Eat broccoli sprouts for your skin

This 2020 Swiss review subject was the interaction of Nrf2 activators and skin:

“The electrophile and Nrf2 activator dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is an established and efficient drug for patients suffering from the common inflammatory skin disease psoriasis. DMF is being tested for pharmacological activity in several other inflammatory skin conditions.


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease affecting 2–4% of the population and plaque psoriasis is the most common type, affecting about 90% of all patients. As about 30% of all patients suffer from moderate and severe psoriasis, there is a strong need for efficient systemic treatment options with few side effects.

SFN [sulforaphane] blocks NF-κB activity by several mechanisms. SFN oxidizes IκB, thereby inhibiting its phosphorylation and downstream NF-κB activation, but also targets specific cysteine residues of p50/p65, causing a reduction in DNA binding.

More indirect effects have also been suggested. SFN induces HO-1 expression via Nrf2, which in turn inhibits NF-κB. The isothiocyanate can also react with and oxidize components of cellular redox buffers, such as glutathione and thioredoxin, which are required to retain NF-κB’s DNA-binding capacity.

NLRP3 is believed to be critically involved in common diseases, whereas its role in immunity is rather minor. The mechanisms underlying NLRP3 inflammasome activation are of high medical interest.

Electrophiles can directly inhibit inflammasome activation. SFN inhibits activation of NLRP3 in the absence of NRF2 expression in a very fast manner, suggesting that transcriptional effects are not relevant for NLRP3 inhibition. SFN inhibits NLRP3 even in KEAP1 knockout cells.

All these results demonstrate that electrophiles can inhibit the inflammasome pathway in a direct manner, perhaps via the modification of reactive cysteine residues of inflammasome proteins or those which regulate activation of these complexes.” “Electrophiles against (Skin) Diseases: More Than Nrf2”

These reviewers focused on a pharmaceutical. Read this article for progress made on a generic:

“Biogen is expected to appeal this ruling against its Tecfidera patent protection, which is not due to expire until 2028. Its list price is reported to be about $2,026 for a two-week (14 day) supply at 120 mg.

‘The District Court decision clears the legal pathway for us to bring our dimethyl fumarate product to market, and we are working with the FDA to accelerate our regulatory approval target action date, which currently is November 16.'”

Broccoli or Sulforaphane: Is It the Source or Dose That Matters? listed 15 mouse studies and 4 human studies of sulforaphane treatments of skin diseases in Supplementary Material Table S3.

From Novel Nrf2 activators from microbial transformation products inhibit blood–retinal barrier permeability in rabbits:

“The cysteine residue of sulforaphane works as a weak electrophile and it interacts with cysteine residues of Keap1. Dimethyl fumarate is also a weak electrophile.

Nrf2 activity was evaluated by NQO1 induction activity in Hepa1c1c7 cells. RS9 was the most potent and the concentration needed to double (CD) the specific Nrf2 activity was 0.2 nM. The CD values for bardoxolone methyl, sulforaphane and dimethyl fumarate were 0.9 nM, 154.4 nM and 13.3 μM respectively.”

1. This review didn’t mention dimethyl fumarate’s NQO1 induction CD value because..? It’s one of Nrf2 signaling pathway’s main studied parameters along with HO-1. For example, from Autism biomarkers and sulforaphane:

“This time point was chosen based on our earlier observations of the kinetics of upregulation of Nrf2-dependent genes by SF, and was expected to capture the increased mRNA production of both very fast (HO-1) and relatively slow (NQO1) responders.”

2. What about adverse effects? From Sulforaphane and RNAs:

“DMF is the most successful Nrf2 activator, FDA-approved in 2013 for the treatment of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. However, DMF causes leukopenia and other side-effects.

Bardoxolone cleared Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of advanced chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but was halted in Phase III trials due to cardiovascular concerns.”

3. What about prevention mechanisms for skin problems? Skin care isn’t just cancer prevention.

So, what can a person do to treat an inflammation problem in our largest organ – skin?

  • Pay $2,026 every two weeks to take a daily 120 mg dose of a brand name pharmaceutical?
  • Wait around for some hypothetical future “development of new tailor-made molecules and drugs for the many inflammatory conditions which are associated with Nrf2, NF-κB and inflammasomes”?
  • Try other treatments that just address symptoms, not causes?

