Imagine: a compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that shows promise in treating autism, cancer, and a host of neurodegenerative diseases. Please take note, however, that crucifers may have a dark side. Read on…
Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and many other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, and cauliflower contain an organic sulfur compound called glucosinolateglucoraphanin that breaks down and metabolizes into sulforaphane glucosinolate (commonly abbreviated as sulforaphane).
Sulforaphane provides two epigenetic* functions that help maintain proper cell function: it impacts DNA methylation in a positive manner and inhibits histone deacetylase – the family of enzymes that can interfere with the normal function of genes that suppress tumors. The current line of thinking is that sulforaphane is superior to its precursor, glucoraphanin, in mitigating these carcinogenic influences.
DNA methylation, in turn, is the process by which a methyl group (a single carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) is added to part of a DNA molecule. DNA methylation helps control what DNA material gets read as part of genetic communication within cells. When this critical process is functioning normally, cells “remember who they are and where they have been,” which is the long version of a common phrase that Cellular Matrix Study director Patrick McGean uses on his weekly radio shows. On the other hand, disruption of the normal DNA methylation process appears to play a role in the formation of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and aging.
Studies have shown that individuals who eat substantial amounts of cruciferous vegetables are less likely to incur cancer. In addition, a Tokyo University of Agriculture study found that persons who consume about 100 g of broccoli sprouts (the richest source of sulforaphane) daily during a single week have reduced levels of cholesterol. Moreover, in a recent article posted on Dr. Mercola’s website, a limited study of 44 boys and men diagnosed with autism disclosed that half of the subjects who were given sulforaphane experienced an improved ability to interact socially after just 18 weeks.
KNOW THE RISKS
While countless web articles promote the positive health aspects of consuming crucifers and sulforaphane, could there also be a negative angle as well? A psychiatrist by the name of Georgia Ede MD expressed caution on her blog, stating that sulforaphane does a poor job of discriminating between cancerous AND healthy cells. She added that individuals suffering from hypothyroidism may want to consider removing cruciferous vegetables from their diet, as they might interfere with normal thyroid activity.
Whether or not you decide to consume large amounts of cruciferous vegetables, be sure to take advantage of the detoxification qualities of including one teaspoon of organic sulfur in your diet, twice a day.
Broccoli-Sprout Compound May Improve Symptoms of Autism
Dr. Mercola | Mercola.com
Oct 27, 2014
Eat your broccoli: Another mechanism discovered by which sulforaphane prevents cancer
Oregon State University | ScienceDaily
Feb 28, 2014
What is Sulforaphane?
Sulforaphane is superior to glucoraphanin in modulating carcinogen-metabolising enzymes in Hep G2 cells
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(7):4235-8 | PubMed
Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors: Overview and Perspectives
Milos Dokmanovic, Cathy Clarke and Paul A. Marks
Molecular Cancer Research
Is Broccoli Good for You? Meet the Crucifer Family
Georgia Ede MD
• has a molecular weight of 177 and chemical formula of C(6)H(11)NOS(2)
• occurs naturally in plants bound to a sugar molecule
• has antimicrobial properties
• is a stimulator of natural detoxifying enzymes
• is released only after eating
• kills cancer stem cells, which slows tumor growth
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