Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine teamed up to investigate whether a component of broccoli sprouts could be beneficial for young men diagnosed with autism.
Sulforaphane Makes a Difference
The scientists administered either sulforaphane or a placebo to 40 subjects between 13 and 27 years old. Those who were randomly assigned to receive sulforaphane daily for 18 weeks showed significant improvements in social interaction and verbal communication skills. Their levels of repetitive ritualistic behaviors diminished.
The hypothesis is that sulforaphane harnesses the body’s heat shock response and reduces inflammation.
It isn’t possible to get the amounts of sulforaphane used in the study by eating broccoli or even broccoli sprouts since the researchers used highly concentrated extracts in pill form, at much more potent doses than those available online.
[Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online, Oct. 13, 2014]