Precondition your defenses with broccoli sprouts

This 2020 human cell study elaborated on mechanisms mentioned in Eat broccoli sprouts for your hearing and Sulforaphane in the Goldilocks zone:

“NFE2L2/NRF2, a transcriptional factor that controls expression of multiple detoxifying enzymes through antioxidant response elements (AREs), is a target of sulforaphane (SFN). NFE2L2/NRF2 is a target gene of TFEB (transcription factor EB), a master regulator of autophagic and lysosomal functions, which we show here to be potently activated by SFN.

SFN induces TFEB activation by stimulating a moderate increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). Subsequently, cells are preconditioned to activate a self-defense mechanism that protects against oxidative damage.

TFEB activity is required for SFN-induced protection against both acute oxidant bursts and chronic oxidative stress. By simultaneously activating macroautophagy / autophagy and detoxifying pathways, natural compound SFN may trigger a self-defense cellular mechanism that can effectively mitigate oxidative stress commonly associated with many metabolic and age-related diseases.


SFN-induced TFEB nuclear accumulation was completely blocked by pretreatment of cells by N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), or by other commonly used antioxidants. NAC also blocked SFN-induced mRNA expression of TFEB target genes, as well as SFN-induced autophagosome formation.

SFN offers an exceptional therapeutic opportunity for many metabolic and age-related diseases, in which oxidative stress and impaired autophagy both contribute to pathologies.” “Sulforaphane activates a lysosome-dependent transcriptional program to mitigate oxidative stress”

This study explored cell mechanisms and confirmed opposing effects of NAC. I dropped NAC supplementation 62 weeks ago during Week 1 of eating broccoli sprouts every day, and dropped other antioxidants later.


Osprey breakfast

Broccoli sprouts positively influence Sestrin proteins

Four papers on Sestrin, with the first a 2021 review:

“Sestrin 2 (Sesn2) is a member of the evolutionarily conserved and stress-inducible sestrin family. In mammals, this family is composed of Sesn1–3, and Sesn2 is the main member that responds to oxidative stress.

Sesn2 inhibits mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-mediated cell over-proliferation by activating adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its kinase activity. Sesn2 also regulates redox balance by directly exerting antioxidant enzyme activity and regulating antioxidant signaling.

Inflammation, which is not regulated by oxidative stress, also plays an important role in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Sesn2 is involved in inflammation and immune regulation in many systems.

There is a positive feedback loop between Sesn2 and Nrf2:

sestrin2 nrf2

Sesn2 and p62 are expressed under oxidative stress. Sesn2 binds to ULK1 and p62 to form a functional complex, which promotes p62 phosphorylation, promoting p62-dependent autophagy degradation of Keap1.

Consequently, Nrf2 accumulates in cells, transfers to the nucleus, and promotes transcriptional activation of genes controlled by antioxidant response elements (ARE).

Circulating Sesn2 levels are elevated in a variety of CVDs, such as coronary heart disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation, which indicates that Sesn2 is induced and plays a protective role in CVDs.” “Sestrin 2, a potential star of antioxidant stress in cardiovascular diseases” (not freely available)

A second paper was also a 2021 review:

“Sestrin2 acts as an antioxidant protein that diminishes accumulation of ROS and inhibits mTORC1 signaling. Both accumulation of ROS and activation of mTORC1 are associated with aging and age-related diseases.

Since plasma sestrin2 levels in patients with CAD and those with carotid atherosclerosis were shown to be high, it remains unclear whether or not an exogenous administration of sestrin2 could be beneficial for prevention of atherosclerotic disease.” “The Protective Role of Sestrin2 in Atherosclerotic and Cardiac Diseases”

A third paper was a 2020 human study:

“Sesn 1 and Sesn 2 levels were significantly reduced in sarcopenic compared to non-sarcopenic subjects. It can be concluded that sarcopenia can be diagnosed at the early stage by using serum sestrin as one potential biomarker.” “Serum sestrins: potential predictive molecule in human sarcopenia” (not freely available)

A fourth paper was a 2020 rodent study:

“Sulforaphane (SFN) alleviated hematological variations, oxidative stress, heart dysfunction and structure disorder, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis induced by potassium dichromate. Moreover, SFN:

  • Reduced p53;
  • Cleaved caspase-3, Bcl2-associated X protein, nuclear factor kappa-B, and interleukin-1β levels; and
  • Increased Sesn2, Nrf2, heme oxygenase-1, NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase-1; and
  • Phosphorylated AMPK levels.

This study demonstrated that SFN ameliorates Cr(VI)-induced cardiotoxicity via activation of the Sesn2/AMPK/Nrf2 signaling pathway.” “Sulforaphane attenuates hexavalent chromium-induced cardiotoxicity via the activation of the Sesn2/AMPK/Nrf2 signaling pathway” (not freely available)

I found these studies as well as the previous post Cow milk causes disease from their citing a 2015 study The antioxidant function of sestrins is mediated by promotion of autophagic degradation of Keap1 and Nrf2 activation and by inhibition of mTORC1 (not freely available).

