Is boron important to health?

Three papers on boron, starting with a 2022 review:

“Boron-containing compounds (BCC) have effects in the metabolism of living organisms. Information regarding effects and interaction of these compounds was compiled, and potential applications for treating human metabolic disorders was suggested.

Dietary boron supplementation affects metabolism of calcium, magnesium, triglycerides, glucose, amino acids, reactive oxygen, nitrogen species, and hormones such as 17β-estradiol, calcitonin, and 25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol. When food is boron-deprived, there are adverse effects like depressed growth, reduced serum steroid hormone concentrations, changes in plasma and organ calcium and magnesium concentrations, plasma alkaline phosphatase, and bone calcification on animal biological functions.

boron effects

Exploration of basic BCC as metabolism regulators is expanding. Although mechanisms of action are uncertain, limitation of damage induced by reactive species, inflammatory modulation, or activities on some enzymes and membrane transporters are often related to reported effects.

An increasing number of new BCC are emerging as potential tools for prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of metabolism maladies such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, cardiovascular, and liver diseases. For those innovative BCC, mechanisms of action are often clear.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12011-022-03346-9 “Boron‑Containing Compounds for Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Human Metabolic Disorders” (not freely available) Thanks to Dr. Marvin A Soriano-Ursúa for providing a link to a freely available document.


A second paper was a 2021 human study:

“In our elderly population-based sample, a boron-rich diet appeared to be characterized by high intakes of plant foods presumed to be healthy, low intakes of plant foods presumed to be less healthy, and low intakes of all kinds of animal foods.

Higher plasma boron concentrations were related to lower BMI and circulating concentrations of CRP. Plasma boron concentrations were associated with age, phosphate, and plasma lipid metabolism, and showed seasonal variations.

Human intervention studies are warranted to derive causal relationships of circulating and dietary boron with human health and metabolism. Robust databases on boron content of foods are needed to facilitate investigation of dietary boron intake in human studies.

Clarification of the non-/essentiality of trace element boron for human health will form the basis to derive recommendations for a dietary boron intake being sufficient to exert boron’s proposed beneficial physiological roles.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-021-02730-w “Plasma boron concentrations in the general population: a cross-sectional analysis of cardio-metabolic and dietary correlates”

As noted in this study, public agencies don’t consider dietary boron content important enough to include in public databases. My daily boron dietary intake estimated from published private databases is:

  • Walnuts, 1.63 mg x (28.3 g / 100 g) = .5 mg
  • Red kidney beans, 1.4 mg x (12 g / 100 g) = .2 mg
  • Chickpeas, 0.71 mg x (40 g / 100 g) = .3 mg
  • Celery, 0.5 mg x (72 g / 100 g) = .4 mg
  • Carrots, 0.3 mg x ( 76 g / 100 g) = .3 mg
  • Coffee .07 mg x 3 cups = .2 mg

2 mg boron daily dietary total


A third paper was a 2022 rodent study:

“Sodium pentaborate pentahydrate (NaB) 1 and 2 mg elemental B/kg supplementation induces the anagen phase in rats via Wnt-1, β-catenin, VEGF, PDGF, and TGF-β1 signaling pathways, which are important molecular mechanisms involved in hair growth.

NaB 4 mg B/kg suppresses these pathways and adversely affects hair growth.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0946672X22000876 “Sodium pentaborate pentahydrate promotes hair growth through the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and growth factors” (not freely available)

A human equivalent of this study’s rat 1 mg elemental boron intake is (1 mg x .162) x 70 kg = 11 mg.


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Taurine week #2: Bile acids

Two papers investigated taurine’s integration into bile acids, starting with a review:

“Bile acids (BAs) are produced from cholesterol in the liver and are termed primary BAs. Primary BAs are conjugated with glycine and taurine in the liver, and stored in the gallbladder. BAs are released from the gallbladder into the small intestine via food intake to facilitate digestion and absorption of lipids and lipophilic vitamins by forming micelles in the small intestine.

After deconjugation by the gut microbiome, primary BAs are converted into secondary BAs. Most BAs in the intestine are reabsorbed and transported to the liver, where both primary and secondary BAs are conjugated with glycine or taurine and rereleased into the intestine.

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Some BAs reabsorbed from the intestine spill into systemic circulation, where they bind to a variety of nuclear and cell-surface receptors in tissues. Some BAs are not reabsorbed and bind to receptors in the terminal ileum.

BAs can affect cell-surface and intracellular membranes, including those of mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum. BAs are also hormones or signaling molecules, and can regulate BA, glucose, and lipid metabolism in various tissues, including the liver, pancreas, and both brown and white adipose tissue. BAs also affect the immune system.

BAs can affect the nervous system. More than 20 BAs have been detected in the brain of humans and rodents. The brain communicates with the gut and gut microbiome through BAs.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/10/1/68/htm “Physiological Role of Bile Acids Modified by the Gut Microbiome”


Reference 56 was a human study:

“Centenarians (individuals aged 100 years and older) have a decreased susceptibility to ageing-associated illnesses, chronic inflammation, and infectious diseases. Centenarians have a distinct gut microbiome enriched in microorganisms that are capable of generating unique secondary bile acids.

We identified centenarian-specific gut microbiota signatures and defined bacterial species as well as genes and/or pathways that promote generation of isoLCA, 3-oxoLCA, 3-oxoalloLCA, and isoalloLCA. To our knowledge, isoalloLCA is one of the most potent antimicrobial agents that is selective against Gram-positive microorganisms, including multidrug-resistant pathogens, suggesting that it may contribute to maintenance of intestinal homeostasis by enhancing colonization-resistance mechanisms.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03832-5 “Novel bile acid biosynthetic pathways are enriched in the microbiome of centenarians” (not freely available)


A few more papers will be coming on taurine and bile acids. I haven’t seen one investigate both taurine and glycine treatments to aid bile acid in achieving therapeutic results.

