Listen to This!
This is a special relaunch of The Essential Boomer Podcast so I want to share with you a great topic that can be of immense benefit to you, and everybody else who listens. Therefore, I have chosen to share with you the awe and wonder of….
Okay, now don’t get all bleary-eyed on me now. I promise that if you listen to, or read, this whole podcast that you will be consuming sulforaphane within a week. So hang in here with me. It will be worth it.
Now, What if I were to tell you that there is a natural food supplement available that has been researched extensively in animal AND human studies that is shown to be one of, if not the, most powerful NATURALLY OCCURRING anti-inflammatory AND anti-oxidizing substances known to exist?
And… what if I told you that this substance has been shown to significantly lessen your chances of getting cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and depression among many others?
And…what if I told you that this same substance has been shown to successfully treat many of these serious conditions if you already are struggling with them?
And… what if I told you that this supplement can significantly affect both your quality of life and your lifespan?
And…what if I told you that this supplement is readily available in your supermarket or that you can easily and quickly grow your own with a minimal investment of just a few pennies a week?
I bet I have your attention now.
Well, all that is true. That supplement is called sulforaphane and the best source for this amazing compound is from cruciferous vegetables.
Yup, Cruciferous veggies.
Wasabi? … YES WASABI!
And… Broccoli Sprouts!
We’ll talk a lot more about broccoli sprouts in a bit.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Yea, yea. I know that a diet with veggies are healthy and good for you and all that blah blah blah. I thought that this was going to be about something truly powerful.”
Au contraire mon frere… I’m talking about a lot more than just a healthy diet with veggies. I’m talking about a very powerful substance for the prevention and treatment of the diseases that are game-enders for people like you and me.
Stay with me here…
First, Let’s take a broad look at some of the studies involving cruciferous veggies.
Back 2011 there was a study published in the American Journal of Clinical nutrition that showed that the people in the top 20% eating the most vegetables had a 16% reduction in their chances of dying from all non-accident causes. That covers a lot of physical causes of death. Still, no big epiphany, right? 16% meh…
BUT, if we look at the top 20% of Americans that were consumers of cruciferous vegetables then this number goes to 22%. Not bad eh?
That’s just the very tip of the iceberg.
Cruciferous veggies and cancer
Men who ate three or more servings per week of cruciferous vegetables show a 41% decrease in their risk of prostate cancer.
In another study, men who ate 2 or more ½ cup servings of broccoli each week saw a 51% reduction of bladder cancer, compared to the low broccoli intake group.
It even benefits smokers. People who smoked cigarettes and consumed 4.5 servings of raw cruciferous vegetables PER MONTH had a 55% reduction in lung cancer risk compared to the ones who consumed less than 2.5 servings per month.
There are also studies that show that women who consume 1 – 2 servings per day of cruciferous veggies have a 40% reduction in the risk of breast cancer compared to those who consume 1 serving or less per week.
In another study, people with bladder cancer, who consumed at least an average of 3.9 servings of raw broccoli per month, saw a 57% reduction in bladder cancer mortality and a 43% reduction in overall mortality rate, compared to those that had one serving per month.
Obviously, there is something very interesting and powerful going on with cruciferous veggies. But what?
I’m going to get a bit geeky for a bit here so stick with me.
All cruciferous veggies contain substances called glucosinolates.
One of these glucosinolates is called glucoraphanin.
When the glucoraphanin in the veggie is lightly cooked, chewed or crushed it changes, with the help of an enzyme, to become what is called an isothiocyanate.
Sulforaphane is one of the isothiocyanates, that has received a lot of scientific scrutiny because of its amazing potency.
In technical terms, sulforaphane is one of the most potent activators of the NRF2 genetic pathway which regulates over 200 different genes, many of which are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. So, they are responsible for de-activating many harmful compounds within your body.
To you and me, this means that it affects a lot very important processes that directly affect our immune systems and how we age.
Broccoli sprouts contain the highest concentrations of glucoraphanin, which becomes sulforaphane.
