The Science Behind Sulforaphane Glucosinolate
The need? A way to deliver a reliable, highly consistent, natural amount of the phytochemical sulforaphane glucosinolate for use as a supplement.
The answer? sulforaphane glucosinolate
Sulforaphane belongs to the class of chemicals known as isothiocyanates. Studies demonstrated that plants normally contain insignificant quantities of the isothiocyanate sulforaphane, but rather contain its glucosinolate precursor known as glucoraphanin (sulforaphane glucosinolate).
These compounds are believed to be produced by plants largely for defense against predators (Fahey 1997). The heat-stable, water-soluble glucosinolates invariably co-exist in plant cells with the enzyme myrosinase, which hydrolyzes glucoraphanin to sulforaphane but is normally inactive because it is physically segregated from the glucosinolates. Upon chewing or food preparation, the enzyme is freed and the formation of sulforaphane takes place. But even if myrosinase is inactivated by heating (e.g., cooking), the microflora of the human gastrointestinal tract carries out this conversion (Shapiro 1998; 2001).
This enzymatic conversion is critical, because sulforaphane is the biologically active form of these compounds. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence that glucoraphanin is probably an efficient precursor vehicle for delivery of sulforaphane in animals and in humans.