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Sulforaphane and hair loss

This 2021 human clinical trial evaluated sulforaphane’s cosmetic effects:

“We demonstrated that sulforaphane has the potential to become a highly effective functional hair cosmetic to relieve hair loss with androgen alopecia. Sulforaphane increases expression of the dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-degrading enzyme 3α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3α-HSD) in the liver, which accelerates DHT degradation, thereby inhibiting hair loss.

We performed a visual evaluation of parietal and frontal lines of 23 men and women from 18 to 54 years old before and after using the product, and then calculated total number of hairs. This clinical study showed that parietal lines and bangs visually improved, and the number of hairs increased by 6.71% from before using the test product to 18 weeks after using the test product.

hair growth

We tested expression levels of Ak1c21 and Dhrs9 isoforms of 3α-HSD in the in vitro cell culture experiment where Hepa1c1c7 cells were treated with sulforaphane or a mixture of biotin, dexpanthenol, and l-menthol. This study showed that sulforaphane alone achieved a hair loss-relieving effect in our experimental cell culture conditions.

Our finding that sulforaphane induces Akr1c2 in a dose-dependent manner is consistent with previous studies. Sulforaphane treatment induced expression of Dhrs9, which has several sites in the promoter region that bind to Nrf2, which is induced by sulforaphane.

It is highly likely that sulforaphane might enhance degradation of DHT, not only via the induction of degrading enzymes 3α-HSD, but also by functional activation of these enzymes. Further studies remain to test this possibility.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/8/3/63/htm “Sulforaphane, L-Menthol, and Dexpanthenol as a Novel Active Cosmetic Ingredient Composition for Relieving Hair Loss Symptoms”

Remembering encounters provides future benefits

Two 2021 papers on trained immunity, with the first a review:

“Effective memory immune responses rely on interaction between innate and adaptive immune cells. While activation of innate immunity provides the first line of defense against infections, it also primes the adaptive immune response.

Adaptive immunity can enhance antimicrobial machinery of innate cells, making them more effective at clearing pathogenic microorganisms. An additional layer of complexity adds to this network of interactions, with innate cells adopting a memory phenotype, which used to apply to only adaptive immunity. Furthermore, non-immune cells can develop some features of this memory-like phenotype.

fimmu-12-745332-g001

Cell subsets in which trained immunity has been described. Different stimuli including Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG), β-glucan, cytokines, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and bacterial components can induce a trained immunity phenotype. A common hallmark of trained immunity in these cases is H3K4me3 in promoters of genes encoding for different cytokines.

  • Mechanisms Underlying Establishment of Trained Immunity
  • Trained Immunity in Neutrophils
  • Trained Immunity in Monocytes and Macrophages: General Features
  • Metabolic Pathways Involved in Training of Monocytes and Macrophages
  • Hormonal Control of Trained Immunity Responses in Monocytes and Macrophages
  • Trained Immunity on Alveolar Macrophages and Involvement of Resident Cells
  • Trained Immunity in NK Cells
  • Trained Immunity in Innate Lymphoid Cells
  • Trained Immunity on Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Trained Immunity in Bronchial Epithelial Cells
  • Trained Immunity in Skin Stem Cells
  • Trained Immunity in the Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Immunity Training Against Protozoan-Mediated Pathologies
  • Trained Immunity in Non-Infectious Pathologies

Many gaps of knowledge remain in this field. For example, how long changes associated to trained immunity last, and if, in addition to epigenetic modulation, there are other post-translational modifications on proteins relevant for induction of trained immunity.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.745332/full “Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Modulating Trained Immunity by Various Cell Types in Response to Pathogen Encounter”


This second paper was a human study cited for its glutathione findings as follows:

  • “Plasma concentration of IL-1β from BCG-vaccinated individuals are positively associated with serum glutathione concentrations.
  • Trained immunity up-regulates expression of genes involved in glutathione metabolism, suggesting an increase in glutathione synthesis and a higher glutathione recycling rate.
  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms in these genes are associated with changes in pro-inflammatory cytokine production after in vitro training by β-glucan and BCG.

Enzymes whose activities are dependent on glutathione could be used as novel targets to modulate trained immunity.”

IL-1β production

“We found a positive association between plasma glutathione concentration and ex vivo IL-1β production 90 days after BCG vaccination upon in vitro exposure to heterologous stimulus Staphylococcus aureus. Up-regulation of IL-1β production by BCG vaccination was also positively associated with circulating concentrations of other metabolites involved in glutathione metabolism, such as methionine, cysteine, glutamate, and glycine.

GSH metabolism was associated with trained immunity traits in 278 healthy individuals. Trained immunity mechanisms that are shaped by GSH metabolism remain to be further explored.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/10/5/971/htm “Glutathione Metabolism Contributes to the Induction of Trained Immunity”


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Natural products vs. neurodegenerative diseases

I was recently asked about taking rapamycin for its effects on mTOR. I replied that diet could do the same thing. Here’s a 2021 review outlining such effects:

“As common, progressive, and chronic causes of disability and death, neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) significantly threaten human health, while no effective treatment is available. Recent studies have revealed the role of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt (Protein kinase B)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in some diseases and natural products with therapeutic potentials.

Growing evidence highlights the dysregulated PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and interconnected mediators in pathogenesis of NDDs. Side effects and drug-resistance of conventional neuroprotective agents urge the need for providing alternative therapies.

1-s2.0-S0944711321002075-ga1_lrg

Polyphenols, alkaloids, carotenoids, and terpenoids have shown to be capable of a great modulation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR in NDDs. Natural products potentially target various important oxidative/inflammatory/apoptotic/autophagic molecules/mediators, such as Bax, Bcl-2, p53, caspase-3, caspase-9, NF-κB, TNF-α, GSH, SOD, MAPK, GSK-3β, Nrf2/HO-1, JAK/STAT, CREB/BDNF, ERK1/2, and LC3 towards neuroprotection.

