Broccoli Sprouts

In the mid-1990s, we discovered that broccoli sprouts are an exceptionally rich source of inducers of the enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, and we developed techniques to detect these inducers and assess their metabolism in humans.

Interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show, 1999.

More recently, we determined that one of these inducers (sulforaphane) has potent antibiotic activity against Helicobacter pylori, a causative agent of peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer, and that sulforaphane inactivates urease (a major pathogenesis factor of this bacterium) by an apparently independent mechanism. Our work in the laboratory and with human subjects in the USA, and in China and Japan extends these observations on the cytoprotective pathways that are up-regulated by sulforaphane. We have participated in about two dozen collaborative clinical research studies in which standardized, well-characterized extracts of broccoli sprouts have been delivered to volunteers (research subjects) in order to provide critical insight into how they are metabolized, and how their phytochemical components may “boost” or up-regulate the cellular pathways which protect our bodies against cancers and other chronic diseases.

Copyright 2014 Jed W. Fahey

I co-founded a company to develop chemoprotective food products and to promote and produce broccoli sprouts (that we developed) as well as other related healthy, certified, fully analyzed, and scientifically-supported foods. As a founder who remains heavily engaged in his research at JHU, and who has become more and more involved over the last 10 years in clinical research to investigate and strengthen our scientific assertions of the disease preventive value of broccoli sprouts, I have since removed myself from any and all financial, managerial, and advisory roles at the company for reasons of conflict of interest.

Copyright 2014 Jed W. Fahey

I recently talked about many of these things in a 44 minute podcast on SmartDrugSmarts.