Or eat daily clinically-relevant broccoli sprout dosages for < $500 a year?

Sulforaphane and RNAs

This 2020 Texas review subject was long non-coding RNAs:

“We review the emerging significance of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) as downstream targets and upstream regulators of the Nrf2 signaling pathway, a critical mediator of diverse cellular processes linked to increased cell survival.

It is believed that more than 3% of human genes are regulated by the Nrf2/Keap1 pathway. In addition to the classical cytoprotective and oxidative stress response genes transactivated by Nrf2, emerging evidence suggests a role for non-coding transcript regulation at the level of noncoding RNAs, [which] far outnumber protein-coding genes in the human genome.

One important distinction between miRNAs and lncRNAs is that the latter are often species-specific, meaning that a human lncRNA typically cannot be studied in the mouse or rat, and vice versa.

Sulforaphane (SFN) acts via multiple mechanisms to modulate gene expression, including the induction of Nrf2-dependent signaling. In addition to the established canonical targets of Nrf2, such as NQO1 and HMOX1, SFN altered the expression of multiple lncRNAs.

Given that SFN induces NMRAL2P [a lncRNA pseudogene] and several other lncRNAs in colon cancer cells, further studies are warranted on their respective roles as upstream regulators and/or downstream targets of Nrf2 signaling.

Pharmacological modulation of Nrf2 is considered a viable strategy against chronic conditions that are accompanied by oxidative stress and inflammation:

  • DMF [dimethyl fumurate] is the most successful Nrf2 activator, FDA-approved in 2013 for the treatment of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. However, DMF causes leukopenia and other side-effects.
  • Bardoxolone cleared Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of advanced chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but was halted in Phase III trials due to cardiovascular concerns.
  • SFN is relatively unstable at room temperature.

We used reported bioinformatics approaches to search for putative ARE [antioxidant response element] sequences among the entire set of 16,000+ annotated human lncRNAs. 13,285 promoter regions contained one or more potential binding sites for Nrf2.” “Emerging crosstalk between long non-coding RNAs and Nrf2 signaling”

This study hyped lncRNAs in that only 7 have been validated as Nrf2 targets, and 8 validated as Nrf2 regulators. For regulators, “protein and/or miRNA interacting partners are yet to be fully corroborated” as well.

Also, there’s no need for a “SFN is relatively unstable at room temperature” problem. Just create sulforaphane right before consuming it.

Twice a day I microwave an average 65.5 grams of 3-day-old broccoli sprouts immersed in 100 ml water with a 1000W microwave on full power for 35 seconds to achieve 60°C. After microwaving I transfer broccoli sprouts to a strainer, and wait five minutes to allow further myrosinase hydrolization of glucoraphanin and other glucosinolates into sulforaphane and other healthy compounds.

Caution on broccoli seed erucic acid content?

1. While looking through PubMed “broccoli skin” search results, I read a 2018 study Comparative Study of Predominant Phytochemical Compounds and Proapoptotic Potential of Broccoli Sprouts and Florets that cautioned about erucic acid content in broccoli seeds:

“Our results revealed significantly higher total UFAs [unsaturated fatty acids] content in the sprouts in comparison to the florets, with very low amounts of harmful erucic [27] acid in sprouts (0.5%) and florets (2%), in comparison to the broccoli seeds (38% – data not shown).”

But its cited reference [27] Various concentrations of erucic acid in mustard oil and mustard said nothing about broccoli seeds.

Values were on a dry weight basis. Broccoli sprout age was four days.

2. Another search found this 2017 Erucic acid in feed and food position paper which stated:

“When in this Scientific Opinion the erucic acid content is reported as a percentage, this value refers to the percentage erucic acid in the total fatty acids on a weight basis.

A tolerable daily intake of 7 mg/kg body weight per day for erucic acid was established.”

3. It referenced a 2002 Determination and Health Implication of the Erucic Acid Content of Broccoli Florets, Sprouts, and Seeds which stated:

“The erucic acid content of broccoli florets, sprouts, and seeds was found to be about 0.8, 320, and 12100 mg/100 g, respectively.”