This is the first systematic and comprehensive review with a simultaneous focus on the critical role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR in NDDs and associated targeting by natural products.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711321002075 “Natural products attenuate PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway: A promising strategy in regulating neurodegeneration” (not freely available) Thanks to Dr. Sajad Fakhri for providing a copy.


Natural products mentioned in this review that I eat in everyday foods are listed below. The most effective ones are broccoli and red cabbage sprouts, and oats and oat sprouts:

  • Artichokes – luteolin;
  • Blackberries – anthocyanins;
  • Blueberries – anthocyanins, gallic acid, pterostilbene;
  • Broccoli and red cabbage sprouts – anthocyanins, kaempferol, luteolin, quercetin, sulforaphane;
  • Carrots – carotenoids;
  • Celery – apigenin, luteolin;
  • Green tea – epigallocatechin gallate;
  • Oats and oat sprouts – avenanthramides;
  • Strawberries – anthocyanins, fisetin;
  • Tomatoes – fisetin.

Four humpback whales

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All about vasopressin

This 2021 review subject was vasopressin:

“Vasopressin is a ubiquitous molecule playing an important role in a wide range of physiological processes, thereby implicated in pathomechanisms of many disorders. The most striking is its central effect in stress-axis regulation, as well as regulating many aspects of our behavior.

Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) is a nonapeptide that is synthesized mainly in the supraoptic, paraventricular (PVN), and suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. AVP cell groups of hypothalamus and midbrain were found to be glutamatergic, whereas those in regions derived from cerebral nuclei were mainly GABAergic.

In the PVN, AVP can be found together with corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), the main hypothalamic regulator of the HPA axis. The AVPergic system participates in regulation of several physiological processes, from stress hormone release through memory formation, thermo- and pain regulation, to social behavior.

vasopressin stress axis

AVP determines behavioral responses to environmental stimuli, and participates in development of social interactions, aggression, reproduction, parental behavior, and belonging. Alterations in AVPergic tone may be implicated in pathology of stress-related disorders (anxiety and depression), Alzheimer’s, posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as schizophrenia.

An increasing body of evidence confirms epigenetic contribution to changes in AVP or AVP receptor mRNA level, not only during the early perinatal period, but also in adulthood:

  • DNA methylation is more targeted on a single gene; and it is better characterized in relation to AVP;
  • Some hint for bidirectional interaction with histone acetylation was also described; and
  • miRNAs are implicated in the hormonal, peripheral role of AVP, and less is known about their interaction regarding behavioral alteration.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9415/htm “Epigenetic Modulation of Vasopressin Expression in Health and Disease”


Find your way, regardless of what the herd does.

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Gut and brain health

This 2021 human review subject was interactions of gut health and disease with brain health and disease:

“Actions of microbial metabolites are key for appropriate gut-brain communication in humans. Among these metabolites, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), tryptophan, and bile acid metabolites / pathways show strong preclinical evidence for involvement in various aspects of brain function and behaviour.

Dietary fibres, proteins, and fats ingested by the host contain components which are metabolized by microbiota. SCFAs are produced from fermentation of fibres, and tryptophan-kynurenine (TRP-KYN) metabolites from dietary proteins. Primary bile acids derived from liver metabolism aid in lipid digestion, but can be deconjugated and bio-transformed into secondary bile acids.

1-s2.0-S0149763421001032-gr1

One of the greatest challenges with human microbiota studies is making inferences about composition of colonic microbiota from faeces. There are known differences between faecal and caecal microbiota composition in humans along with spatial variation across the gastrointestinal tract.

It is difficult to interpret microbiome-host associations without identifying the driving influence in such an interaction. Large cohort studies may require thousands of participants on order to reach 20 % explanatory power for a certain host-trait with specific microbiota-associated metrics (Shannon diversity, relative microbial abundance). Collection of metadata is important to allow for a better comparison between studies, and to identify differentially abundant microbes arising from confounding variables.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763421001032 “Mining Microbes for Mental Health: Determining the Role of Microbial Metabolic Pathways in Human Brain Health and Disease”


Don’t understand why these researchers handcuffed themselves by only using PubMed searches. For example, two papers were cited for:

“Conjugated and unconjugated bile acids, as well as taurine or glycine alone, are potential neuroactive ligands in humans.”

Compare scientific coverage of PubMed with Scopus:

  • 2017 paper: PubMed citations 39; Scopus citations 69.
  • 2019 paper: PubMed citations 69; Scopus citations 102.

Large numbers of papers intentionally missing from PubMed probably influenced this review’s findings, such as:

  1. “There are too few fibromyalgia and migraine microbiome-related studies to make definitive conclusions. However, one fibromyalgia study found altered microbial species associated with SCFA and tryptophan metabolism, as well as changes in serum levels of SCFAs. Similarly, the sole migraine-microbiota study reported an increased abundance of the kynurenine synthesis GBM (gut-brain module).
  2. Due to heterogeneity of stroke and vascular disease conditions, it is difficult to make substantial comparisons between studies. There is convincing evidence for involvement of specific microbial genera / species and a neurovascular condition in humans. However, taxa were linked to LPS biosynthesis rather than SCFA production.
  3. Several studies suggest lasting microbial changes in response to prenatal or postnatal stress, though these do not provide evidence for involvement of SCFA, tryptophan, or bile-acid modifying bacteria. Similar to stress, there are very few studies assessing impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on microbiota.”

These researchers took on a difficult task. Their study design could have been better.


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Wildlife

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The amino acid ergothioneine

A trio of papers on ergothioneine starts with a 2019 human study. 3,236 people without cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus ages 57.4 ± 6.0 were measured for 112 metabolites, then followed-up after 20+ years:

“We identified that higher ergothioneine was an independent marker of lower risk of cardiometabolic disease and mortality, which potentially can be induced by a specific healthy dietary intake.

overall mortality and ergothioneine

Ergothioneine exists in many dietary sources and has especially high levels in mushrooms, tempeh, and garlic. Ergothioneine has previously been associated with a higher intake of vegetables, seafood and with a lower intake of solid fats and added sugar as well as associated with healthy food patterns.”

https://heart.bmj.com/content/106/9/691 “Ergothioneine is associated with reduced mortality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease”


I came across this study by its citation in a 2021 review:

“The body has evolved to rely on highly abundant low molecular weight thiols such as glutathione to maintain redox homeostasis but also play other important roles including xenobiotic detoxification and signalling. Some of these thiols may also be derived from diet, such as the trimethyl-betaine derivative of histidine, ergothioneine (ET).

image description

ET can be found in most (if not all) tissues, with differential rates of accumulation, owing to differing expression of the transporter. High expression of the transporter, and hence high levels of ET, is observed in certain cells (e.g. blood cells, bone marrow, ocular tissues, brain) that are likely predisposed to oxidative stress, although other tissues can accumulate high levels of ET with sustained administration. This has been suggested to be an adaptive physiological response to elevate ET in the damaged tissue and thereby limit further injury.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231721000161 “Ergothioneine, recent developments”


The coauthors of this review were also coauthors of a 2018 review:

“Ergothioneine is avidly taken up from the diet by humans and other animals through a transporter, OCTN1. Ergothioneine is not rapidly metabolised, or excreted in urine, and has powerful antioxidant and cytoprotective properties.

ergothioneine in foods

Effects of dietary ET supplementation on oxidative damage in young healthy adults found a trend to a decrease in oxidative damage, as detected in plasma and urine using several established biomarkers of oxidative damage, but no major decreases. This could arguably be a useful property of ET: not interfering with important roles of ROS/RNS in healthy tissues, but coming into play when oxidative damage becomes excessive due to tissue injury, toxin exposure or disease, and ET is then accumulated.”

https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/1873-3468.13123 “Ergothioneine – a diet-derived antioxidant with therapeutic potential”


I’m upping a half-pound of mushrooms every day to 3/4 lb. (340 g). Don’t think I could eat more garlic than the current six cloves.

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I came across this subject in today’s video:

One step short of greatness

A 2021 rodent study investigated dietary effects of organic and conventional farming practices:

“We report results from a two-generation, dietary intervention study with male Wistar rats to identify the effects of feeds made from organic and conventional crops on growth, hormonal, and immune system parameters that are known to affect the risk of a number of chronic, non-communicable diseases in animals and humans.

Conventional, pesticide-based crop protection resulted in significantly lower fiber, polyphenol, flavonoid, and lutein, but higher lipid, aldicarb [a pesticide], and diquat [a herbicide] concentrations in animal feeds.

Conventional, mineral nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK)-based fertilization resulted in significantly lower polyphenol, but higher cadmium and protein concentrations in feeds.

Growth and other physiological parameters were only monitored for 9 weeks after weaning. It was therefore not possible to determine whether and to what extent:

  1. Differences in feed composition;
  2. Dietary intakes of compounds previously linked to obesity and chronic diseases; and/or
  3. Changes in endocrine and immune parameters in rats raised on feed crops treated with mineral fertilizers and/or pesticides,

would have resulted in higher levels of weight gain and/or diseases linked to obesity, endocrine disruption and/or changes in immune system activity/responsiveness.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/2/377/htm “Feed Composition Differences Resulting from Organic and Conventional Farming Practices Affect Physiological Parameters in Wistar Rats—Results from a Factorial, Two-Generation Dietary Intervention Trial”


I’m always fascinated when researchers intentionally stop one step short of greatness.

It seems a main purpose of this study was to justify a 2013 study by these researchers on pretty much the same subject. The current study had a defined F0 generation, and four different F1 generations and F2 generations.

This study stopped without continuing to any F3 generations.

  • The F1 F2 OPOF line in the above graphic’s first column didn’t eat chow produced with either synthetic chemical pesticides or conventional fertilizers.
  • This line could have continued on to transgenerational great-grand offspring who would have had no direct exposure to the F0 generation’s conventionally fertilized and “protected” crop diet.
  • By continuing, these researchers could have found out what transgenerationally inherited effects on the F3 generation there may be from the F0 generation eating a conventionally-produced diet.
  • Anything found in this line’s F3 great-grand offspring may have applied to humans.

Do we ever consider our great-grandchildren?

Part 2 of Eat broccoli sprouts for DIM

Continuing Part 1 with three DIM studies, the first of which was a 2020 chemical analysis investigating:

“Anti-estrogenic, anti-androgenic, and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonistic activities of indole-3-carbinol (I3C) acid condensation products.

I3C is a breakdown product [isothiocyanate] of glucobrassicin. Most biological activities attributed to I3C are believed to result from its acid condensation products, as it is expected that after ingestion of cruciferous vegetables, I3C is completely converted in the stomach before it reaches the intestine.

The reaction mixture was prepared from I3C under acidic conditions. Based on the various HPLC peaks, 9 fractions were collected and tested.

DIM (3,3-diindolylmethane) displayed clear estrogenic activity, showing an additive effect when co-exposed with low concentrations of E2 [estradiol] (below EC50) [effective concentration that gives half-maximal-response of a biological pathway]. However, an anti-estrogenic activity was observed when DIM was co-exposed with higher concentrations of E2, i.e. above EC50. None of the nine fractions was able to inhibit response of E2.

I3C and DIM showed clear anti-androgenic activities when co-exposed with concentrations of T [testosterone] at EC50 or ECmax. DIM showed a relatively strong antagonistic activity, and was able to completely inhibit response of T.

All fractions displayed an AhR agonist activity. Poor activity of fraction 3 seems surprising, as it contains ICZ, which was shown to be a strong AhR agonist. This is a strong indication that ICZ is only present at a very low concentration.

Observed estrogenic and anti-androgenic effects of the reaction mixture are most likely due to DIM.

