Broccoli sprout extract

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 4-Methylsulfinylbutylnitrile, 5-methylsulfinylpentylnitrile, Brassicaceae (family), Broccoli Super Sprout, BroccoSprouts®, Cruciferae (family), glucoiberin, glucoraphanin, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, sulforaphane [(-)-1-isothiocyanato-(4R)-(methylsulfinyl)butane], sulforaphane-cysteine, sulforaphane-cysteine-glycine, sulforaphane-glutathione, sulforaphane-N-acetylcysteine.

  • Note: This monograph includes information about the effects of broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and broccoli sprout extract.

Background

  • Broccoli sprouts are broccoli plants that are 3-4 days old. They look like alfalfa sprouts but taste like radish.

  • Sulforaphane is a chemical that is found in high amounts in broccoli and broccoli sprouts. Some brands, such as Brassica’s BroccoSprouts®, may contain more than 20 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli. Sulforaphane has been shown to have anticancer and antioxidant effects.

  • According to a review, sulforaphane and other similar chemicals have been studied in for cancer prevention.

  • Daily intake of broccoli sprouts may also be an effective treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection, which may cause stomach ulcers. Higher-quality human studies are needed before further conclusions may be drawn.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Helicobacter pylori infection

Laboratory and animal studies have shown that fresh broccoli sprout extracts, as well as sulforaphane alone, may have anti-Helicobacter activity. More human studies in this area are needed.

Radiation protection

Early research suggests that broccoli sprout extract applied to the skin may protect against erythema (abnormal redness of the skin) caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Additional studies of higher quality are needed to confirm these results.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Allergy, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, bladder cancer, breast cancer, cancer (general), colon cancer, skin cancer, skin conditions (epidermolysis bullosa simplex), stomach cancer, ulcers.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For preventing cancer, eating 1/2 cup of broccoli sprouts two or three times weekly has been suggested.

  • For treating Helicobacter pylori infections, 70 grams of Broccoli Super Sprout, which contains 420 micromoles of glucoraphanin per liter, has been given by mouth daily for eight weeks.

  • For protecting against erythema (abnormal redness of the skin) caused by radiation damage, broccoli sprout extract (containing 100, 200, 400, or 600 nanomoles of sulforaphane (SF) per liter) has been applied to the skin.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for broccoli sprout extract in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to broccoli or other members of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family, also known as crucifers, the mustard family, or the cabbage family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Similarly to alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts may carry bacteria that may cause illness when eaten. Broccoli sprouts should be obtained from reliable manufacturers.

  • Use amounts greater than normal dietary amounts with caution.

  • Broccoli sprouts may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.

  • Sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs, herbs, or supplements that use the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs, herbs, or supplements may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effect or potentially serious adverse reaction. Caution is advised in people taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that are processed by cytochrome P450.

  • Use cautiously in people taking cholesterol-lowering agents.

  • Avoid using raw sprouts of any kind in pregnant women to avoid the risk of bacterial infection.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid using raw sprouts of any kind in pregnant women to avoid the risk of bacterial infection.

  • According to animal studies, supplemental amounts of broccoli sprouts taken during pregnancy may lower blood pressure.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Broccoli sprouts containing glucoraphanin may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking agents that lower blood pressure.

  • Sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.

  • Broccoli sprouts may interact with cholesterol-lowering agents and ultraviolet protective agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the cytochrome P450 system.

  • Broccoli sprouts containing glucoraphanin may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.

  • Broccoli sprouts may interact with cholesterol-lowering agents and ultraviolet protective agents.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Berg M, Brierly D, Carlson M, et al. Vegetable Medication. Men’s Fitness 2003;19(7):42.
  2. Dinkova-Kostova AT, Fahey JW, Benedict AL, et al. Dietary glucoraphanin-rich broccoli sprout extracts protect against UV radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 hairless mice. Photochem.Photobiol.Sci 2010;9(4):597-600. View Abstract
  3. Dinkova-Kostova AT, Jenkins SN, Fahey JW, et al. Protection against UV-light-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 high-risk mice by sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprout extracts. Cancer Lett. 8-28-2006;240(2):243-252. View Abstract
  4. Donaldson MS. Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr J 10-20-2004;3:19. View Abstract
  5. Fahey JW, Haristoy X, Dolan PM, et al. Sulforaphane inhibits extracellular, intracellular, and antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori and prevents benzo[a]pyrene-induced stomach tumors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 5-28-2002;99(11):7610-7615. View Abstract
  6. Fighting cancer at the grocery store. Research shows broccoli sprouts, cabbage, garlic, among other vegetables, contain anti-cancer properties. Health News 2006;12(1):10-11. View Abstract
  7. Haristoy X, Angioi-Duprez K, Duprez A, Lozniewski A. Efficacy of sulforaphane in eradicating Helicobacter pylori in human gastric xenografts implanted in nude mice. Antimicrob.Agents Chemother. 2003;47(12):3982-3984. View Abstract
  8. Jeffery EH, Keck AS. Translating knowledge generated by epidemiological and in vitro studies into dietary cancer prevention. Mol Nutr Food Res 2008;52 Suppl 1:S7-17. View Abstract
  9. Johnston N. Sulforaphane halts breast cancer cell growth. Drug Discov.Today 11-1-2004;9(21):908. View Abstract
  10. Moon JK, Kim JR, Ahn YJ, Shibamoto T. Analysis and anti-Helicobacter activity of sulforaphane and related compounds present in broccoli ( Brassica oleracea L.) sprouts. J Agric Food Chem 6-9-2010;58(11):6672-6677. View Abstract
  11. Murashima M, Watanabe S, Zhuo XG, Uehara M, Kurashige A. Phase 1 study of multiple biomarkers for metabolism and oxidative stress after one-week intake of broccoli sprouts. Biofactors 2004;22(1-4):271-275. View Abstract
  12. Park EJ, Pezzuto JM. Botanicals in cancer chemoprevention. Cancer Metastasis Rev 2002;21(3-4):231-255. View Abstract
  13. Talalay P, Fahey JW, Healy ZR, et al. Sulforaphane mobilizes cellular defenses that protect skin against damage by UV radiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 10-30-2007;104(44):17500-17505. View Abstract
  14. Wu L, Noyan Ashraf MH, Facci M, et al. Dietary approach to attenuate oxidative stress, hypertension, and inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 5-4-2004;101(18):7094-7099. View Abstract
  15. Yanaka A, Fahey JW, Fukumoto A, et al. Dietary sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts reduce colonization and attenuate gastritis in Helicobacter pylori-infected mice and humans. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2009;2(4):353-360. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.