Respective erucic acid percentages of total lipids on a fresh weight basis were provided as 0.4%, 1.1%, and 26.9%.

Florets, sprouts, and seeds had no relationships among them as they were different broccoli cultivars. Broccoli sprouts’ age wasn’t disclosed.

4. The 2002 study was updated in a 2004 Glucoraphanin and 4-Hydroxyglucobrassicin Contents in Seeds of 59 Cultivars of Broccoli, Raab, Kohlrabi, Radish, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Cabbage which stated:

“All seed accessions contained substantial amounts of hexane-extractable lipids ranging from 21.8 to 42.0% (mean of 32.8%; 21.8-37.0 and 30.9% range and mean, respectively, for broccoli cultivars only), which were composed of 27.0-56.7% (mean of 46.7%;39.4-56.7 and 50.2% range and mean, respectively, for broccoli cultivars only) erucic acid.”

Seeds of the 2002 broccoli sprouts commercial product were measured at 31.4% lipids, with erucic acid content 51.6% of total lipids.

5. The 2018 study cited a 2013 Biochemical composition of broccoli seeds and sprouts at different stages of seedling development whose broccoli seed and sprout composition dry weights are in the below graphic:

  • Broccoli seed lipid percentage of total carbohydrates plus crude fiber would be 9.36 g / (58.89 g + 15.47 g) = 12.6%.
  • 3-day-old broccoli sprouts lipid percentage of total carbohydrates plus crude fiber would be 8.67 g / (54.4 g + 8.97 g) = 13.7%.
  • No erucic acid contents were disclosed.

These four studies all required further work:

  • 2002 couldn’t be bothered to use just one broccoli cultivar for its three measurements, or disclose broccoli sprout age.
  • 2004 couldn’t resolve many of their findings with other studies.
  • 2013 used weights to equate measurements, instead of relating germination stages back to a beginning number of seeds and their measurements.
  • 2018 provided a bogus reference and an unsupported “broccoli seeds (38% – data not shown).” It claimed similarity with 2013, but a statistics package would say otherwise. It also didn’t comply with disclosing fatty acids weight as a percentage of broccoli sprouts weight.

Home sprouting has to deal with:

  • unknown cultivar,
  • unknown glucoraphanin and other glucosinolates contents,
  • unknown sulforaphane and other healthy compounds, and now
  • unknown erucic acid content.

Let’s reverse Microwave broccoli seeds to create sulforaphane calculations with 3-day-old broccoli sprouts have the optimal yields information to estimate an erucic acid content in one tablespoon of broccoli seeds. Strikethroughs from Week 18 and Week 19 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts.

  • Highest weight of 100 seeds: 0.84 grams [3-day study].
  • Maximum broccoli seed weight of one tablespoon (2,436 seeds [my count] / 100) x 0.84 g = 20.46 10.7 g.
  • Maximum lipids weight (20.46 10.7 g x 12.6% [2013 study]) = 2.58 1.35 g.
  • Maximum erucic acid weight in one tablespoon of broccoli seeds (2.58 1.35 g x 26.9% [2002 study]) = 0.69 0.36 g.

This 0.69 0.36 g erucic acid content would be higher would be lower than 2017 guidelines for my 70 kg weight (7 mg x 70) = 0.49 g. I’ve linked this post to the microwave broccoli seeds post’s top and bottom.

Let’s reverse Estimating daily consumption of broccoli sprout compounds techniques to estimate an erucic acid content in my daily consumption of 3-day-old broccoli sprouts grown from two tablespoons of seeds:

  • Highest weight of 100 seeds: 0.84 grams [3-day study].
  • 100 of that cultivar’s 3-day-old sprouts weighed 3.67 grams [3-day study]. That was in laboratory conditions, though. Let’s guess that 3-day-old broccoli sprouts only gain twice as much weight in my kitchen 0.84 g x 2 = 1.68 g.
  • (4,872 seeds [my count] / 100) x 1.68 g = 81.8 131 g 3-day-old broccoli sprouts.
  • Maximum lipids weight (81.8 131 g x 13.7% [2013 study]) = 11.2 17.9 g.
  • Maximum erucic acid weight in 3-day-old broccoli sprouts (11.2 17.9 g x 1.1% [2002 study]) = 0.12 0.20 g.