Cow milk causes disease

This 2021 review followed up Epigenetic effects of cow’s milk and many papers since then:

“Epidemiological studies associate intake of cow milk with an increased risk of diseases, which are associated with overactivated mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling. Milk’s physiological function to maintain high mTORC1 signaling at the beginning of mammalian life turns into adverse health effects when this postnatal endocrine and epigenetic system is not discontinued as designated by physiological processing of the lactation genome.

Milk is a signaling interface between the maternal lactation genome and the infant’s cellular mTORC1 system that orchestrates growth, anabolism, metabolic, immunological, and neurological programming. Pasteurization combined with refrigeration exposed human milk consumers to bioactive milk exosome (MEX)-derived micro-ribonucleic acids (miRs), augmenting milk’s mTORC1 activity compared to boiled, ultra-heat-treated, or fermented milk.

milk-mediated mTORC1 signaling

Milk consumption activates five major pathways stimulating mTORC1 via:

  1. Growth factors, including growth hormone, insulin, and insulin-like growth factor 1;
  2. Amino acids, especially branched-chain amino acids;
  3. Milk fat-derived palmitic acid;
  4. Milk sugar lactose; and
  5. Epigenetic modifiers, especially MEX-derived miRs.

Understanding milk’s interaction with the central hub of metabolic regulation, mTORC1, will open new avenues for prevention of common diseases.” “Lifetime Impact of Cow’s Milk on Overactivation of mTORC1: From Fetal to Childhood Overgrowth, Acne, Diabetes, Cancers, and Neurodegeneration”

This reviewer is somewhat of a zealot. Still, he cited 555 references.

His genotype may tolerate lactose, but he didn’t argue for it:

“After breast feeding, mucosal expression of lactase, an intestinal enzyme hydrolyzing lactose into glucose and galactose, is downregulated in all mammals with the exception of Neolithic humans, who developed LCT [lactase gene] mutations allowing persistent lactase expression.

Lactose content of milk makes up around 2–8% by weight. Lactose hydrolysis provides glucose and galactose, which both activate mTORC1:

  • During glucose abundance and glycolysis, sufficient cellular energy is produced in the form of ATP, which suppresses AMPK activity. Aldolase operates as a sensor for glucose availability that directly links glucose shortage to activation of AMPK.
  • Galactose via induction of oxidative stress activates mTORC1. Galactose-induced overactivation of mTORC1 promotes senescence of neural stem cells and aging of mesenchymal stem cells.

Lactobacilli used in food and dairy fermentation increase NRF2 activation, resulting in NRF2-induced sestrin expression, which attenuates mTORC1 activation.”

Eat broccoli sprouts for your hearing

Two 2021 papers, both of which I found by each citing a 2009 Molecular mechanisms underlying cochlear degeneration in the tubby mouse and the therapeutic effect of sulforaphane (not freely available). First was a review:

“Hair cell damage and loss mediated by oxidative stress are important causes of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, including noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), age-related hearing loss (ARHL), and ototoxic hearing loss.

Nrf2 reduces cell damage caused by oxidative stress, and maintains the dynamic balance of systematic redox by inducing and regulating expression of various antioxidant factors. This review summarizes correlation studies of Nrf2 in hearing loss, providing ideas for prevention and treatment of hearing loss with Nrf2 as the target.


There is positive feedback between p62-mediated autophagy and Nrf2. p62 promotes accumulation of Nrf2 and nuclear translocation. Concurrently, increased Nrf2 promotes p62 expression.

How Nrf2 regulates ROS changes in hair cells, and the upstream and downstream regulatory network of Nrf2 in hair cells, are still not fully understood. Studies on early prevention and treatment of hearing loss through the Keap1-Nrf2-ARE [antioxidant response element] signaling axis are still at the exploratory stage.” “The Role of Nrf2 in Hearing Loss”

Second paper was a rodent study:

“We examined oxidative stress and antioxidant response of the p62-Keap1-Nrf2 pathway in cochleae during age-related hearing loss (ARHL) and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). We elucidated the function of full-length and variant p62/Sqstm1 (referred to here as p62) in regulation of Nrf2 activation.

Cochlear damage was assessed by analyzing auditory brainstem response (ABR) and by counting hair cells (HCs). Malondialdehyde (MDA, a lipid peroxidation product) levels were measured in young and old mice to determine whether oxidative stress contributed to ARHL.

auditory brainstem response

  • (A) Audiometric threshold (dB) determined from click and pure tone evoked ABRs. Thresholds were each significantly different (P < 0.001) between young mice and old mice.
  • (B) HC loss percentage in basal cochlear turns. Significant differences (P < 0.001) were observed between young and old mice.
  • (C) MDA levels in the cochleae of old mice were significantly higher (P = 0.034) than those of young mice.

