Diet Supplements

Sulforaphane Supplements for Nrf2 Activation

Sulforaphane Supplements for Nrf2 Activation

For a while now, Sulforaphane supplements have been a hot topic within the scientific community. Its received particular attention from Dr Rhonda Patrick and Tim Ferriss. While it can consumed via broccoli sprouts, these aren’t always easy or convenient to consume. The below post discusses the best Sulforaphane supplements options.

Jed Fahey, one of the leading researchers in the field, warns us to be careful of which Sulforaphane supplements we use. Saying their lab, which has analyzed dozens of supplements over the years, has found that many are terrible, and don’t contain what they say they do.

To complicate matters, there are 3 main ways to consume sulforaphane:

  1. Pure Sulforaphane – Average bioavailability of 70%*
  2. Glucoraphanin + Myrosinase – Average bioavailability of 35%*
  3. Glucoraphanin – Average bioavailability of 10%*

* Bioavailability numbers come from Jed Fahey’s research at John Hopkins. See source #3 below for more info.

Below are a list of the best Sulforaphane supplements. All are currently used by Jed Fahey’s team at John Hopkins University in their clinical studies:


Image of bottle of Thorne sulforaphane supplements.Crucera-SGS is a supplement from Thorne Research containing concentrated glucoraphanin.

Crucera-SGS comes in 60 tablet packs, doses at 1 tablet per day, so 2 months supply.

As briefly mentioned above, although the supplement ingredients read “Sulforaphane Glucosinolate”, this isn’t to be confused with active sulforaphane (found in prostaphane). Sulforaphane Glucosinolate is actually Glucoraphanin, before it has been transformed by the enzyme myrosinase, into sulforaphane.



Image of bottle of Avmacol sulforaphane supplements.
The next best alternative to active sulforaphane is consuming the precursor glucoraphanin alongside the activation enzyme myrosinase.

Avmacol is a high end supplement made by Nutramax Laboratories. It is glucoraphanin extracted from Broccoli seeds, plus the active myrosinase enzyme.

Each Avmacol pack contains 60 tablets, which at 2 tablets per day, is a 1 months supply.



Image of box and tablets of Prostaphane sulforaphane supplements.
Consuming active sulforaphane itself has the greatest potential affect (measured using a term called bioavailability). Currently, there is only one free-form stabilized sulphoraphane product on the market. Its name is Prostaphane, and is manufactured in France by a company called Nutrinov.

You may see products advertising that they contain Sulforaphane (specifically Sulforaphane Glucosinolate), however, it should be noted that this is misleading. Whilst it is technically accurate to say that they contain the glucosinolate form of sulforaphane, actually they contain glucoraphanin. It then needs to be converted into sulforaphane via myrosinase.

To recap:

  • All 3 Sulforaphane supplements mentioned above are currently used in clinical trials by John Hopkins University. This means that they’ve been tested and confirmed to contain what they say.
  • The most bioavailable Sulforaphane supplements you can buy is called prostaphane, but so far, is only distributed in France.
  • Next most bioavailable (and accessible in the USA) is Avmacol, because it bundles the enzyme myrosinase alongside its glucoraphanin.

Growing & Consuming Fresh Broccoli Sprouts

If you’ve read through the above, you’ll realize there doesn’t exist an optimal supplement. Even if prostaphane were available in the USA, its cost would likely be high.

Whilst supplements are great for busy lifestyles, whilst you’re on the go. If you’ll be staying in one place for a while, a good alternative is to grow broccoli sprouts yourself.

It’s really simple to grow broccoli sprouts, you just need a seed sprouter (Rhonda uses Ball jars + sprouter lids, but any jar + mesh will do), and some organic broccoli sprout seeds. This video gives a good overview on how to produce your own.

The dosage used in clinical trials often ranges from 30-60mg of sulforaphane. Estimates land fresh broccoli sprouts at a concentration of about 1 gram fresh weight to around 0.45mg of sulforaphane. So to achieve 30-60mg, you’d need to consume between 67-134g of sprouts.