Plug in your own numbers, but it looks like caution is is not warranted for broccoli seed consumption. Consequences of a possible erucic acid content in broccoli seeds may weigh more be less than its healthy aspects.

One mitigation may be to start germination. Pick a point between broccoli seeds’ % of total fatty acids and ending 0.5% of 4-day-old sprouts [2018 study].

Not concerned with a daily estimate < .49 g erucic acid for broccoli seeds and sprouts. Back to a PubMed “broccoli skin” search.

See Politically correct about erucic acid and broccoli seeds for a follow up.

Eat sauerkraut today!

This 2017 Spanish article reviewed health benefits of sauerkraut:

“During cabbage shredding and fermentation, a disruption of cabbage cells occurs, and GLS [glucosinolates] are hydrolyzed by myrosinase enzyme to a variety of GLS breakdown products. In particular, glucobrassicin is hydrolyzed into indol-3-carbinol (I3C) by myrosinase.

As the pH decreases during cabbage fermentation, I3C reacts nonenzymatically with ascorbic acid to yield ascorbigen (ABG). Studies have shown that ABG is the main GLS breakdown compound in sauerkraut, and it is present at levels between 3 and 18 μmol/100 g fw.

The antioxidant activity observed for sauerkraut in all studies was higher than that observed in raw cabbage.

It has been reported that doses between 53 and 150 μmol of ITCs [isothiocyanates] are enough to display anticarcinogenic effects. Taking into account that the content of ITCs in sauerkraut is in the range 22 μmol/100 g fw, it could be assumed that a weekly consumption of 200–250 g of sauerkraut would provide effective ITC doses to exert cancer chemopreventive effects.

Many studies reported that LAB [lactic acid bacteria] isolated from sauerkraut are potential probiotics.” “Sauerkraut: Production, Composition, and Health Benefits” (not freely available)

This introductory article presented interesting facts, but oversold sauerkraut. Dose and other conditional dependencies in order to achieve health and disease prevention benefits seemed to be beyond its scope.

A more considered view was offered in Fermented Food and Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases which referenced this article:

“Clinical data about the effects of sauerkraut on the human organism, health and disease are scarce. There is knowledge concerning particular compounds in sauerkraut and their impacts on diseases; however, a literature search revealed mostly cell line or rat experiments with very limited conclusions for humans.”

Earlier this month I started eating refrigerated sauerkraut twice a day with microwaved broccoli sprouts. I mix in three heaping teaspoons each time, and finish a 50 oz (1418 g) container in a week.

The mixture tastes better than just microwaved broccoli sprouts. It requires more chewing, which assists myrosinase hydrolization of broccoli sprout glucosinolates into sulforaphane and other healthy compounds.

Although sauerkraut isn’t a primary source, there may be beneficial amounts of probiotics etc. that increase what I get with broccoli sprouts and supplements.

I also started making my own sauerkraut using the commercial product’s juice as a starter. I add garlic but not salt. No results yet.

Part 2 of Do broccoli sprouts treat migraines?

To follow up Do broccoli sprouts treat migraines? which used a PubMed “sulforaphane migraine” search, a PubMed “diindolylmethane” search came across a 2020 Czech human cell study Antimigraine Drug Avitriptan Is a Ligand and Agonist of Human Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor that Induces CYP1A1 in Hepatic and Intestinal Cells that had this informative Introduction:

“The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) transcriptionally controls a wide array of genes. AhR is a critical player in human physiology (e.g., hematopoiesis) and also in many pathophysiological processes such as diabetes, carcinogenesis, inflammation, infection or cardiovascular diseases.

Suitable candidates for off-targeting AhR could be the antimigraine drugs of triptan class, which have an indole core in their structure. Indole-based compounds were demonstrated as ligands of AhR, including dietary indoles (e.g., indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane).”

Adding AhR to the search showed:

Changing the PubMed search to “icz migraine” pulled up a 2013 review Biomedical Importance of Indoles that described sumatriptan as an indole, and:

“Since DIM accumulates in the cell nucleus, it likely contributes to cell nuclear events that have been ascribed to I3C.”

Widening the search to “i3c ahr” added:

Changing the search to “i3c migraine” picked up a 2011 UK human study Effect of diindolylmethane supplementation on low-grade cervical cytological abnormalities: double-blind, randomised, controlled trial:

“In the study reported here, there was no statistically significant difference in serious adverse events between groups; in fact a higher proportion of women in the placebo group reported a serious adverse event. Although this study did not have sufficient power to study migraines, we did find a non-significant increase in reported headaches (18% on DIM, 12% on placebo, P=0.12).”

Returning to the original PubMed “sulforaphane migraine” search, Bioavailability of Sulforaphane Following Ingestion of Glucoraphanin-Rich Broccoli Sprout and Seed Extracts with Active Myrosinase: A Pilot Study of the Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitor Administration included one subject who took migraine medication. They weren’t a study outlier, however.

Although indole chemistry indicates a broccoli sprouts – migraine connection, I haven’t found relevant research. Maybe the known properties and actions of broccoli sprout compounds provide enough to affect causes of migraines?

Eat broccoli sprouts for DIM

This 2019 Spanish human study ran in parallel with Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts. I’ll focus on the aspect of diindolylmethane (DIM) from eating broccoli sprouts:

“The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of gender or hormonal status (menopause) on the bioavailability of broccoli sprouts in different cohorts of overweight adult subjects: men, non-menopausal women and post-menopausal women.

3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) was detected and quantified in all volunteers. It increased significantly during broccoli [sprouts] ingestion in men. However, a steady decrease of its urinary concentration was observed in post-menopausal women that was significant at day 50. No significant changes were observed in premenopausal women. Albeit this different behaviour, no significant differences between the three groups were detected by the different statistical tests performed.

High increases observed in SFN-metabolites in the three cohorts confirm that the fresh product is a good source of bioactive compounds bioavailable in the organism. We detected high amounts of 3,3-DIM in urine samples, which can be related to the metabolism of glucobrassicin derivatives from our broccoli sprouts.

Post-menopausal women seem to metabolize isothiocyanates in a greater extension. Hormonal status and differences in gut microbiota may influence the bioavailability of isothiocyanates from broccoli sprouts but more studies are needed to support this statement.” “Bioavailability of broccoli sprouts in different human overweight populations” (not freely available)

“Post-menopausal women seem to metabolize isothiocyanates in a greater extension. A steady decrease of its [DIM] urinary concentration was observed in post-menopausal women that was significant at day 50.”

Subjects ate broccoli sprouts every day through Day 35, then stopped, and were measured again at Day 50. The only example of measurements where Day 35 was less than Day 0 was postmenopausal women retaining more broccoli sprout indolic compounds’ metabolite, DIM, than excreting it.

That Day 35 data point didn’t have an asterisk next to it to indicate a statistically significant decrease. But the group’s next Day 50 significant “steady decrease” finding supported an interpretation that eating broccoli sprouts supplied those overweight postmenopausal women with DIM that they especially needed.

Regarding the huge percentage changes above, our model clinical trial found in a longer time frame:

The decrease in IL-6 levels was significantly related to the increase in 24 h urine SFN [sulforaphane] levels. In case of C-reactive protein, the decrease was significantly related to the increases in 24 h urine SFN-NAC [SFN-N-acetylcysteine] and SFN-CYS [SFN-cysteine].

I’ll guess that these parallel trial subjects also experienced similar benefits from eating broccoli  sprouts every day for five weeks. See Day 70 results from Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts for another guess that even shorter time frames would be effective.

Broccoli sprout indolic compounds that metabolize to DIM:

A claim of improved cognitive function

I’ll describe evidence for claiming improved cognitive function in Week 9 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts.

I read parts of over a hundred research papers last week. That required substantial concentration to understand them, and stay on topic while learning new items, which started new searches. This wasn’t a new development, it was just to a much greater extent. I also worked forty hours for my job.

The main chain of blog posts began when I relooked at the presentation in Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends after remembering it included before and after photos per A hair color anecdote. The presentation prompted last week’s most frequent self-question, Why didn’t I see this before?

