Monthly Archives: October 2016


Consume The 4 Glucosinolate Rich Foods To Produce The 4 Isothiocyanates In Order To Reduce the Risk Of Cancer

Glucosinolates are natural components of many pungent plants that occur as secondary metabolites of most of the Brassicales family, or the cruciferous vegetables.   When these vegetables are chewed, a pungent taste arises due to the breakdown products of glucosinolates.

Scientist have surmised that the pungent taste of these vegetables is a plant defense system against pests and diseases.

There are a number of vegetables, sprouts and seeds that contain glucosinolates.  Table I below is a comprehensive list:

Table 1:  Vegetables, sprouts and seeds containing Glucosinolates

White cabbage


Garden cress

Chinese cabbage






Brussel sprouts

Broccoli sprouts



Bok choy


Daikon radish



Maca root

Mustard greens

Papaya seeds


Mustard seeds

Broccoli raab

Each vegetable, sprout and seed usually contains more than one glucosinolate.  However, certain vegetables, sprouts and seeds may contain a predominant amount of one glucosinolate.  An example is the following:

  • Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain large amounts of glucoraphanin
  • Mustard seeds and Brussel sprouts contain a large amount of Sinigrin
  • Garden cress and cabbage contain a large amount of glucotropaeolin
  • Watercress contains a large amount of gluconasturtiin

The total number of documented glucosinolates from nature can be estimated to around 132, as of 2011.  1  For purposes of this article, we will focus on the 4 most important glucosinolates and the ones that have been the subject of the majority of medical research.  These 4 glucosinolates include:

  • Gluconasturtiin
  • Glucoraphanin
  • Glucotropaeolin
  • Sinigrin

Gluconasturtiin, also known as phenethylglucosinolate, is a widely distributed glucosinolate in cruciferous vegetables.  The name is derived from it occurrence in watercress which has the botanical name Nasturtium officinale

Glucoraphanin is a glucosinolate distributed in broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.  It is also found in large amounts in young sprouts of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli sprouts.

Glucotropaeolin is a phytochemical from Tropaeolum majus, which is commonly known as garden nasturtium, Indian cress or monks cress.  It is also found in cabbage.

Sinigrin is widely distributed in the plants of the Brassicaceae such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli, horseradish and black mustard seeds.

Each of the vegetables, sprouts and seeds contain the enzyme myrosinase, which is activated when the vegetable, sprout or seeds is damaged (chopped or chewed) in the presence of water.  The glucosinolate converts to an isothiocyanate (or thiocyanate) through the enzymatic activity of myrosinase.  These isothiocyanates are the defensive substances of the plant.

Thus glucosinolates are the precursors to isothiocyanates through the breakdown of the enzyme myrosinase.  Myrosinase activity on the glucosinolate also continues in the gastrointestinal tract through intestinal bacteria which allows for some further formation and absorption of isothiocyanates.  2

Following is the list of glucosinolate precursors to isothiocyanates:

Glucosinolate precursor


Vegetable, Sprout and Seed Source


Phenethyl-Isothiocyanate (PEITC)

Watercress, horseradish, cabbage, mustard


Sulforaphane (SFN)

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, Chinese broccoli, broccoli raab, broccoli sprouts, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, arugula, and watercress


Benzyl Isothiocyanate (BITC)

Cabbage, garden cress, Indian cress, papaya seeds, mustard greens, mustard seeds


Allyl Isothiocyanate (AITC)

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, wasabi, mustard, radish, black mustard seeds (Brassica nigra) or brown Indian mustard seeds (Brassica juncea).

Isothiocyanates and their glucosinolate precursors have been found to inhibit the development of various cancers, such as:  3  4

  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • esophagus cancer
  • liver cancer
  • lung cancer
  • small intestine cancer
  • stomach cancer

There is also some evidence that higher consumption of the food sources listed in Table 1 are associated with a decreased risk of cancer.  5 

A number of prospective cohort studies have been published indicating that consumption of cruciferous vegetables on a weekly basis has been associated with a significant reduction in cancer risk.  A prospective cohort study takes a group of people who are interviewed or tested for risk factors like nutrient intake and then followed up at subsequent times to determine their status with respect to a disease or health outcome.  Three prospective studies have assessed the reduced risk of cancer and cruciferous vegetable consumption:

Feskanich D, Ziegler RG, Michaud DS, et al. Prospective study of fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of lung cancer among men and women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000;92(22):1812-1823. 

Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. A prospective study of cruciferous vegetables and prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003;12(12):1403-1409.

Michaud DS, Spiegelman D, Clinton SK, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999;91(7):605-613.

These prospective studies emphasize the importance of consuming as many of the foods listed in Table 1 on a weekly basis to insure the reduction of risk of various cancers.

Table 2 below lists the various foods and the corresponding glucosinolate content. 

Table 2. Glucosinolate Content of Selected Cruciferous Vegetables
Food (raw) Serving Total Glucosinolates (mg)
Brussels sprouts ½ cup (44 g)
Garden cress ½ cup (25 g)
Mustard greens ½ cup, chopped (28 g)
Turnip ½ cup, cubes (65 g)
Cabbage, savoy ½ cup, chopped (45 g)
Kale 1 cup, chopped (67 g)
Watercress 1 cup, chopped (34 g)
Kohlrabi ½ cup, chopped (67 g)
Cabbage, red ½ cup, chopped (45 g)
Broccoli ½ cup, chopped (44 g)
Horseradish 1 tablespoon (15 g)
Cauliflower ½ cup, chopped (50 g)
Bok choy (pak choi) ½ cup, chopped (35 g)

Source:  Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center –  Isothiocyanates


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Maintaining A Proper Balance of Beta-Glucuronidase for Disease and Cancer Prevention

Glucuronidation is one of several important Phase II conjugation pathways in the liver for detoxification and excretion of carcinogens, lipid soluble hormones and steroid hormones.  The glucuronidation detoxification pathway uses the substance glucuronic acid to attach itself to the Phase I metabolite chemical toxin for excretion into the bile and to the intestine for removal from the body.  This process is called conjugation where the toxin is packaged into water soluble compounds called glucuronides. 

Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme inducible in colonocytes and produced by anaerobic intestinal bacteria.  It has many functions within the body, including:

  • breaks down complex carbohydrates
  • nutrients are ingested as the glucuronide conjugate of the active molecule, which must be deconjugated in order for the beneficial molecule (the “aglycone”) to be absorbed.  Such nutrients include lignans, flavonoids, ceramides, and glycyrrhetinic acid.
  • acts to deconjugate glucuronide molecules from a variety of toxins, carcinogens, hormones, and drugs, which are naturally glucuronidated in the liver to facilitate biliary excretion.  High levels of this enzyme inhibits the conjugation process by separating toxins from their conjugate bond and allows them to be reabsorbed

A proper balance of beta-glucuronidase is essential for good health and disease prevention:

Beta-glucuronidase activity must be sufficient to permit deconjugation and absorption of desirable molecules, while

Remaining low enough to prevent widespread deconjugation and subsequent reabsorption of toxins

High levels of beta glucuronidase inhibits the body’s capacity through glucuronidation to detoxify both natural hormones and environmental toxins. Beta-glucuronidase can be easily measured in the stool.  1  For those with high levels of beta-glucuronidase in their stool they may be at an increased risk for certain cancers.

High levels of beta-glucuronidase activity can be caused by a number of factors which are primarily due to poor diet:

  • High meat consumption
  • Processed food consumption
  • High sugar consumption
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Antibiotic administration may also increase beta-glucuronidase due to the fact that antibiotics reduce gut bacteria.

A gut microbiome that is in dysbiosis is more likely to have high levels of beta-glucuronidase.

The following cancers have been identified due to excessive beta-glucuronidase activity:

  • Breast cancer  2
  • Colon cancer  3  4  5  6
  • Prostate cancer  7

In order to maintain good health and to lower the risk of the above referenced cancers, it is important to keep beta-glucuronidase activity low but sufficient enough to deconjugate ingested molecules for nutrient absorption.

After a stool test of beta-glucuronidase indicates a high level of beta-glucuronidase (above the normal range), there are certain natural substances that can be consumed to proactively lower beta-glucuronidase:

  • Apple Pectin  8  
  • Calcium-D-glucarate  (Calcium D-glucarate indirectly inhibits the beta-glucuronidase enzyme thus keeping the toxins inside glucuronide which can then be removed by the body)   9   10
  • Cumin Seeds  11  
  • Fenugreek Seeds  12
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)  13
  • Luteolin  14
  • Milk thistle  (Silymarin)  15
  • Probiotics (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria)  16  17 
  • Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs)  18
  • Skullcap  19

Informational References:

Genova Diagnostics – Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA)™

Genova Diagnostics – Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) TM (Support Guide)

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Restore And Relaunch Mitophagy With Urolithin A, A Microflora Metabolite of Pomegranate Ellagitannins


Mitophagy is critical for maintaining proper cellular functions.  1   It is the key in keeping the cell healthy. 

Mitophagy is the selective degradation of mitochondria by autophagy. It removes damaged mitochondria and often occurs to defective mitochondria following damage or stress.  However, mitophagy is not limited in damaged mitochondria but also involves undamaged mitochondria.

During aging the process of mitophagy slows down and begins to malfunction.  Due to this malfunction of the mitophagy process, worn-out or damaged mitochondria are not recycled and their decomposing components build up inside cells.  Over time, this malfunction may cause problems in various tissues. 

Evidence exists that malfunctioning mitophagy plays a role in certain diseases of aging including:

  • Parkinson’s disease 2 
  • Cancer  3

Mitophagy is critically important to good health for two reasons:  4  5

  • Mitochondria are one of the main sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and thus subject to ROS damage
  • Dysfunctional mitochondria that are not degraded via mitophagy produce higher amounts of ROS, thus amplifying ROS damage

It is therefore very important that the process of mitophagy is induced at all times, especially during the aging process.

Urolithin A for Mitophagy Restoration

Researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, published an article in the journal Nature Medicine on July 2016.  The name of the article is Urolithin A induces mitophagy and prolongs lifespan in C. elegans and increases muscle function in rodents.   The researchers showed that a compound called urolithin A prolonged lifespan in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and improved exercise capacity in older mice.  Caenorhabditis elegans worms that were exposed to urolithin A:

  • lived an average or 45% longer,  and
  • prevented the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria

When the researchers exposed rodents to urolithin A, there was an apparent and significant reduction in dysfunctional mitochondria.  The mice also improved their running endurance and capacity by 42% compared to mice not exposed to urolithin A.

The study revealed that urolithin A can restore and relaunch mitophagy when mitophagy is malfunctioning or becomes sluggish.

Urolithin A Precursor:  Ellagitannins

Urolithin A is not a natural substance that can be consumed.  Instead, it is a microflora human metabolite that is produced in the gastrointestinal tract via the digestion by intestinal bacteria.

Specifically, the precursor to urolithin A is a molecule in the family called the ellagitannins. Ellagitannins are a class of tannins, which is a type of polyphenol. 

Ellagitannins is a natural component of a number of foods, primarily found in red raspberry (Rubus idaeus).  

Once such ellagitannin is ellagic acid.  When ellagic acid is consumed via the diet, the the microflora bacteria in the gut breaks down the ellagic acid and produces urolithin A.  Thus, urolithin A is a microflora human metabolite of dietary ellagic acid derivatives.  

The highest levels of ellagic acid are found in:

  • blackberries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • Phellinus linteus  (medicinal mushroom)
  • pecans
  • pomegranates
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • walnuts
  • wolfberries

The École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne (EPFL) study used urolithin A from pomegranate ellagitannins.  It appears that of the above listed foods, pomegranate has the greatest potential to produce the urolithin A metabolite from pomegranate ellagitannins.  6

Image result for pomegranate

Efficient Production of Urolithin A

The amount of urolithin A produced in the gastrointestinal tract is dependent on the gut’s microbiome enterotype.  The microbiome enterotype is the complete bacteriological ecosystem in the gut.  

If the gastrointestinal tract is in dysbiosis, then it’s ability to produce urolithin A from pomegranate ellagitannins is compromised.  This is why it is vitally important to create and maintain a symbiotic gastrointestinal tract.  The amount of urolithin A produced can vary widely, depending on whether the microbiome is in dysbiosis or is in symbiosis.

One of the main factors that create dysbiosis is long-term diet influences.  7 

Informational References:

Video – Pomegranates reveal its powerful anti-aging secret (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL))


Life Extension – Pomegranate Complete

Apigenin Demonstrates Great Promise As A Natural Molecule for Cancer Prevention

Apigenin is a flavonoid belonging to the structural class called flavones.  It is chemically known as 4’, 5’, 7-trihydroxyflavone. 

