When you were a kid, your parents probably tried to convince you to eat your broccoli by telling you that it would help you “grow up big and strong”. Well, they weren’t wrong, but now you can get all of the health benefits hidden in the cruciferous vegetable from broccoli extract.
Broccoli contains a chemical called glucoraphanin. When consumed, it is transformed into a compound called sulforaphane. This compound is where many of broccoli extract’s health benefits come from. (1)
Sulforaphane has many possible health benefits, including supporting heart health, maintaining healthy blood sugar, and detoxifying the liver. And taking broccoli extract means that you don’t have to eat broccoli every day to take advantage of these benefits!
Let’s look at some ways that broccoli extract can help, plus how to use it.
Health Benefits of Broccoli Extract
Broccoli Extract and Heart Health
Broccoli extract could have some positive effects on heart health. One study found that sulforaphane decreased inflammation in vascular cells. This could be impactful for people whose arteries are narrowed by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fats and cholesterol that blocks blood flow. (2)
An animal study demonstrated that sulforaphane, which is present in broccoli extract, significantly improved the blood pressure of animals over the course of four months. High blood pressure can contribute to heart disease, so broccoli extract may have some heart health applications for humans, although more research is necessary to confirm. (3)
Managing Blood Sugar with Broccoli Extract
Both human and animal studies have shown that sulforaphane is effective at reducing blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are a major concern for people with type 2 diabetes. In one 12-week study, 97 participants with type 2 diabetes took broccoli extract daily to see how sulforaphane would affect their blood sugar levels. Researchers found that sulforaphane reduced the participants’ fasting blood sugar, and also increased markers for long-term blood sugar control. Encouragingly, the improvements were greatest in the participants who were obese and those that did not maintain careful control of their diabetes. (4, 5)
Broccoli Extract for Liver Detoxification
Studies on both humans and animals have demonstrated broccoli extract’s detoxifying effects on the liver. A study on rats found that taking sulforaphane via broccoli extract upregulated detoxification genes in their livers. It also protected them from liver injury from toxicants. The researchers concluded that taking broccoli extract protected the rats’ livers from toxicities and enhanced their defenses. (6)
A study on male Japanese participants with fatty liver disease demonstrated that taking broccoli extract can significantly improve liver function. The participants who took broccoli extract had decreased serum levels of liver function markers, as well as significantly reduced urinary levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine, an oxidative stress marker. Researchers believe that broccoli extract works to improve liver function through decreasing oxidative stress. (7)
UV Ray Protection from Broccoli Extract
A study from a team of Johns Hopkins scientists suggests that broccoli extract could have protective abilities for skin against ultraviolet rays. When applied topically to mice and human volunteers, it decreased the inflammation and cell damage usually caused by UV rays. (8)
After testing the topical effects of broccoli extract on mice, six human volunteers had small patches of skin exposed to a pulse of UV radiation. The skin patches were either untreated or treated with different amounts of broccoli extract. (8)
The skin patches treated with the highest amounts of broccoli extract showed an average reduction of 37% of inflammation and redness after UV exposure. The effects of the broccoli extract also lasted for several days, with protective effects remaining with application three days before UV exposure. (8)
Researchers believe that the sulforaphane is what gives broccoli extract its protective effects. Unlike sunscreen, which keeps UV light from entering the skin, broccoli extract increases the production of protective enzymes within cells. The researchers hope that treatment with broccoli extract could act as another protective measure and potentially protect against skin cancer. (8)
Using Broccoli Extract
It’s possible to get sulforaphane by eating broccoli sprouts or adult broccoli plants. But this means that you would have to cook and eat broccoli every day. Taking broccoli extract is a much more convenient way to take in sulforaphane. Broccoli extract can be purchased in powdered, capsule, or tablet form at health food stores and in some grocery stores. Follow the label instructions and the advice of a healthcare professional to make sure the correct dosage is being taken.
Broccoli extract may also be a component of supplement formulas, such as ProstaCaid. ProstaCaid is a potent and highly effective formula that delivers multi-targeted support for superior prostate and urinary health. It helps to maintain prostate cellular health and promote healthy hormone balance and prostate and urinary function.*
The blend of herbs and nutrients in ProstaCaid supports healthy levels of alpha-reductase, DHT, and aromatase, helping to slow estrogen formation and improve critical estrogen-testosterone ratios. Natural botanicals support liver detoxification and facilitate the safe and gentle excretion of estrogens and estrogen-mimicking compounds, all of which are shown to play key roles in prostate health. Broccoli extract is just one of the ingredients in the liver support blend that make ProstaCaid so powerful for detoxification.*
FAQ About Broccoli Extract
What is broccoli extract?
Broccoli extract comes from adult broccoli plants or from broccoli sprouts, which are higher in sulforaphane. It is usually available as a powder, capsules, or tablets. It can be found at health food stores and many grocery stores.
What is broccoli extract good for?
There is scientific evidence that broccoli extract may help to protect the heart, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, detoxify the liver, and protect the skin against UV rays.
Is broccoli extract safe?
Broccoli extract is generally considered safe, and it is unlikely to cause side effects. Consult your health provider for dosage recommendations based on health status, age, body composition, and other factors.
- Vermeulen M, Klöpping-Ketelaars IWAA, van den Berg R, Vaes WHJ. Bioavailability and kinetics of sulforaphane in humans after consumption of cooked versus raw broccoli. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18950181/
- Evans PC. The influence of sulforaphane on vascular health and its relevance to nutritional approaches to prevent cardiovascular disease. The EPMA journal. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23199123/
- Senanayake GVK, Banigesh A, Wu L, Lee P, Juurlink BHJ. The dietary phase 2 protein inducer sulforaphane can normalize the kidney epigenome and improve blood pressure in hypertensive rats. American journal of hypertension. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22052072/
- Axelsson AS, Tubbs E, Mecham B, et al. Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Science translational medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615356/ Published June 14, 2017.
- Rosengren A. Clinical Trial With Broccoli Sprout Extract to Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. ClinicalTrials.gov. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02801448 Published June 29, 2020.
- Yoshida K, Ushida Y, Ishijima T, et al. Broccoli sprout extract induces detoxification-related gene expression and attenuates acute liver injury. World journal of gastroenterology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4572790/ Published September 21, 2015.
- Kikuchi M, Ushida Y, Shiozawa H, et al. Sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract improves hepatic abnormalities in male subjects. World journal of gastroenterology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4649129/ Published November 21, 2015.
- Zagorski N. Broccoli Sprout Extract Protects Against UV Rays. Johns Hopkins Gazette. https://pages.jh.edu/gazette/2007/29oct07/29broccoli.html Published October 29, 2007.