Broccoli sprouts have long been used by health conscious individuals to help provide a wide range of nutrients to one’s diet and to provide quick energy. Broccoli sprouts are back in focus for a different reason and are being touted by one of the most prestigious medical schools in the world.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have recently shown how sulforaphane, a compound found naturally in broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, may help those who experience schizophrenia and its symptoms.
To begin with their research, the researchers found that those experiencing psychosis had a statistically significant 4% lower amount of glutamate in their anterior cingulate cortex, as compared to healthy individuals.
Glutamate is a brain chemical that sends signals between neurons and heightened activity of glutamate has been shown to be related to depression and schizophrenia.
The researchers also found that there was a significant reduction in glutathione, one of the brain’s best antioxidants. What is interesting is that glutathione is made from three different compounds and one of these compounds is glutamate.
Sulforaphane comes into the picture because it turns on a gene that makes more of the enzyme that sticks glutamate with another molecule to end up making glutathione. Essentially, more sulforaphane results in more glutathione.
When testing on rats, the researchers supplemented with the sulforaphane-created glutathione and found that the brains had slowed down their nerve cell firing and behaved much less like schizophrenic brain activity.
The researchers believe that schizophrenic brains may carry less glutamate and thus, use it up more quickly. Supplementing sulforaphane on human schizophrenics is the next step to test its effectiveness and would be interesting to see the results of, given that it is very safe for human consumption. How effective could it actually be for human schizophrenics?
One medical doctor and psychiatrist who has extensive and impressive history treating schizophrenics is Dr. Abram Hoffer, who has used large doses of niacin, which is vitamin B3, and vitamin C on his patients. He has conducted several double-blind, placebo controlled human clinical trials, which can be read here.
He is also the doctor who has used niacin and vitamin C to help alcoholics recover from addiction.
In regards to schizophrenia, there are several other nutrients to consider. Combinations that would be worth further scientific study on schizophrenia might include NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), Sulforaphane and niacin, as well as combinations that include alpha lipoic acid and high doses of vitamin C. Looking at nutrients that increase SOD (superoxide dismutase) in the brain would also be worth further study.
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What are your thoughts on this? Have you used broccoli sprouts or sulforaphane supplements to support your brain health? Do you know someone who might find this recent study interesting?
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