Apigenin is present in many fruits, vegetables and herbs, as follows:

    • Fruits
      • Oranges
      • Grapefruit
    • Vegetables
      • Kale
      • Lettuce (iceberg)
      • Licorice
      • Onions
      • Rutabaga
      • Cabbage
      • Celery
      • Celery Seeds
      • Globe Artichoke
      • Wheat sprouts
    • Herbs
      • Basil
      • Holy Basil
      • Chamomile
      • Feverfew
      • Balm
      • Oregano
      • Parsley
      • Peppermint
      • Perilla
      • Thyme

The highest source of apigenin is found in parsley and chamomile.

The dried flowers from Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile) contains a large quantity of apigenin, with an estimate of as much as 68% apigenin of total flavanoids.  2 

Image result for CHAMOMILE

Figure 1:  Chamomile flowers (dried)

Parsley has the largest content of Apigenin than any other vegetable, fruit or herb.  Dried parsely has considerably more apigenin content than fresh parsley:

  • Parsley (fresh)    302.0 mg per 100 grams
  • Parsley (dried)    13,506.2  mg per 100 grams *

Image result for parsley dried

Figure 2:  Parsley (dried)

Apigenin May Assist in the Prevention of Cancer

Apigenin has been shown to possess remarkable anti-carcinogenic properties.   3  There has been significant progress in studying the biological effects of apigenin at cellular and molecular levels as a chemopreventive agent.  4  

There are a number of biological effects of apigenin in numerous mammalian systems in vitro as well as in vivo, due to its  low intrinsic toxicity and because of its striking effects on normal versus cancer cells.  5    

The exact mechanism of apigenin is still being researched, but the current research demonstrates that apigenin affects several critical pathways and/or targets:

  • apigenin induces apoptosis through different cellular signaling transduction pathways:
    • NFκB  6 
    • p53   7 
    • MAPK   8 
    • PI3K/Akt   9  10  
  • apigenin has been shown to decrease tumor formation by blocking COX-2 from functioning normally  11 
  • apigenin is a strong inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase, an enzyme that plays a major role in tumor promotion  12 
  • apigenin has been shown to increase the intracellular concentration of glutathione, enhancing the endogenous defense against oxidative stress  13 
  • apigenin blocks GLUT-1, which is elevated in head and neck cancers  14
  • apigenin inhibited enzymes that produce androgens  15  
  • apigenin suppressed tumor growth in PLC cells  16 
  • apigenin has also been shown to inhibit benzo[a]pyrene and 2-aminoanthracene-induced bacterial mutagenesis  17
  • apigenin suppresses LPS-induced cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide synthase-2 activity  18 
  • apigenin treatment resulted in suppression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)  19 
  • apigenin has been shown to inhibit the expression of casein kinase (CK)-2 in both human prostate and breast cancer cells  20 
  • apigenin has shown promise in inhibiting tumor cell invasion and metastases by regulating protease production  21 
  • exposure of endothelial cells to apigenin results in suppression of the expression of VEGF  22
  • apigenin has also been shown to inhibit the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF via the PI3K/Akt/p70S6K1 and HDM2/p53 pathways in human ovarian cancer cells  23

The Table below lists the potential targets of apigenin in various human cancers:

Apigenin as a Potential Target in Various Human Cancers

Adrenal cancer1
Breast cancer2
Cervical cancer3
Colon cancer4
Hematologic cancer (leukemia)5
Liver cancer6
Lung cancer7
Ovarian cancer9
Prostate cancer10
Skin cancer11
Stomach cancer12
Thyroid cancer13


Swanson Health Products – Apigenin

Swanson Health Products – Chamomile Flower Extract

Parsley (dried flakes)


Reduce Your Exposure to Benzopyrene’s As Much As Possible, Then Prevent Their Damage with Certain Natural Substances

A benzopyrene is an organic compound with the formula C20H12  that belongs to the chemical class of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

There are two isomeric species of benzopyrene:

  • benzo[a]pyrene  (more common)
  • benzo[e]pyrene  (less common)

Benzopyrene is a component of pitch and are naturally found in forest fires and volcanic eruptions.   More commonly benzopyrene is found in:

  • coal tar
  • cigarette smoke
  • wood smoke
  • coffee (burnt or roasted foods)
  • grilled foods  1  

The consumption, ingestion and inhalation of benzopyrene’s can be harmful to health.  They form carcinogenic and mutagenic metabolites that damage DNA. Benzopyrene’s bind to DNA, which causes severe genetic mutation and cancerous.

Benzopyrene’s can be so damaging to health that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified them as Group I carcinogens.  To be listed as a Group I carcinogen, there is enough evidence to conclude that the chemical compound can cause cancer in humans.