ROS accumulation is closely related to ARHL and NIHL. The inability of ROS accumulation to activate the Nrf2 antioxidant stress pathway under physiological conditions may be related to alternative splicing of p62 mRNA in cochleae.

However, the agonist of the Nrf2 pathway enhanced Nrf2 nuclear translocation. This suggests a mechanism in which the antioxidant pathway was difficult to be activated in the context of accumulation of ROS.” “New Target of Oxidative Stress Regulation in Cochleae:Alternative Splicing of the p62/Sqstm1 gene”

The study’s two-month-old mice were equivalent to a 20-year-old human. Its 13-to-14-month-old mice were equivalent to humans in their 60s to 70s.

I expected preconditioning to be mentioned in both papers. Maybe these researchers thought it was too obvious and didn’t need to be stated that:

  • Repeated use of a Nrf2 activator produces transient mild stress;
  • Which elicits a stronger response; and
  • Preconditions cells for future stress?

Sulforaphane in the Goldilocks zone and its cited papers exhaustively emphasized preconditioning’s importance. The main thing I’m trying to do with isothiocyanates is to send a weak pro-inflammatory signal to my endogenous ARE system to exercise natural defenses.

Twice-daily drills make me more proficient at responding to actual emergencies. Post-drill, my body recycles material to be ready to respond the next time.

I do the same thing once a day with β-glucan 1,3/1,6 to train my innate immune system. Microphages in my gut are the first responders. Like the very reactive isothiocyanates, I don’t take anything with, or an hour before or after β-glucan 1,3/1,6.

Why tolerate “the antioxidant pathway was difficult to be activated in the context of accumulation of ROS” when a sulforaphane “agonist of the Nrf2 pathway enhanced Nrf2 nuclear translocation”? For all we know, diminished natural defenses and hearing loss may exist to turn old mammals into prey.

Continued in Part 2.

Part 3 of Broccoli sprouts activate the AMPK pathway

This 2020 cell study investigated sulforaphane and three transcription pathways:

“Novel findings of this study are:

  1. AMPK controls only a subset within the Nrf2-dependent transcriptome;
  2. Altered Nrf2 levels or altered accessibility of regulatory ARE sites do not account for observed differences in target gene transcription between used wt and AMPK −/− cells;
  3. Rather, AMPK presence/activity ensures reduced Bach1 abundance with preferential Nrf2 over Bach1 binding to regulatory ARE sites, and finally stronger transactivation of selected target genes; and
  4. AMPK negatively controls bach1 mRNA expression.


In AMPK−/− cells, levels of BTB and CNC homology 1 (Bach1), a competitor of Nrf2 for ARE sites with predominant repressor function, were higher. Bach1 also bound to a greater relative extent to the examined ARE sites when compared to Nrf2.

Observed AMPK-mediated boost in transactivation of a subset of Nrf2 target genes involves downregulation of Bach1 and subsequent favored binding of activating Nrf2 over repressing Bach1 to examined ARE sites.


The discovered link between AMPK and Bach1 as well as the resulting selective influence on Nrf2 target gene expression are compelling and touch existing data:

  • Bach1 contributed to expression of only selected Nrf2 target genes in endothelial cells under hypoxic conditions which, in turn, are known to influence AMPK activity.
  • Bach1 levels are elevated during aging, in metastatic lung tumors or triple negative breast tumors with concomitant mitochondrial dysfunction, all events also partly connected with AMPK- and/or Nrf2 activity.

These issues strongly advocate for a closer look into interplay between cellular sensors and executors of the oxidative/xenobiotic and metabolic stress response, which likely will uncover additional layers of regulation of cellular stress resilience.” “AMPK Enhances Transcription of Selected Nrf2 Target Genes via Negative Regulation of Bach1”

This study hasn’t been cited even once since it was published eleven months ago. These researchers did a very good job of producing evidence for mechanisms of signaling pathways competing with and complementing each other.

This study provided further details to support Broccoli sprouts activate the AMPK pathway findings that sulforaphane first activates the AMPK pathway on the way to its main effect of Nrf2 pathway activation:

figure 8

Brown your white fat cells with broccoli sprouts

A 2021 rodent study and a blog post with 51 references investigated fat cells:

“Sulforaphane (SFN) is a potent indirect antioxidant and a promising agent for controlling metabolic disorder disease. We evaluated efficacy of SFN against high fat diet (HFD)-induced-obesity mice, and investigated potential mechanisms.


