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Absorption and metabolism of isothiocyanates formed from broccoli glucosinolates: effects of BMI and daily consumption in a randomised clinical trial

  • Craig S. Charron (a1), Bryan T. Vinyard (a2), Sharon A. Ross (a3), Harold E. Seifried (a3), Elizabeth H. Jeffery (a4) and Janet A. Novotny (a1)...


Sulphoraphane originates from glucoraphanin in broccoli and is associated with anti-cancer effects. A preclinical study suggested that daily consumption of broccoli may increase the production of sulphoraphane and sulphoraphane metabolites available for absorption. The objective of this study was to determine whether daily broccoli consumption alters the absorption and metabolism of isothiocyanates derived from broccoli glucosinolates. We conducted a randomised cross-over human study (n 18) balanced for BMI and glutathione S-transferase μ 1 (GSTM1) genotype in which subjects consumed a control diet with no broccoli (NB) for 16 d or the same diet with 200 g of cooked broccoli and 20 g of raw daikon radish daily for 15 d (daily broccoli, DB) and 100 g of broccoli and 10 g of daikon radish on day 16. On day 17, all subjects consumed a meal of 200 g of broccoli and 20 g of daikon radish. Plasma and urine were collected for 24 h and analysed for sulphoraphane and metabolites of sulphoraphane and erucin by triple quadrupole tandem MS. For subjects with BMI >26 kg/m2 (median), plasma AUC and urinary excretion rates of total metabolites were higher on the NB diet than on the DB diet, whereas for subjects with BMI <26 kg/m2, plasma AUC and urinary excretion rates were higher on the DB diet than on the NB diet. Daily consumption of broccoli interacted with BMI but not GSTM1 genotype to affect plasma concentrations and urinary excretion of glucosinolate-derived compounds believed to confer protection against cancer. This trial was registered as NCT02346812.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: C. S. Charron, fax +1 301 504 9098, email


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