The more commonly occurring benzopyrene is benzo[a]pyrene (BaP).  BaP’s can be found in:

    • coal tar
    • wood smoke
    • automobile exhaust fumes (especially from diesel engines)
    • charbroiled (grilled) food
    • smoked foods
    • barbecued food, especially beef, chicken with skin, and hamburgers
    • overheating or frying of dietary oils (unsaturated fats)
    • cigarette smoke
    • Cannabis smoke (marijuana)

In fact BaP can be found in the smoke form the burning of any organic material.

Certain cooking methods can cause the production of BaP:

  • barbequing
  • frying
  • smoking of foods

Evidence suggests that BaP is linked to the following cancers:

  • Lung  2
  • Colon  3  4 
  • Liver  5
  • Kidney   6

The solution to the problems with benzopyrene’s is a two-pronged approach:

  • Minimize and lessen your exposure to benzopyrene’s as much as possible
  • Consume natural substances that counter benzopyrene’s carcinogenic effects

Prong 1 – Minimize and lessen your exposure to benzopyrenes as much as possible

Try to avoid as much as possible smoke form all sources, including burning wood, cigarette and second hand cigarette smoke as well as marijuana smoke.  If you want or have to consume Cannabis, it is better to eat it raw rather than smoke it. 

Try as much as possible to avoid automobile exhaust fumes, even though this is difficult in urban areas. 

Finally, avoid all meats that are barbequed, grilled or fried.  Do not eat any food that is fried or deep fried in oil (unsaturated fats).  If you are going to fry food, it is better to fry with butter, ghee, or coconut oil, all of which are saturated fats.

Prong 2 – Consume natural substances that counter benzopyrene’s carcinogenic effects

There are a number of recognized and studied natural substances that have shown to counter the carcinogenic effects of benzopyrene by:

  • inhibition of benzopyrene-induced tumorigenesis
  • reducing benzopyrene-DNA adduct formation
  • preventing the conversion of benzopyrene to carcinogens
  • assist in detoxification of benzopyrene by Phase I and Phase II

The most effective natural substances that counter the carcinogenic effects of benzopyrene are:

  • Black Cumin  7 
  • Blueberries  8 
  • Chlorophyllin   9 
  • D-Glucaric Acid (Calcium-D-glucarate)   10 
  • Kombu seaweed  11 
  • Korean Ginseng  12
  • Parsley  13 
  • Quercetin  14 
  • Raspberries  15 
  • Strawberries  16 
  • Triphala  (Ayurvedic herbs formula)  17 
  • Vitamin C  18 
  • Vitamin E  19

The Remarkable Anti-Cancer Benefits of Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC)

Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) is one of a number of naturally occurring isothiocyanates.  In order to understand PEITC, you first have to start with their precursors, glucosinolates.

Glucosinolates constitute a natural class of organic compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen and are derived from glucose and an amino acid.  For each glucosinolates there is a central carbon atom which is bound to a different side group.  The different side groups is what distinguishes each glucosinolate. Some of the more important and well researched glucosinolates include:

  • Glucotropaeolin
  • Gluconasturtiin
  • Glucoraphanin
  • Glucobrassicin
  • Glucocapparin
  • Progoitrin
  • Sinigrin
  • Sinalbin

Glucosinolates occur in various plants and vegetables including the families Brassicaceae (cruciferous vegetables).  Among the vegetables that contain glucosinolates are:

  • arugula
  • bok choy (pak choi)
  • broccoli
  • broccoli raab or rabe
  • broccoli sprouts
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbages (savoy, red)
  • capers
  • cauliflower
  • cauliflower sprouts
  • Chinese cabbage
  • collards
  • daikon radish
  • garden cress
  • horseradish
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • maca root
  • mustard greens
  • mustard seeds
  • papaya seeds
  • radishes
  • turnip
  • wasabi japonica
  • watercress

The total number of documented glucosinolates from nature can be estimated to around 132, as of 2011.  1

Table 1. Glucosinolate Content of Selected Cruciferous Vegetables
Food (raw) Serving Total Glucosinolates (mg)
Brussels sprouts ½ cup (44 g)
Garden cress ½ cup (25 g)
Mustard greens ½ cup, chopped (28 g)
Turnip ½ cup, cubes (65 g)
Cabbage, savoy ½ cup, chopped (45 g)
Kale 1 cup, chopped (67 g)
Watercress 1 cup, chopped (34 g)
Kohlrabi ½ cup, chopped (67 g)
Cabbage, red ½ cup, chopped (45 g)
Broccoli ½ cup, chopped (44 g)
Horseradish 1 tablespoon (15 g)
Cauliflower ½ cup, chopped (50 g)
Bok choy (pak choi) ½ cup, chopped (35 g)

