In 1992, a research group led by Paul Talalay, M.D. professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University School Of Medicine, discovered that Sulforaphane had cytoprotective benefits, i.e. an ability to bolster the body’s natural defences against oxidative stress, inflammation and DNA damage.
Sulforaphane is the most potent naturally occurring dietary activator of a human genetic pathway Nrf2 which regulates over 200 genes, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory genes and genes that de-activate harmful compounds. Nrf2 has been described as an activator of cellular defence mechanisms, the master redox switch and a guardian of health span and gatekeeper of species longevity.
In nature, Sulforaphane acts as an insect “anti-feedant” and is produced when plant cells come under attack and are physically damaged (e.g. crushed, chopped or chewed). Plants defend themselves by producing Sulforaphane which acts as an insect “anti-feedant” by combining a molecule called Glucoraphanin (GRN) with an enzyme called Myrosinase (MYR).
GRN is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, wasabi and watercress. Broccoli sprouts are an exceptionally good source of GRN and MYR, containing up to 100 times as much glucoraphanin than mature broccoli plants. Accordingly, the fact that small quantities of broccoli sprouts may protect against cancer as effectively as much larger quantities of the vegetable has stimulated research.
Currently, there are more than 1,700 scientific publications on GRN and Sulforaphane. Studies have investigated the effects of Sulforaphane on many human diseases, including air pollution toxicity, radiation dermatitis, disease prevention through providing anti-inflammatory defense, and many others including being an effective treatment against Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium implicated in the cause of peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer.