Sulforaphane Emerging as a Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

In 1980, 108 million people around the world were living with diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, that number has skyrocketed to more than 422 million today. The rate of prevalence is highly concerning, leading to increased interest in diabetes treatment research.

Diabetes is a manageable condition, but it can lead to progressive problems and even death in many cases. 1.6 million people died from diabetes in 2016, with high blood glucose being the precursor to complications and death [1].

The most effective methods of treatment for diabetes are exercise, dietary changes, and a targeted lowering of blood glucose levels. Blood glucose control is often achieved through pharmaceutical treatments and insulin therapy.

Recently, sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound that is most abundant in broccoli microgreens, has been found to aid in glucose control. Sulforaphane could effectively eliminate cases of high blood glucose and reduce the occurrence of progressive symptoms and mortality.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or know somebody close to you who could benefit from a natural and simple dietary treatment, then learning more about sulforaphane could be life-changing.

Sulforaphane from Broccoli Microgreens Found to Suppress Glucose Production

Sulforaphane is a compound produced by broccoli microgreens and cruciferous vegetables when plant material is chopped, chewed, and crushed. A powerful anti-inflammatory, sulforaphane has also been found to have a direct impact on gene health, and there is a mounting body of evidence that shows sulforaphane to be an effective cancer treatment [2] and a way to treat autism as well.

In recent studies, sulforaphane supplementation has been trialed as a treatment for diabetes.

A 2017 publication from Science Translational Medicine covered a study carried out by a team of Swedish, Swiss, and American researchers [3]. The study was designed to identify how gene profiles are linked to disease signatures so that the researchers could discover clinically applicable treatment options.

Sulforaphane was the most promising treatment to emerge from the study. Out of 3,800 drug signatures, natural sulforaphane extract was found to be capable of reversing disease signatures related to diabetes.

  • Blood glucose levels can be reduced by up to 10% in patients.
  • Sulforaphane can reverse damage caused in the liver by high glucose production and glucose intolerance. It was found to have a similar efficacy to diabetes drug Metformin.
  • Fasting blood glucose in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes was reduced when taking a concentrated broccoli sprout extract containing sulforaphane.

The implications of this study are significant. Sulforaphane could be used to manage glucose levels and potentially reduce the reliance on pharmaceutical medication. Or, sulforaphane could be used in addition to prescribed medication to help manage glucose and slow or prevent the progression of diabetes.

Early evidence suggests that sulforaphane could regulate glucose in pre-diabetic patients and potentially prevent them from developing Type 2 diabetes.

Sulforaphane Could Also Protect Against Heart Disease Related to Diabetes

In addition to high blood glucose, diabetes creates a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes [1]. Sulforaphane has been found to reduce the oxidative stress in the main artery that can lead to heart complications.

A study authored by the First Hospital of Jilin University in China, the Chinese-American Research Institute, and the Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute, found that sulforaphane reduces artery damage caused by Type 2 diabetes. Other changes in cells that lead to inflammation and fibrosis were also reduced by sulforaphane in the study [4].

The ability to maintain healthy glucose levels while also providing cardiac benefits makes sulforaphane even more convincing as a natural treatment for diabetes.

The Best Source of Sulforaphane for Your Diet

In laboratory and clinical trials, extracted sulforaphane is taken fresh from a broccoli sprout source. Sulforaphane can be produced by all cruciferous vegetables, but broccoli microgreens are the most potent, with concentrations being up to 100 times higher than what’s contained in the mature vegetable [5].

Supplement sources of sulforaphane currently on the market are unregulated, and there is not enough laboratory evidence to suggest that these are as effective as consuming microgreens because they lack key nutrients. Commercial supplements can contain fillers and lack sub-compounds that activate sulforaphane when microgreens are crushed, chopped, chewed, or blended.

Over-the-counter sulforaphane supplements can be less effective since the source is not highly regulated by the FDA.


When considering sulforaphane as an option to treat diabetes, it’s essential that you ingest sulforaphane in its purest form which is found in broccoli microgreens. The reason for this is microgreens contain vitamins and minerals that work synergistically with sulforaphane. When selecting your microgreens source, make sure to always choose a grower that does not use pesticides or fertilizers. Other important factors are the use of Non-GMO seeds and purified water. This will ensure the purest and highest potency of sulforaphane.

The easiest way to consume microgreens is blended in a smoothie. Other cruciferous vegetables can be added for taste, however, vegetables and fruits high in sugar should be avoided to eliminate the chance of triggering a blood glucose spike.

A fresh microgreens salad is a great source of sulforaphane. This is a perfect way to increase your daily intake.

Is Sulforaphane from Microgreens Safe to Consume?

Sulforaphane has no known interaction with pharmaceutical medications and is considered highly safe, even in large quantities. A 2013 study that found sulforaphane could inhibit pancreatic cancer growth, also found that the compound displayed no toxicity [6]. Further tests have shown that sulforaphane can be found in the bloodstream within 50 minutes of consumption.

A Highly Promising and Safe Treatment for Diabetes

The mounting level of research and interest in sulforaphane is very exciting. High blood glucose is the root cause of diabetes which can lead to acute short-term and chronic long-term complications. Managing blood glucose is key to the treatment of the disease.

Research has shown that sulforaphane is one of the most effective natural ways to control high blood glucose. The fact that it can reduce glucose levels while also reversing disease signals in the liver makes it extremely promising for people with diabetes. The additional benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health and cancer fighting/prevention abilities make the consumption of broccoli microgreens one of the smartest health decisions you can make today.


  1. WHO Diabetes Fact Sheet
  2. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane
  3. Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes
  4. Sulforaphane attenuation of type 2 diabetes-induced aortic damage was associated with the upregulation of Nrf2 expression and function.
  5. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens
  6. Sulforaphane inhibits pancreatic cancer through disrupting Hsp90-p50Cdc37 complex and direct interactions with amino acids residues of Hsp90