I’ve talked about the anti-aging effects of sulforaphane before. I take 2 capsules of BrocElite Plus® with 10 mg of sulforaphane (plus other isothiocyanates including PEITC) per day. And it impacts aging by:
- Delaying senescence (death of good cells).
- Inhibiting DNA methyltransferase (DNA mutations).
- Turning on the antioxidant response element of over 200 antioxidants.
- Inhibiting histone deacetylase.
- Inducing mitophagy (death of bad mitochondria).
- Inducing autophagy (death of bad cells).
- Promoting BDNF (preserves existing neurons & grows new neurons).
One new anti-aging benefit of sulforaphane is to create a “younger” microbiome. A peer-reviewed journal article published in 2020 by researchers out of Arkansas showed that giving old mice sulforaphane transformed their gut bacterial composition into that of young mice.
The microbiome is comprised of bacteria (as well as viruses, and fungi) in us and on us. We have trillions of bacteria in our microbiome, which is more than we have cells in our body. The bacteria in our gut is called the gut microbiome and is a complex ecosystem located in the intestinal tract.
In the study, 40 mice were examined – 20 were young (6-8 weeks old) and 20 were old (21-22 months old). There were young controls and young mice fed sulforaphane, as well as old controls and old mice who were fed sulforaphane for 2 months.
The results showed that the young controls and young mice fed sulforaphane had a similar microbiome. But in the older mice, there was a definite difference between the controls and mice fed sulforaphane.
Most notably different were bacteria from the Allobaculum genus. This genus is very low in older mice who typically have age-related mitochondrial dysfunction. In older mice taking sulforaphane, the prevalence of bacteria from the Allobaculum genus was similar to those of young mice.
So why are results from this study important? This is significant due to the benefit that bacteria from the Allobaculum genus have from their production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are potently anti-inflammatory and are known to help with a variety of health benefits including the protection of the intestinal barrier.
The shift in microbiome to a less healthy composition as you age potentially may be due to a change in diet, decrease in exercise and increase in pharmaceuticals. As you age, your immune system decreases its ability to function properly. It has been well established that approximately 70% of the immune system is located in the gut.
And while the microbiome’s impact on the immune system has not been well established, it is plausible that the two are somehow connected, potentially through how inflamed the gut is.
The main take-away from this study is that sulforaphane may have a significant benefit on the microbiome composition of older individuals. The next step is to do this in humans at a dose that is realistic to take.