20% eating the most vegetables had a 16% reduction in their chances of dying from all non-accident causes. That covers a lot of physical causes of death. Still, no big epiphany, right? 16% meh…
BUT, if we look at the top 20% of Americans that were consumers of cruciferous vegetables then this number goes to 22%. Not bad eh?
That’s just the very tip of the iceberg.
Cruciferous veggies and cancer
Men who ate three or more servings per week of cruciferous vegetables show a 41% decrease in their risk of prostate cancer.
In another study, men who ate 2 or more ½ cup servings of broccoli each week saw a 51% reduction of bladder cancer, compared to the low broccoli intake group.
It even benefits smokers. People who smoked cigarettes and consumed 4.5 servings of raw cruciferous vegetables PER MONTH had a 55% reduction in lung cancer risk compared to the ones who consumed less than 2.5 servings per month.
There are also studies that show that women who consume 1 – 2 servings per day of cruciferous veggies have a 40% reduction in the risk of breast cancer compared to those who consume 1 serving or less per week.
In another study, people with bladder cancer, who consumed at least an average of 3.9 servings of raw broccoli per month, saw a 57% reduction in bladder cancer mortality and a 43% reduction in overall mortality rate, compared to those that had one serving per month. Obviously, there is something very interesting and powerful going on with cruciferous veggies. But what?
I’m going to get a bit geeky for a bit here so stick with me. All cruciferous veggies contain substances called glucosinolates. One of these glucosinolates is called glucoraphanin. When the glucoraphanin in the veggie is lightly cooked, chewed, or crushed it changes, with the help of an enzyme, to become what is called an isothiocyanate.
Sulforaphane is one of the isothiocyanates, that has received a lot of scientific scrutiny because of its amazing potency. In technical terms, sulforaphane is one of the most potent activators of the NRF2 genetic pathway which regulates over 200 different genes, many of which are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. So, they are responsible for de-activating many harmful compounds within your body. To you and me, this means that it affects a lot of very important processes that directly affect our immune systems and how we age.
Broccoli sprouts contain the highest concentrations of glucoraphanin, which becomes sulforaphane. It has 100 times more of this precursor than broccoli. Now if you’re eyes are crossed that will pretty much be it for the hyper-geeky talk.
It’s important to say here that a lot of the studies with sulforaphane have been done on animals so we have to be careful not to use them as absolute proof that they’ll work for people. But, there is a fast-growing list of studies on humans with sulforaphane that show great promise for replicating the impressive results found in the animal studies.
The bottom line is the sulforaphane, found in cruciferous veggies, can significantly reduce your risk of cancer, along with many other diseases. One way that it does this is by preventing and repairing damage to your DNA.
One of the amazing properties of sulforaphane is that it is able to selectively target and kill cancer cells while having very little effect on the non-cancerous cells.
Sulforaphane and cancer
Sulforaphane kills colorectal cancer cells, breast cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, oral squamous cell carcinoma cells, liver cancer cells, leukemia cells, and prostate cancer cells.
There are several studies looking at the effect of sulforaphane in men with prostate cancer.
In one study, men given sulforaphane decreased their PSA doubling rate by 86% compared to the placebo group. 86%!
Guys, are you hearing that?
Sulforaphane has been shown to be very effective at deactivating and removing carcinogens from the body, such as benzene, which is associated with air pollution, automobile exhaust, and cigarette smoke.
Studies have also shown how sulforaphane has demonstrated the remarkable ability to prevent the growth of tumors as well as slow the growth of existing tumors in animals and people. Hell, sulforaphane has been shown to actually remove cancer cells from the body.
Multiple studies show that three to five servings of sulforaphane per week, in the form of cruciferous veggies, is able to reduce your risk of cancer by 30 to 40%. Wow. I’ll talk more about portions and servings in a bit.
The bottom line is that sulforaphane can significantly decrease your chances of getting cancer and if you do have cancer it can significantly and positively affect the progression of cancer.
How about the effects of sulforaphane on heart disease?
Many studies have shown that the consumption of sulforaphane can significantly lower many of the common risk factors for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Sulforaphane has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol in humans.
It has also been shown to decrease blood pressure in rats with hypertension.
It also has been shown to protect the heart against oxidative stress and reduce heart damage after heart attacks in rats.
