Research consistently shows those who eat more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale are healthier than their counterparts. Besides being rich in fiber and micro-nutrients, these veggies contain an organic sulfur compound called sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane may improve detoxification, immune function, and heart health.
Today, we’ll explore sulforaphane and list the top 7 sulforaphane products that are worth your money.
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-containing isothiocyanate found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli sprouts, Bok choy, and Brussels sprouts.
In plants, it occurs in an (inactive) precursor called glucoraphanin. But this is “activated” into sulforaphane by the enzyme myrosinase released during chopping, chewing, cooking, and sprouting.
In 1992, scientists from Johns Hopkins identified the health-promoting benefits of sulforaphane. Now, over two thousand research papers have examined the benefits of sulforaphane. And healthcare experts like Dr. Rhonda Patrick have also done their bit to get the word out.
Sulforaphane naturally activates the NRF2 genetic pathway.
NRF2 induces the expression of over 200 genes that fight inflammation and promote detoxification and longevity. It supports the production of multiple antioxidant enzymes (including the “master antioxidant” glutathione) to defend your cells from free radical damage.
Intermittent fasting and exercise are also NRF2 activators (surprise, surprise).
Let’s look at some health benefits of sulforaphane in more detail.
Cruciferous veggies are considered the most powerful detoxifying foods.
Sulforaphane boosts your detox system by stimulating enzymes involved in phase II liver detoxification. When this pathway works efficiently, your body has no problem neutralizing and excreting toxins.
Studies show broccoli sprout juice quickly and reliably detoxifies airborne pollutants from the body.
In my work as a nutritional therapist, I’ve seen that brain inflammation, oxidative stress, and poor detoxification pathways are common characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
For this reason, researchers have looked to sulforaphane to help adults and children with ASD.
In an 18-week study on adults with ASD, researchers observed sulforaphane improved behavior, communication, and social interaction. Unfortunately, the changes didn’t stick when they stopped supplementing.
Furthermore, a study looking at children with autism found taking sulforaphane for 12 weeks improved their social responsiveness.
Research consistently links eating more cruciferous vegetables to lower risks of cancer.
Now, this may be due to several factors, including that those who eat well are more likely to engage in other health-promoting behaviors. Sulforaphane may also inhibit cancer cells and protect against carcinogens by activating the NRF2 pathway and improving detoxification.
A study on men found that stabilized sulforaphane helped to manage prostate cancer recurrence after prostatectomy.
That said, we need more clinical trials in this area.
There are lots of sulforaphane supplements out there. However, some companies try to save money by using inactive sulforaphane precursors.
At RFS, we did our due diligence to find the 7 best sulforaphane supplements on the market. They are made according to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards and thoroughly evaluated for purity.
*Note: We have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you buy from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
BROQ is considered the purest and most potent sulforaphane supplement on the market.
Made in France from non-GMO broccoli seeds via a patented four-step process, this is the creme de la creme of sulforaphane supplements. It’s been sold in France under the name Prostaphane for years. Now, it’s finally available in the US.
So, what makes it the best?
BROQ contains stabilized sulforaphane instead of inactive sulforaphane precursors. Plus, it’s highly bioavailable – meaning more active compounds make it into your bloodstream.
The capsules are 100% vegan and free from gluten, GMOs, preservatives, dairy, soy, corn, yeast, and sugar.
Each bottle contains 60 capsules. The serving size is 2 capsules so it will last you one month.
It’s on the pricier side. A month’s supply of BROQ costs $65.00. But this is a top-tier sulforaphane supplement. And you can save $10 per bottle by going for the subscription option. They also have free shipping to the Continental USA.
BrocElite comes in at a close second on our list. The team at Mara Labs developed shelf-stabilized sulforaphane using a patented water-based extraction process.
Each 2-capsule serving delivers 10 mg of activated sulforaphane – the equivalent of 3 oz of fresh broccoli sprout juice.
In addition, they’ve added 325 mg of broccoli seed complex rich in active compounds that work synergistically to enhance NRF2 expression.
BrocElite is certified glyphosate residue-free and contains no gluten, soy, dairy, fillers, and GMOs.
It costs $49.95 for a month’s supply on their website. They also offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Avmacol Sulforaphane Production System (SPS) delivers the sulforaphane building blocks from broccoli seed and sprout extract.
Each 2-capsule serving contains 475 mg of their proprietary blend of sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS) and Myrosimax® (active myrosinase). It’s standardized for 30 mg of glucoraphanin per serving.
Nutramax Laboratories test its effectiveness by measuring sulforaphane metabolites in the urine of people who take Avmacol.
It comes in both regular and extra strength. Avmacol® Extra Strength contains added Maitake mushroom extract, moringa leaf powder, and beta-glucans for detoxification and immune system support.
Jarrow Formulas is another trusted brand with decades of experience manufacturing science-backed products.
Their BroccoMax® broccoli seed extract delivers active sulforaphane by preserving myrosinase, known as The Sulforaphane Generator™.
