Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast

Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast
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In a test tube, the broccoli phytonutrient sulforaphane appears to target breast cancer stem cells. But how do we know it’s even absorbed into the body? Have women undergoing breast reduction surgery eat some an hour before their operation, and directly measure the level in their tissues.

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Broccoli and broccoli sprouts produce a compound, sulforaphane,  that appears to target breast cancer cells. But this is in a test tube. How do we even know we absorb sulforaphane into our bloodstream when we eat broccoli? And even if we do, how much do we have to eat to arrive at these test tube concentrations where it counts—in breast tissue itself, where a tumor may be evolving?

An innovative group at Hopkins figured it out. Let’s find women scheduled for breast reduction surgery, and an hour before they go into the operating room, have them drink some broccoli sprout juice. And that’s what they did.

They collected breast tissue from eight women an hour after broccoli, and here’s what they found. An average of 2 picomoles per milliliter in their left breasts, and 1.45 in their right.

So now, for the first time ever, not only do we know that the broccoli we eat ends up in the right place, but we know the final tissue concentration.

So what does that correspond to here? This is what broccoli sprouts do to both estrogen-receptor-positive and -negative breast cancer cells. To continually bathe the tissues of one’s breast at this concentration, you’d have to eat a quarter cup of broccoli sprouts a day, a half a cup, and about a cup and a quarter. In other words it’s doable—I just put them in my salad.

Real world effects at real world doses.

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 julie gibbons / flickr

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts produce a compound, sulforaphane,  that appears to target breast cancer cells. But this is in a test tube. How do we even know we absorb sulforaphane into our bloodstream when we eat broccoli? And even if we do, how much do we have to eat to arrive at these test tube concentrations where it counts—in breast tissue itself, where a tumor may be evolving?

An innovative group at Hopkins figured it out. Let’s find women scheduled for breast reduction surgery, and an hour before they go into the operating room, have them drink some broccoli sprout juice. And that’s what they did.

They collected breast tissue from eight women an hour after broccoli, and here’s what they found. An average of 2 picomoles per milliliter in their left breasts, and 1.45 in their right.

So now, for the first time ever, not only do we know that the broccoli we eat ends up in the right place, but we know the final tissue concentration.

So what does that correspond to here? This is what broccoli sprouts do to both estrogen-receptor-positive and -negative breast cancer cells. To continually bathe the tissues of one’s breast at this concentration, you’d have to eat a quarter cup of broccoli sprouts a day, a half a cup, and about a cup and a quarter. In other words it’s doable—I just put them in my salad.

Real world effects at real world doses.

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 julie gibbons / flickr

Doctor's Note

This is a follow-up to Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells.

Note that the sources for this video are open access, so you can click on them in the Sources Cited section, above, and read them full-text for free.

Worried about the safety of sprouts? You’re probably thinking about alfalfa. See my videos: Don’t Eat Raw Alfalfa Sprouts, and Update on Alfalfa Sprouts. Broccoli sprouts appear much safer; see Broccoli Sprouts

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. BroccoliAre Microgreens Healthier?; and Prevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens Necessary

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

 

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