Sulforaphane and Sensory Issues: Is Broccoli Beneficial?

  • 5 min read

Sulforaphane and Sensory Issues: Is Broccoli Beneficial?

The challenges associated with ASD, SPD, and ADHD are as unique as the children affected. Some kids experience hypersensitivity to textures, noises, smells, tastes, or lights. Others demonstrate repetitive behaviors, problems with coordination or impulse control, extreme food preferences, and social deficits. Some experience severe symptoms while others experience signs that are more muted.  

Regardless of the presentation, broccoli may provide a boost. But it’s not the crunchy green vegetable itself 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 that’s 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 as well. Doctors have even begun to look at it as an ally for those with sensory processing disorders. That’s right, sulforaphane may be a key to SPD!

 

How Does Sulforaphane Help Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders?

It’s believed that sulforaphane helps kids with SPD because it mimics the “fever effect”. The science behind this phenomenon lies in a fever’s ability to trigger heat shock proteins and cellular responses. This has a domino effect inside the body and, notably, inside the nervous system. The body revs up, leading to improved synaptic function and longer-reaching connectivity among neurons. The result is a better regulated kiddo.

In essence, a fever encourages the body to heal itself, a process that - at other times - lays dormant. 

So, where does sulforaphane come in?

Sulforaphane, as mentioned above, can produce the fever effect even when a fever is not present.Studies suggest that sulforaphane triggers heat shock proteins and cellular responses, providing kids with the benefits of a fever without the drawbacks (e.g., cough, runny nose, or muscle aches). In other words, keep the value, lose the virus!

Sulforaphane may reduce symptoms and their severity and leave children “better” by doing the following:

Helping kids be more social: Children with SPD tend to have trouble with social function, failing to read social cues or behave appropriately in social situations. Sulforaphane may help kids to be more social and express themselves more fully. 

His issue is mostly Childhood Apraxia of Speech with Dyspraxia and Sensory Disorder. 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 with SPD are often unfocused because of their hypersensitivity 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, and it 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 with SPD really, really, really don’t like it! Sulforaphane may help take the transitional edge off by decreasing the risk of meltdowns when the unexpected comes up. 

“He has severe sensory processing disorder and these sensory scout supplements have been the answer. We are on our second bottle and almost 6 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 can help bioavailability and enhance 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, like so much else in life, 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 type of 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. Then again, extremely high doses of anything are best avoided too.

 

What’s The Best Way To Get Sulforaphane?

In an ideal world, your child would be able to get all the nutrients that they need from vegetables, but we live in the realworld, don't we? Where most kids hate vegetables, and even the adventurous ones won't go for broccoli. It's so frustrating. You know that it could help boost their health and ease their symptoms but with that bitter taste, you're fighting a losing battle. So we've given you a better option.

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

In fact, it's even better than regular broccoli, because they’d have to eat a lot to get these benefits. We pack a lot in using the more 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 (previously Sensory Thrive).

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