You already know cruciferous vegetables are good for you. Almost every nutritionist will recommend that you include broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, or brussel sprouts in your diet.
And it seems like the nutritionists are right.
One recent study has suggested that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables can lower the risk of non-accident related death by 22 percent, within an age group .
Another study found that men who ate more than three servings of cruciferous vegetables per week had a 41 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer in comparison to men who ate less than one .
So what is it about cruciferous vegetables that makes them so beneficial? One of the most likely answers is the potent plant compound known as sulforaphane .
Here, we’ll learn more about sulforaphane, and recommend some of the best supplements available on the market. We’ll also give you a pro tip so that you can get four times more sulforaphane from your broccoli.
What is sulforaphane?
Cruciferous vegetables have phytochemicals known as glucosinolates. They also have enzymes known as myrosinase, which are activated by chewing, crushing, or chopping.
Once activated, the myrosinase enzymes transform glucosinolates into isothiocyanates. Sulforaphane happens to be one of the most potent isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables .
If that’s a bit too much to comprehend, just remember this; when you chew your broccoli, cabbage, or kale, you activate myrosinase enzymes. The enzymes make sulforaphane available to your body, which can have many significant health benefits.
What are some potential health benefits of sulforaphane?
The following are some of the potential health benefits of sulforaphane.
- Studies have shown that regular consumption of sulforaphane may reduce the risk of cancer .
- May aid in detoxification by removing carcinogens and certain airborne pollutants .
- May fight harmful inflammation .
- Might boost brain health and fight depression .
- Regular consumption may boost heart health .
- Might improve gut health .
For a comprehensive guide on all the health benefits of sulforaphane, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on broccoli sprouts.
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How to pick the right sulforaphane supplements
Besides the obvious factors like a reputed brand and high-quality ingredients, there is another critical aspect when it comes to sulforaphane supplements: bioavailability.
What is bioavailability?
Simply eating a healthy serving of broccoli doesn’t ensure that you get all the sulforaphane in the vegetable. Certain factors make it more or less likely that your body will be able to absorb sulforaphane. The more a nutrient is available from a diet source, the higher its bioavailability.
The myrosinase enzyme is a crucial factor that determines the bioavailability of sulforaphane. When you chew or crush cruciferous vegetables, myrosinase is activated. Myrosinase then turns glucoraphanin (an isothiocyanate) into sulforaphane.
Bioavailability of sulforaphane supplements
Unfortunately, when you cook cruciferous vegetables, the heat deactivates myrosinase. So, you end up getting a relatively low amount of sulforaphane when you eat cooked broccoli or cauliflower (as opposed to eating them raw).
To maximize the bioavailability of sulforaphane, you can sprout your own broccoli seeds. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a prominent nutrition scientist and a big proponent of sulforaphane, has a video on how to sprout your own broccoli seeds.
For many of us that have a full schedule, sprouting our own seeds can be impractical. Taking a supplement is the next best thing. But not all sulforaphane supplements are created equal.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Chemoprotection Center, the bioavailability of sulforaphane is as follows, depending on what you consume :
- Pure sulforaphane – 70 percent average bioavailability
- Glucoraphanin with myrosinase – 35 percent average bioavailability of sulforaphane
- Glucoraphanin only – 10 percent average bioavailability of sulforaphane
So, if you’re going to take a supplement, we recommend looking for supplements that contain both glucoraphanin and myrosinase.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the sulforaphane supplements that are available on the market.
What are the best sulforaphane supplements?
Here are the best sulforaphane supplements available today:
- Avmacol Sulforaphane Production System (SPS) Supplement
- Thorne Research Crucera-SGS Supplement
- Prostaphane: Active Sulforaphane Supplement*France only
- Jarrow Formulas BroccoMax Sulforaphane Supplement
- Source Naturals Broccoli Sprouts Extract Supplement
- LLS Broccoli Sprout Extract + Matcha Green Tea Supplement*U.K. only
The first 3 sulforaphane supplements on this list are manufactured by highly reputed brands. They are also used by Johns Hopkins University in their clinical studies. You can rest assured that an institution like JHU wouldn’t use products in their research before conducting a thorough investigation.
Read on to see a breakdown of all the sulforaphane supplements listed above…
Avmacol was developed in conjunction with Dr. Brian Cornblatt, a Johns Hopkins trained scientist. Dr. Cornblatt has been dedicated for more than a decade to sulforaphane research.
