A cure-all for whatever ails you
Mom was right when she told us to eat our veggies! The antioxidants in vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, are associated with lower rates of illness. Cauliflower, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, contain high amounts of sulforaphane -studied for its ability to prevent disease. Sulforaphane reduces inflammation, increases antioxidants and detoxification decreasing the risk of illness more than just eating fruits and vegetables alone.
The Causes of Disease – A Common Pathway:
Environmental toxins cause inflammation and free radical production that ultimately damage our cells and DNA, leading to illness and disease. Unregulated inflammation is responsible for the illnesses associated with aging and the balance between free radical production and elimination may determine whether we develop heart disease, cancer or other degenerative conditions.
Our liver plays a key role in manufacturing antioxidants in the body and reducing inflammation through its detoxification enzyme pathways, which are grouped into two phases. In Phase I environmental compounds are changed and may become more toxic. In Phase II, these compounds are made less active and water soluble so that they can be eliminated from the body.
The Wide Applicability of Sulforaphane - Heart Disease:
Oxidative stress and inflammation cause hypertension and atherosclerosis. Sulforaphane can decrease blood pressure and reduced inflammation of the heart and arteries, leading to a healthier cardiovascular system.
The ability of sulforaphane to “down-regulate” Phase I and “up-regulate” Phase II enzymes may explain the association between high cruciferous vegetable consumption and the decreased risk of developing disease. By increasing Phase II detoxification and glutathione, a powerful anti-oxidant, it protects cells against damage, reduces inflammation and increases the elimination of harmful substances from the body.
Studies have documented that diets high in cruciferous vegetables reduce the incidence of human cancer and sulforaphane has been studied as a chemoprotective agent against various cancers. By enhancing Phase II detoxification enzymes and glutathione, it can block the formation of cancer-promoting compounds and encourage their elimination.
UV radiation causes DNA damage that can lead to numerous skin conditions. By increasing protective enzymes, sulforaphane can reduce the effects of UV- induced skin damage. Topical sulforaphane can improve skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation, moles, acne, stretch marks, scars, skin tags, eczema and certain forms of skin cancer.
Sulforaphane offers protection against UV light and free radicals that damage the retinal cells over time, resulting in macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
Because oxidative damage is widely believed to contribute to the progression of many age- related chronic diseases, the antioxidant protection conferred by Sulforaphane presents a new possibility for preventing and treating the various diseases related to chronic inflammation.
Dr. Suzanna Ivanovics, ND operates a naturopathic practice in downtown Toronto and is a consultant at The Big Carrot.