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Sulforaphane is a compound found in broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. It has been used to reduce markers of cancer. Sulforaphane can be taken by eating these veggies. It can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.


There are no advised doses for sulforaphane.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Type 2 diabetes —may improve insulin resistance C1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Autism spectrum disorder A1
  • Prostate cancer B1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take sulforaphane in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Autism Spectrum Disorder

A1. Singh K, Connors SL, et al. Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 28;111(43):15550-15555.

B. Prostate Cancer

B1. Alumkal JJ, Slottke R, et al. A phase II study of sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extracts in men with recurrent prostate cancer. Invest New Drugs. 2015 Apr;33(2):480-489.

C. Type 2 Diabetes

C1. Bahadoran Z, Tohidi M, et al. Effect of broccoli sprouts on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Nov;63(7):767-771.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/27/2020