It is also Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s sulforaphane supplement of choice on days she is traveling, or when she doesn’t have time to sprout her own broccoli seeds.
Avmacol contains broccoli seed and sprout extract, wasabi, and vitamin C. It is gluten-free, and the easy-to-swallow tablets are packaged in BPA-free bottles.
The broccoli seed and sprout extracts contain glucoraphanin. Wasabi contains myrosinase. So, according to Johns Hopkins University, the bioavailability of sulforaphane should be around 35 percent.
- Contains glucoraphanin and myrosinase to increase sulforaphane bioavailabilty
- Developed by scientists involved in sulforaphane research
- Used in clinical trials
- Bioavailability lower than pure sulforaphane
Thorne research is another highly reputed brand that is used by Johns Hopkins in their clinical trials. They are also trusted by several other high profile institutions such as Mayo Clinic, and 12 different U.S. national sports teams.
Thorne Research Crucera-SGS Ingredients
Thorne Research Crucera-SGS contains only sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS). All of their supplements are free of gluten and Genetically Modified Organisms (known as GMOs).
Crucera-SGS contains no myrosinase. So, the bioavailability of sulforaphane is most likely lower at around 10 percent. But since Thorne Research only uses the best ingredients, it could still be a good supplement to provide you a regular dose of sulforaphane.
- Thorne Research is a top brand that only makes high-quality products
- Trusted by Mayo Clinic and various sports teams
- Used by Johns Hopkins in clinical trials
- Lower sulforaphane bioavailability than Avmacol
Prostaphane: Active Sulforaphane Supplement (only available in France)
Prostaphane is manufactured by Nutrinov, a French company, and it is marketed as a dietary supplement to help with an aging prostate. Prostaphane contains a free-form version of stabilized sulforaphane. In other words, it provides pure sulforaphane, instead of sulforaphane glucosinolate like most products.
This is another supplement used in clinical trials by Johns Hopkins. Although it is marketed towards those with aging prostate, Prostaphane has many other benefits since it is pure sulforaphane. The only major drawback is that this product is only available in France (unless, of course, you live in France).
Prostaphane harvests broccoli seeds, and they are carefully chosen for sulforaphane content. After extraction, the sulforaphane is stabilized through a unique encapsulation process. This process results in potent free-from stabilized sulforaphane.
Since Prostaphane is pure stabilized sulforaphane, you can expect its bioavailability to be high. According to the data we mentioned before, around 70 percent of sulforaphane in Prostaphane should be bioavailable.
- Stabilized free-form sulforaphane
- High bioavailability
- Only available in France
While the three supplements mentioned above are the only ones Johns Hopkins University uses in their clinical trials, various other sulforaphane supplements are available on the market. Below, we list a few more that are highly rated products from reputed brands.
Jarrow is a German company that sells a wide array of supplements. Broccomax is their sulforaphane supplement. They claim that their products are manufactured in a cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) facility to ensure adherence to the highest standards.
Jarrow extracts sulforaphane glucosinolate and myrosinase from broccoli and includes both of them in the Broccomax supplements.
Since Broccomax contains both sulforaphane glucosinolate and myrosinase, you can expect bioavailability in the mid-range at around 35 percent.
- Contains both sulforaphane glucosinolate and myrosinase for higher bioavailability
- Rated highly by 200-plus customers on amazon
- Bioavailability lower than pure sulforaphane
Source Naturals is a company that believes in nature’s healing powers. They also make sure that their products are science-backed to provide products that enhance their customer’s health and well-being. Source Naturals uses organic and non-GMO ingredients whenever available.
They market the broccoli sprouts extract as a supplement that supports your liver in the detoxification process.
Source Naturals Ingredients
The supplement contains broccoli sprouts extracts and calcium.
Source Naturals Bioavailability
Since Source Naturals only includes broccoli sprouts extract, the supplement contains sulforaphane glucosinolate. But it makes no mention of any myrosinase. So, we can assume that the bioavailability of sulforaphane is lower, at around 10 percent.
