What if I told you there was a supplement that is a veritable panacea boasting the ability to stifle certain cancer cells, improve cognitive function, promote a healthy gut microbiome and act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent? What if I told you that you could make this supplement in your home through a simple process of sprouting broccoli seeds in a mason jar? What is this amazing supplement? Sulforaphane!
The first time I heard of sulforaphane was on the Joe Rogan Podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick. Dr. Patrick is a biomedical scientist who has done extensive research in the nutritional effects on cancer and aging. She is an expert in the biomedical implications of micro-nutrient deficiencies in humans and how they relate to chronic diseases. So basically, if Dr. Patrick has something to say.... I listen closely! (follow Dr. Patrick's Instagram page for posts on broccoli sprouts and other nutritional gems).
Sulforaphane has been extensively studied and it's effects on the human body is nothing less than miraculous. It has been shown to stunt the growth of cancer cells, reduce systemic inflammation, assist in detoxification, improve cognition, decrease fatigue, reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve diabetes, support hair growth, protect the kidneys and much, much more. Check out this great article: 39 Health Benefits of Sulforaphane.
So where can you buy this amazing supplement? This is where it gets interesting. Sulforaphane only becomes bio-active through the process of chomping down on cruciferous vegetables. The process of isolating the compound as a supplement drastically reduces its effectiveness. Getting the bio-active dose of sulforaphane into your bloodstream takes the assistance of an enzyme called myrosinase. Think of the sulforaphane containing plant cells like the little green glow-sticks we played with as kids. To activate the sticks, we had to crunch the glass tube inside and mix the ingredients. Similarly, chomping down on broccoli sprouts causes the plant cells to release the myrosinase which in turn activates the sulforaphane. Admittedly, bio-chem isn't my forte but if you want to learn more, you can read about the physiological process in all its glory here.
To reap all the benefits from this amazing compound you have a couple choices. There is a company in France that makes a decent supplement called Prostaphane but I am not sure of its availability here in the US or the cost. You can also buy these spicy little sprouts from most grocery stores but they are a bit pricey ($3.00 for 4 ounces which would be about 1 serving). Finally, and my personal favorite choice, you can become a broccoli sprout farmer right in your own kitchen. I've listed all the tools you'll need below. It's a simple process of rinsing and draining the seeds in a mason jar with a special draining lid. I typically sterilize 3 jars in the oven set at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Then I wash the draining lids with antibacterial dish soap and let them air dry. I put 1 tablespoon of seeds into each jar (I typically make 3 jars at a time). I then fill the jars with enough water to cover the seeds and let them sit overnight. In the morning I simply drain the water, give the seeds a rinse, and set the jars on a rack upside down to drain. I do this twice a day for 3-6 days. That's it! Using 3 standard jars should yield you enough sprouts to last a week. The sprouts can pack a spicy punch so there are a millions ways you can take them. Personally, I say man up, grab a fork and scarf down your dose like a champ!
If this process confuses you, watch this creepy dude explain the process.