Paul Talalay, M.D. – Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

In the early 1990s, scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine identified glucoraphanin as a naturally occurring compound in broccoli that, when converted to sulforaphane, possessed antioxidant activity and appeared to be responsible for the epidemiological findings that diets rich in cruciferous vegetables were correlated with lower incidences of disease.

Later, this same group of researchers demonstrated that the glucoraphanin content of mature broccoli was highly variable. Further, there was no way for consumers to detect this variability. However, glucoraphanin was present at much higher concentrations in broccoli seeds and 3-day-old broccoli sprouts.

For more than 20 years, researchers at medical institutions around the world have studied the health benefitBrocolli_adopterbuttons of glucoraphanin and sulforaphane. Over 1,700 studies have been published documenting the health benefits of these compounds. Brassica has recently adopted broccoli through the Adopt-an-Herb program with the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC). Through our adoption of broccoli, Brassica is helping ABC keep its unique HerbMedPro database up-to-date with the latest scientific and clinical research on broccoli and its nutrients.


While the original research by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine scientists focused on prevention of cancer, it is now well established that glucoraphanin (once converted to sulforaphane) functions in several ways to prevent and modulate factors that lead to many chronic conditions. Research suggests that these mechanisms are far broader than any single mode of action.

  • Prevention of damage caused by oxidants that are released as a normal part of metabolism – the antioxidant activity
  • Removal/elimination of electrophiles that damage DNA and cellular processes – detoxification
  • Modulation of inflammation
  • Prevention of damage from UV radiation

These factors are responsible for many chronic conditions and, as the body ages, are responsible for the decline in protective capacities. Science has shown that glucoraphanin (converted in the body to sulforaphane) appears to modulate the processes by which many health conditions and diseases occur.