Sulforaphane: Cancer, Inflammation, Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

Sulforaphane is a biologically active phytonutrient, belongs to the isothiocyanate and cruciferous plants such as radish broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, and kale. 

And the research shows that this super nutrient can change your genetics, prevent cancer, and improve your mental and physical health. 

With this article, we’re trying to get people to think about Sulforaphane. And introduce it in their dietary lifestyle. We tried to simplify the science behind it and give the benefits of sulforaphane. 

Where can you find Sulforaphane?

Sulforaphane is present in most cruciferous families like kale broccoli cabbage and Brussel sprouts. This whole family of vegetables is perfect for your health. And we’re supposed to eat these kinds of pungent compounds anyway, like garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.

The best source is the Brussel sprouts. You can buy them already sprouted at whole Foods or your local grocery store. Or even better sprout your own.

Sulforaphane is not in the plant, just the precursor. But once you break the plant tissue by chewing, blending or chopping it gets formed. it’s the plant response to scare off insects. 

How to sprout your own Brussel sprouts?

A lot of times, when you go into the grocery stores, you find Sprouts sitting on the shelf. You don’t know for how long. Sprouts are very prone to bacterial contamination.

And they can be also charged like five dollars for a little package of it. And for a good shake, you need to spend like 20 bucks.

The other option is to sprout your own at home for a relatively low price and a guaranteed freshness.

The seeds are relatively cheap and easy to grow. And there is a lot of different methods.

Hemp bags: You can use hemp bags. You just put the seeds in the bag, add some water. You keep adding water and let it drip, and they sprout within like four days.

Jars with little holes:  All you need are some mason jars with a lid on top that has like small holes. The size of the holes is important. They should big enough for water to come out and not the seeds.

You add water, let it sit for like six hours, and then dump it out. You do this process several times. To avoid growing bacteria, take it out and leave it tilted so that the water isn’t just sitting in there.  And it takes like four days sprout.

It is important to be clean: If your counters, hands, and all the dishware you’re using are dirty. You’re probably going to contaminate them. So you have to be a little careful about the way you sprout. 

How much maintenance Brussel sprouts need?

After the first initial 6 hours, you let them sit on. And like twice a day in the morning and evening, add some water. For about five days.

You could harvest them three days earlier. The longer you’re letting them sprout, the more quantity you will get. But you have to be careful with contamination. 

So it’s better to harvest them sooner, freeze them in like zip-lock storage bags, and vacuum seals them if you want for more protection against bacteria. 

How to prepare and eat Brussel sprouts?

As we said bevor the plant has to be crushed or chopped to form sulforaphane.

We’re not in a chemistry class. So there is no need to complicate things. All you need to know is that the plant has the precursor of sulforaphane and an enzyme called myrosinase. And when you crushe the plant, they form sulforaphane.

According to Dr. Jed Fahey, the seed itself has the enzyme and the precursor. So you can get sulforaphane by crushing or chewing the seeds.

But there is no research yet to support this method. All these human studies were all done from broccoli sprout powder.

Sproutiing your own broccoli_sprouts

These are some hacks and tricks to get your Sulforaphane in the best possible way:  

1- Avoid the heat: 

Myrosinase is heat-sensitive, so if you steam your broccoli or boil it, unfortunately, you don’t get much Sulforaphane.

The precursor is still there. And we do have some bacteria in our gut that can produce the enzyme highly. But that Vary from individual to another, so it is better to get the enzyme directly form the plant.

2- Use mustard seeds if you like to cook your vegetables:

If you prefer to saute your kale or steam your vegetables. Don’t worry about it. We have the answer:

Sprinkle mustard powder after you cook any of your cruciferous vegetables because the mustard seed contains a more heat-stable myrosinase that can convert the precursor into the Sulforaphane.

And it is important to use mustard seed, not regular mustard.

Besides some compounds in kale, that or broccoli are more bioavailable when you do cook them. So you would get all their benefit plus the Sulforaphane. 

3- How to know that the mustard seeds are good: 

Sprinkle a little bit on your hand and lick it, it should have a little bite. That way, you ensure that they’re not degraded for sitting too long on the shelf. 

