Research shows that dogs who eat their veggies at least three times a week have a 90% decrease in cancer risk (1).
But when it comes to cancer, some vegetables stand out from the rest, especially cruciferous vegetables. That’s because cruciferous vegetables contain a special phytonutrient that has researchers excited ...
A potent anti-inflammatory compound called sulforaphane.
So today, I’ll tell you about some of the major benefits of sulforaphane and the best way to add it to your dog’s dish.
What Is Sulforaphane?
You’ve probably heard that cruciferous vegetables can help reduce the risk of cancer. That’s because they’re rich in an isothiocyanate called sulforaphane.
There are many different isothiocyanates and each has their own benefits. But the isothiocyanates in sulforaphane are both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer.
That’s why researchers are paying a lot of attention to this nutraceutical.
3 Ways Sulforaphane Helps Keep Your Dog Healthy
Sulforaphane can do a lot for your dog. It can help ...
- Reduce seizures (2)
- Improve gastrointestinal health (3)
- Protect joints (4)
- Prevent brain disorders (5)
Improve heart health (6)
But today, I want to share the 3 most important reasons you should feed your dog sulforaphane-rich foods ...
1. Sulforaphane Helps Protect Against Cancer
Your dog’s made up of trillions of cells with genes that tell them how to operate. Depending on what’s happening in your dog’s body, the genes will tell the cells to work, grow, divide or die. This helps keep your dog healthy.
But sometimes these cells can get damaged. Damaged cells are usually repaired or die off and get replaced. Other times it can cause the genes inside the cell to mutate and stop working properly.
If the mutation changes the healthy cell into a cancerous one, it will act differently than a normal cell. It will begin to multiply uncontrollably. Eventually, these damaged cells will form a tumor.
Processes in the cell or exposure to toxins and chemicals can cause a cell to mutate. Mutations are also inherited ... or they can develop from age and everyday wear and tear.
Sulforaphane can help ...
- Protect your dog’s cells from damage
- Deactivate carcinogens that contribute to the formation of cancer
- Eliminate potentially cancerous cells through apoptosis (cell death)
- Stop the formation of tumor blood vessels that support tumor growth
- Inhibit the spread of cancer cells to other parts of your dog’s body through metastasis
Many factors contribute to these anti-cancer activities but there’s one major contributor is sulfoaphane’s ability to inhibit histone deacetylase (HDAC) and methyltransferases (7).
These are both enzymes that deal with DNA transcription. If they’re inhibited, it will protect your dog’s DNA by expressing special tumor suppressor genes. These genes help …
- Slow the division of cells
- Repair DNA mistakes
- Tell cells when to die
2. Sulforaphane Fights Free Radicals
Your dog’s body contains unstable molecules called free radicals. They’re a byproduct of the metabolic process and they can also occur when your dog has a build up of toxins and chemicals. These toxins are in the air he breathes, as well as his food and water.
Free radicals are always present in your dog’s body and his immune system has no way to fight them. If left unchecked, free radicals will damage his cell membranes and cause chronic inflammation. This can lead to cancer, premature aging and chronic disease.
Because your dog has no innate protection against free radicals, he relies on antioxidants from his diet to clean them up. So he needs to get antioxidants every day.
Whole foods that are rich in antioxidants include …
Sulforaphane helps your dog’s body release antioxidants. Here’s how it works ...
Your dog’s cells contain messengers called Nrf2 (nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2). When Nrf2 detects cell damage, it activates your dog’s natural protections. This causes the release of antioxidants.
Sulforaphane also has one other benefit … it can cross the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier lets important nutrients that have been absorbed into the bloodstream pass through. And it protects your dog’s brain from infection caused by toxins and pathogens.
Sulforaphane is one of the nutrients that can pass through to the brain. That means it can interact with the Nrf2 pathways in your dog’s brain cells. This promotes antioxidant production and protects the brain from oxidative stress.
3. Sulforaphane Helps With Detoxification
Antioxidant production isn’t the only way Nrf2 pathways help protect your dog. Nrf2 also regulates the release of detoxification enzymes.
When your dog is exposed to toxins and cancer-causing substances, they can build up in his system. This leads to constant low-level toxin exposure for your dog. And that can lead to oxidative stress, inflammation and disease.
But because most toxins are fat soluble, they aren’t easily broken down. For the toxins to leave your dog’s system they need to be water soluble. That’s why the liver needs a 2 step process to remove toxins from the body.
In Phase I detoxification, enzymes break the toxin into smaller compounds so they’re easier to process in Phase II. The problem is these new compounds can actually be more dangerous than the original toxin.
If everything is running well, Phase II detox will take care of these compounds quickly. They’ll become completely water soluble and then head to the gallbladder and kidneys to exit the body before they can do harm.
Problems arise when Phase II can’t process the Phase I compounds fast enough. This leaves your dog with new dangerous toxins.
The good news is, Nrf2 regulates the release of Phase II detoxification enzymes. That means nutrients that activate Nrf2 can increase Phase II enzyme production. This includes sulforaphane.
