Sulforaphane clinical trials and COVID-19

A plethora of articles have been published this year on how researchers’ favorite topics can / may / should / could / will fix COVID-19. This one was different in that relevant clinical trials were both completed and already underway before a Madness of Crowds behavioral contagion infected us:

“It is crucial to understand the most appropriate context for introducing an anti-inflammatory therapy to complement an antiviral therapy. Such therapy must control inflammation without altering the ability of the host to mount an efficient adaptive immune response against the virus.

We propose that boosting endogenous cellular defenses by targeting the cytoprotective transcription factor Nrf2 (gene name NFE2L2) will promote the resolution of COVID-19 associated inflammation and also restore redox homeostasis and facilitate tissue repair.

The isothiocyanate sulforaphane (SFN) is the most potent naturally occurring NRF2 activator, with well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The high bioavailability of SFN makes it an excellent candidate for alleviating excessive anti-inflammatory responses and protecting the lungs.

Even though Nrf2 is the primary mediator, additional factors contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects of SFN. SFN inhibits NF-κB, inhibitor of NF-κB kinase subunit β (IKKβ), and STAT3.

By regulating the endogenous cytoprotective systems, Nrf2 may have a more physiological role in achieving a balance between the beneficial and adverse effects of inflammation. Nrf2 inhibits IL-6 and IL-1β gene expression.

Antioxidant and cytoprotective effects of Nrf2 activation are long-lasting and persist for several days after inducer elimination. They are mediated by enzymes that, in contrast to small molecules, have long half-lives and are not consumed, and are instead regenerated during the reactions which they catalyze.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359808/ “Can Activation of Nfr2 Be a Strategy against COVID-19?”


The paper also documented in vitro, animal, and non-clinical human Nrf2 activator studies relevant to causes and effects.

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