Source Naturals Broccoli Sprouts Extract Pros
- Commitment to high quality ingredients
Source Naturals Broccoli Sprouts Extract Cons
- No myrosinase enzymes included
- Lower bioavailability
LLS Broccoli Sprout Extract + Matcha Green Tea (U.K. only)
Love Live Supplements (LLS) broccoli sprout extract with matcha green tea delivers a potent antioxidant complex. The product is manufactured in the U.K. under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) License to ensure the highest quality standards.
This product is only available through Amazon in the U.K. However, you can get worldwide delivery if you shop directly on their website.
LLS Broccoli Sprout Extract Ingredients
LLS sulforaphane is different compared to the other sulforaphane supplements because it adds the power of antioxidants from matcha green tea.
EGCG is a potent antioxidant that could be one of the most potent cancer-preventive compounds in green tea . Matcha green tea provides three times more EGCG than consuming regular green tea.
LLS claims that each serving also contains active sulforaphane, but it makes no mention of myrosinase.
LLS Broccoli Sprout Extract Bioavailability
They claim to provide active sulforaphane in each serving, but make no mention of any myrosinase. So, we can’t be sure about the bioavailability of sulforaphane. However, the addition of matcha green tea and EGCG makes it an appealing option nonetheless.
LLS Broccoli Sprout Extract Pros
- Includes EGCG from matcha green tea.
LLS Broccoli Sprout Extract Cons
- No mention of myrosinase
- Bioavailability unclear
Get 4X more sulforaphane from cooked broccoli!
Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and you should eat plenty of it even if you’re taking a sulforaphane supplement. There are many other beneficial nutrients in broccoli like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K1, potassium, and more.
But if you’re going to eat broccoli, why not extract as much sulforaphane from it as possible?
The challenge most people face is that during the cooking process, the heat deactivates the myrosinase enzymes. So, unless you like eating raw broccoli, the bioavailability of sulforaphane is relatively low (because myrosinase transforms glucoraphanin to sulforaphane).
Here’s how to increase the bioavailability of sulforaphane in cooked broccoli:
The good news is that mustard seeds are also a part of the cruciferous family, and they contain the myrosinase enzyme.
So, when you add raw ground mustard seeds to cooked broccoli, the myrosinase from mustard seeds can interact with the glucoraphanin in broccoli to make the sulforaphane more bioavailable to you.
You can buy organic mustard seeds online. Put them in a grinder and add some to your next broccoli, kale, cabbage, or cauliflower dish.
Closing thoughts on the best sulforaphane supplement
By all accounts, sulforaphane seems to be an incredibly beneficial component of cruciferous vegetables. As mentioned above, it can support your brain health, heart health, digestive system, as well as aid in detoxification and potentially reduce your risk of cancer.
Get uVitals Sulforaphane supplement for FREE: we have developed a new Sulforaphane Supplement, allowing you to conveniently get the benefits of sulforaphane daily, like the reduction of gut inflammation and even the detoxification of air pollutants in cities with poor air quality!
The best possible way to consume sulforaphane is to sprout your own broccoli seeds like Dr. Rhonda Patrick. But if that’s too impractical for you due to time constraints or other reasons, supplements are the next best thing.
Avmacol Sulforaphane is the supplement we recommend the most. It gives you the best sulforaphane bioavailability among the listed supplements. This is especially crucial if you live in a highly polluted area, and have a greater need for detoxification.
Besides Avmacol, Thorne Research Crucera-SGS is also a good option. Although the bioavailability is lower, Thorne Research’s commitment to high standards means you can’t go wrong with any of their products.
Before taking sulforaphane (especially Avmacol or Prostaphane), like with any potent supplement, we recommend that you consult a medical practitioner first.
Products mentioned in this article
- AVMACOL® Extra Strength 30 Tablets (Once Daily)
- Thorne Research - Crucera-SGS - Broccoli Seed Extract for Antioxidant Support - Sulforaphane Glucosinolate (SGS) - 60 Capsules
- Jarrow Formulas BroccoMax, Supports Liver Health, 60 Delayed Veggie Caps
- Broccoli Sprouts 250 mg 60 Tablet (Pack of 2)
- Broccoli Sprout Extract + Matcha Green Tea Extract by LLS | Contains Activated Sulforaphane | 60 Capsules |15000mg of Whole Plant Equivalent per Serving | Potent Antioxidant Content
- Anthony's Organic Brown Mustard Seeds, 3lbs, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Keto Friendly
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