  • Suppressed HFD-induced body weight gain;
  • Reduced fat cell [adipocyte] size;
  • Suppressed expression of key genes in adipogenesis;
  • Inhibited lipid accumulation in C3H10T1/2 [pre-adipocyte] cells;
  • Increased expression of brown adipocyte-specific markers and mitochondrial biogenesis in vivo and in vitro; and
  • Decreased cellular and mitochondrial oxidative stress.

sulforaphane influences fat cells

Gene expression profile of C3H10T1/2 cells after SFN treatment showed that SFN inhibited expression of core adipogenesis genes (Ppar-γ, Fas, Cebpβ and Scd1) and enhanced expression of browning genes (Chop, Temem 26, Ucp1, Pgc-1α, and Prdm16) in adipocyte differentiation and trans-differentiation. This result suggested possible conversion of white adipocytes into beige cells.

We report that SFN induces browning of mature C3H10T1/2 adipocytes based on promotion of mitochondrial biogenesis by means of upregulation of the AMPK and NRF2 signaling pathways, and enhancement of mitochondrial function. Our further research revealed that SFN can prevent HFD-induced obesity in C57BL/6N mice by inducing browning of white adipose tissue.” “The Protective Effects of Sulforaphane on High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice Through Browning of White Fat”

Dr. Paul Clayton had a nuanced view of body fat and its browning:

“You can divide adipose tissue into three cell types:

  • White adipocytes account for 95% of all adipocytes and have a primarily storage function;
  • The primary function of brown adipocytes, which range from 1-5% depending on cold exposure and very specific types of chemo-stimulation i.e. β3-adrenergic, is generation of heat via mitochondrial uncoupling.
  • Beige adipocytes are intermediate. They aren’t interspersed in depots of white adipose tissue and can transform into brown-like adipocytes following cold exposure or adrenergic stimulation.

Bone marrow adipose tissue plays an important role in haematopoiesis and bone metabolism in more than one form:

  • One is located in distal bones (forearm and lower leg) and is pretty much stable;
  • The other form is in spine and proximal limb bones, and is inducible by environmental factors such as cold exposure, fasting, and anaemia.

White adipose tissue can be divided into visceral and sub-cutaneous deposits, and these tissues have different behaviours and functions, too.

From a clinical perspective, it’s important to know that adipocyte-related inflammatory effects can be neutralised with omega 3 fatty acids, which return fat cells to a ‘healthy’ configuration. Their inflammatory effects can also be inhibited by various polyphenols which, among other things, block release of pro-inflammatory microRNAs.

In my experience, combining omega 3s with lipophile polyphenols and AMPK-activators such as dammarane saponins and metformin, provide supra-additive benefits.” “Turn Fat into Muscle”

Still no mention of sulforaphane on the doctor’s blog, although it’s:

I came across this first study through a “PPAR sulforaphane” search. Discarding a supplement as a result, because I’m already doing enough!


Foods for your vision

This 2021 review by five ophthalmologists and two researchers characterized findings of food effects on human vision:

“The most challenging ocular disorders are uncorrected / under-corrected refractive errors, ocular surface dysfunction / dry eye disease, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (DR), and age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

  • Severe visual impairment and blindness due to cataract or refractive error constitutes half of all global cases;
  • Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness;
  • DR is the first cause of visual disability in working-age adults; and
  • AMD is the first cause of blindness in the elderly.

We identify directions for further research on:

  • The role of diet and nutrition in eyes and vision;
  • Potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects of natural food (broccoli, saffron, tigernuts and walnuts);
  • The Mediterranean Diet; and
  • Nutraceutic supplements that may supply a promising and highly affordable scenario for patients at risk of vision loss.

We improve understanding of natural food nutritional hallmarks, benefits of the MedDiet, and appropriate oral supplements with vitamins, carotenoids and PUFAs for better eye and vision care.” “Searching for the Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, and Neuroprotective Potential of Natural Food and Nutritional Supplements for Ocular Health in the Mediterranean Population”



All about the betaine

A trio of papers on betaine, the first being a 2021 series of thorough rodent experiments relating betaine and gut microbiota, and cause and effect:

“Compared with lean individuals, adipose tissues in obese individuals secrete high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, inducing:

  • Systemic inflammation;
  • Insulin resistance;
  • Large amounts of carcinogenic factors; and
  • Increasing risk of certain types of cancer such as melanoma, colon cancer, and liver cancer.

Prebiotics obtained from fruits and vegetables can regulate host lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis by reversing gut dysbiosis in obese individuals.


Results of this study show that dietary betaine alleviated gut microbiota imbalance in obese mice, and reduced development of obesity and obesity-related complications. Regulation of the miR-378a-YY1 regulatory axis by gut microbial acetate and butyrate was a critical mechanism for modulating:

  • White adipose tissue browning;
  • Classical brown adipose tissue activation; and
  • Lipid and glucose homeostasis

in obese mice after betaine supplementation.

