Sulforaphane has one of the highest abilities to induce Phase II detoxifying enzymes, and has been studied intensively for many healing properties.
Sulforaphne is 20-fold higher antioxidant than other potent phytochemicals such as quercetin, 80 fold higher than curcumin! Sulforaphane also exhibits the highest bioavailability among well-known antioxidant phytochemicals.
But how about its ability to boost the immune system?
As it turns out, in this 2021 research by Mahn & Castillo, Sulforaphanes also boast a great ability to improve the immune system.
Brassicaceae are an outstanding source of bioactive compounds such as ascorbic acid, polyphenols, essential minerals, isothiocyanates and their precursors, glucosinolates (GSL). Recently, GSL gained great attention because of the health promoting properties of their hydrolysis products: isothiocyanates. Among them, sulforaphane (SFN) became the most attractive one owing to its remarkable health-promoting properties. SFN may prevent different types of cancer and has the ability to improve hypertensive states, to prevent type 2 diabetes–induced cardiomyopathy, and to protect against gastric ulcer. SFN may also help in schizophrenia treatment, and recently it was proposed that SFN has potential to help those who struggle with obesity. The mechanism underlying the health-promoting effect of SFN relates to its indirect action at cellular level by inducing antioxidant and Phase II detoxifying enzymes through the activation of transcription nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like (Nrf2). The effect of SFN on immune response is generating scientific interest, because of its bioavailability, which is much higher than other phytochemicals, and its capacity to induce Nrf2 target genes. Clinical trials suggest that sulforaphane produces favorable results in cases where pharmaceutical products fail. This article provides a revision about the relationship between sulforaphane and immune response in different diseases. Special attention is given to clinical trials related with immune system disorders.
Despite the huge amount of information about the effect of Sulforaphane (SFN) on several diseases, especially cancer, research about the effect of SFN on immune system response at molecular and cellular levels is scarce, as well as clinical trials focused on immune system diseases. Sulforaphane exerts a pleiotropic effect on immunological response, and the final effect depends on the cell type. In lymphocyte T-cells, SFN induces ROS production, GSH depletion, and repression of inflammatory cytokines, resulting in suppression of immune and inflammatory responses. This may help in treatment on autoimmune/inflammatory diseases symptoms. In monocytes and macrophages, SFN stimulates immune response by inducing Nrf2, thus triggering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses. As a consequence, bacteria survival decreases in infected cells, and virus-infected cells are neutralized by induction of antioxidant enzymes such as HO-1. Additionally, SFN improves immune system, thus helping in prevention and reducing severity of viral pulmonary diseases. In cancer cells, SFN induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, as well as antioxidant enzymes that stimulate cellular immune response. Finally, the few clinical trials about the effect of SFN on immune system are not conclusive; this kind of study should be encouraged.
Broccoli sprouts are the richest source of glucoraphanin which is the direct precursor to sulforaphane. Broccoli sulforaphane is one of the most potent inducers of phase II enzymes. Our Glucosinolates & Sulforaphanes is a powerhouse, providing a four fold increase in the phase 2 enzyme potential.
Mahn, A., & Castillo, A. (2021). Potential of Sulforaphane as a Natural Immune System Enhancer: A Review. Molecules, 26(3), 752. Article.
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