It has 100 times more of this precursor than broccoli.
Now if you’re eyes are crossed that will be pretty much be it for the hyper-geeky talk
It’s important to say here that a lot of the studies with sulforaphane has been done on animals so we have to be careful not to use them as absolute proof that they’ll work for people. But, there is a fast-growing list of studies on humans with sulforaphane that show great promise for replicating the impressive results found in the animal studies.
The bottom line is the sulforaphane, found in cruciferous veggies, can significantly reduce your risk of cancer, along with many other diseases. One way that it does this is by preventing and repairing damage to your DNA.
One of the amazing properties of sulforaphane is that it is able to selectively target and kill cancer cells, while having very little effect on the non-cancerous cells.
Sulforaphane and cancer
Sulforaphane kills colorectal cancer cells, breast cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, oral squamous cell carcinoma cells, liver cancer cells, leukemia cells and prostate cancer cells.
There are several studies looking at the effect of sulforaphane in men with prostate cancer.
In one study, men given sulforaphane decreased their PSA doubling rate by 86% compared to the placebo group. 86%!
Guys, are you hearing that?
Sulforaphane has been shown to be very effect a deactivating and removing carcinogens from the body, such as benzene, which is associated with air pollution, automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke.
Studies have also shown how sulforaphane has demonstrated the remarkable ability to prevent the growth of tumors as well as slowing the growth of existing tumors in animal and people. Hell, sulforaphane has been shown to actually remove cancer cells from the body.
Multiple studies show that three to five servings of sulforaphane per week, in the form of cruciferous veggies, is able to reduce your risk of cancer by 30 to 40%. Wow. I’ll talk more about portions and servings in a bit.
The bottom line is that sulforaphane can significantly decrease your chances of getting cancer and if you do have cancer it can significantly and positively affect the progression of the cancer.
How about the effects of sulforaphane on heart disease?
Many studies have show that the consumption of sulforaphane can significantly lower many of the common risk factors for cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.
Sulforaphane has been shown to lower the LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol in humans.
It has also been shown to decrease blood pressure in rats with hypertension.
It also has been shown to protect the heart against oxidative stress and reduced the heart damage after heart attacks in rats.
One of the driving factors for heart disease, as well as many other diseases is inflammation.
Inflammation, and the bio-markers it produces, is the single most important predictor of successful aging and cognition.
Sulforaphane has been shown in multiple studies to have a significant effect on inflammation in humans. Through this mechanism sulforaphane has been shown to protect against hardening of the arteries along with inhibiting blood clot formation in rats.
Effects on brain behavior
Inflammation has also been shown to adversely affect the brain. Sulforaphane has been shown to cross the blood/brain barrier and therefore has a direct affect on the metabolic processes within the brain. There are studies using sulforaphane in young men with autism that show that sulforaphane improved autistic behavior checklist scores and improved social interaction, abnormal behavior and verbal communication.
Another study showed that sulforaphane was able to improve cognitive impairment in small group of medicated patients with schizophrenia.
Can sulforaphane help me if I get the flu?
It appears so. In human studies sulforaphane increased the human antiviral response as well as reducing the amount of virus with the body. It was also shown to help prevent HIV infection.
How about protection from bacteria? Does sulforaphane have antibiotic properties?
Yup. In one study, sulforaphane was able to inhibit 23 out of 28 tested bacterial and fungal species. Sulforaphane has been shown to increase the antimicrobial processes in humans.
How about Depression?
There is a lot of evidence that nutrition places a large role in depression. Again, inflammation has been shown to play a causal role in depression. Sulforaphane was able to illicit the anti-inflammation properties of the brain and in conjunction, the symptoms of depression, found in mice. It was shown to be more effective then Prozac.
Yes, these were mice and we need to wait for human studies to claim the same result in people. But it is very promising seeing that we both use the same metabolic process in inflammation and the resulting depression.
What about the effect of sulforaphane on neuro-degenerative diseases?