The present study is the first that demonstrates that DIM also possesses anti-estrogenic properties when co-administered with E2 concentrations above EC50. Rather than ICZ, LTr1 and several other compounds present in fractions 1 and 4 (CTr), and larger molecules present in fractions 7, 8 (LTe1) and 9 seem responsible for observed AhR activity of the reaction mixture.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535220302811 “Acid condensation products of indole-3-carbinol and their in-vitro (anti)estrogenic, (anti)androgenic and aryl hydrocarbon receptor activities”

I came across this study as a result of its citation in Brassica Bioactives Could Ameliorate the Chronic Inflammatory Condition of Endometriosis.


A second 2016 study was with humans:

“Forty-five subjects consumed vegetables, a mixture of brussels sprouts and/or cabbage, at one of seven discrete dose levels of glucobrassicin ranging from 25 to 500 μmol, once daily for 2 consecutive days.

‘Blue Dynasty’ cabbage contained 33.5 ± 4.0 μmol glucobrassicin per 100 grams food weight. ‘Jade Cross’ brussels sprouts contained 206.0 ± 12.9 μmol per 100 grams.

At 50 μmol, variability in 24-hour urinary DIM levels appears to stem from both within an individual and between individuals. At 200 and 500 μmol dose levels, most variability is coming from between individuals rather than within an individual.

Inter-individual DIM variability may reflect the relative benefit an individual derives from consuming glucobrassicin from vegetables, responsive not only to how much glucobrassicin was consumed but also to variations in I3C uptake and DIM metabolism, many of which are not characterized.

Dose curve between glucobrassicin dose (25–500 μmol) [25, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500] and urinary DIM. Bars represent SD. Estimated parameters in the original scale (95% CI): Maximum DIM 421.5 pmol/mL (154.7–1,148.4), minimum DIM 5.4 pmol/mL (0.7–44.3), EC50 90.2 μmol (29.1–151.3).

We conclude that urinary DIM is a reliable biomarker of glucobrassicin exposure and I3C uptake and that feeding glucobrassicin beyond 200 μmol did not consistently lead to more urinary DIM. Our data support the notion that cancer-preventive properties that might be derived from cruciferous vegetable consumption may require neither a large quantity of vegetables nor high-dose supplements.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5220883/ “Harnessing the Power of Cruciferous Vegetables: Developing a Biomarker for Brassica Vegetable Consumption Using Urinary 3,3′-Diindolylmethane”


1. Most subjects had trouble eating 500 μmol / 242.72 grams of Jade Cross brussels sprouts:

“At the 500 μmol dose level, two subjects could not finish due to the taste of the raw Brussels sprouts and were reassigned to 50 μmol dose level.

Two of the remaining five subjects at the 500 μmol dose level “Did not eat all of the assigned vegetables.” 🙂 That amount of brussels sprouts may have made two more sick because one “Missed one void during 2–6 hour collection period” and another “Missed 2 voids during the 6–12 hour collection period.”

2. From its supplementary material, there were ten subjects who ate a 200 μmol glucobrassicin dose. That’s a lot of raw cabbage (179.10 g) and brussels sprouts (67.96 g).

  • On Day 1 at the 2-6 hour point, Subject 27’s urinary DIM measured 10.21 pmol/mL and Subject 20’s measured 991.88, > 9700% higher.
  • At that 2-6 hour point on Day 2, the same subjects measured 16.15 and 687.44 pmol/mL, > 4200% higher.
  • From Table 1, their respective Mean 24-h DIM ± SE, pmol/mL measurements were 20.7 ± 4.0 and 1105 ± 45, > 5300% higher.

The 100 μmol glucobrassicin dose was 149.25 g Blue Dynasty cabbage and 24.27 g Jade Cross brussels sprouts. Could you eat that every day?

3. There’s sufficient data to make individual DIM bioavailability calculations. Don’t know why this study didn’t do that, nor did any of its 18 citing papers.


One study came close for broccoli and radish sprouts, 2017’s Bioavailability and new biomarkers of cruciferous sprouts consumption (not freely available) by researchers in the same group as Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts. They didn’t disclose and analyze individual DIM bioavailability evidence, though:

“Broccoli and radish sprouts content in GB [glucobrassicin] were ~11.4 and ~7.7 μmol/20 g F.W, respectively. After ingestion of broccoli sprouts, 49% of GB was suitably metabolised and excreted as hydrolysis metabolites, calculated as the sum of I3C and DIM (~5.57 μmol /24 h). Following radish ingestion, the percentage of GB hydrolysed and absorbed was 38% (~2.92 μmol /24 h).

These results of bioavailability contrast with the extremely low percentage (< 1%) of GB excreted as DIM after consumption of Brussels sprouts and cabbage in a previous study (Fujioka, et al., 2014). Further studies about conversion of other indole GLS [glucosinolates] to I3C and DIM are needed to know more about bioavailability of these compounds, as there is no information in literature.”


A ten-subject study in Microwave broccoli seeds to create sulforaphane found inter-individual variability of sulforaphane and its metabolites in blood plasma for the highest and lowest individuals was > 500% (2.032 / 0.359 μmol). The urinary % of dose excreted by the same subjects was > 400% higher (86.9% and 19.5%, respectively.)

These studies present an opportunity for further discovery:

  1. Which researchers will try to understand causal experiences in people’s lives that produced such effects?
  2. Which researchers will produce evidence for factors that make people responsively either alive or dead to external influences on their internal environment?
  3. Where are studies that show when an individual needs to change their responses – their phenotype – they can successfully do so?

Herding, the story of 2020

Take responsibility for your one precious life – DHEA

This 2020 meta-analysis subject was DHEA:

“Twenty-four qualified trials were included in this meta-analysis. Statistically significant increases in serum IGF-1 levels were found only in participants who were:

  1. Women; or
  2. Supplementing 50 mg/d; or
  3. Undergoing intervention for > 12 weeks; or
  4. Without an underlying comorbidity; or
  5. Over the age of 60 years.

DHEA supplementation led to an overall increase of ~16 ng/ml in serum IGF-1 levels, as well as increases of ~23 [women] and ~20 ng/ml [age > 60]. Diseased and healthy subjects ages ranged from 20 to 72 years old.”

