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December 2021


Effects of Sulforaphane on Hormone

  • Hormone is a highly effective bioactive substance secreted by endocrine glands or endocrine cells, which transmits information in the body and affects the physiological activities of the human body by regulating the metabolic activities of various tissues and cells. According to physiological functions, human hormones can be divided into three categories: regulating body metabolism and maintaining a relatively stable internal environment, such as insulin and thyroid hormones; promoting cell proliferation and differentiation, control the growth and development of the body and reproductive function, and affect the aging process, such as growth hormone, sex hormone; closely cooperate with the nervous system to enhance the body's adaptation to the environment, such as adrenal cortex hormones and pituitary hormones.

    1.Academic Research

    2009, A treatment of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells with SFN led to down-regulation of estrogen receptor α(ERα) protein as well as the ER-responsive gene product. SFN inhibited the proliferation of neoplastic human breast cell lines [1].

    Androgen receptor (AR), a member of the steroid receptor superfamily of ligand activated transcription factors, is critically involved in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer. In 2009, researchers found that SFN treatment causes transcriptional repression ofandrogen receptor (AR) in LNCaP and C4-2 human prostate cancer cells at pharmacological concentrations. The SFN-mediated decline in AR protein level was accompanied by a decrease in intracellular as well as secreted levels of prostate specific antigen, an AR-regulated gene product[2].

    2013, embryonic rat heart-derived H9c2 cells were co-incubated with sulforaphane and Ang II. Based on our results, sulforaphane attenuates Ang II-induced hypertrophy of H9c2 cardiomyocytes mediated by the inhibition of intracellular signaling pathways including Akt and NF-κB.[3].

    2. Animal models

    2019, High-fat diet (HFD)induced obesity significantly decreased relative testes and epididymis weights, sperm count and motility, and testosterone levels but increased leptin and estradiol levels. SFN supplementation ameliorated these effects[4].

       2020, there was a significant decline in the levels of serum TT, FSH, and LH in rats treated with AlCl3 only compared to the control. However, the levels of serum testosterone (TT), follicule-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and Leutenizing Hormone (LH) were significantly improved in the group administered with a combination of SFN and AlCl3 compared with AlCl3 only group[5]. 

    Elevated levels of estrogen are a risk factor for breast cancer. In a study from University of Pittsburgh, 4-6 week old female August Copenhagen Irish rats were implanted with slow-release E2 pellets and gavaged with either vehicle or 100 µmol/kg SFN for 56 weeks. SFN-treated rats were protected significantly against mammary tumor formation compared to vehicle controls[6].

    3. Clinical trials

    2012, the effects of broccoli sprouts powder (BSP) containing high concentration of sulforaphane on insulin resistance (IR) was investigated. After 4 weeks, consumption of BSP resulted in a significant decrease in serum insulin concentration and homoeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR)[7].

    2019, Evgen Pharma's clinical study on the treatment of estrogen receptor positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor negative metastatic breast cancer (ER+,HER2-mBC) with the synthetic pharmaceutical product SFX-01 based on stabilized sulforaphane was completed. The results showed that SFX-01 was safe and well tolerated. SFX-01 in combination with endocrine therapies demonstrated anti-tumour activity and prolonged disease stabilisation in pre-treated patients who were progressing on the background ET at study entry[8].

    4. Application of finished products

    Through search and analysis on Amazon, iherb and the official websites of related companies, there are currently eleven products with efficacy labels including hormone regulation, and four products specifically for women. These eleven products belong to eleven different companies, and nine products are from the United States. Among them, eight products are marked on the platform with their shelf time, one in 2004, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2012, 2018 and 2020 respectively.



    [1] Ramirez M C , Singletary K . Regulation of estrogen receptor α expression in human breast cancer cells by sulforaphane[J]. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2009, 20(3):195-201.

    [2] Kim S H , Singh S V . d,l-Sulforaphane causes transcriptional repression of androgen receptor in human prostate cancer cells[J]. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2009, 8(7):1946.

    [3] Wu QQ, Zong J, Gao L, Dai J, Yang Z, Xu M, Fang Y, Ma ZG, Tang QZ. Sulforaphane protects H9c2 cardiomyocytes from angiotensin II-induced hypertrophy. Herz. 2014 May;39(3):390-6. doi: 10.1007/s00059-013-3849-4. Epub 2013 Jun 21. PMID: 23784363.

    [4] Huo, L. , et al. "Sulforaphane Protects the Male Reproductive System of Mice from Obesity-Induced Damage: Involvement of Oxidative Stress and Autophagy." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16.19(2019):3759-.

    [5] Ogunlade B, Adelakun S, Iteire K. Sulforaphane response on aluminum-induced oxidative stress, alterations in sperm characterization and testicular histomorphometry in Wistar rats. Int J Reprod Biomed. 2020 Aug 19;18(8):611-624. doi: 10.18502/ijrm.v13i8.7503. PMID: 32923928; PMCID: PMC7457154.

    [6] Palliyaguru D L , Yang L , Chartoumpekis D V , et al. Sulforaphane Diminishes the Formation of Mammary Tumors in Rats Exposed to 17β-Estradiol[J]. Nutrients, 2020, 12(8):2282.

    [7] Bahadoran Z , Tohidi M , Nazeri P , et al. Effect of broccoli sprouts on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized double-blind clinical trial.[J]. International Journal of Food Sciences & Nutrition, 2012, 63(7):767-771.

    [8] Howell S J , Campone M , J Cortés, et al. 341PFinal results of the STEM trial: SFX-01 in the treatment and evaluation of ER+ Her2- metastatic breast cancer (mBC)[J]. Annals of Oncology, 2019, 30(Supplement_5).

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