Finally, if you steam your broccoli, put some butter and salt and pepper. And enjoy a delicious and healthy meal. 

Sulforaphane supplements:

Most of these supplements don’t always contain what they say they do. For example, 7 out of 10 of these supplements have just cloverleaf instead of cruciferous. So they don’t actually contain the precursor.

According to the Washington Post and many studies, most dietary supplements don’t do anything, and they don’t even contain the ingredients that they say they do. For example, of herbal echinacea on the market, doesn’t contain echinacea. 

So you have to find a reliable brand. Multiple different scientists say that Thorn is pretty reliable. They’re expensive but reliable.  

Fist of all, we have no affiliation with any of these like supplement companies at all. We are just trying to help you in every possible way, and presenting to you all the information.

Dr. Jed W. Fahey measured certain supplements on the market to see if they have what they say. And according to him, these are the supplements that we would recommend. 

Because Myrosinase is unstable, it is hard to make a supplement with sulforaphane. There is one supplement that the actual active compound, and it’s called Prostaphane, and it’s only available in France. 

 Avmacol and Prostaphane both have glucoraphanin and Myrosinase, the two compounds that can form sulforaphane. And according to the testing, bioavailability is about.

Another supplement by Thorne called Cusira has only the precursor, no enzyme. So you’re entirely relying on your gut bacteria. But as we said before, you can use mustard seeds. It’s very variable for some people, but others had only bioavailability.

There’s another one called BroccoMax that has some of what it says in there.  

How much Sulforaphane to eat?

Depend on your goal, and the amount can vary. If you’re interested in the cancer-preventive effect, you should take a serving 3 to 5 times a week.

It is essential to understand that every individual is different, and the magic number doesn’t exist. So you should pay attention to the signals of your body to find the right balance.

But if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you should reduce the amount you eat or avoid it altogether.

Sulforaphane benefits and side effects.

Benefits of sulforaphane: 

Genes influence:  

Sulforaphane can modulate gene expression, and repair DNA, and influence enzymes responsible for detoxification.

Sulforaphane can even activate pathways in the human genome called nrf2, which controls over 200 genes. Remarkably it’s the most potent and natural compound that we’ve discovered yet that activates this pathway.

This pathway can switch off genes known to cause cancer and switch on genes that help repair our DNA and fight cancer.

And nrf2 It’s been shown in multiple studies that it can delay aging because if it reduces inflammatory genes and activates anti-inflammatory genes. Genes that are known to cause cancer are switched off, and the ones that help repair our DNA and fight cancer are switched on.

There’s no other plant or compound naturally occurring that can do that.

Sulforaphane can prevent and fight cancer:

One of the most powerful natural weapons against cancer is sulforaphane, even in advanced stages. Not only can it help against carcinogenic substances, but it also acts directly against cancer cells.

Also, microtubules are responsible for the division of the cancer cell. And sulforaphane destroys them, stops the propagating, inactivates the nucleus. And that leads to the death of the cancer cell.

3 Recent studies of the university hospital in Heidelberg showed that Sulforaphane broccoli sprouts could inhibit cancer growth. It also strengthens the effect of chemotherapy.

Sulforaphane blocks a special metabolic pathway In the cancer stem cells. According to a Canadian study, eating cauliflower or broccoli can reduce the spread of a tumor by 50 percent.

Also, researcher Elizabeth Jeffery of the University of Illinois spent four years working on studies of sulforaphane. And found that some of our intestinal bacteria can release sulforaphane and activates a cancer-preventive force. So if you have had a healthy gut, you’re going to benefit from all these advantages.

The effect of Sulforaphane against different types of cancer: 

melanomas and leukemia:

According to a study published in the American journal Oncology, it has been known that Sulforaphane can contribute and even trigger the destroying cancerous blood cells (leukemia) as well as malignant skin cells (melanomas).

Colon cancer:

According to a study done at Rutgers University in New Jersey/USA, Sulforaphane can activate the body’s protection against the outbreak of the disease. Even in cases of an existing genetically determined risk of colon cancer.

