How To Defend Your Body From Viruses and Breathing Difficulties

How To Defend Your Body From Viruses and Breathing Difficulties

Recent research suggests that a compound called ‘sulforaphane’ may have both a preventative and curative benefit against viruses and breathing problems.

Sulforaphane is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale. The highest concentration available is found in broccoli sprout juice.

It is generated by damage to the plant and is involved in protecting the plant from insect predators. In mammals it activates the Nrf2 pathway, which supercharges the immune system.

Anti-viral properties

Sulforaphane has also been shown to have antiviral properties. Studies have shown that sulforaphane reduces viral load in the nose, increases Natural Killer cell production, displays antiviral activity against H1N1 Influenza virus, and can suppress replication of Hepatitis C Virus and inhibit HIV infection of macrophages through Nrf2. [2-5] Interestingly, heat shock proteins which are produced upon sulforaphane consumption are also known to have antiviral properties. [6]

Inducer of NRF2 antioxidant pathway

Sulforaphane may be particularly beneficial for the elderly. It is a powerful inducer of Nrf2, which regulates expression of more than 200 cytoprotective genes (provide protection to cells against harmful agents.), including an antiviral pathway that impairs virus reproduction. [7,8] Nrf2 signaling is thought to decrease with age. According to one study, exercise induced Nrf2-signaling has been shown to be impaired in aging. [9] Sulforaphane was also shown to restore the age-related decrease of Th1 immunity in old mice. [10]

Sulforaphane treats ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome)

Animal and in vitro studies have shown that sulforaphane can mitigate the inflammatory damage to the lungs in ARDS. In one study, sulforaphane doubled the survivability of rabbits with ARDS. [11,12] Sulforaphane is also a potent inhibitor of NFkB, which is a master inducer of inflammation. [13] In one study, influenza virus-induced markers of inflammation were significantly lower in smokers after consumption of broccoli sprout homogenate. [14]

Protection for the lungs

Sulforaphane has a protective effect on the lungs. In a 12 week study in Qidong, China, consumption of sulforaphane was associated with immediate and sustained increase in urinary excretion of airborne pollutants, benzene 61% and acrolein 23%. [15] In another study, daily 100 æmol sulforaphane for 14 days was shown to improve the broncho-protective response in asthmatics. [16]

Preparing sulforaphane

Broccoli sprouts contain the highest levels of precursors to sulforaphane: glucoraphanin and myrosinase.


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