Source:  Linus Pauling Institute – Isothiocyanates

Isothiocyanates are biologically active hydrolysis (breakdown) products of glucosinolates.  Isothiocyanates are biologically inert and are only synthesized and formed by the conversion of the glucosinolate by the enzyme myrosinase.  Myrosinase coexists with but is physically separated from glucosinolates under normal conditions.

When vegetables that contain glucosinolates are chewed (plant tissue is damaged), myrosinase is released to convert the glucosinolate into a specific isothiocyanate.  In addition to myrosinase activity in the mouth saliva, the the intestinal microflora of both humans and animals also possess myrosinase activity.  2   

The enzyme myrosinase is activated by cutting or chewing the raw vegetables.  Heating of the vegetables (cooking) can destroy myrosinase activity.  3  Eating raw vegetables can releases 100% of the myrosinase enzyme and all of the isothiocyanates available, whereas cooking of the vegetables can reduce isothiocyanate content, depending on the method of cooking.  4 

This is why it is recommended that cruciferous vegetables be streamed or lightly boiled to preserve the glucosinolate content and not destroy all of the myrosinase enzymes.

Table 2. Food Sources of Selected Isothiocyanates and Their Glucosinolate Precursors
Isothiocyanate Glucosinolate (precursor) Food Sources
Allyl Isothiocyanate (AITC) Sinigrin Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, mustard, radish
Benzyl Isothiocyanate (BITC) Glucotropaeolin Cabbage, garden cress, Indian cress
Phenethyl-Isothiocyanate (PEITC) Gluconasturtiin Watercress
Sulforaphane (SFN) Glucoraphanin Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage

Source:  Linus Pauling Institute – Isothiocyanates

Each glucosinolate is a precursor to a different isothiocyanate.  There are four (4) different isothiocyanates that have been identified.  Each isothiocyanate has a specific glucosinolate precursor:

  • Sinigrin is the precursor to allyl isothiocyanate
  • Glucotropaeolin is the precursor to benzyl isothiocyanate
  • Gluconasturtiin is the precursor to phenethyl isothiocyanate
  • Glucoraphanin is the precursor to sulforaphane


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Figure 1:  Glucosinolates precursors to isothiocyanates  (Source:  Mechanisms of Action of Isothiocyanates in Cancer Chemoprevention: An Update)

Image result for glucosinolates myrosinase pathway

Figure 2:  Glucosinolates Hydrolysis by Myrosinase  (Source:  Linus Pauling Institute – Isothiocyanates)

Examples of vegetables with different glucosinolates are:

  • broccoli is a rich source of the glucosinolate glucoraphanin
  • cabbage is rich in sinigrin
  • watercress is high in gluconasturtiin


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Figure 3:  Examples of isothiocyanates in vegetables  (Source:  Mechanisms of Action of Isothiocyanates in Cancer Chemoprevention: An Update)

Isothiocyanates are known to science to have potent anticancer effects.  The research on these anticancer effects come from an analysis of the four isothiocyanates:
  • allyl isothiocyanate (AITC)
  • benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC)
  • phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC)
  • sulforaphane

Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) is one of the best studied members of the isothiocyanate family.  This is due to the fact that PEITC has generated a great deal of research interest due to its cancer chemopreventive activity.  5  6

PEITC is a naturally occurring isothiocyanate that is found in some cruciferous vegetables:

  • broccoli
  • horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
  • radish
  • turnips
  • watercress

PEITC is present as the precursor gluconasturtiin in cruciferous plants. 

Watercress has the highest content of PEITC, due to the high levels of gluconasturtiin, which is actually named after watercress (Nasturtium officinale).