Related Publications

Hua Liu, Andrew W. Zimmerman, Kanwaljit Singh, Susan L. Connors, Eileen Diggins, Katherine K. Stephenson, Albena T. Dinkova-Kostova, Jed W. Fahey.  (2020) Biomarker Exploration in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells for Monitoring Sulforaphane Treatment Responses in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Scientific Reports 10:5822
Travis E. Faust, Wendy Xin, Brian Lee, Amit Agarwal, Sneha Saha, Trexy Palen, Tyler Cash-Padgett, Daniel Wood, Antonello Bonci, Jed W. Fahey, Hanna Jaaro-Peled, Dwight E. Bergles, Akira Sawa.  (2019) Astrocyte redox dysregulation causes prefrontal hypoactivity: sulforaphane treats non-ictal pathophysiology in ALDH7A1-mediated epilepsy. BioRxiv doi: (posted Oct 7, 2019).
Yagishita Y., Fahey JW, Dinkova-Kostova AT and Kensler TW.  (2019) Broccoli or sulforaphane: is it the source or dose that matters? Molecules 24, 3593; doi:10.3390/molecules24193593.
Venkataramana K. Sidhaye, Janet T. Holbrook, Alyce Burke, Kuladeep R. Sudini, Sanjay Sethi, Gerard J. Criner, Jed W. Fahey, Charles S. Berenson, Michael R. Jacobs, Rajeh Thimmulappa, Robert A. Wise, Shyam Biswal. (2019) Compartmentalization of anti-oxidant and anti-in flammatory gene expression in current and former smokers with COPD. Respiratory Research 20:190
Jian-Guo Chen, Jamie Johnson, Patricia Egner, Derek Ng, Jian Zhu, Jin-Bing Wang,  Xue-Feng Xue, Yan Sun, Yong-Hui Zhang, Ling-Ling Lu, Yong-Sheng Chen, Yan Wu, Yuan-Rong Zhu, Steven Carmella, Stephen Hecht, Lisa Jacobson, Alvaro Munoz, Kevin Kensler, Ana Rule, Jed Fahey, Thomas Kensler.  (2019) Dose-dependent detoxication of the airborne pollutant benzene by broccoli sprout beverage in randomized trial in Qidong, China.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition nqz122,
Panjwani A, H Liu, JW Fahey.  (2018) Crucifers and Related Vegetables and Supplements for Neurologic Disorders: What is the Evidence?  Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care  21: published ahead of print. DOI:10.1097/MCO.0000000000000511.
Bent S, B Lawton, T Warren, F Widjaja, K Dang, JW Fahey, B Cornblatt, J Kinchen, K Delucchi, RL Hendren.  (2018)  Identification of urinary metabolites that correlate with clinical improvements in children with autism treated with sulforaphane from broccoli. Molecular Autism  9: 35.
Sedlak TW, LG Nucifora, M Koga, LS Shaffer, C Higgs, T Tanaka, AM Wang, JM Coughlin, P Barker, JW Fahey, A Sawa.  (2018) Sulforaphane augments glutathione and influences brain metabolites in human subjects: A clinical pilot study. Molecular Neuropsychiatry  3: 214-222..
Tahata S, SV Singh, Y Lin, E-R Hahm, JH Beumer, SM Christner, UN Rao, C Sander, AA Tarhini, H Tawbi, LK Ferris, M Wilson, M Petrany, A Rose, JW Fahey, SA Leachman, PB Cassidy, LH Butterfield, HM Zarour, JM Kirkwood. (2018) Dose-response evaluation of biomarkers of sulforaphane in melanoma patients with multiple atypical nevi. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0268.
Lynch R, EL Diggins, SL Connors, AW Zimmerman, K Singh, H Liu, P Talalay, JW Fahey. (2017)  Sulforaphane from broccoli reduces symptoms of autism: A follow-up case series from a randomized double-blind study. Global Advances in Health and Medicine 6:1-7.
Axelsson AX, E Tubbs, B Mecham, S Chacko, HA Nenonen, Y Tang, JW Fahey, JMJ Derry, CB Wollheim, N Wierup, MW Haymond, SH Friend, H Mulder, AH Rosengren.  (2017) Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Science Translational Medicine 9(394): (in-press).
Dinkova-Kostova AT, JW Fahey, RV Kostov, TW Kensler.  (2017)  KEAP1 and done? Targeting the NRF2 pathway with sulforaphane.  Trends in Food Science and Technology 1-13. [Article].
Leone A, G Diorio, W Sexton, M Schell, M Alexandrow, JW Fahey, N Kumar.  (2017)  Sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of bladder cancer: Molecular mechanism targeted approach.  Oncotarget doi: 10.18632/oncotarget. 16015. [Article]
Fahey JW, KL Wade, SL Wehage, WD Holtzclaw, H Liu, P Talalay, E Fuchs, KK Stephenson. (2016) Stabilized sulforaphane for clinical use: Phytochemical delivery efficiency.  Molecular Nutrition and Food Research doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600766. [Article].
Kerns ML, L Guss, JW Fahey, B Cohen, JMC Hakim, S Sung, RG Lu, and PA Coulombe. (2016) Randomized, split-body, single-blinded clinical trial of topical broccoli sprout extract assessing the feasibility of its use in keratin-based disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.10.009. [Article]