These findings offer novel insights into underlying mechanisms by which gut microbiota affect host metabolism and host immune system, and demonstrate that the betaine-gut microbiota-derived signal axis is a potential therapeutic target in obesity and metabolic syndrome.” “Dietary betaine prevents obesity through gut microbiota-drived microRNA-378a family”

A second 2021 paper was a meta-analysis of effects on human cardiovascular biomarkers:

“Betaine supplementation had a significant effect on concentrations of:

  • Betaine;
  • Total cholesterol;
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL);
  • Homocysteine [negative effect]; and
  • Methionine.

Betaine supplementation did not affect serum concentrations of:

  • Triglycerides;
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL);
  • Fasting blood glucose;
  • C-reactive protein;
  • Liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT); and
  • Blood pressure.

Our meta-analysis supports the advantage of a lower dose of betaine supplementation (<4 g/d) on homocysteine concentrations without the lipid-augmenting effect observed with a higher dosage.” “Effects of betaine supplementation on cardiovascular markers: A systematic review and Meta-analysis” (not freely available)

A third paper was a 2014 cereal analysis of betaine and its precursor choline that found a 224% increase in betaine from 62 to 139 μg/g and a 31% increase in choline from microwaving oats:

“Betaine and its precursor choline are important components of one-carbon metabolism, remethylating homocysteine into methionine and providing methyl groups for DNA methylation. Cereals are the main source of betaine in diet.

During cooking processes which did not involve removal of water (in this case oat porridge microwaved using instant oats) appeared to lead to creation of betaine. Explanations for this phenomenon could be that betaine is synthesised during the process, or that heating with water liberates betaine from cereal matrix, enhancing efficiency of extraction.” “Cereal foods are the major source of betaine in the Western diet – Analysis of betaine and free choline in cereal foods and updated assessments of betaine intake” (not freely available)

Another 2021 betaine (aka trimethyl glycine) study was curated in Ride the waves of gene expression with betaine for its role in preventing nerve disease. I take 1.5 grams of a betaine supplement every morning and evening when eating hulled Avena sativa 3-day-old oat sprouts.

I found the first two papers from their citing a 2016 human and rodent study Dietary Betaine Supplementation Increases Fgf21 Levels to Improve Glucose Homeostasis and Reduce Hepatic Lipid Accumulation in Mice, which was linked in a comment on this 2021 video:

Small intestine alkaline phosphatase

This 2021 rodent study used small intestine alkaline phosphatase (IAP)-overexpressed subjects on a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet to investigate effects:

“To examine direct effects of increased IAP expression on barrier function and development of metabolic diseases, we developed intestine-specific IAP transgenic mice (IAPTg) overexpressing human chimeric IAP. We evaluated effects of intestine-specific IAP overexpression on Western-type diet (WD)–induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr−/ mice.

Diets low in fiber deprive intestinal bacteria of essential nutrients. Luminal bacteria turn to alternate sources of energy, namely, the carbohydrate-rich mucosal layer. This enhances direct contact between gut bacteria and intestinal epithelial layer, and promotes inflammation and intestinal barrier dysfunction.

Increase in IAP improves intestinal barrier function by not only dephosphorylating LPS and limiting its translocation to systemic circulation, but also by improving mucosal layer. Furthermore, IAP overexpression results in attenuated WD-induced weight gain and significantly reduced absorption of dietary lipids, leading to attenuation of total plasma cholesterol and TG levels, as well as hepatic lipids. This improved metabolic profile results in significant reduction in WD-induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr−/−IAPTg mice.

overexpressed IAP

IAP overexpression results in attenuated WD-induced weight gain and significantly reduced absorption of dietary lipids, leading to attenuation of total plasma cholesterol and TG levels, as well as hepatic lipids. This improved metabolic profile results in significant reduction in WD-induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr−/−IAPTg mice.

Increases in IAP can significantly attenuate effects of WD feeding on intestinal barrier function. It is noteworthy that IAP is also shown to be involved in innate immunity, and its activity is positively correlated to intestinal levels of IgA in mice and fecal immunoglobulins in humans.

The list of nutrients and food components/supplements that increase IAP continues to grow (galactooligosaccharides, glucomannan, vitamin D3), providing a novel opportunity to develop simple strategies for modulation of diet/nutrition to target metabolic diseases, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, or heart disease.” “Over-Expression of Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase Attenuates Atherosclerosis”

This study used ileal samples from the small intestine’s last section for its findings. It complemented Take FOS or inulin to increase your gut’s alkaline phosphate activity which used large intestine samples to demonstrate effects of  increased IAP activity.

Eat to make your gut microbiota happy, and expect reciprocity.

A biological age snapshot from a year ago

This May 3, 2020 two-hour video on Optimizing Biological Age was instructive:

Content was great! I recommend the longish Q & A, especially at 1:23 regarding inflammation.