How To Add Sulforaphane To Your Dog’s Diet
Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli is the richest source of sulforaphane of all cruciferous vegetables. But there’s one more food that is even better …
And that’s broccoli sprouts.
Broccoli sprouts can have up to 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli (8). In fact, all studies done on sulforaphane use sprouts and not the mature plant.
Your dog should eat a pinch to ½ a cup of fresh broccoli sprouts, depending on his size. This will get him a good dose of sulforaphane.
How To Prep Cruciferous Vegetables And Broccoli Sprouts
Before your dog can enjoy the benefits of sulforaphane … it needs to be activated. This happens when sulfur-containing glucosinolates called glucoraphanin are broken down by myrosinase.
Myrosinase is a digestive enzyme found in cruciferous vegetables. It’s kept separate from glucoraphanin until you chew, chop or cut the vegetable. Once this happens, the myrosinase and glucoraphanin combine and release sulforaphane.
To serve cruciferous vegetables (or sprouts), chop them into small pieces or mulch them in a blender. Let them sit for 5 minutes. This will give the myrionaise a chance to activate the sulforaphane.
It’s safe to serve the vegetables raw but if you want to cook them, lightly steam them for no more than 3 minutes (9). You also want to keep the temperature under 155 F. Otherwise, you can cook out the myrosinase and sulforaphane.
You can also try a sulforaphane supplement but … be careful about which one you choose. Some sulforaphane products don’t contain myrosinase, which is necessary to activate the sulforaphane. Without myrosinase, your dog won’t be able to absorb it.
You also want to make sure the supplement is made from freeze dried vegetables or sprouts to maintain the nutritional value.
Generally, your dog should get the following amount of broccoli sprout powder …
5 to 25 lbs … 250 mg
25 to 50 lbs … 500 mg
50 to 100 lbs … 1,000 mg
FOUR LEAF ROVER RECOMMENDED: Green Rover contains a rich supply of organic broccoli sprouts, plus fermented organic grasses and sea greens. Buy Green Rover now >>
Before Your Feed Cruciferous Veggies To Your Dog ...
Cruciferous vegetables are goitrogenic. This means they can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge. And that can interfere with how it functions.
But according to Dr Jean Dodds, “Erring on the side of caution is prudent but, in this instance, the antioxidant and Vitamin K benefits definitely outweigh the risks. The goitrogenic properties in these green leafy vegetables are minute and should not cause concern if fed in moderation.”
And steaming the cruciferous vegetables first can remove up to ⅔ of the goitrogens.
This is also another reason to consider broccoli sprouts. Studies on rats also show that broccoli sprouts can protect against thyroid damage and inflammation (10).
Cruciferous vegetables can also cause digestive upset. Start small and watch how your dog reacts. If there are no signs of upset, increase the dose slowly.
Broccoli and broccoli juice in extremely high doses can also cause liver stress according to studies. Researchers have not seen this in broccoli sprouts.
Lastly, if your dog is taking medication, you may want to check with your vet before you add sulforaphane. Because it activates Phase II detox, it can interact with some drugs.
AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Jerry Klein explains, “Broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10 percent of their daily intake; more than 25 percent is considered toxic.”
The key is moderation. Sulforaphane is a great addition to your dog’s food. Make it part of a rounded balanced diet and you’ll be helping your dog live a healthier life.
- Raghavan M, Knapp DW, et al. Evaluation of the effect of dietary vegetable consumption on reducing risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Jul 1;227(1):94-100.
- Carrasco-Pozo C, Tan KN, Borges K. Sulforaphane is anticonvulsant and improves mitochondrial function. J Neurochem. 2015 Dec;135(5):932-42.
- Yanaka A. Role of Sulforaphane in Protection of Gastrointestinal Tract Against H. pylori and NSAID-Induced Oxidative Stress. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(27):4066-4075.
- Davidson RK, Jupp O et al. Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo. Arthritis Rheum. 2013;65(12):3130-3140.
- Kim J, Lee S, et al. Sulforaphane epigenetically enhances neuronal BDNF expression and TrkB signaling pathways. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Feb;61(2).
- Bai Y, Wang X, et al. Sulforaphane Protects against Cardiovascular Disease via Nrf2 Activation. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015:407580.
- Kaitlin M. Curran et al. Sulforaphane absorption and histone deacetylase activity following single dosing of broccoli sprout supplement in normal dogs. Vet Med Sci, Vol 4, Issue 4, November 2018.
- Fahey JW, Zhang Y, Talalay P. Broccoli sprouts: an exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997;94(19):10367-10372. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.19.10367
- Wang GC, Farnham M, Jeffery EH. Impact of thermal processing on sulforaphane yield from broccoli ( Brassica oleracea L. ssp. italica). J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jul 11;60(27):6743-8.
- Chartoumpekis DV, Ziros PG et al. Broccoli sprout beverage is safe for thyroid hormonal and autoimmune status: Results of a 12-week randomized trial. Food Chem Toxicol. 2019;126:1-6.