One possible explanation is that people don’t usually see things outside their conditioned perceptions. (1) Reevaluate findings in another paradigm illustrated this with an example of how different frameworks viewed the same hypothalamus study differently.

I was interested to see what sulforaphane research had in common with the presentation topics, which produced (2) Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane. That required gaining a better understanding of PubMed search techniques, which led to (3) A pair of broccoli sprout studies.

Numerous presentation topics resulted in (4) Part 2 of Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane. I investigated one of its cited papers in (5) A review of sulforaphane and aging, which required further searches, some of which are still on tabs of my browser.

I was happy to oblige special requests with (6) Tailoring measurements for broccoli sprouts and (7) Uses of the lymphocytes to monocytes ratio.

Could I have done all of what I did last week without changing my internal environment? What exactly are the effects of eating a clinically relevant amount of broccoli sprouts every day for nine weeks?

A plausible explanation is in Upgrade your brain’s switchboard with broccoli sprouts.

A review of sulforaphane and aging

This 2019 Mexican review stated:

“We describe some of the molecular and physical characteristics of SFN, its mechanisms of action, and the effects that SFN treatment induces in order to discuss its relevance as a ‘miraculous’ drug to prevent aging and neurodegeneration. SFN has been shown to modulate several cellular pathways in order to activate diverse protective responses, which might allow avoiding cancer and neurodegeneration as well as improving cellular lifespan and health span.

NF-κB is in charge of inflammatory response regulation. Under basal conditions, NF-κB is sequestrated into the cytosol by IκB, but when pro-inflammatory ligands bind to its receptors, the IKK protein family phosphorylates IκB to degrade it via proteasome, so NF-κB is able to translocate into the nucleus and transcript several inflammatory mediators. Sulforaphane is capable to inhibit IκB phosphorylation and NF-κB nuclear translocation.

SFN upregulated Nrf2 expression by reducing DNA demethylation levels of the Nrf2 promoter. In another model using the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (3 × Tg-AD), the use of SFN regulates the expression of the Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) via HDAC inhibition, thus increasing H3 and H4 acetylation on the BDNF promoter. Enhancing BDNF expression as an effect of SFN treatment increased the neuronal content of several synaptic molecules like MAP 2, synaptophysin, and PSD-95 in primary cortical neurons of 3 × Tg-AD.” “Sulforaphane – role in aging and neurodegeneration”

I came across this review while searching PubMed for sulforaphane commonalities with presentation topics in Part 2 of Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane. The review outlined some aging aspects and presented relevant sulforaphane studies. Others such as eye and muscle decline weren’t addressed.

Since sulforaphane’s “a ‘miraculous’ drug” in the Abstract, I expected but didn’t see corresponding excitement in the review body. Just phrases like “it is known” and non-specific “more research is needed.”

Other papers published after this review were found by a PubMed “sulforaphane signal aging” search:

A pair of broccoli sprout studies

This 2015 Oregon human study found:

  • “Plasma and urinary levels of total SFN [sulforaphane] metabolites were ~3–5 times higher in sprout consumers compared to BSE [broccoli sprout extract] consumers.
  • In sprout consumers, plasma concentrations were 2.4-fold higher after consuming the second dose than after the first dose.
  • Calculated SFN bioavailability from broccoli sprouts exceeded 100%.

a Following consumption of a single 200-µmol SFN dose. b Cumulative excretion of SFN metabolites from baseline collection through the 48-hr study period. c Bioavailability F calculated based on total micromoles excreted in urine. Cmax, maximum concentration observed; AUC, area under the curve; h, hour; L, liter; t1/2, half-life; Tmax, time at Cmax. Values represent mean ± SD, n = 10.” “Absorption and chemopreventive targets of sulforaphane in humans following consumption of broccoli sprouts or a myrosinase-treated broccoli sprout extract”

Another way to state findings:

  1. Broccoli sprouts are better than supplements.
  2. Eating sprouts twice a day is better than eating them once a day.

No explanation was given for sprout weight variability, although one was needed, because 127.6 g / 2 = 63.8 g, not 46.8 g:

“In the divided-dose phase (two weeks later), subjects (fasting) consumed half the original dose (100 μmol SFN equivalents) at 8 AM from sprouts or the BSE and the other half (not fasting) 12 h later.”