It was a snapshot in that researchers on this conference call were interested in improving people’s health. Few recognized at the time a globally coordinated effort to herd humans into one tracking database using an injurious jab as a pretext.

optimizing biological age

Take FOS or inulin to increase your gut’s alkaline phosphate activity

This 2020 rodent study ran a series of experiments relating gut health factors. I left some items out that Google Translate didn’t handle well.

“This study investigated effects of food factors on colonic microbiota, fermentation products, mucins, immunoglobulin A (IgA) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Colonic ALP activity was positively correlated with colonic luminal variables such as fecal mucin level, ratio of Bifidobacterium spp., and level of n-butyrate, which are associated with a more favorable colonic environment. We propose that the increase of colonic ALP activity induced by fermentable non-digestible carbohydrates may be important for protection of gut epithelial homeostasis.

Since glucomannan was found to induce colon ALP activity, effects of other dietary fibers were also investigated. Ingestion of water-soluble dietary fibers pectin and inulin significantly increased colon tissue and fecal ALP activity of high-fat diet-fed rats.

Ingestion of chitosan, an insoluble dietary fiber, had no effect on colonic ALP activity. This indicates that colonic ALP activity may be induced by indigestible sugars such as fermentable water-soluble dietary fiber.

ALP activity of the large intestine tissue of rats fed a high-fat diet was significantly increased by ingestion of indigestible oligosaccharides fructooligosaccharide (FOS), galactooligosaccharide (GOS), raffinose (RAF) and lactulose (LAC). Mucin, n-butyric acid, and Bifidobacterium spp. significantly increased, and Clostridium coccoides was significantly reduced.

ALP activity

In the digestible isomaltooligosaccharide (IMOS)-added diet group, large intestine ALP activity, ALP gene expression, mucin, organic acid, and intestinal flora showed no effect.

In order to investigate nutritional conditions on inducing colon ALP activity by oligosaccharide intake, the difference in lipid quality ingested was examined under a high-fat diet.

  • When soybean oil and lard were used as dietary fats, the difference in quality of dietary lipids did not affect large intestine ALP activity and IAP-I expression in the FOS-free diet.
  • When FOS was added, ALP activity and IAP-I expression in the large intestine tissue were significantly increased under the condition of a high lard diet as compared with a high soybean oil diet.
  • Mucin content behaved similarly to colon tissue ALP activity and IAP-I expression.

mucin content

In this study, it was newly found that the effect of indigestible oligosaccharide intake on increasing colon ALP activity differs depending on nutritional conditions such as type of lipid. Furthermore, it was found that the increase in colon ALP activity under indigestible sugar intake has a positive correlation with factors involved in maintaining function of the intestinal environment, such as mucin.” “Modulation of the Colonic Luminal Environment by Food Factors” (in Japanese)

I arrived at this study by it citing a 2011 study Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone) or Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone-4) Induces Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase Gene Expression. I first heard of IAP in this 2020 video:

Part 2 of Vitamin K2 – What can it do?

Two papers on Vitamin K2, and an online database to continue Vitamin K2 – What can it do?:

“Precise quantitative assessments of vitamin K bioavailability in humans is challenging due to unquantified tissue conversion of PK [phylloquinone, Vitamin K1] to MK [menaquinone, Vitamin K2]-4, and contributions of gut microbiota. Absorption of long-chain MKs (MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9) from natto, cheese and egg yolk is close to 100%.

Long-chain MKs have a longer half-life. Long half-life may not necessarily indicate increased bioavailability, but instead non-preferential utilisation by tissues compared to PK and MK-4. A long half-life may also indicate that long-chain MKs may be of particular importance for extrahepatic tissues.

12 databases list vitamin K content of individual food items, which is required to more accurately determine vitamin K intake. The Dutch database is the most comprehensive, and includes PK and several types of MKs, ranging from MK-4 to MK-10.” “Quantifying dietary vitamin K and its link to cardiovascular health: a narrative review” (not freely available)

One online database mentioned is at

“The Dutch Food Composition Database (NEVO) contains data on the composition of foods eaten frequently by a large part of the Dutch population. These foods contribute significantly to the intake of energy and nutrients. Foods of importance for specific groups of the Dutch population are also included.

The NEVO online website contains data on 133 nutrients of 2152 food items. The most recent version of NEVO online dates from November 2019.”

I downloaded a copy in Excel format, selected all, and sorted by column EE “VITK2_mug” in descending order. There were 263 food items with Vitamin K2 measurements.

Vitamin K2 food content

A second paper detailed a 2021 double-blind, placebo-controlled, feasibility study:

“INTRICATE will assess the influence of combined vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 supplementation on micro-calcification in carotid artery disease. Considering recent advancements in medical imaging, ultrasound, PET/MRI, and computed tomography can be used for selection and stratification of patients with atherosclerosis.