Discussion section explanations of the above:

  1. “Women are more susceptible to biochemical and clinical shifts caused by DHEA supplementation.
  2. The majority of investigations tested DHEA at a dose of 50 mg/d.
  3. The majority of studies were performed for > 12 weeks.
  4. Participants with no comorbidities were also older in many studies.
  5. Older patients have a natural decline in the production of IGF-1 and DHEA.

Additional rigorous RCTs are warranted to better define whether and to what extent changes in IGF-1 levels caused by DHEA supplementation are relevant for health benefits.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0531556520302977Impact of dehydroepian[d]rosterone (DHEA) supplementation on serum levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1): A dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” (not freely available)


More on IGF-1 from The influence of zinc supplementation on IGF-1 levels in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis which was cited for “Previous studies have demonstrated that IGF-1 levels can be affected by several factors.”

“IGF-1 is a growth factor synthesized in the liver, and elicits a myriad of effects on health due to its participation in the GH-IGF-1 axis, where it:

  • Is involved in tissue homeostasis;
  • Has anti-apoptotic, mitogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and metabolic actions;
  • Contributes to skeletal muscle plasticity, maintenance of muscle strength and muscle mass;
  • Neural and cardiovascular protection;
  • Development of the skeleton;
  • Possesses insulin-like effects, and
  • Is a key factor in brain, eye and lung development during fetal development.

IGF-1 plays important roles in both growth and development, and its levels vary depending on age, with peaks generally observed in the postnatal period and at puberty. IGF-1 levels influence the release of GH [growth hormone] from the hypophysis [pituitary gland] via a negative feedback loop.

A rapid decrease in IGF-1 levels is registered during the third decade of life. Levels gradually decrease between the third and the eighth decade of life.”


The Group 3 “> 12 weeks” finding was reinforced by perspectives such as:

Group 4 “with no comorbidities” was narrowly defined. All of us have degrees of diseases in progress. Consider aging effects:

  • Aging as a normal disease “Aging and its diseases are inseparable, as these diseases are manifestations of aging. Instead of healthy aging, we could use the terms pre-disease aging or decelerated aging.”
  • Aging as an unintended consequence “Epigenetic ageing begins from very early moments after the embryonic stem cell stage and continues uninterrupted through the entire lifespan. Ageing is an unintended consequence of processes that are necessary for development of the organism and tissue homeostasis thereafter.”
  • Organismal aging and cellular senescence “If we assume that aging already starts before birth, it can be considered simply a developmental stage, required to complete the evolutionary program associated with species-intrinsic biological functions such as reproduction, survival, and selection.”
  • An environmental signaling paradigm of aging “The age-phenotype of a cell or organ depends on its environment and not its history. Organisms, organs, and their cells can be reset to different age-phenotypes depending on their environment.”

These perspectives are less important than what each of us choose to do about our own problems. Take responsibility for your one precious life.

Eat broccoli sprouts for your hair!

A trio of papers, with the first a 2017 review exploring broccoli sprout compounds’ effects on head hair:

“Skin appendages, notably hair follicles (HFs), can be exposed to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are generated through metabolic reactions occurring mostly in the mitochondria, peroxisomes, and endoplasmic reticulum, as well as in the plasma membrane. Despite their involvement in redox stress and cellular damage, ROS also have key roles in physiological signalling processes, including but not limited to, control of stem cell quiescence / differentiation, regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses and importantly, normal HF development.

HFs are composed of a series of concentric keratinocyte layers with a central hair shaft, all of which are encapsulated by a mesenchymal connective tissue sheath. Within this structure is an area known as the ‘bulge’, housing a population of epithelial and melanocyte stem cells. The hair bulb, the lowermost portion of the HF, contains transient amplifying cells that produce rapidly proliferating matrix keratinocytes that give rise to various cell types of the inner root sheath and hair shaft itself.

Putative impact of NRF2 activation on protection against hair disorders:

  1. Accumulation of excess ROS within crucial HF compartments (i.e. bulb and bulge) can be induced by endogenous and exogenous stressors associated with androgenetic alopecia (AGA), alopecia areata (excessive mast cell degranulation), chemotherapy, UV exposure, and even physiological processes such as melanogenesis.
  2. In the HFSCs [hair follicle stem cells] of the bulge, this can lead to reduced FOXP1 signaling, increased senescence and P21-mediated telogen retention, contributing to hair ageing.
  3. In the hair bulb, negative consequences of excessive ROS can include reduced matrix keratinocyte proliferation and Bcl-2 expression, coupled to increased p53 activity and apoptosis. This redox imbalance may also stimulate dermal papilla-derived TGF-b1 release associated with AGA.
  4. NRF2 activation via SFN [sulforaphane] can induce expression of numerous downstream targets, hence suggesting the potential to counteract excessive ROS and associated pathologies, for example via enhanced clearance of reactive species, detoxification, NADPH generation, and GSH maintenance.
  5. In addition, NRF2 may down-regulate genes that would negatively impact on proliferation and stimulate apoptosis.
  6. Ultimately, activation of NRF2 has the potential to protect against HF miniaturization, chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, HFSC aging, and hair greying, through maintenance of normal redox homeostasis.

Whereas eumelanin (black) is involved in natural UV protection by reducing generation of free radicals, pheomelanin (red) can trigger generation of ROS. It would certainly be interesting to determine whether NRF2 activity is therefore higher in individuals with red as opposed to black hair, in order to mitigate any negative impact from higher ROS generation.

Modulation of NRF2 activity is an attractive approach for further study in prevention of hair greying and HFSC ageing. The remarkable prospect for NRF2 activators in modulating other oxidative stress-linked disease states, strongly advocates for development of NRF2 targeting as a novel strategy in modulating redox-associated disorders of the HF.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bies.201700029 “Oxidative stress management in the hair follicle: Could targeting NRF2 counter age‐related hair disorders and beyond?” (not freely available)


This review was cited in a 2020 Exploring the possibility of predicting human head hair greying from DNA using whole-exome and targeted NGS data study:

“This study aimed to assess the potential of genetic data to predict hair greying in a population of nearly 1000 individuals from Poland. Most prediction information was brought by age alone. Genetic variants explained < 10% of hair greying variation, and the impact of particular SNPs on prediction accuracy was found to be small.

