rhonda patrick resveratrol

Q&A with Dr. Jed Fahey on Sulforaphane, Moringa, and Chemoprotection | Found My Fitness with Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Key Takeaways

  • Bacterial myrosinases found in the human gut convert unhydrolyzed glucoraphanin to sulforaphane
  • Clinical studies have linked the benefits of sulforaphane to a variety of chronic diseases such as autism, aflatoxin toxicity, cancer, air pollution toxicity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes – and much more
  • Supplementing with sulforaphane helps restore glutathione (body’s potent, endogenous detoxifier) levels in the brain
  • All cruciferous vegetables are isothiocyanates but not all contain sulforaphane
  • Broccoli sprouts are the most efficient way to consume sulforaphane
  • Moringa leaf powder is a great alternative to broccoli sprouts – use in smoothies, iced tea, hot tea

Introduction

Dr. Jed Fahey (@jedosan) is former director of the Cullman Chemoprotection Center at Johns Hopkins University (retired June 2020). His research focuses on discovering and testing plant nutrition-based approaches to prevent chronic disease.

In this episode of Found My Fitness, Dr. Rhonda Patrick hosts a Q&A with Dr. Jed Fahey take a deep dive into the mechanism, benefits, and uses of sulforaphane as well as proper sourcing and dosing.

Host: Dr. Rhonda Patrick (@foundmyfitness)

What is Sulforaphane?

  • Sulforaphane is an anticarcinogenic isothiocyanate associated with cruciferous vegetables
  • Sulforaphane is a chemical end-product of myrosinases and glucoraphanin
  • Bacterial myrosinases found in the human gut convert unhydrolyzed glucoraphanin to sulforaphane
  • There are two ways of hydrolyzing glucoraphanin: (1) chew cruciferous vegetable/sprout/seed, (2) microbiome
  • Clinical studies have linked the benefits of sulforaphane to a variety of chronic diseases such as autism, aflatoxin toxicity, cancer, air pollution toxicity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes – and much more

Recommended Brands of Sulforaphane Supplements & Broccoli Sprouts

Glutathione & Sulforaphane

  • Glutathione declines naturally with age, starting in the 20s
  • Glutathione is the body’s most prevalent endogenous detoxification system
  • Sulforaphane cranks up enzymes responsible for synthesizing glutathione, making more glutathione available  
  • Supplementing with sulforaphane helps restore glutathione levels in the brain

Sources and Dosing of Sulforaphane

  • There’s no way to know whether you are a good converter of sulforaphane
  • There’s no way to test how much sulforaphane or glucoraphanin is in broccoli or broccoli sprouts
  • Clinical studies point to 50-100 μmol sulforaphane per day
  • Sources of sulforaphane: broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Interestingly, broccoli rabe does not have a significant amount of glucoraphanin or sulforaphane
  • All cruciferous vegetables are isothiocyanates but not all contain sulforaphane
  • 100g of broccoli would yield about 0.5mg -18mg of sulforaphane
  • 100g of broccoli sprouts would yield about 5-16mg of sulforaphane
  • Studies show about 60g of broccoli sprouts give you as much glucoraphanin as ¼ – ½ pound of broccoli  
  • You get the highest levels of glucoraphanin from broccoli seeds – but they don’t taste very good so it’s more palatable to eat the sprouts  
  • Gut microbiome variations in individuals lead to varying yields of sulforaphane per serving
  • Not all broccoli is treated equally from sourcing to the sale so some will have higher yields of sulforaphane than others
  • Cooking destroys myrosinase – if you are cooking broccoli or broccoli sprouts, you are solely counting on myrosinase in the gut
  • If you need to cook broccoli, microwaving until it’s just tender is the best method to reduce bioavailability loss
  • Ground mustard & exogenous sources of myrosinase increase the bioavailability of sulforaphane in cooked broccoli
  • Good sources of myrosinase: ground mustard, mustard seed, horseradish, wasabi
  • Quality broccoli seed vendors: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Prophylactic Use of Sulforaphane for Toxin Exposure & Neuronal Injury

  • Taking a supplement or regularly consuming broccoli sprouts is a good idea if you are regularly exposed to toxins such as air pollution, wildfires
  • You can prime the system to get geared up for exposure to toxins
  • Based on China on air pollution and the effects of sulforaphane – you don’t fatigue biochemical response system
  • Research has shown a pronounced effect of sulforaphane in neuronal injuries, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury
  • It’s best to have the system prepared prophylactically but possible to take at the time of exposure or injury
  • Regular consumption cranks up lasting protective enzymes (proteins)
  • If taking supplements, take daily  
  • If consuming through food, consumption every 2-3 days should be sufficient

Sulforaphane for Alzheimer’s and Chronic Disease

  • Ongoing clinical studies in rats suggest there may be therapeutic effects of sulforaphane in cancer prevention
  • It appears sulforaphane accumulates more in the breast, bladder, lungs, prostate
  • Sulforaphane may have therapeutic uses in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s
  • Early research has shown the utility of sulforaphane in Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition, enhancement of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, reduction in amyloid-beta, and more
  • Recent review articles show sulforaphane protects against advanced glycation end products which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease

Moringa: Alternative to Broccoli Sprouts

  • Moringa leaf powder is a great alternative to broccoli sprouts
  • In many assays, the isothiocyanate is better than sulforaphane
  • Moringa has not been as heavily researched in clinical research but has been used safely in areas of tropical climate
  • Blood glucose control is the biggest medical indication for moringa powder  

Carnivore Myth of Sulforaphanes and Isothiocyanates as Goitrogenic Foods

  • The reality is that everything is toxic at extreme levels
  • When eaten in moderation, broccoli sprouts & sulforaphane supplements have no negative consequences on thyroid function  
  • If mishandled, some mature market stage broccoli can have harmful glucosinolates – but it’s highly uncommon and has not shown true in many studies
  • When myrosinase acts on toxic market mature broccoli glucosinolates they can form unstable, toxic intermediates
  • There’s an abundance of research supporting omnivorous lifestyle versus carnivorous in humans
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