Brain inflammation and high oxidative stress are very prominent in neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease so the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of Sulforaphane appear to have a positive effect on these diseases.
Sulforaphane has also been shown to increase dopamine levels, reduce tremors and tremors in mice genetically altered to replicate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
It has also been shown to increase spatial working memory and working memory in mice injected with chemicals that cause them to experience the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. And It has been shown to clear aggregates in mice induced to have the symptoms of Huntington’s disease.
Traumatic Brain Injury has a strong association with inflammation of the brain and studies have shown sulforaphane increases the brains ability to heal itself while also reducing inflammation.
Sulforaphane has also been shown to protect against seizures in rats.
In studies with rats, sulforaphane was shown to significantly inhibit both the development and severity of MS-like disease symptoms thus decreasing the disease progression and demyelination in the spinal cord.
Can sulforaphane provide any benefits for people with osteoporosis?
It is looking very promising. Sulforaphane has been shown to increase bone production and volume by about 20% in mice. It appears to do this by increasing the functionality of the osteoclasts, the cells that produce more bone while reducing the activity of the osteoblasts, the cells that dissolve your bone cells.
Can sulforaphane protect my liver?
Yes! In a human study with men that had fatty livers, sulforaphane improved liver function over the control group. It has been shown to protect the liver from a several liver diseases caused by alcohol, drugs, toxic chemicals and high-caloric diets.
How about my kidneys?
Yes again. Sulforaphane has been shown, in studies with animals prevent inflammation and kidney damage from cisplatin, a drug used in chemotherapy.
Would you like some natural protection from the damaging rays of the sun?
Sulforaphane again. Yep. It has been shown to provide protection against both UVA and UVB sunburn and skin damage.
It can even protect your skin against blistering.
Sulforaphane sounds too good to be true. Next you’re gonna tell me that it can help with my baldness… Well…
Sulforaphane may also be able to help you to increase your hair growth. Androgenic alopecia is the most common kind of hair loss. There’s a study that shows, in mice, a fairly strong response to sulforaphane for re-growing lab-induced hair loss.
What about negative effects? What would happen if I consumed too much sulforaphane?
Well, there was some concern about creating iodine deficiency leading to goiter, but that only seems to be a possible for people with a very limited intake of iodine intake to start with. In a randomized, double-blind studies on humans consuming approximately the amount of sulforaphane that was used in many other animal and human studies it was shown that there were zero people who experienced negative effects on their thyroid or any liver toxicity.
So it certainly seems like the potential benefits of sulforaphane far outweigh any potential harm.
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Growing your own broccoli sprouts!
Okay, so by now you are probably ready to get your hands on some broccoli sprouts tout suite. Luckily, broccoli sprout seeds are easily available and growing the sprouts in a wide-mouth quart mason jar is a very efficient, safe, and easy way to keep a constant supply of them on hand.
You can pick up wide-mouth, quart, mason jars from a variety of sources very cheaply. I would make sure to have 4 – 6 of these on hand to ensure that you always have a fresh supply of your beloved broccoli sprouts available.
You should also pick up a wide-mouth screen lid for your mason jars to enable you to easily rinse and drain the broccoli sprouts during your sprouting. These can be had for abut $3-$4 apiece on Amazon. You can jury-rig your own screens with different screening materials but I like the stainless steel ones because they are easy to clean and won’t absorb any bacteria or water, like some netting material might.
You can also pick up a 2 ½ lb back of seeds from Amazon and other sources for around $40 or so. This amount is enough to keep you up to your neck in broccoli sprouts for months.
So, once you get all your materials together it’s time to actually grow those little puppies.
I suggest processing one jar per day to make it so you will have a crop of sprouts available every day. There are a lot of videos on YouTube showing you how to grow broccoli sprouts. There are some minor variations but the method that I use is as follows:
1 – Add 2 tablespoons of the broccoli sprout seeds to an empty mason jar
2 – Add fresh water to about ½ to ¾ high in the jar
3 – Attach the screened lid on the top and then place it in a cupboard or cool, dark place to set overnight.