Study population included 673 males (67.4%) and 325 (32.6%) females. Mean age of participants was 30.5 ± 8.8.

Hair greying was recorded in 14.3% of individuals aged 18–30, and prevalence of grey hair was noted to be significantly higher in young males when comparing to young females (17.8 and 9.2%, respectively). Incidence of grey hair increased to 29.5% in the group of people aged 18–40 years, and was 84.2% when people aged ≥40 years were considered.

Because pleiotropy is so common, it would be impossible to predict natural phenotypes avoiding genes involved in determination of pathological phenotypes. The penetrance of individual SNP variants is usually low, and they altogether can only explain a small fraction of predisposition to disease.

Prediction of hair greying status solely based on genetic information is currently impossible.”


A 2020 review had a pertinent evaluation scheme:

“Geroprotectors are pharmacological agents that decrease the rate of aging and extend lifespan. We proposed a set of primary and secondary selection criteria for potential geroprotectors. Primary criteria:

  1. Life extension in experiments with wild type animal models. The geroprotector should prolong life of the model beyond the intact maximum lifespan, protecting it from one or more mechanisms of aging.
  2. Improvement of molecular, cellular, and physiological biomarkers to a younger state, or slow down progression of age-related changes in humans.
  3. Most potential geroprotectors are preventive only when applied at relatively high concentrations. The lifespan-extending dose should be several orders of magnitude less than the toxic dose.
  4. Minimal side effects at the therapeutic dosage at chronic application.
  5. The potential benefit of taking a geroprotector may come after a long period. Potential geroprotectors should initially improve some parameters of health-related quality of life: physical, mental, emotional, or social functioning of the person.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/6/529/htm “Terpenoids as Potential Geroprotectors”


IMG_20200822_064852

Sleep

If you can stand the woo of two Californians trying to outwoo each other, listen to these five podcasts with a sleep scientist.

https://peterattiamd.com/matthewwalker1/

“Ambien, sedation, hypnotives, are not sleep.

Sleep is a life support system. It’s the Swiss army knife of health.

Lack of sleep is like a broken water pipe in your home that leaks down into every nook and cranny of your physiology.

Sleep research is not being transmitted to clinical practice.”


I live on the US East Coast. Hyperbole in normal conversations outside of urban centers is an exception.

It’s different on the West Coast. For example:

  • Interviewer assertions regarding heart rate variability should be compared and contrasted with Dead physiological science zombified by psychological research evidence that:

    “A broad base of further evidence was amassed within human cardiac, circulatory, and autonomic physiology such that the hypotheses do not work as described.”

  • Interviewer favorable comments for MDMA (Ecstasy) “to deal with issues of underlying trauma, anxiety, and depression.”

Day 70 results from Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts

Here are my Day 70 measurements* to follow up Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts, which had these findings:


Keep in mind that I’m not in the population represented by the clinical trial sample:

  1. My chronological age is above their inclusion range;
  2. My BMI is below their inclusion range; and
  3. I take supplements and meet other exclusion criteria.

I also didn’t take Day 0 measurements.

June 2019 BMI: 24.8

June 2020 BMI: 22.4

2020 IL-6: 1.0 pg / ml. See Part 2 of Rejuvenation therapy and sulforaphane for comparisons.

2020 C-reactive protein: < 1 mg / l.

IL-6 2020

2019 and 2020 No biological age measurements. Why aren’t epigenetic clocks standard and affordable?


I’ve made four lifestyle “interventions” since last summer:

  1. In July 2019 I started to reduce my consumption of advanced glycation end products after reading Dr. Vlassara’s AGE-Less Diet: How a Chemical in the Foods We Eat Promotes Disease, Obesity, and Aging and the Steps We Can Take to Stop It.
  2. In September I started non-prescription daily treatments of Vitamin D, zinc, and DHEA per clinical trial Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends.
  3. Also in September, I started non-prescription intermittent quercetin treatments of Preliminary findings from a senolytics clinical trial.
  4. I started eating broccoli sprouts every day eleven weeks ago.

1. Broccoli sprouts oppose effects of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) provided examples of Items 1 and 4 interactions.

2. Two examples of Item 2 treatment interactions with Item 4 are in Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane:

  • “The effects of the combined treatment with BSE [broccoli sprout extract] and zinc were always greater than those of single treatments.” [Zinc and broccoli sprouts – a winning combination]
  • “Vitamin D administration decreased tumor incidence and size, and the co-administration with SFN [sulforaphane] magnified the effects. The addition of SFN decreased the activity of histone deacetylase and increased autophagy.”

3. How broccoli sprout compounds may complement three supplements I take was in a 2020 review Central and Peripheral Metabolic Defects Contribute to the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease: Targeting Mitochondria for Diagnosis and Prevention:

“The nutrients benefit mitochondria in four ways, by:

  • Ameliorating oxidative stress, for example, lipoic acid;
  • Activating phase II enzymes that improve antioxidant defenses, for example, sulforaphane;
  • Enhancing mitochondrial remodeling, for example, acetyl-l-carnitine; and
  • Protecting mitochondrial enzymes and/or stimulating mitochondrial enzyme activities, for example, enzyme cofactors, such as B vitamins and coenzyme Q10 .

In addition to using mitochondrial nutrients individually, the combined use of mitochondrial nutrients may provide a better strategy for mitochondrial protection.”

The review provided a boatload of mitochondrial multifactorial analyses for Alzheimer’s. But these analyses didn’t include effective mitochondrial treatments of ultimate aging causes. I didn’t see evidence of why, after fifteen years of treating mitochondrial effects with supplements, treating one more effect could account for my Week 9 vastly different experiences.