Wise RA, Crinert G, Sethi S, Rayapudi S, Sudini KR, Sugar EA, Burke A, Thimmulappa R, Singh A, Talalay P, Fahey JW, Berenson CS, Jacobs MR, Biswal S.  (2016)  Lack of Effect of Oral Sulforaphane Administration on Nrf2 Expression in COPD: a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Trial. PLOS One 11(11): e0163716. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163716. [Article]
Bauman JE, Y Zang, M Sen, C Li, L Wang, PA Egner, JW Fahey, DP Normolle, JR Grandis, TW Kensler, DE Johnson.  (2016) Prevention of carcinogen-induced oral cancer by sulforaphane.  Cancer Prevention Research 9(7): 547-557. [Abstract]
Liu H, P Talalay, JW Fahey.  (2016)  Biomarker-guided strategy for treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets. 15: 602-613. [Abstract]
Benedict AL, EV Knatko, RV Kostov, Y Zhang, M Higgins, S Kalra, JW Fahey, SH Ibbotson, CM Proby, P Talalay, AT Dinkova-Kostova.  (2016)  The multifaceted role of sulforaphane in protection against UV radiation-mediated skin damage. In Juurlink B. (ed.) Broccoli: Cultivation, Nutritional Properties and Effects on Health.  Nova Publishers, NY. [Link]
Johnson TL, AT Dinkova-Kostova, and JW Fahey.  (2016)  Glucosinolates from the Brassica Vegetables and their Health Effects. In Caballero B, Finglas P, and Toldrá F (eds) The Encyclopedia of Food and Health vol. 3, pp. 248-255. Oxford: Academic Press. [Link]
Fahey JW.  (2016)  Brassica: Characteristics and Properties. In Caballero B, Finglas P, and Toldrá F (eds) The Encyclopedia of Food and Health vol. 1, pp. 469-477. Oxford: Academic Press. [Link]
Fahey JW, WD Holtzclaw, SL Wehage, KL Wade, KK Stephenson, P Talalay.  (2015)  Sulforaphane bioavailability from glucoraphanin-rich broccoli: Control by active endogenous myrosinase. PLOS ONE  doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0140963 [Article].
Singh K, SL Connors, EA Macklin, KD Smith, JW Fahey, P Talalay, and AW Zimmerman.  (2014)  Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 111(43): 15550-15555. [Article]
Egner PA, J-G Chen, AT Zarth, DK Ng, J-B Wang, KH Kensler, LP Jacobson, A Muñoz, JL Johnson, JD Groopman, JW Fahey, P Talalay, J Zhu, T-Y Chen, G-S Qian, SG Carmella, SS Hecht, TW Kensler. (2014)  Rapid and sustainable detoxication of airborne pollutants by broccoli sprout beverage: Results of a randomized clinical trial in China.  Cancer Prevention Research (June 9. pii: canprevres.0103.2014 Epub ahead of print). [Abstract]
Wade KL, Y Ito, A Ramarathnam, WD Holtzclaw, and J W Fahey. (2014) Novel purification of active myrosinase from plants by aqueous two-phase counter-current chromatography. Phytochemical Analysis (online 7/7/14; DOI 10.1002/pca.2535).[Abstract]
Fahey JW, SL Wehage, WD Holtzclaw, TW Kensler, PA Egner, TA Shapiro, P Talalay. (2012) Protection of humans by plant glucosinolates: Efficiency of conversion of glucosinolates to isothiocyanates by the gastrointestinal microflora. Cancer Prev Res 5(4):603-611. [Abstract]
Kensler TW, D Ng, SG Carmella, M Chen, LP Jacobson, A Munoz, PA Egner, JG Chen, GS Qian, TY Chen, JW Fahey, P Talalay, JD Groopman, J-M Yuan, SS Hecht. (2012) Modulation of the metabolism of airborne pollutants by glucoraphanin-rich and sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout beverages in Qidong, China. Carcinogenesis 33(1):101-107. [Full Article]
Rodriguez-Cantu, L, J Gutierrez-Uribe, J Arreola-Vucovich, R Diaz de la Garza, JW Fahey and S Serna-Saldivar. (2010) Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) sprouts and extracts rich in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates affect cholesterol metabolism and genes involved on lipid homeostasis in hamsters. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59(4): 1095-1103. [Abstract]
Egner PA, JG Chen, JB Wang, Y Wu, Y Sun, JH Lu, J Zhu, YH Zhang, YS Chen, MD Friesen, LP Jacobson, A Muñoz, D Ng, GS Qian, YR Zhu, TY Chen, NP Botting, Q Zhang, JW Fahey, P Talalay, JD Groopman and TW Kensler. (2011) Bioavailability of sulforaphane from two forms of broccoli sprout beverage: Results of a short term, cross-over clinical trial in Qidong, People’s Republic of China. Cancer Prevention Research 4(3): 384-395. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Munday, R, P Mhawech-Fauceglia, CM Munday, JD Paonessa, L Tang, JS Munday, C Lister, P Wilson, JW Fahey, W Davis and Y Zhang. (2008) Inhibition of urinary bladder carcinogenesis by broccoli sprouts. Cancer Res. 68(5): 1593-1600. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Dinkova-Kostova, AT, JW Fahey, AL Benedict, SN Jenkins, L Ye, SL Wehage and P Talalay. (2010) Dietary glucoraphanin-rich broccoli sprout extracts protect against UV radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 hairless mice. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 9: 597-600. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Fahey, JW and KK Stephenson. (2007) Can fresh vegetable sprouts be produced for human consumption in areas with poor water quality? A pilot study. Trees for Life Journal 2:1. [Abstract]
