Wouldn’t it be great if an extract from broccoli sprouts could improve symptoms of autism? A recent study suggests this is so—at least for a majority of those participating in the research.
A pharmaceutical grade version of sulforaphane, derived from broccoli sprouts, was given to 29 young men (aged 13–27) who had moderate to severe symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder. The treatment resulted in improved social interaction, a reduction in abnormal behavior, and increased verbal communication for many of those in the study.
After the daily 18-week treatment ended, the behaviors reverted to pretreatment levels during a 4-week follow up without supplements. .
The authors suggest that “the substantial improvement of individual patients [was] conspicuous and suggests that further investigation of sulforaphane in autism spectrum disorder is promising.”
This isn’t the first time broccoli sprouts have been touted for their health benefits. For years they have been associated with the capacity to reverse oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, among other positive functions.
Read the entire research article here.
Should you start supplementing with sulforaphane? And is there a research conflict of interest?
It might seem like a no-brainer to begin giving supplements of sulforaphane to someone with symptoms of autism. But Dr. Paul Wang, senior vice president for research of Autism Speaks, basically says “not so fast” in his Q and A article. Check it out here.
Dr. Wang’s article ends with this information about the study. Is it concerning? A conflict of interest? Hmm-m-m. You decide:
The authors of this study disclose that their institution has a licensing agreement with Brassica Protection Products, which makes a sulforaphane supplement. As part of this agreement, Johns Hopkins is entitled to royalty on the sale of products described in the study. The university also owns Brassica Protection Products stock. The university declares that it is managing these arrangements in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.