Broccoli Extract (Sulforaphane) Shown to Significantly Improve Autism Symptoms
- Published on: 13 December, 2016
- Last update: 20 August, 2018
This is a continuation of my last post, where I talked about how sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables can improve the sensitivity your Vitamin D receptors! Click here to read that first.
At the end that post, I mentioned that this incredible compound found in the broccoli family (especially broccoli sprouts) has huge implications for inflammation and neurological symptoms, especially in disorders like autism. I personally have a hunch that Vitamin D deficiency plays a role in the etiology of autism in the first place, as children with autism have been shown to have significantly lower levels than their neurotypical siblings (study). A 2015 study in Nutritional Neuroscience also found that Vitamin D levels were lower in patients with severe autism than in those with mild-moderate autism (and get this- 80% of subjects had behavioral improvements when given supplements! Same in this study as well). Since gut dysbiosis including parasites, viruses and chronic infections such as Lyme are often present in those with autism as well, proper Vitamin D levels are essential (due to the fact that D has direct antimicrobial properties that help eradicate these bugs and modulate immune function).
Although the researchers don’t mention this connection to Vitamin D explicitly in this video or study, the results they found were nothing short of amazing. The study referred to in the news segment above was published in the journal ‘The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ and revealed that sulforaphane was able to drastically improve social interactions and verbal communication in ASD-diagnosed men and boys. It also reduced hyperactivity, irritability and other ASD symptoms.
The research was conducted on 44 males aged 13 to 27, and showed that after 18 weeks of consuming sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract, more than half of the men saw significant health improvements. Not only did their behavior improve, measurable effects such as a decrease in lipid peroxidation and neuroinflammation were observed. These same men also saw improvements in antioxidant capacity, glutathione synthesis, mitrochondrial function and oxidative phosphorylation.
You can find broccoli sprout-derived sulforaphane on Amazon in supplement form, and you can also eat sprouts/cruciferous vegetables directly in your diet. Sprouts make an excellent addition to any sandwich or wrap!
Another wonderful way to pack this nutrient into your day is to blend broccoli sprouts into your smoothie. That way, you can mask the taste and consume a larger volume than you would by eating them alone.