Sulforaphane, was isolated by us from broccoli and broccoli sprouts many years ago. It was developed by us and many others around the world as a chemoprotective phytochemical — a compound from plants that is not required for life (like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals), but which enhances health. Many laboratory and animal studies have suggested that sulforaphane may be effective for neurodevelopmental conditions (autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia). Currently, there are ongoing clinical studies for both of these conditions.
Many other studies have suggested that sulforaphane may be effective for neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. A paper just published by a group from Korea adds fuel to those observations. In it, they demonstrate that sulforaphane reduces Amyloid-β, and tau levels in an Alzheimer’s disease model, where the accumulation of these proteins contribute to the disease pathology. This work complements previous work by the same group identifying sulforaphane as a critical modulator of the production of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF; which plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease).
Although, these studies are far from conclusive, and have not been translated into human trials, we remain comfortable saying, “Eat your broccoli and/or broccoli sprouts!”