Subjects will be randomized (1:1) to a vitamin K2 (400 µg MK-7/day) and vitamin D3 (80 µg [3200 IU]/day) dose or to placebo. Primary endpoint is change in Na[18F]F PET/MRI (baseline vs. after 3 months) in treatment group as compared to placebo arm. Secondary endpoints are changes in plaque composition and in blood-biomarkers.

Studies suggest positive effects of vitamin D on vitamin K-dependent metabolism. The MGP-gene promoter contains a vitamin D response element, capable of a two to threefold enhanced MGP expression after vitamin D binding.

Upregulation of MGP due to vitamin D needs vitamin K to ensure full activation of MGP for optimal functioning. This implies that the combination of both vitamin K and vitamin D could provide enhanced protection against progressive vascular calcification, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.” “Effects of Combined Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 Supplementation on Na[18F]F PET/MRI in Patients with Carotid Artery Disease: The INTRICATE Rationale and Trial Design”

The second study was somewhat of a tell in that after two decades, researchers are still testing Vitamin K2 dose efficacy. Researchers don’t consider it proper science to not use a statistics package to lump subjects into groups.

Someday researchers will thoroughly analyze each individual, and relate measurements to each individual’s causal and symptomatic characteristics. Then we’ll find out whether what did or didn’t matter to each individual, will or won’t matter to a group.

Until then they’ll focus on one dimension of health like Vitamin K2 foods per their sponsor’s directions. Nevermind that Vitamin K2-rich foods like cheeses are full of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that humans can’t adequately metabolize, to our detriment.

Vitamin K2 – What can it do?

A trio of papers on Vitamin K2, the first being a 2021 review that emphasized dual effects:

“Osteoporosis (OP) is the most common bone disease that affects elderly men and women. It is a metabolic skeletal disorder caused by an imbalance between bone formation and resorption, leading to a loss of bone mass and quality, skeletal structure deterioration, and an increased risk of fractures.

Vascular calcification is defined as ectopic deposition of mineral matrix in vessel wall. It occurs prevalently in aging and primary chronic conditions (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease), representing an important risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Studies have provided support for a close link between bone and vascular health. Findings suggest that bone loss in OP may promote and increase the risk of cardiovascular events and vascular atherosclerosis.

Vitamin K2 is involved in a phenomenon in which a low calcium deposition in bone tends to be associated with a parallel increase of calcium deposition in vessel wall as a consequence of impaired calcium metabolism. Most production of Vitamin K2 in humans takes place in intestines. However, the amount derived from intestinal bacteria is poorly absorbed, and is not able to reach concentrations required to exert physiological functions.

Vitamin K2‘s ability to reduce loss of bone mineral density and fracture risk, as well as to improve bone quality, has been described by several clinical studies, which have confirmed that osteocalcin (OC) γ-carboxylation is the main mechanism of action through which this natural compound is able to improve bone health. Clinical evidence suggests an analogous protective role of Vitamin K2 at the vascular level, emphasizing a strict association between:

  • Vitamin serum level;
  • Matrix gla protein (MGP) γ-carboxylation levels;
  • Reduction of vascular smooth muscle cells osteogenic trans-differentiation; and
  • Possible risk of cardiovascular events.” “The Dual Role of Vitamin K2 in ‘Bone-Vascular Crosstalk’: Opposite Effects on Bone Loss and Vascular Calcification”

A second 2021 review emphasized aging:

“Vitamin K can:

  • Carboxylate OC (a protein capable of transporting and fixing calcium in bone);
  • Activate MGP (an inhibitor of vascular calcification and cardiovascular events); and
  • Carboxylate Gas6 protein (involved in brain physiology and a cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disease inhibitor).

By improving insulin sensitivity, Vitamin K lowers diabetes risk. It also exerts antiproliferative, proapoptotic, autophagic effects, and has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

The most common [Vitamin K2] subtypes in humans are the short-chain MK[menaquinone]-4, which is the only MK produced by systemic conversion of phylloquinone [Vitamin K1] to menaquinone, and MK-7 through MK-10, which are synthesized by bacteria. The main sources of Vitamin K2 are fermented foods, cheeses, eggs, and meats.” “The Role of Vitamin K in Humans: Implication in Aging and Age-Associated Diseases”

The third paper – somehow not cited by these two reviews – was a 2006 human study that performed four experiments:

“The synthetic short-chain vitamin K1 is commonly used in food supplements, but recently the natural long-chain MK-7 has also become available as an over-the-counter supplement. The purpose of this paper was to compare in healthy volunteers absorption and efficacy of K1 and MK-7.

Serum vitamin K species were used as a marker for absorption and OC carboxylation as a marker for activity. Both K1 and MK-7 were absorbed well, with peak serum concentrations at 4 hours after intake.