A 2-capsule serving of their proprietary blend delivers 35 mg of sulforaphane glucosinolate. The delayed-release capsules protect the compounds until they’re absorbed, so you get the most active compounds possible.
This product is safe for vegans, vegetarians, and people on a gluten-free diet.
Life Extension Optimized Broccoli delivers 300 mg of glucoraphanin from broccoli seed extract and 75 mg of myrosinase together… but separately. Basically, the dual-layered tablet keeps them partitioned until they reach your stomach to enhance bioavailability.
Each tablet contains ingredients for added antioxidant benefits. This includes 100 mg of DIM, 50 mg of watercress extract, 50 mg of rosemary extract, and 25 mg of cabbage extract.
A bottle contains 30 vegetarian, non-GMO tablets.
Each capsule of Solaray Activated Broccoli contains 350 mg of broccoli seed extract (standardized for 10% sulforaphane glucosinolates). Plus, it contains 13 mg of myrosinase and 50 mg of freeze-dried broccoli sprouts.
This is a more affordable choice, but we don’t know how much active sulforaphane actually enters your bloodstream.
Solaray produces supplements made according to cGMP guidelines. And they offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Micro Ingredients Broccoli Powder is made from organic, freeze-dried broccoli sprouts free from GMOs, gluten, soy, and fillers.
Broccoli sprouts are one of the best sources of sulforaphane. They are also rich in fiber, DIM, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and phytochemicals.
That said, the powder isn’t tested for activated sulforaphane or myrosinase. However, it’s a great way to get more nutrition into your diet in general.
You can add to smoothies, protein shakes, juices, soups, and more. A 1-pound bag costs $28.74.
Yes, we did the ranking. But we want you to decide on the best product for your needs. To do that, you need to understand how we choose products.
Here are some factors we considered when researching the best sulforaphane supplement.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the supplement industry. So, unscrupulous companies can flood the market with tainted or misleading products.
Our mission is to pick the safest products made with the purest ingredients. We prioritize trusted companies that adhere to cGMP regulations and use third-party testing. We also boosted brands that supply their test results online.
We looked for products with the myrosinase enzyme needed to convert glucoraphanin to sulforaphane in the small intestine.
We also prioritized stabilized sulforaphane products like BROQ and BrocElite.
We selected supplements that use the most potent sources of sulforaphane – like broccoli seed extract or young broccoli sprouts.
High-quality sulforaphane supplements tend to be on the pricier side. That said, improving your health shouldn’t put you out of pocket.
We’ve listed the best products to suit a range of budgets while never skimping on quality. BROQ is the most expensive, while Jarrow Formulas BroccoMax is more affordable.
Chronic oxidative stress and inflammation are precursors to heart disease.
Research suggests sulforaphane may guard against cardiovascular disease thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This study on diabetic patients found 100 grams of sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts daily reduced markers of oxidative stress and LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol levels.
That said, most studies are on animals. So, don’t neglect heart-healthy habits in favor of sulforaphane. I’m talking about exercising regularly, reducing stress, sleeping well, and eating more fiber.
Eating just 10 grams of broccoli sprout powder per day may improve insulin resistance.
A more recent study also found broccoli sprout extract may improve measures of short- and long-term blood sugar control in those with poorly controlled type-2 diabetes.
However, it’s a complementary therapy, not a replacement for any medication prescribed by your doctor.
Sulforaphane and DIM (di-indolyl methane) are plant compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. They’re both potent antioxidants with anticancer properties.
DIM helps your body excrete excess estrogens associated with hormone imbalances and certain cancers.
There is no standard dose for sulforaphane. However, suggested dosages range from 5 to 60 mg, depending on the supplement you take.
We need more research to find the best dose of sulforaphane for different health goals.
Most of your nutrients should come directly from whole foods whenever possible. But that’s not always easy.
As mentioned, sulforaphane comes from a range of cruciferous vegetables and sprouts. Unfortunately, overcooking your veggies destroys these compounds. Eating them raw or lightly steaming them is the best choice. Although, I don’t know anyone who enjoys raw broccoli. Plus, you’d have to munch on mountains of the stuff to get the same concentration used in clinical studies.
Supplementing is a convenient way to get a reliable level of sulforaphane.
If you don’t want to supplement, young broccoli sprouts are the most bioavailable source of sulforaphane.
Another option that’s a supplement but gives you whole food nutrition is to invest in a quality greens powder.
If you’re taking sulforaphane regularly, keep your bottle in a cool place away from direct sunlight. However, you can also keep it refrigerated after opening to preserve its potency.
Sulforaphane is a natural plant compound that’s generally well-tolerated. In rare cases, concentrated sulforaphane may cause mild side effects like gas, cramps, constipation, or diarrhea.
Just a disclaimer: While we’re passionate about health and fitness at RFS, we’re not medical professionals. Talk to your doctor before taking a new dietary supplement if you have a health condition or are taking chronic medication.