Prostate cancer:

A large-scale nutritional study involving over 10,000 patients with prostate cancer showed that high consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower could protect patients from metastasis of a primary prostate tumor.

Stomach ulcers and stomach cancer: 

Helicobacter pylorus is a type of bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. And multiple studies showed that Sulforaphane can eliminate these strains of bacteria. Sometimes his effect can be better than antibiotics.

Sulforaphane is the key to prevent and fight stomach cancer in particular because it fights the bacterial infection and blocks tumor formation.

Lung cancer:

Animal studies also showed that Sulforaphane was effective against lung cancer cells and successfully inhibited their growth.

Sulforaphane lowers inflammation

Numerous scientific studies show that sulforaphane is effective against inflammation. Either directly by supporting antioxidant reactions or indirectly by modulating genes and promoting enzymes that help with inflammation.

Fighting inflammation can help with other things: 

We’re constantly exposed to toxins, and it affects the brain. And lowering oxidative stress can help the body to get rid of them.

So if you get a dose of sulforaphane, you may notice a small effect. But someone that has autism or schizophrenia can be a game-changer.


A laboratory study by British scientists at the University of East Anglia showed that sulforaphane blocks the enzymes responsible for joint destruction. Slowing down the destruction of cartilage by inhibiting the development of inflammation. 

Another research group investigated the effects of sulforaphane on inflammatory reactions in joints, and they found that the substance inhibits the formation of enzymes that break down cartilage. 

Therefore the scientists recommend broccoli or sulforaphane for both prevention and treatment of the disease. 

Asthma and respiratory problems:

Because of the anti-inflammatory effect of sulforaphane protect the airways and supporting the formation of enzymes that do the same

Therefore, it can be used as a natural anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of respiratory problems. For example, to protect against allergic inflammation like nasal mucosa, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

And according to this study, it can be used for smoker’s lungs. To get rid of the toxins and prevent cancer. 

Delay aging:

As we said before, Sulforaphane activates the nrf2 pathway. And according to multiple studies, this pathway is involved in the aging process by lowering different inflammatory genes, activating anti-inflammatory genes, and reducing oxidative stress.

The effects  of sulforaphane on brain function: 

We’re constantly exposed to toxins, and it affects the brain. And lowering oxidative stress can help the body to get rid of them.

So if you get a dose of sulforaphane, you may notice a small effect. But someone that has autism or schizophrenia can be a game-changer.


Theoretically, autistic disorders are caused by a deficiency of energy supply and strong oxidative stress. 

And as we said before, sulforaphane has a strong antioxidant effect. So 

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts administered a study with four autistic men between 13 and 27 years of age. They give them high concentrations of sulforaphane. At the end of the study, the subjects showed a clear improvement.

Even a small amount between 7 to 30 milligrams of substance can improve autistic scores by 34 percent in young adults


Around 50 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. The number will increase up to more than 125 million by 2050. 

One study examined the effect of sulforaphane on certain receptors in connection with protection against Alzheimer’s disease. and the results were promising 

More productivity: 

So as you see the benefits of Sulforaphane are numerous

Sulforaphane has the same effect as coffee. After eating broccoli or Brussel sprouts, you feel a little happy and good, and you feel a little more alert.

So if you have a problem with caffeine, you can replace it with Sulforaphane. It increases energy levels, which helps the brain to perform more efficiently. Also, Sulforaphane is an antioxidant. So it increases motivation and prevents you from getting tired.

Sulforaphane side effects:

Cruciferous plants produce Sulforaphane ward off pests. So it is safe to assume that it can have a toxic effect at very high dosages. However,
with regular consumption, there are no serious side effects.

You need to eat an enormous amount of broccoli seeds or sprouts to causes an overdose. So a 90 mg over several weeks has not caused any apparent side effects in patients.

Flatulence is a harmless side effect of cabbage or broccoli sprouts is flatulence, which can smell of sulfur.

Overall, there are no severe side effects linked to sulforaphane, and the benefits are numerous and clear.