Figure 4:  Watercress

PEITC is known to not only prevent the initiation phase of carcinogenesis process but also to inhibit the progression of tumorigenesis. 7  PEITC targets multiple proteins to suppress various cancer-promoting mechanisms such as cell proliferation, progression and metastasis. PEITC (along with BITC) were the most effective isothiocyanates in inducing apoptosis.  8   PEITC has been shown to induce apoptosis in certain cancer cell lines, and, in some cases, is even able to induce apoptosis in cells that are resistant to some currently used chemotherapeutic drugs.  9

Another important benefit of PEITC is that it protects against DNA damage.  10   

PEITC’s other mechanism of action is proposed to involve inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes, which oxidize compounds such as benzo[a]pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

PEITC has been widely studied and shows great promise in inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells and their ability to form tumors.  11

Following is a list of the molecular targets and major mechanism of action of PEITC in various cancer types:  12

Molecular targets and major mechanism of action of PEITC in various cancer types

Cancer typeReference(s)
Cholangio carcinoma7
Multiple Myeloma (MM)20
Myeloid leukemia21
Oral squamous carcinoma25


Informational References

Linus Pauling Institute – Isothiocyanates



Life Extension – Triple Action Cruciferous Vegetable Extract



Do Not Throw Away Those Papaya Seeds, They Contain a Chemopreventive Natural Substance Called Benzyl Isothiocyanate

Isothiocyanates are sulphur-containing phytochemicals with the general formula R-NCS. Natural isothiocyanates from plants are produced by enzymatic conversion of metabolites called glucosinolates. 

Isothiocyanates are usually found in cruciferous or “cabbage family” vegetables such as:

  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • broccoli sprouts
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • Chinese cabbage
  • collards
  • horseradish
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • radish
  • rutabaga
  • turnips
  • wasabi
  • watercress

Isothiocyanates can also be found in the following foods:

  • capers
  • papaya seeds
  • nasturtiums

Scientists have identified 8 isothiocyanates that are found in the above listed foods and that have a beneficial effect on human health:

  • Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC)
  • Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC)
  • Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)
  • Methyl isothiocyanate (MITC)
  • Phenyl isothiocyanate (PITC)
  • Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC)
  • Raphanin
  • Sulforaphane (SFN)

Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) is an isothiocyanate found in plants of the mustard family.  Benzyl isothiocyanate is found in the following foods:

  • Alliaria petiolata (Garlic mustard)
  • papaya seeds
  • pilu oil (an extract from seeds of the Pilu tree, the Meswak tree, and the Mustard tree)

Studies have indicted that higher intakes of BITC correlate with reduced risk of cancers.  1   BITC mechanism of actions against cancer can include not only ineterference with cancer cells’ energy utilization and causing them to die off before they can contribute to tumor growth, but also by inducing apoptosis and stimulate “signaling” molecules that tell cancer cells to die.

BITC also efficiently inhibits several cancer-promoting cytochrome enzymes, helping to prevent carcinogenesis.

BITC is also capable of inhibiting carcinogenesis from a diet containing polycyclic hydrocarbons like benzo[a]pyrene.  2

The table below illustrates how BITC can reduce the risk of various cancers:

Chemoprotection from Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC)

Cancer TypeReference(s)
Bladder cancer1
Breast cancer2 3
Colon cancer4
Lung cancer5
Ovarian cancer6
Pancreatic cancer7

Image result for papaya seeds

Figure 1:  Papaya seeds

Papaya seeds contain a high level of BITC.  3  4  5  

In addition to the chemoprotection capabilities of papaya seeds through its high content of BITC, they also exhibits a promising source of antioxidants.  Papaya seeds protect fibroblasts from H2O2-induced stress.  6  7 

Papaya seeds also promote significant wound healing in rats and the authors of the study suggest further evaluation for this activity in humans.  8 

Informational References:

WikiHow – How to Eat Papaya Seeds


Herbal Papaya







Vitamin K2 may Reduce the Progression of Atherosclerosis

Continuous consumption and and/or supplementation of Vitamin K2 may reduce the progression of atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of coronary vascular disease and vascular calcification.

This was the conclusion of a study published by Medycyna Praktyczna, the Journal of the Polish Society of Internal Medicine in July 2015.  1

The authors of the study assessed the effect of vitamin K2 substitution on the progression of atherosclerosis and calcification in nondialyzed patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3-5.

The subjects of the study were divided into two groups:

  • Group 1 – received vitamin K2 (90 mcg per day) plus vitamin D3 (400 IU per day)
  • Group 2 – received only vitamin D3 (400 IU per day)

Supplementation lasted 270 days (9 months) after which the authors tested for Common Carotid Intima Media Thickness, (CCA-IMT) a certain indicator of atherosclerosis and a predictor of cardiovascular episodes.  The results were promising:

Group 1 – thickness of the carotid (major neck) arteries increased by 6.32%

Group 2 – thickness of the carotid (major neck) arteries increased by 13.73%

One function of Vitamin K2 is to assure that excess body calcium stay in the bones and not deposit in the arteries.  One way to measure carotid artery calcification is through the carotid artery calcification score (CACS).  In this study, the authors applied this test to all patients and found that the subjects taking the combination of vitamins K2 and D3 showed a reduction in carotid artery calcification score.

