Broccoli sprouts and your brain

A 2022 review of Nrf2 signaling hilariously avoided mentioning sulforaphane, although of ~4,000 sulforaphane published articles, two were cited. I’ll curate it anyway to highlight referenced brain effects.

“A good stability of NRF2 activity is crucial to maintain redox balance and therefore brain homeostasis. In this review, we have gathered recent data about the contribution of the NRF2 pathway in the healthy brain as well as during metabolic diseases, ageing, and ageing-related neurodegenerative diseases.

A functional NRF2 system is important to regulate both neuroinflammation, i.e., activation of microglia and astrocytes, and oxidative stress in the brain. NRF2 and NF-κB transcription factors regulate cellular responses to inflammation and oxidative stress in order to maintain brain homeostasis. Both pathways have been described to inhibit each other.

Nrf2 brain aging

Future challenges will be to establish novel therapies to:

  • Increase NRF2 activation in specific cell types and/or brain regions; and
  • Modulate NRF2 pathway in senescent cells.

Modulation of NRF2 signalling pathway by using specific food products [like unmentioned broccoli sprouts] and phytochemicals [like unmentioned sulforaphane], dietary supplements [like unmentioned Vitamin D3], drugs, and epigenetic modifiers, alone or in combination, will help to limit inflammatory diseases, ageing process, and subsequently ageing-related diseases.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/11/8/1426/htm “Normal and Pathological NRF2 Signalling in the Central Nervous System”


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Eat broccoli sprouts for your offspring

This 2022 rodent study investigated effects of glucoraphanin supplementation during pregnancy and lactation:

“We investigated whether dietary intake of sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS [properly termed glucoraphanin]) during pregnancy and lactation influenced composition of gut microbiota in offspring:

  • Dietary intake of SGS during pregnancy and lactation caused significant changes in diversity of gut microbiota in 3-week-old offspring (SGS-3W) and 10-week-old offspring (SGS-10W).
  • Plasma levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in SGS-10W after injection of lipopolysaccharide were significantly lower than those of CON-10W group.
  • There were sex differences of gut microbiota composition in both SGS-3W and SGS-10W offspring.

glucoraphanin during pregnancy and lactation

This study has some limitations:

  1. We did not investigate mechanisms of how dietary intake of SGS during pregnancy and lactation modulated gut microbial communities in offspring.
  2. We found several signaling pathways in beneficial effects of SGS food pellet, and further study of the role of maternal intake of SGS food in these pathways is needed.
  3. We did not investigate mechanisms of relationships between maternal intake of SGS and long-term anti-inflammatory action in adult offspring, and further detailed study including epigenetic modification is needed.

These data suggest that dietary intake of SGS during pregnancy and lactation might produce long-lasting beneficial effects in adult offspring through persistent modulation of gut microbiota. It is likely that modulation of gut microbiota by maternal nutrition may confer resilience versus vulnerability to stress-related psychiatric disorders in offspring.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286322001681 “Long-lasting beneficial effects of maternal intake of sulforaphane glucosinolate on gut microbiota in adult offspring”


This study published results of a mother’s glucoraphanin intake where offspring never ate glucoraphanin, with beneficial effects at both 3 weeks (~prepubescent human) and 10 weeks (~young human adult). Maybe future studies will continue this paradigm on to a second or third generation to see whether there are also transgenerational epigenetic effects.

This study’s methods extracted glucoraphanin from 1-day-old broccoli sprouts into a powder containing 135 mg (0.31 mmol) glucoraphanin per gram. Each 1 kg of of treatment chow included pellets containing (2.3 mmol / 0.31 mmol) x 135 mg = 1 gram of broccoli sprout powder, 0.1% of food intake.

Per Drying broccoli sprouts, dried 3-day-old broccoli sprouts contain 10% moisture, and fresh 3-day-old broccoli sprouts contain 82.6% moisture. A gram of 1-day-old broccoli sprout powder may be an approximate equivalent of (.826 / .1) = 8 grams fresh 3-day-old broccoli sprouts for a mouse / kg of daily food intake. A human equivalent dose is (.826 / .1) x .081 x 70 kg = 47 grams of fresh 3-day-old broccoli sprouts / kg of daily food intake.

That’s about how much 3-day-old, microwaved, glucoraphanin-containing broccoli and red cabbage sprouts I eat every day, starting from 7.2 grams of seeds. I sprout another 3.5 grams of yellow mustard seeds into the mixture for taste.


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Week 120 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with sprouts

It was time for an annual physical last Wednesday. My focus was to see whether reducing sulforaphane intake per Week 87 had the desired effect on thyroid measurements.

That and other adjustments did! Readings of TSH 2.91 (0.45 – 4.50 uIU/mL), free T4 1.22 (0.82 − 1.77 ng/dL), and free T3 2.4 (2.0 – 4.4 pg/mL) were all in-range. 🙂

thyroid


I won’t repeat the Week 63 workbook calculations done after last year’s annual physical. To me, that’s another form of magical thinking.

Every one of those reference ranges, and optimal ranges built from all-cause mortality statistics, requires a suffix “of people who didn’t positively change their healthspan and lifespan.” What value is there in optimizing (pick a measurement) against those outcomes? Why compare my efforts, or results, or any other aspect of my life, to people who didn’t actionably care about their one precious life?

I’m not deflecting with poor measurements:

  • 3 of the 5 values in last year’s optimal ranges got better, and the other 2 stayed the same; and
  • 2 of the 4 values that weren’t in last year’s optimal ranges came into those ranges, and the other 2 got better but stayed outside an optimal range.

We each have a lot at stake. Bad things like diseases of old age happen on their own. If we want good things to happen, we have to make them happen.

Consider this from The impact of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and early life experiences:

“Every disease is connected to the immune system.”

Are people making good choices every day for their immune systems?

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Eat broccoli sprouts for metabolic syndrome

This 2022 rodent study investigated sulforaphane’s effects on insulin resistance:

“Insulin resistance is one of the defining clinical traits of metabolic syndrome, which represents a constellation of metabolic disorders, mainly comprising obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and hypertension. This study aimed to investigate therapeutic effects and potential mechanisms of sulforaphane (SFN) on high-fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance. Control chow diet was 10 kcal% fat, and HFD was 60 kcal% fat.

  • SFN was found to effectively reduce body weight, fasting blood glucose, and hyperlipidemia, and improve liver function in HFD-fed mice.
  • SFN led to increased expression of antioxidant genes downstream of Nrf2, and decreased accumulation of lipid peroxides MDA and 4-HNE.
  • SFN significantly reduced glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPx4) inactivation-mediated oxidative stress by activating the AMPK and Nrf2 signaling pathways.

Data suggested that GPx4 could be a key target through which SFN might activate Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway to decrease the extent of insulin resistance induced in HFD-fed mice. Taken together, SFN ameliorated HFD-induced insulin resistance by activating the AMPK-Nrf2-GPx4 pathway, providing new insights into SFN as a therapeutic compound for alleviation of insulin resistance.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S075333222200662X “Sulforaphane alleviates high fat diet-induced insulin resistance via AMPK/Nrf2/GPx4 axis”


This study’s sulforaphane dose was the same as Eat broccoli sprouts for your heart and Broccoli sprouts activate the AMPK pathway at 0.5 mg / kg. It was administered five times a week for 8 weeks to a subgroup of HFD-fed mice starting after 8 weeks of HFD.

A human equivalent oral dose to these three studies’ subcutaneous doses would be a low (0.5 mg x .081) x 70 kg = ~3 mg sulforaphane. Per Eat broccoli sprouts for your gut, my sulforaphane intake is six times that every day.

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