A major difference was:

  • Very long half-life time of MK-7, resulting in much more stable serum levels; and
  • Accumulation of MK-7 to higher levels (7- to 8-fold) during prolonged intake.

MK-7 induced more complete carboxylation of OC.

Vitamin K2 vs K1

Accumulation and efficacy of K vitamins during long-term daily administration. Participants received in a crossover design either K1 (○) or MK-7 (•) or placebo; in the latter case only K1 (▴) could be detected.

  • (A) Circulating levels of vitamin K; baseline levels for K1 were subtracted; no MK-7 could be detected at baseline.
  • (B) Ratio between circulating carboxylated and undercarboxylated osteocalcin (cOC/ucOC); at baseline the ratio was 1.74 for MK-7, 1.8 for K1, and 1.7 for the placebo group.

MK-7 accumulated during the first 2 weeks until it reached a plateau level of about 10 nM (6 μg/L), whereas K1 remained slightly above placebo values during the entire study period. Efficacy of both K vitamins for OC carboxylation was monitored using the ratio between circulating cOC and ucOC, and it turned out that within 3 days both vitamins had induced increased cOC.

But only by taking MK-7 did the effect continue to increase during the entire study period.

Taken together, these data demonstrate considerable differences between MK-7 and K1:

  • Higher and more stable serum levels are reached with MK-7; and
  • MK-7 has a higher efficacy in both hepatic and extrahepatic protein carboxylation.” “Vitamin K–containing dietary supplements: comparison of synthetic vitamin K1 and natto-derived menaquinone-7″

I’ve tried various things over the years to address hypertension. I stopped high blood pressure medications briefly to see if each intervention worked. They all haven’t, presumably because I didn’t address causes.

More recently, I broke my left big toe on furniture while walking around in the dark last month, and haven’t recovered. No pictures from walking on the beach at sunrise because it still isn’t possible. 😦

A link between these two health conditions could be Vitamin K2. I don’t eat fermented foods because of their high sodium, or dairy products, and haven’t supplemented Vitamin K2.

Next week I’ll start a 300 μg MK-7 daily dose. Current Vitamin D3 dose is 3800 IU, compared to the second paper of Part 2 of Vitamin K2 – What can it do? which is 400 μg MK-7 and 3200 Vitamin D3.

Eat broccoli sprouts instead of antibiotics

This 2020 cell study investigated antibiotic effects of broccoli sprout compounds:

“In this work, we asked whether isothiocyanates (ITCs) could act synergistically with each other to increase antibacterial effect. A set of aliphatic ITCs, such as iberin, iberverin, alyssin, erucin, sulforaphen, erysolin, and cheirolin was tested in combination with sulforaphane against E. coli.

All tested ITCs exhibit strong antimicrobial effect individually. Synergistic action observed for iberin, iberverin, and alyssin led to minimal inhibitory concentration necessary for antibacterial effect four- to eight-fold lower than for individual ITCs.

Effectiveness of antimicrobial effect is correlated with both type of ITC used and bacterial growth conditions. Antimicrobial action of sulforaphane analogs was impaired by specific amino acids.

The combination of several fold lower concentration of ITCs gives a similar effect as much higher amounts of individual ITCs. Antibacterial effect of ITC treatment is related to stringent response induction, which is triggered by amino acid starvation.

The use of ITCs as antibacterial agents can be advantageous, as there are very few examples of bacterial resistance to these compounds.” “Induction of the Stringent Response Underlies the Antimicrobial Action of Aliphatic Isothiocyanates”

One of this study’s references was the 2016 Relationship between Chemical Structure and Antimicrobial Activities of Isothiocyanates from Cruciferous Vegetables against Oral Pathogens which found that broccoli and red cabbage compound indole-3-carbinol and mustard compound benzyl isothiocyanate were even more potent antibiotics than half of the aliphatic isothiocyanates in this study:

antibiotic isothiocyanates

I’m not concerned about countering antibiotic effects with “impaired by specific amino acids” supplementation like taurine, glycine, glutamine, etc. Since our ancesters evolved to deal with everyday bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, I’m already well-equipped.

Not sure about the current virus developed to herd humans into an agenda. Train your immune system every day! disclosed that I was in Milan, Italy on the same February 22-23, 2020 weekend that ten towns were closed south of Milan. That virus bounces off of me, as I’ve never experienced any symptoms.

One factor in immune response was that fifteen years previous, I’d taken daily steps to guard against the phenotypical immune system collapse of old age. Another factor was that I’d ridden the filthy Washington DC Metro twice a day to-and-from work for years, and had already been exposed to who knows what.

Treat your gut microbiota well. Give them what they want – including cruciferous sprouts – instead of prescription antibiotics, and expect reciprocity.