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A Novel Broccoli Extract: Glucoraphanin

December 11, 2018 • 2 min read
Summary

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale contain a powerful and biologically active antioxidant – glucoraphanin.

Image outlining the novel extracts found in cruciferous vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale contain a powerful and biologically active antioxidant – glucoraphanin.1 Through a process called hydrolysis, sulfur-containing glucoraphanin is metabolized into the biologically active isothiocynate sulforaphane, which is associated with a variety of positive effects, stemming from its antioxidant activity.2,3

For example, sulforaphane has many actions and characteristics:2,3

  • It releases hydrogen sulfide when cooked, producing a cardioprotective effect similar to that of garlic.
  • It induces phase II enzymes, an important part of the body’s detoxification pathways.
  • It increases expression of antioxidant enzymes.
  • It exerts other protective antioxidant effects.

Glucoraphanin is a type of glucosinolate, a sulfur-containing compound associated with a pungent aroma and spicy taste. Glucobrassicin and gluconastutin are two other types of glucosinolates – differentiated by their amino acid composition – produced by cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. When these glucosinolates go through hydrolysis, they enter their biologically active form, called isothiocynates.1

A novel antioxidant is a broccoli seed extract standardized to yield 13 percent glucoraphanin, which metabolizes to sulforaphane and activates Nrf-2 pathways to produce antioxidants for reducing oxidative stress, and phase 2 enzymes—detoxifiers vital for the body’s natural detoxification process.4

Oxidative stress is a process caused by free radicals – unstable molecules formed during both natural body processes and from exposure to toxins.5 Activation of Nrf-2 pathways help target harmful inflammation, thus limiting the extent and magnitude to which inflammation occurs.6

Oxidative stress and unhealthy inflammation is often a primary cause for systemic imbalances in the human body. These imbalances are connected to conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.7

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  1. Fahey, J.W., Zalcmann, A.T., & Talalay, P. (2001). The chemical diversity and distribution of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates among plants. Phytochemistry; 56: 5-51.
  2. Navarro, S.L., Schwarz, Y., Song, X., et al. (2014). Cruciferous vegetables have variable effects on biomarkers of systemic inflammation in a randomized controlled trial in healthy young adults. J Nutr; 144(11):1850-7.
  3. Bryan, H.K., Olayanju, A., Goldring, C.E., Park, B.K. (2013). The Nrf2 cell defense pathway: Keap1-dependent and -independent mechanisms of regulation. Biochem Pharmacol; 85(6):705-717.
  4. Turpaey, K.T. (2013). Keap 1-Nrf2 signaling pathway: mechanisms of regulation and role in protection of cells against toxicity caused by xenobiotics and electrophiles. Biochemistry (Mosc); 78(2):111-126.
  5. Lee, J.H., et al. (2013). Dietary phytochemicals and cancer prevention: Nrf2 signaling, epigenetics, and cell death mechanisms in blocking cancer initiation and progression. Pharmacol Ther; 137(2): 153-171.
  6. Davidson, R.K., et al. (2013). Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis Rheum.
  7. Lugrin, J., Rosenblatt-Velin, N., Parapanov, R., Liaudet, L. (2013). The role of oxidative stress during inflammatory processes. Biol Chem.

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