Dinkova-Kostova, AT, JW Fahey, KL Wade, SN Jenkins, TA Shapiro, EJ Fuchs and P Talalay. (2007) Induction of the phase 2 response in mouse and human skin by sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprout extracts. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 16(4): 847-851. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Cornblatt, BS, L Ye, AT Dinkova-Kostova, M Erb, JW Fahey, NK Singh, MS Chen, T Stierer, E Garrett-Meyer, P Argani, NE Davidson, P Talalay, TW Kensler and K Visvanathan. (2007) Preclinical and clinical evaluation of sulforaphane for chemoprevention in the breast. Carcinogenesis. 28(7): 1485-1490. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Talalay, P, JW Fahey, ZR Healy, SL Wehage, AL Benedict, C Min and AT Dinkova-Kostova. (2007) Sulforaphane mobilizes cellular defenses that protect skin against damage by UV radiation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104: 17500-17505. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Fahey, JW, PJ Ourisson and FH Degnan. (2006) Pathogen detection, testing, and control in fresh broccoli sprouts. Nutrition Journal Apr 21; 5(1):13 [doi:10.1186/1475-2891-5-13] [Abstract] [Full Article]
Dinkova-Kostova, AT, SN Jenkins, JW Fahey, L Ye, SL Wehage, KT Liby, KK Stephenson, KL Wade and P Talalay. (2006) Protection against UV-light-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 high-risk mice by sulforaphane containing broccoli sprout extracts. Cancer Letters 240: 243-252. [Abstract]
Tang, L, Y Zhang, HE Jobson, J Li, KK Stephenson, KL Wade and JW Fahey. (2006) Potent activation of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and arrest in S and M phases of cancer cells by a broccoli sprout extract. Molec. Cancer Therapeutics 5(4): 935-944. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Shapiro, TA, JW Fahey, AT Dinkova-Kostova, WD Holtzclaw, KK Stephenson, KL Wade, L Ye and P Talalay. (2006) Safety, tolerance, and metabolism of broccoli sprout glucosinolates and isothiocyanates: A clinical phase I study. Nutrition and Cancer 55(1): 53-62. [Abstract]
Zhang, Y, R Munday, HE Jobson, CM Munday, C Lister, P Wilson, JW Fahey and P Mhawech-Fauceglia. (2006) Induction of GST and NQO1 in the urinary bladder by an extract of broccoli (Brassica oleracea italica) sprouts. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54: 9370-9376. [Abstract]
Kensler, TW, J-G Chen , PA Egner , JW Fahey, LP Jacobson, KK Stephenson, X Ye, JL Coady, J-B Wang, Y Wu, Y Sun, Q-N Zhang, B-C Zhang, Y-R Zhu, G-S Qian, SG Carmella, SS Hecht, L Benning, SJ Gange, JD Groopman and P Talalay. (2005) Effects of glucosinolate-rich broccoli sprouts on urinary levels of aflatoxin-DNA adducts and phenanthrene tetraols in a randomized clinical trial in He Zuo Township, Qidong, PRC. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 14(11): 2605-2613. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Farnham, MW, KK Stephenson and JW Fahey. (2005) Glucoraphanin level in broccoli seed is largely determined by genotype. HortScience 40(1): 50-53. [Full Article]
Fahey, JW. (2003) “Brassicas” in Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Eds. B. Caballero, L.C. Trugo & P.M. Finglas, Academic Press, London. pp. 606-613. [Full Article]
Pereira, FM, E Rosa, JW Fahey, KK Stephenson, R Carvalho and A Aires. (2002) Influence of temperature and ontogeny on the levels of glucosinolates in broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) sprouts and their effect on the induction of mammalian Phase 2 enzymes. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50: 6239-6244. [Abstract]
Shapiro, TA, JW Fahey, KL Wade, KK Stephenson and P Talalay. (2001) Disposition of chemoprotective glucosinolates and isothiocyanates of broccoli sprouts. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomark. Prevent. 10:501-508. [Abstract] [Full Article]
Farnham, MW, KK Stephenson and J.W. Fahey. (2000) The capacity of broccoli to induce a mammalian chemoprotective enzyme varies among inbred lines., J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 125(4): 482-488. [Full Text]
Fahey, JW, Y Zhang and P Talalay. (1997) Broccoli sprouts: an exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:10367-10372. [Abstract] [Full Article]