Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast

Broccoli Sprouts For Breast Cancer PreventionBy: Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts produce a compound 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? 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 8 women an hour after broccoli, and here’s what they found. An averaging of 2 picomoles per milligram 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 your breast at this concentration you’d have to eat… a quarter cup of broccoli sprouts a day, a half 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.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Video Sources

Li Y, Zhang T, Korkaya H, Liu S, Lee HF, Newman B, Yu Y, Clouthier SG, Schwartz SJ, Wicha MS, Sun D. Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;16(9):2580-90.

Cornblatt BS, Ye L, Dinkova-Kostova AT, Erb M, Fahey JW, Singh NK, Chen MS, Stierer T, Garrett-Mayer E, Argani P, Davidson NE, Talalay P, Kensler TW, Visvanathan K. Preclinical and clinical evaluation of sulforaphane for chemoprevention in the breast. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Jul;28(7):1485-90.

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  1. Darrell L. Smith says:

    I read and heard the 1 1/2 minute verbal comments by Dr. Greger. The information that doctors should take away is this. Only 6 in 130+ species of Broccoli have the required phytochemical, sulforaphane glucosinolate, so you would need to ensure you had the correct species to grow sprouts. Incidentally the 3 day old Broccoli sprout is at 2% potency of the Broccoli Seed. Supplements processed from the Broccoli Seed is 50 times more potent and will give you micro moles, instead of picomoles, of Sulforaphane that has been proven to reach the blood stream through the small intestine. There are countless articles that will prove and/or discuss the efficacy of Sulforaphane entering the bloodstream.
    Darrell Smith
    R & D CS Health LLC


  2. Homer LIM, MD says:

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