4 – You will then set up a routine where you rinse the seeds and baby sprouts twice a day with 2 rinses of fresh water. I always let the water fill to overflowing through the screen and then swirl it around a bit and then let the water completely drain out. This prevents the growth of bacteria and mold.
5 – Then I store the inverted jars at about a 45 degree angle in a kitchen strainer that I have that fits over ½ of my sink in the kitchen. Some people use a small bowel and others get a fancy dancy stand to hold it at the 45 degree angle. This will allow for adequate light and drainage for the sprouts. You will end up with 4 – 6 inverted jars with sprouts of varying degrees of growth. It’s pretty cool.
6 – Keep up the above routine until around day six or seven when you have a jar packed with green broccoli sprouts. They are then ready to consume or freeze.
Me, I freeze mine for several reasons. First, it allows me to safely store the sprouts for future use without worrying about them going bad.
Second, it allows me to easily get ahead of my almost daily consumption of the sprouts.
So, now you have a quart jar jam-packed with wonderful looking sprouts ready for action. What now?
How many sprouts should you consume for an effective dose to get all the benefits?
According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, there is a wide range with the amount of sulforaphane that is used in the various studies. Using the quart mason jar method, each jar filled with raw broccoli sprouts yields about 120 milligrams of sulforaphane. This is within the single dose range that show beneficial effects in most of the studies. It’s important to know that this is based on the raw sprouts.
Now, if you consume the sprouts raw, then you must either chew them or crush them to enable the process of converting the sprouts to sulforaphane.
You can significantly increase the bio-availability, and thus the total amount of sulforaphane by gently boiling or steaming the raw sprouts for no more than 10 minutes at 158 degrees F. Any longer or hotter and you will significantly decrease the sulforaphane. This heating can increase the bio-availability of sulforaphane by up to 2-3 times the amount found in the raw sprouts. You can then just drink it like a tea, etc.
But, and this is a big but, There is another great option for you – Freezing the broccoli sprouts!
If you freeze the broccoli sprouts and then create a smoothie where you add them while they are still frozen, and then drink them right away, then you will increase the bio-availability of the sulforaphane by 2 – 3 times. That in-turn greatly increases how many doses you can get from a single one-quart mason jar meaning that a single quart jar full of sprouts can easily make 2 – 3 single doses.
This is great news because the broccoli sprouts have a flavor that is not enjoyed by most people. I’m kind of weird. I like it. But then again, I’ve always been a goat when it comes to veggies.
To me they taste like radishes, so having a smoothie made only of coconut water and frozen broccoli sprouts tastes just like a radish-flavored drink. So I like it but Laura, my way better half has to actually brush her teeth right after consuming it because of the repugnant flavor so you may want to experiment with different combinations of fruits or veggies in your smoothie to make it more palatable.
Here is a big-time tip for making sure that your frozen sprouts don’t get ice-burned and stay fresh-like. I use a FOODSAVER vacuum Sealer to store all my sprouts. They sell for about $175 on amazon. It makes it very convenient and easy to store individual doses in your freezer.
I divide all the sprouts from one mason jar into two portions and then seal them with the Foodsaver and toss them in the freezer. Each portion is enough for 2 to 3 people.
So. Are you now ready to grow your own sprouts? Go for it. You will be amazed at how good you feel. Your body will thank you. And do you really want to pack some power to your diet? Just add some cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts to your weekly diet. Talk about health insurance that is also delicious. Wow.
IMPORTANT! This podcast is meant to be for general information purposes only. It should not be construed to be medical advice. It is highly recommended that you only make changes to your diet or lifestyle while under the supervision of a medical professional.
CLICK HERE to watch Rhonda Patrick PhD’s video on Sulforaphane and Its Effects on Cancer, Mortality, Aging, Brain and Behavior, Heart Disease & More.
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