Sensory Scout Blog

Sulforaphane and Brain Health: Is Broccoli Beneficial?

Posted by Vanessa De Vera on

Sulforaphane and Brain Health: Is Broccoli Beneficial?

It’s a powerful ingredient with a strange name: Sulforaphane. Why should you care? Because sulforaphane has been shown to improve brain health, especially in children–who are still growing and developing. Since many children are picky eaters, they’re unlikely to enjoy the remarkable benefits of sulforaphane, which must be consumed in large doses to take full effect. Large doses of what, exactly? Broccoli!

But it’s not the crunchy green vegetable that’s beneficial; it’s the sulforaphane it contains!


What is sulforaphane?

On the surface, sulforaphane sounds like something you might use to wrap up your dinner leftovers. Yet technically speaking, it’s a sulfur-rich compound found in several types of cruciferous vegetables, 

Sulforaphane has a strong reputation for its potential ability to prevent cancer, but the benefits go beyond its antitumor talents. It also reduces inflammation, protects the heart, and decreases the risk of diabetes. Doctors have even begun to look at it as a powerful way to boost brain health, improving concentration, communication, and focus.

It’s believed that sulforaphane helps boost brain health because it has many “neuroprotective” mechanisms. That means sulforaphane has protective effects against diseases and increases the availability of essential antioxidants. 

Not only has sulforaphane shown promise for reducing the risk of multiple diseases, but it also has the potential to ease symptoms in existing conditions. 


Sulforaphane may leave children “better” by doing the following:

Helping kids be more social

Sulforaphane may help kids to be more social and express themselves more fully. It can help kids improve communication, read social cues more effectively, and behave appropriately. 

“His speech is already noticing a difference. He can understand and read more than he can say. To put sentences together to initiate a conversation is hard for him. Today, he was telling me something he wanted, and he said the first line, then a second phrase, then a third piece of information about it, then a fourth, then a fifth, then a sixth.   He's been putting more whole sentences together to initiate conversation and explain what he's thinking than just a single phrase or two. I can't be making this up.  His daddy and brothers and sisters are noticing this, too. This is the fastest improvement of his speech we've ever seen."


Helping kids stay focused

Children are sometimes unfocused because of their sensitivity to the world around them. Sulforaphane may help children concentrate and home in on the tasks at hand. This can result in better grades and improved academic achievement, which might also increase the odds of them cleaning their rooms!

“I can’t tell you how much this has helped my son! He’s completely turned his grades around, and his teachers are asking how this change was possible!! It’s been a God send for us! And for him the result was almost immediate!”


Improving a child’s moods

Sulforaphane may help kids achieve an overall improved mood, leaving them happier and calmer. 

“It took just a few days to see results when he started taking this product, and he was immediately happier and calmer. He comes home from school every single day and is the happiest kid. He is calm and such a pleasure to be around now.”


Making transitions easier

While many people don’t like it when plans change, kids can be especially sensitive to disrupted routines. Sulforaphane may help remove the transitional edge by decreasing the risk of meltdowns when the unexpected comes up. 

“We are on our second bottle and almost six weeks in, and his meltdowns have improved significantly. He transitions easily without a blow-up (that’s what I call his teenage protests/meltdowns)”


What foods contain sulforaphane?

As noted earlier, sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts, turnip, kale, and cauliflower. Of course, broccoli has it too. In fact, broccoli has a big head for a reason: It has some of the highest levels of sulforaphane, especially in its juvenile version as sprouts. 


Raw vegetables are the best sources of sulforaphane as cooking reduces levels. But some of this reduction may be avoided by adding mustard seed, which helps bioavailability and enhances the compound’s natural benefits. 

For kids who don’t enjoy eating vegetables (i.e., most kids), sulforaphane can be consumed through supplements. 


What are the side effects of sulforaphane?

Sulforaphane is not without some side effects. Fortunately, these appear to be mild, with gas, diarrhea, constipation, and GI upset most often experienced.  


When it comes to drug interactions, sulforaphane has the potential to change the way the liver processes certain medications. This doesn’t necessarily result in a contraindication, but it underlines the importance of speaking to your doctor before introducing any supplement into a daily routine.  

In kids with SPD and seizure disorder, further caution may be advised. There are reports of two kids experiencing seizures after consuming sulforaphane during a study, though the sulforaphane couldn’t be ruled in or out as the cause. What’s more, sulforaphane is believed to be an anticonvulsant and a possible treatment for epilepsy. So, the jury’s still out to some extent.

Even in the absence of side effects, extremely high doses of sulforaphane should be avoided.


What’s the best way to get sulforaphane?


In an ideal world, your child could get all their nutrients from vegetables, but we live in the real world. Most kids hate vegetables and rarely go for broccoli. It's frustrating! You know it could help boost their health and ease symptoms, but you're fighting an uphill battle with that bitter taste. So how about a better option?

With NeuroBrocc, you get a tasty apple-flavored chewable supplement your child will actually want. It's loaded with sulforaphane, but their taste buds won't notice! Finally, you can say goodbye to all those battles over broccoli.

Best of all, NeuroBrocc contains levels of sulforaphane your child wouldn’t have absorbed through their diet, even if they ate tons of broccoli. For optimal results, we use potent broccoli sprout extract and combine it with mustard seed and black pepper extracts to supercharge the sulforaphane.

Give your child the perfect nutritional boost with NeuroBrocc.