Principal Proposed Uses
Sulforaphane is a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, as well as other cabbage-family vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. Some evidence hints that sulforaphane might help prevent cancer.
Sulforaphane is not an essential nutrient. It is found in especially high levels in broccoli sprouts.
Certainly, it is too great a leap to jump to one constituent of such vegetables and advocate that substance for preventing cancer. Thousands of substances show anticancer properties in the test tube and fail to pan out in real life. The beta-carotene story is another instructive example. Not only did observational studies show that people who consume foods high in beta-carotene have less lung cancer, test-tube studies found that beta-carotene has anti-cancer properties. However, subsequent large double-blind studies found that beta-carotene supplements do not help prevent lung cancer, and might even increase risk.
The bottom line: At present, we cannot recommend sulforaphane for preventing cancer.
The proper daily intake (if there is any) of sulforaphane is not known. Typical recommendations range from 200 to 400 mcg daily.
No major adverse effects have been reported with sulforaphane supplements, but comprehensive studies have not been performed. Maximum safe doses in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease are not known.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking any medication that is critical to your health, do not take sulforaphane supplements except under physician supervision.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -