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Sulforaphane supplements have received attention from Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Tim Ferriss. So what is it? It’s a sulfur-rich compound frequently found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, and cabbage. It’s been linked to digestive and heart health benefits. While you can get the benefits of the compound by eating raw or lightly steamed veggies, some of us don’t love raw or crunchy broccoli or bok choy. So we looked for other ways to get the benefits.
Jed Fahey, a leading researcher in the field, warns us to be careful of which Sulforaphane supplements we use. Just like many other supplements, not all are created equal.
There are 3 main ways to get sulforaphane:
- Pure Sulforaphane – Average bioavailability of 70%*
- Glucoraphanin + Myrosinase – Average bioavailability of 35%*
- Glucoraphanin – Average bioavailability of 10%*
* Bioavailability numbers come from Jed Fahey’s research at John Hopkins. See source #3 below for more info.
Below is a list of the best Sulforaphane supplements. All are currently used by Jed Fahey’s team at John Hopkins University in their clinical studies:
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.
The next best alternative to active sulforaphane is consuming the precursor glucoraphanin alongside the activation enzyme myrosinase.
Each Avmacol pack contains 60 tablets, which at 2 tablets per day, is a 1 months supply.
Consuming active sulforaphane itself has the greatest potential effect (measured using a term called bioavailability). Currently, there is only one free-form stabilized sulforaphane 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. while it’s 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.
- 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.
- The next most bioavailable (and accessible in the USA) is Avmacol, because it bundles the enzyme myrosinase alongside its glucoraphanin.
Growing Your Own Broccoli Sprouts
Ok, so you don’t love raw or steamed broccoli and you don’t want supplements. No problem. There’s the option of broccoli sprouts, and they’re easy enough to grow.
Just about anyone can 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 of how to produce your own.
To get the recommended downstage of sulforaphane from sprouts, you need to eat between 67 and 134 g of sprouts. Dr. Rhonda eats about 4 oz of sprouts a few times a week. 4 oz of sprouts is about 113 g (for those of us not versed in conversion!) So how much do you plant? Ok, if you plant 1 oz of broccoli seeds, you’ll get about 5 oz of sprouts. It’s a 1 to 5 conversion. You’ll need to plant and harvest weekly, so keep seeds on hand and make a routine. But since seeds are generally pretty cheap, you could have a sustainable and affordable way to include sulforaphane in your diet.
If you’re not big on just chowing down on a plate of sprouts, throw them in a smoothie! remember, you don’t want to cook them into anything like a casserole, as overcooking reduces the amount and benefits of the compound. Dr. Rhonda has one more way she treats her sprouts.
Rhonda’s video on tripling the bioavailability of sulforaphane sprouts gently heats the 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).
She uses a Family temperature monitor to ensure she gets the water at 70C.
- Chemoprotection Center At John Hopkins University FAQ
- Jed Fahey Interview on Rhonda Patrick’s Podcast
- 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)