Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Broccoli Sprout Extract for UV Protection

On my other blog, It's Your Life, I wrote a post on the "Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts." Broccoli sprouts are one of the best sprouts we can eat because of the compound sulforphane. During my research of this amazing compound I came across an article on how broccoli sprout extract protects our skin from the ultra violet rays of the sun.

Sulforphane and Our Skin

Fifteen years ago Paul Talalay M.D. a professor of pharmacology and colleagues first identified the compound sulforphane in broccoli sprout extract. He noted that the extract does not act like all the sunscreen products we find on the store shelves. The products in the stores have been created to absorb UV rays. Sulforphane on the other hand works inside the body by triggering enzymes. These are protective enzymes which actually defend the cells against UV damage. 

Another beneficial aspect of sulforphane in the broccoli sprout extract is that it lasts for several days after being applied. The article did not say why, but I think it may be because it is working from inside the body verses outside the body. The sulforphane from the extract I believe penetrates the skin, goes into the skin cells and like the Energizer Bunny it keeps going and going and going.

The Research

The research on how the broccoli sprout extract reacted to UV rays was conducted by a team from the John Hopkins Medical Center. Results from the research was published in an issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. Testing was first done with success on mouse models to prove Talalay's theroy of sulforphane. Once that was confirmed the team recruited six healthy volunteers for human testing. Volunteers were exposed to a pulse of UV radiation on a one inch diameter of their skin. Volunteers were treated with the extract applied to their skin in various doses. 

Results varied according to the doses from 8% to 78% however, it was determined that other factors  
had to be taken into consideration, genetics, skin tone, lifestyle, diet, and more. Volunteers with the highest dosage experienced 37% less inflammation and redness from exposure to the UV radiation. 
They also tested volunteers who had the extract applied three days prior to the testing with positive results. During the testing other sunscreen products were also tested with no positive results.

Making Broccoli Sprout Extract

Soooo, I searched and searched for a way to create broccoli sprout extract with no results. I also searched to find an actual product and found 1 however, it was for internal use as were all the other products I found. My experience with herbs and creating extracts is to use a high percentage alcohol or vegetable glycerin. I'm thinking we could take the sprouts when they are 3 days old as this is when they contain the most sulforphane and put them in a jar of alcohol or vegetable glycerin for 6 weeks. This is the same process used to create any extract. My next step is to find out how to use it on the skin. I'm thinking about playing and seeing if I can create a lotion using other ingredients that offer UV protection like Shea butter and tamanu oil. I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones I know for sure have the UV protection. 

If you found this post helpful please share so others can learn from it.


  1. I didn't know you could make & consume broccoli sprouts (where do you get broccoli seeds anyways?). I would be simply terrible at making em anyways since I've never successfully sprouted anything (I had a cook some time back who would make em nicely and we would have em as a snack!). Good Info though! Tweeting & pinning to the practical mondays board :)

    1. I bought mine from the Sprout People 2 oz for $5.00 includes shipping. I can't grow anything, but I can sprout.

  2. It sounds like you have a really interesting combo in mind. I really want to see what you come up with.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, I can't wait to see what I come with either.

  3. So enlightening! Thank you for sharing this wonderful healthy, natural remedy: Broccoli Sprout Extract for UV Protection at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m Pinning and sharing.

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