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Nutr Hosp. 2014 Nov 30;31(2):559-69. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.31.2.7685.

Clinical and molecular evidence of the consumption of broccoli, glucoraphanin and sulforaphane in humans.

Author information

Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)..
Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)..
Unidade Acadêmica da Saúde (UNASAU), Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense (UNESC).Centro de Estudos em Alimentação e Nutrição (CESAN)- Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA) - UFRGS..
Centro de Estudos em Alimentação e Nutrição (CESAN)- Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA) - UFRGS. Faculdade de Medicina, Departamento de Medicina Interna, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Brazil..


in English, Spanish


Sulforaphane (SFN) is an isothiocyanate derived from glucoraphanin (GRA), which is found in great amounts especially in broccoli. Its consumption has been reported to be associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction and cancer development. Additionally, its effects have been studied in neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, most of the times using animal models and cell cultures.


Given the promising results of SFN, this review aimed to investigate evidence documented in human intervention studies with broccoli, GRA and SFN.


A search was performed on PubMed and Virtual Health Library databases by two independent researchers using the descriptors "broccoli" or "glucoraphanin" or "sulforaphane", which should appear on the study's title or abstract. This review included randomized clinical trials performed in humans that were published in English and Portuguese from 2003 to 2013 and that considered clinical and molecular parameters of cell damage as outcomes of interest.


Seventeen studies were selected, and the predominant type of intervention was broccoli sprouts. More consistent results were obtained for the clinical parameters blood glucose and lipid profile and for molecular parameters of oxidative stress, indicating that there was an improvement in these parameters after intervention. Less solid evidence was found with regard to decreased inflammation, Helicobacter pylori colonization, and protection against cancer.


Although being relevant, the evidence for the use of broccoli, GRA and SFN in humans are limited; thus, further intervention studies are needed to evaluate outcomes more consistently and reach better grounded conclusions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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