A “SFN potential” process demonstrated sulforaphane amount equivalencies, but didn’t explain non-intuitive sprout weight measurements. Was it too difficult to control sprout variability? The difficulties were instead pushed onto other researchers trying to replicate the study, and consumers looking for practical guidance.

Regardless, I adjusted my practices to twice daily start a new broccoli sprout batch with one tablespoon of seeds rather than once a day with two tablespoons. I eat them with breakfast and dinner.

I microwave 3-day-old sprouts immersed in 100 ml distilled water on full 1000W power for 35 seconds to achieve 58°C. I immediately put them into a strainer to allow further myrosinase hydrolization of glucoraphanin and other glucosinolates into sulforaphane and other healthy compounds.

I’d overlooked the above study until I saw it referenced in its successor 2018 human study Untargeted metabolomic screen reveals changes in human plasma metabolite profiles following consumption of fresh broccoli sprouts and cited it in Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane for its DHEA findings. The clinical trial treatments included:

“Both dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and metformin in an attempt to limit the “diabetogenic” effect of GH [growth hormone]. DHEA has many effects, in both men and women, that oppose deleterious effects of normal aging.”

A PubMed search on DHEA found Impact of Dehydroepianrosterone (DHEA) Supplementation on Serum Levels of Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1): A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials which confirmed the clinical trial’s DHEA dose would increase IGF-1.

This study observed a significant decrease in DHEA after eating broccoli sprouts, but didn’t provide a plausible explanation for this finding, or cite relevant studies. Ten other significant decreases were related to antioxidants and fatty acids.

It isn’t clear that I needed to take DHEA anyway, since the clinical trial’s purpose for DHEA treatment was to oppose effects of growth hormone, which I’m not taking. But I’m getting good results, so I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing for a limited time.

The study said:

“While this study focuses largely on the potential effects of SFN, broccoli sprouts contain many other bioactive components that could be responsible for our observations as well as additional health benefits.”

Our model clinical trial Effects of long-term consumption of broccoli sprouts on inflammatory markers in overweight subjects said much the same:

“The anti-inflammatory effects observed with broccoli sprouts intake are likely due to the combined effects of all the hydrolysis products of glucosinolates.”

The 3-day-old broccoli sprouts have the optimal yields study said:

Although germination reduces SF [sulforaphane] yield to some extent, it is beneficial to the formation and accumulation of total phenol and flavonoids, ensuring the health properties of sprouts.”

Combining the pair of Oregon studies’ findings:

  1. Broccoli sprouts are better than supplements.
  2. Eating sprouts twice a day is better than eating them once a day.
  3. When in doubt, refer back to Item 1.


Do broccoli sprouts treat migraines?

While rereading a review in Eat broccoli sprouts today, it occurred to me that I haven’t needed to take migraine medicine during the 9 weeks I’ve been eating broccoli sprouts every day. Since 14 weeks of lockdown overlap this period, it’s also possible that I’ve avoided triggering conditions. I look at brightly-lit screens all day, but don’t have cold air blowing on my head that’s the other half of my most common triggering condition.

I started having intermittent ~monthly episodes about ten years ago. I wouldn’t take sumatriptan unless I have a half-day-long headache that doesn’t respond to acetaminophen. It stops a headache from turning into a 3-day-long migraine.

I went over to PubMed and did a “sulforaphane migraine” search, which turned up exactly 1 (!!) result. A 2016 Chinese rodent study Activation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2/anitioxidant response element alleviates the nitroglycerin-induced hyperalgesia in rats found:

“Activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway inhibited the activation of TGVS [trigeminovascular system] and prevented the induction of hyperalgesia. Sulforaphane might therefore be an effective agent for hyperalgesia.”

Plausible conclusion. Nitroglycerin definitely jolts a monster headache.

Two of the eleven papers citing this study were:

There wouldn’t be any potential payoff for a company to be interested in studying a sulforaphane-migraine connection. What sponsor would be interested enough to double the number of studies in this area?

See Part 2 of Do broccoli sprouts treat migraines? for a follow up.