Overpowering Toxins with Sulforaphane: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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Overpowering Toxins with Sulforaphane: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Overpowering Toxins with Sulforaphane: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Modern life is bustling with innovative technologies for a convenient living; online access to news and information, timesaving transport, fast foods, cleaning products that make your home sparkle, and cosmetics that leave us feeling ‘our best selves’. This improved way of living, however, is accompanied by increased exposure to a multitude of chemicals, pesticides and electromagnetic fields, which have the capacity to cause tissue damage and disturb our delicate hormonal balance. A build-up of these toxins can overburden the body, leading to fatigue, weight gain, digestive disturbances, and hormonal disorders. Fortunately, these effects can be offset using the superhero nutrient sulforaphane, which stimulates toxin elimination and reduces the fall-out from toxic exposure by strengthening antioxidant defences.

The War Against Toxins

The battle between antioxidants and toxins is much like a war between good and evil. Toxins create molecules known as free radicals, which cause damage to our cells: a process known as oxidative stress. Conversely, antioxidants are substances that can neutralise free radicals, thereby protecting our cells and tissues from damage.

Our body also neutralises and eliminates toxic substances via detoxification, with the liver primarily responsible for eliminating the toxins we are exposed to. Whilst the liver is an efficient organ, it can benefit greatly from detoxification support to prevent it from becoming overburdened by constant toxin exposure. This is where sulforaphane plays a key role, enhancing the body’s detoxification processes and reducing damage caused by free radical exposure.

Lots of green vegetables | HealthMasters

Sulforaphane Saves the Day

Sulforaphane is an ingredient made by the body from nutrients found within cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and kale. Sulforaphane increases antioxidant protection by stimulating the antioxidant defence system within the body that protects against the effects of oxidative stress.

Additionally, sulforaphane enhances detoxification activity in the body by inducing enzymes involved in metabolism of harmful toxins by the liver, promoting their elimination.[1]

The Elusive Hero

Providing your body with sulforaphane is not as simple as adding a few extra spoonfuls of broccoli to your dinner plate; you need to provide your body with the right ingredients to make it. The main ingredient is glucoraphanin, found primarily in broccoli seeds, however you also need myrosinase, found in high concentration in broccoli sprouts, to ‘activate’ it (Figure 1).

Sulforaphane is made from Glucoraphanin | HealthMasters

Although broccoli does contain both glucoraphanin and myrosinase, you would need to consume almost two cups of raw broccoli each day to attain enough for a beneficial amount of sulforaphane. For those who prefer cooked broccoli, the heating process destroys myrosinase, so while cooked broccoli can give you glucoraphanin, there is not enough myrosinase to convert it into sulforaphane in the body. 

Additionally, vitamin C is needed to turn on myrosinase, making it a vital ingredient for sulforaphane production.[2],[3]Therefore, whilst this hero ingredient is formidable in the face of its toxin foe, its strength can remain elusive given the wrong circumstances. A carefully crafted supplement derived from seed and sprout, containing glucoraphanin, myrosinase and vitamin C, provides the building blocks for sulforaphane production, ensuring your antioxidant superhero steps out of the shadows and shines!

Sulforaphane…More Like Sulfora-gain

If you suffer from fatigue, stubborn weight gain, digestive disturbances or hormonal conditions, you may need detoxification and antioxidant support from the superhero sulforaphane. To give your body the best chance of making enough, look for a supplement derived from broccoli seed and broccoli sprout with added vitamin C.

[1] Houghton CA, Fassett RG, Coombes JS. Sulforaphane and other nutrigenomic Nrf2 activators: can the clinician's expectation be matched by the reality? Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:7857186. doi: 10.1155/2016/7857186.

[2] Botti MG, Taylor MG, Botting NP. Studies on the mechanism of myrosinase. J Biol Chem. 1995 Sept 1;270(35):20530-35. doi:10.1074/jbc.270.35.20530.

[3] Hanschen FS, Klopsch R, Oliviero T, Schreiner M, Verkerk R, Dekker M. Optimizing isothiocyanate formation during enzymatic glucosinolate breakdown by adjusting pH value, temperature and dilution in Brassica vegetables and Arabidopsis thaliana. Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 17;7:40807. doi:10.1038/srep40807.

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  • Kevin Tresize
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