I nod to An environmental signaling paradigm of aging explanations. Its Section 10 reviewed IL-6, C-reactive protein, senescence, and NF-κB in terms of feedback loops, beginning with:

“It is clear that the increasing number of senescent cells depends on the post-adult developmental stage rather than chronological age. The coincidence that these processes result in particular forms of impairment in old age does not seem to be random as it is present in all mammals, and may be causative of many aspects of aging.”

A derived hypothesis: After sufficient strength and duration, broccoli sprout compounds changed my signaling environment, with appreciable effects beginning in Week 9.

I offered weak supporting evidence in Upgrade your brain’s switchboard with broccoli sprouts where a study’s insufficient one week duration of an insufficient daily 17.3 mg sulforaphane dosage still managed to change a blood antioxidant that may have changed four thalamus-brain-area metabolites. For duration and weight comparisons, I doubled my daily amount of broccoli seeds from one to two tablespoons just before Week 6 (Day 35), and from that point onward consumed a estimated 52 mg sulforaphane with microwaving 3-day-old broccoli sprouts every day.

Maybe a promised “In a submitted study, we will report that peripheral GSH levels may be correlated with cognitive functions” will provide stronger evidence? I’m not holding my breath for relevant studies because:

  • There wouldn’t be potential payoffs for companies to study any broccoli sprout compound connections with research areas such as aging, migraines, etc. Daily clinically-relevant broccoli sprout dosages can be grown for < $500 a year.
  • Sponsors would have to change paradigms, a very-low-probability event. They’d have to explain why enormous resources dedicated to current frameworks haven’t produced effective long-term treatments.

What long-term benefits could be expected if I continue eating broccoli sprouts every day?

The longest relevant clinical trial I’ve seen – referenced in Part 2 of Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane – was twelve weeks. Part 2 also provided epigenetic clock examples of changes measured after 9 months, which accelerated from there to the 12-month end-of-trial point.

Reviewing clinical trials of broccoli sprouts and their compounds pointed out:

“Biomarkers of effect need more time than biomarkers of exposure to be influenced by dietary treatment.”


A contrary argument: Perhaps people don’t require long durations to effectively change their signaling environments?

I apparently didn’t start eating an effective-for-me daily broccoli sprouts dosage until Day 35, when I changed from one to two tablespoons of broccoli seeds a day. If so, Weeks 6 through 8 may account for my substantial responses during Week 9.

  • Could eating broccoli sprouts every day for four weeks dramatically change a person’s signaling environment?
  • Do you have four weeks and $38 to find out? Two tablespoons of broccoli seeds = 21.4 g x 30 days = .642 kg or 1.42 lbs.

This is what twice-a-day one-tablespoon starting amounts of broccoli seeds look like through three days:


Maintaining the sprouting process hasn’t been a big effort compared with the benefits.

In the absence of determinative evidence, I’ll continue eating broccoli sprouts every day. Several areas of my annual physical have room for improvements. Extending my four lifestyle “interventions” a few more months may also provide hints toward inadequately researched connections.

* Results may not be extrapolatable to other people, to any specific condition, etc.

Part 2 of Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane

Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends with sulforaphane covered only the first 13 minutes of a super informative presentation by the lead researcher of clinical trial Reversal of aging and immunosenescent trends.  Commonalities with sulforaphane research were found by PubMed searches of sulforaphane and each presentation topic, and used a 1/1/2015 publication date cutoff.

Continuing presentation topics from the 13:40 mark:

Cancer

Lymphocyte/monocyte ratio

CD38 monocytes

  • NQO1-induced activation of AMPK contributes to cancer cell death by oxygen-glucose deprivation

    “NQO1 plays a key role in AMPK-induced cancer cell death in OGD through the CD38/cADPR/RyR/Ca2+/CaMKII signaling pathway. Expression of NQO1 is elevated by hypoxia/reoxygenation or inflammatory stresses through nuclear accumulation of the NQO1 transcription factor, Nrf2 (NFE2-related factor 2). Activation of the cytoprotective Nrf2 antioxidant pathway by sulforaphane protects immature neurons and astrocytes from death caused by exposure to combined hypoxia and glucose deprivation.”

Thymus – no recent sulforaphane studies

Renal function

  • Rapid and Sustainable Detoxication of Airborne Pollutants by Broccoli Sprout Beverage: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial in China

    “Rapid and sustained, statistically significant increases in levels of excretion of glutathione-derived conjugates of benzene (61%), acrolein (23%), but not crotonaldehyde were found in those receiving broccoli sprout beverage compared with placebo. Excretion of benzene-derived mercapturic acid was higher in participants who were GSTT1-positive compared to the null genotype, irrespective of study arm assignment. Measures of sulforaphane metabolites in urine indicated that bioavailability did not decline over the 12-week daily dosing period. Intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances detoxication of some airborne pollutants, and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks.”

Hair rejuvenation

Epigenetic clocks – There are no sulforaphane studies that use epigenetic clocks, although broccoli compounds have epigenetic effects on aging, as reviewed in 2019:

  • Sulforaphane – role in 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.”


Both biomarker (Lymphocyte / monocyte ratio) and epigenetic clock (GrimAge) measurements done 6 months after the clinical trial ended suggested trial subjects’ aging phenotypes had been reset:

An environmental signaling paradigm of aging explained:

“Apart from being slowed down or sped up, the body clock can also be reset. Organisms, organs, and their cells can be reset to different age-phenotypes depending on their environment.

This is not so much a principle as an application of principle that the environment determines age-phenotype.”

There wouldn’t be a potential payoff for a company to study any broccoli compound / aging connections. People can achieve clinically relevant, daily doses of broccoli sprouts for < $500 a year.

What sponsor would be interested enough to put sulforaphane research on the clock?

Presentation topics are continued in Uses of the lymphocytes to monocytes ratio and A review of sulforaphane and aging. This pilot trial’s follow-on clinical trial was updated in The next phase of reversing aging and immunosenescent trends.