Rhonda says (on her latest Tim Ferriss podcast) she consumes up to 4 ounces (113g) of broccoli sprouts a few times per week. Broccoli seeds yield approximately 5:1. So this means if you start off with 1 ounce of broccoli seeds, you’d end up with approximately 5 ounces of sprouts.

To achieve Rhonda’s 8 ounces consumption per week, you need to grow approximately 1 and a 1/2 ounces (43g) of seeds each week. To put a price to that, Todd’s seeds (for example) are $24 per pound (1lb = 16 ounces). So you’re looking at a cost of $2.25 of seeds per week. That’s not very expensive, given the potential long term health benefits.

Granted, if you’re consuming 4 ounces of broccoli sprouts in one sitting, its a lot. You’ll probably want to emulate Rhonda, and blend them in with a smoothie. Her blender of choice (like Joe Rogan) is the Blendtec Classic. But any decent blender will do.

Its worth also taking a look at Rhonda’s video on tripling the bioavailability of sulforaphane your sprouts. Essentially you heat your broccoli sprouts to 70C, hot enough that it disables the epithiospecifier protein, but not too hot that it disables the myrocinase enzyme (responsible for converting the glucoraphanin into sulforaphane). We do this because glucoraphanin can be converted into two forms of sulforaphane (regular sulforaphane, the stuff we want, and sulforaphane nitrile, which does not contain the anti-carcinogenic properties we want). By knocking out the epithiospecifier protein, which is needed for converting glucoraphanin to sulforaphane nitrile, we increase potential conversion to regular sulforaphane (yay!).

She uses a Famili temperature monitor to ensure she gets the water at 70C.

Image of Dr. Rhonda Patrick's broccoli sprouting setup.
Rhonda’s broccoli sprouting setup. Complete with Ball jars, sprouting lids, regular teapot, famili temperature monitor and blendtec blender.

Article Sources

  1. Chemoprotection Center At John Hopkins University FAQ
  2. Jed Fahey Interview on Rhonda Patrick’s Podcast
  3. Further publications from John Hopkins University research

P.S. Check out this post on supplements that Rhonda Patrick takes – these can make good additions to sulforaphane.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:

  • Dr Rhonda Patrick’s Preferred Supplement List (article link)
  • Rhonda Patrick’s Diet Details – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (article link)
  • Tim Ferriss’ Preferred Nootropic Choices (article link)
  • Rhonda Patrick’s Pregnancy + Baby Product Recommendations (article link)

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  • Hello
      how they confuse people by saying glucosinolates and glucoraphanin.
    Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate that is already hydrolysis of glucoraphanin and mirozinaza. It is very different. This compound if it is true that it has many qualities, but it is very complicated to have it as some pills as they say sulforaphane glucosinolate that has nothing to do with isothiocyanates.
    atte: alex bas dr.nanotechnology applied to cancer

  • What happens if you immediately chill the sprouts after bringing them to 70 degrees Celsius to make the blended liquid more palatable?

  • I was under the impression that Dr. Rhonda was freezing the sprouts, not heating them. Am I wrong? Could have sworn I heard her say that in a video somewhere.

  • If you grow your own sprouts, most mason jars cap threads will fit most blender screw-on bottom. I don’t know the correct term for it. It’s not the motor base, but the screw on that holds the teeth of the blender. So sprout away, add stuff in the jar, blend away.

  • Wouldn’t Rhonda’s approach be better done by heating the water, immediately blending the sprouts at the target temperature, then putting the blending material back on the target temperature for an additional nine minutes? This was you expose the myrosinase to the sulforaphane precursors at the desired temperature and sustain the reaction for 10 minutes. Doing things as Rhonda does in the video, the myrosinase remains trapped in the fiber of the sprout and only gets activated when she blends, at which point she is not leaving it at the target temperature for 10 minutes.

    • Your suggestion isn’t necessary. If you look at the paper Rhonda references, you’ll find the explanation. Heating the sprouts intact to 70C reduces ESP activity so when blending afterward, less sulforaphane nitrile is formed, enabling an equivalent increase in myrosinase-catalyzed, formation of sulforaphane.