Glucoraphanin - the broccoli Ingredient that protects against Air Pollutants

Glucoraphanin is found in broccoli, and is a converted in the body to sulforaphane. As a powerful Nrf2 activator, sulforaphane reduces oxidative stress, enhancing the removal of environmental toxins, increasing cellular antioxidant defense and contributing to healthy organ function. In highly polluted areas of China, glucoraphanin / sulforaphane was shown to enhance detoxification of airborne pollutants. Air pollutants (especially the fine particulates), from cars, factories and even smoke in the air, can irritate and inflame the lungs. Consequences of air pollution may include lung cancer and cardiopulmonary disease.  Study results of approximately 300 Chinese participants taking a broccoli sprout beverage, rich in glucoraphanin,  showed a rapid and sustained  urinary excretion of benzene. Benzene is a hydrocarbon, highly toxic and a carcinogenic component of air pollution. In addition, other toxic air pollutants were also  found in increased amounts in the urine as compared to the placebo group. Therefore, the ability of glucoraphanin (via sulforaphane and nrf2) to enhance the detoxification of air pollutants is viewed as a potential weapon in cancer prevention in toxic air environments.(2) 




(1) Egner PA, et al. Rapid and sustainable detoxication of airborne pollutants by broccoli sprout beverage: results of a randomized clinical trial in China. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug.

(2) Kensler TW, et al. Keap1-nrf2 signaling: a target for cancer prevention by sulforaphane. Top Curr Chem. 2013;329:163-77.

Gail Paige
Gail Paige