How Much Broccoli is Too Much?

How Much Broccoli is Too Much?
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Four cups of broccoli sprouts a day may exceed the safe dose of the cruciferous phytonutrient sulforaphane.

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It’s nice to know there were no apparent adverse effects at even 27 cups of broccoli a day’s worth of these cruciferous phytonutrients. But has to be some point at which it becomes toxic, and indeed there is. Some researchers in Italy tried to push the envelope. They’re trying to come up with an IV infusion dose to use as actual chemotherapy, and so wanted to know how high they could go.

And yes, there was a level at which you can cause DNA damage—at the equivalent of about 100 cups of broccoli a day—or actually just four cups of broccoli sprouts. They conclude: “No sign of DNA lesions could be observed at nutritionally attainable concentrations.” But that’s not really true. I mean you could eat four cups of the sprouts a day. See, they don’t know health nuts like I know some health nuts.

Someone came up to me after a lecture a few years ago down in Florida, and said how he heard that wheatgrass juice was so good for you; cleans you out. And so, he wanted to try stuffing himself with it. So he told me he calculated the volume of the human digestive tract—all ten yards or so—and proceeded to drink that amount continuously—quart after quart—until, it started coming out the other end. So I asked him, well, what happened? And he looked up at me, with an expression that I can only describe as rapture, and—no joke—said: “It was volcanic.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to adactio / flickr

It’s nice to know there were no apparent adverse effects at even 27 cups of broccoli a day’s worth of these cruciferous phytonutrients. But has to be some point at which it becomes toxic, and indeed there is. Some researchers in Italy tried to push the envelope. They’re trying to come up with an IV infusion dose to use as actual chemotherapy, and so wanted to know how high they could go.

And yes, there was a level at which you can cause DNA damage—at the equivalent of about 100 cups of broccoli a day—or actually just four cups of broccoli sprouts. They conclude: “No sign of DNA lesions could be observed at nutritionally attainable concentrations.” But that’s not really true. I mean you could eat four cups of the sprouts a day. See, they don’t know health nuts like I know some health nuts.

Someone came up to me after a lecture a few years ago down in Florida, and said how he heard that wheatgrass juice was so good for you; cleans you out. And so, he wanted to try stuffing himself with it. So he told me he calculated the volume of the human digestive tract—all ten yards or so—and proceeded to drink that amount continuously—quart after quart—until, it started coming out the other end. So I asked him, well, what happened? And he looked up at me, with an expression that I can only describe as rapture, and—no joke—said: “It was volcanic.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to adactio / flickr

Doctor's Note

This video is a follow-up on yesterday’s video Liver Toxicity Due to Broccoli Juice? and is video number seven of my 13-part series on the latest science on cruciferous vegetables. See Kale and the Immune SystemSmoking vs. Kale JuiceDNA Protection from BroccoliBroccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells; and Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: The Best DetoxBroccoli Boosts Liver Detox Enzymes, and Nutmeg Toxicity.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

 

22 responses to “How Much Broccoli is Too Much?

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  1. Lol! Volcanic. NOT a good visual to start my morning, Doc ;^)

    But, seriously, wasn’t he putting his life in danger? I recently recall a person died consuming water like that — continuously. Some self-experimentation is just insane.




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    1. “Dr.” Ann Wigmore advocated wheatgrass “implants”. Since broccoli sprouts are nutritionally superior to wheatgrass and it deters prostate cancer (according to John Hopkins doctors; look for the smiley face in the produce dept.) and since it would be very close to the prostate, what about “broccoli sprout implants” for prostate cancer self-treatment???




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  2. My daughter told me that Turnips are a super food. Very low in calories and contain almost all vitamins. Is the turnip all that?




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  3. Dr. Greger, I laughed so hard at your line “they don’t know health nuts the way I know some health nuts”.

    I’ve met so MANY of those people over my life and your delivery was great.




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  4. Dr. Gregor, I find use of cups as a form of measurement too confusing to translate into scientific terms. Could you please translate 4 cups or 1.25 cups into ounces or grams? Thanks




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  5. Dr. Greger, I find the use of cups as a unit of measurement confusing and unsciencific. Could you rephase your references using grams or ounces please? Thank you! (So how many ounces or grams is 4 cups or 1.25 for that matter?)




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  6. I’ve taken to eating raw broccoli, which has much more sulforaphane. So this upper limit would decrease to what value?




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  7. Based upon a chart in the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz4YVJ4aRfg., showing the glucosinolate precursor levels of the various cruciferous vegetables I calculate the upper limit Dr. Gregor is talking about here as 1285 mg glucosinolate precursor.

    In a comment above he gives 70-80 g as equalling 2.5 cups of sprouts. This means 4 cups of sprouts equals 128 g (80 g ÷ 2.5 cups = 32 g per cup), and based on the table in the video cited above this equates to 1285 mg of glucosinolate precursor a day (128 g ÷ 28 g = 4.57 x 281 mg glucosinolates = 1285 mg). I personally eat raw Brussels sprouts, and this equates to 6 cups or 543 g of them (1285 ÷ 104 mg glucosinolates = 12 x 1/2 cup or 44 g). This is a little over a pound which is the size they usually come in, so don’t eat more than a whole bag a day!




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  8. I agree with most comments saying this leaves an uncomfortable question mark on how much actual sulphoraphane is too much.
    Rhonda Patrik talks about taking 100g-140g of broccoli sprouts per day, which according to her equates to 40-60mg of sulphoraphane. This is the dose used in many experiments on the effects of sulphoraphane and leads to all the improvements talked about when talking about sulphoraphane.
    Are her calculations off?

    Thank you in advance




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