One of the driving factors for heart disease, as well as many other diseases, is inflammation.
Inflammation, and the bio-markers it produces, are the single most important predictor of successful aging and cognition.
Sulforaphane has been shown in multiple studies to have a significant effect on inflammation in humans. Through this mechanism, sulforaphane has been shown to protect against hardening of the arteries along with inhibiting blood clot formation in rats.
Effects on brain-behavior
Inflammation has also been shown to adversely affect the brain. Sulforaphane has been shown to cross the blood/brain barrier and therefore has a direct effect on the metabolic processes within the brain. There are studies using sulforaphane in young men with autism that show that sulforaphane improved autistic behavior checklist scores and improved social interaction, abnormal behavior, and verbal communication.
Another study showed that sulforaphane was able to improve cognitive impairment in a small group of medicated patients with schizophrenia.
Can sulforaphane help me if I get the flu?
It appears so. In human studies, sulforaphane increased the human antiviral response as well as reduced the amount of virus in the body. It was also shown to help prevent HIV infection.
How about protection from bacteria? Does sulforaphane have antibiotic properties?
Yup. In one study, sulforaphane was able to inhibit 23 out of 28 tested bacterial and fungal species. Sulforaphane has been shown to increase the antimicrobial processes in humans.
How about Depression?
There is a lot of evidence that nutrition places a large role in depression. Again, inflammation has been shown to play a causal role in depression. Sulforaphane was able to elicit the anti-inflammation properties of the brain and in conjunction, the symptoms of depression found in mice. It was shown to be more effective than Prozac.
Yes, these were mice and we need to wait for human studies to claim the same result in people. But it is very promising seeing that we both use the same metabolic process in inflammation and the resulting depression.
What about the effect of sulforaphane on neurodegenerative diseases?
Brain inflammation and high oxidative stress are very prominent in neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease so the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of Sulforaphane appear to have a positive effect on these diseases.
Sulforaphane has also been shown to increase dopamine levels, reduce tremors and tremors in mice genetically altered to replicate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
It has also been shown to increase spatial working memory and working memory in mice injected with chemicals that cause them to experience the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. And It has been shown to clear aggregates in mice induced to have the symptoms of Huntington’s disease.
Traumatic Brain Injury has a strong association with inflammation of the brain and studies have shown sulforaphane increases the brains ability to heal itself while also reducing inflammation.
Sulforaphane has also been shown to protect against seizures in rats.
In studies with rats, sulforaphane was shown to significantly inhibit both the development and severity of MS-like disease symptoms thus decreasing the disease progression and demyelination in the spinal cord.
Can sulforaphane provide any benefits for people with osteoporosis?
It is looking very promising. Sulforaphane has been shown to increase bone production and volume by about 20% in mice. It appears to do this by increasing the functionality of the osteoclasts, the cells that produce more bone while reducing the activity of the osteoblasts, the cells that dissolve your bone cells.
Can sulforaphane protect my liver?
Yes! In a human study with men that had fatty livers, sulforaphane improved liver function over the control group. It has been shown to protect the liver from several liver diseases caused by alcohol, drugs, toxic chemicals, and high-caloric diets.
How about my kidneys?
Yes again. Sulforaphane has been shown, in studies with animals to prevent inflammation and kidney damage from cisplatin, a drug used in chemotherapy.
Would you like some natural protection from the damaging rays of the sun?
Sulforaphane again. Yep. It has been shown to provide protection against both UVA and UVB sunburn and skin damage.
It can even protect your skin against blistering.
Sulforaphane sounds too good to be true. Next, you’re gonna tell me that it can help with my baldness… Well…
Sulforaphane may also be able to help you to increase your hair growth. Androgenic alopecia is the most common kind of hair loss. There’s a study that shows, in mice, a fairly strong response to sulforaphane for re-growing lab-induced hair loss.
What about negative effects? What would happen if I consumed too much sulforaphane?
Well, there was some concern about creating iodine deficiency leading to goiter, but that only seems to be a possibility for people with a very limited intake of iodine intake to start with. In a randomized, double-blind study on humans consuming approximately the amount of sulforaphane that was used in many other animal and human studies, it was shown that there were zero people who experienced negative effects on their thyroid or any liver toxicity.
So it certainly seems like the potential benefits of sulforaphane far outweigh any potential harm.
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