Isothiocyanates (Sulforaphane)

The cruciferous (Brassicas) family of vegetables use the chemicals known as isothiocyanates to protect themselves. When a predator eats the flesh of the plant glucosinolate and myrosinase are combined to create Isothiocyanates which breaks down and kills the cells of predatory insects, bacteria and fungi. Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanates that increases oxidative stress through the creation of reactive oxygen species, inhibits Iodine absorption, damages cell linings and depletes the endogenous antioxidant Glutathione by activating NRF2 which binds and rids our body of the damaging compounds. It is this up regulation of Glutathione, our endogenous antioxidants, via NRF2 that give brocalli sprouts and sulforaphane their often-touted potential benefits. They are not antioxidants but a xenohormetic. By inhibiting the absorption of iodine, isothiocyanates decrease the body's production of thyroid hormone resulting in hypothyroidism and goitres. Steaming and boiling can reduce the amount of sulforaphane by up to 65% and is highly concentrated in the sprouts and seeds of the plant.

The Cruciferous family of vegetables includes:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Mustard
  • Radishes
  • Watercress