The study used 90mcg of Vitamin K2 per day.  In food, vitamin K2 is usually found in:

  • organ meats
  • egg yolks
  • certain hard cheeses
  • Japanese natto

Of these foods, Japanese natto has the highest percentage of Vitamin K2 per gram. 


Other than from the diet with the above listed foods, it is possible to supplement with Vitamin K2 to meet the 90mcg per day.


Life Extension – Vitamin K2

Doctors Best – Vitamin K2

Vitamin D is Critical to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s

A study is published in the August 6, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, suggested that older people that do not get enough vitamin D may increase their risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  1

The study examined 1,658 dementia-free people over the age of 65.  For an average of six years, the results indicated the following:

  • 171 people developed dementia
  • 102 people developed Alzheimer’s

Vitamin D levels of all the participants were tested and the risks of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s were determined in participants that had:

  • deficient levels, and
  • severely deficient levels

Following are the results:


  • Participants with deficient levels of Vitamin D had a 53% increased risk of developing dementia
  • Participants with severely deficient levels of Vitamin D had a 125% increased risk of developing dementia


  • Participants with deficient levels of Vitamin D had a 70% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s
  • Participants with severely deficient levels of Vitamin D had a 120% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s

The blood test that measures vitamin D is called a Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) blood test. The results of this blood test can tell you whether you’re getting too little, too much or the right amount of vitamin D.

According to the Neurology® study, the authors defined (25(OH)D) blood levels as follows:

  • Severely 25(OH)D deficient       <25 nmol/L
  • Deficient 25(OH)D                      25 to <50 nmol/L
  • Sufficient concentrations            50 nmol/L

Informational References:

Vitamin D Council

Vitamin D Council – Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) blood test

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) blood test (lab Test Online)


Life Extension – Vitamin D


Pomegranate Peel Contains Three Times the Total Polyphenols as Pomegranate Seeds

The pomegranate is a fruit bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family of Lythraceae .  It is known by its botanical name Punica granatum.

The most common part of the fruit that is used by many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures is the arials or seeds.  The white pulp is sometimes used in foods as well. 

The pomegranate arials (and the juice form the arials) are abundant in phytochemicals known as polyphenols.  These polyphenols include:  1

  • tannins called ellagitannins
  • punicalagins

The peel of the pomegranate is now being recognized to contain up to three (3) times the polyphenols as the arials.  The polyphenols of the pomegranate peel includes:  2  3

  • punicalagins
  • condensed tannins
  • catechins
  • gallocatechins
  • prodelphinidins

For a more comprehensive list of the active constituents and their biological activity of Punica peel, refer to the study:  A Review on Antihyperglycemic and Antihepatoprotective Activity of Eco-Friendly Punica granatum Peel Waste

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Figure 1:  Structures of polyphenolic compounds found in pomegranate peel (Punica granatum) (Source:  A Review on Antihyperglycemic and Antihepatoprotective Activity of Eco-Friendly Punica granatum Peel Waste)

Punicalin and punicalagin are the major constituents of pericarp ranging up to 0.2% of the total amount.   4

There is great potential in the therapeutic properties of pomegranate peel.  These therapeutic properties include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease  5 
  • anti-bacterial  6
  • anti-hyperlipidemic effects  7 
  • antioxidant  8  9  10 
  • antimicrobial  11 
  • arthritis  12 
  • cancer
    • bladder cancer  13
    • breast cancer  14
    • chronic myeloid leukemia 15
    • prostate cancer  16
  • cardiovascular disease  17
  • dental conditions  18
  • dermal wounds  19
  • diabetes  20 
  • hepatoprotective  21
  • protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation  22

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is ECAM2013-656172.001.jpg

Figure 2:  Principal therapeutic effects of pomegranate peel  (Source:  A Review on Antihyperglycemic and Antihepatoprotective Activity of Eco-Friendly Punica granatum Peel Waste)

Information References:

How to make your own pomegranate peel powder



eSutras Organic Pomegranate Peel Powder