Glucoraphanin from broccoli is similar to DHA: We're educating the market that not all broccoli extracts are equal, says BPP


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Photo credit: Sanjay Acharya
Photo credit: Sanjay Acharya
Building consumer and market understanding of the benefits of glucoraphanin from broccoli is a lot like the DHA story, says leading broccoli extract supplier Brassica Protection Products (BPP), as it takes the ‘important step’ of self-affirming the GRAS status of its SGS ingredient.

The ingredient’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status covers a variety of beverages, such as tea, coffee, flavored waters, and sports drinks, BPP’s Sarah Sullivan told NutraIngredients-USA.

Sullivan said that the company currently sells Brassica tea containing 15mg SGS per tea bag, and it expects more products to be available soon. 

“The challenge right now is really just educating companies on what glucoraphanin is, the difference between us and products claiming to contain glucoraphanin and the difference between our product and products simply claiming to be ‘a broccoli extract’,” ​she said.   

Sullivan spent numerous years at Martek, and likens glucoraphanin to DHA. “This is very similar to the early stages of Martek where we had to first educate people that not all omega-3s are the same,”​ she told us. “And then educate them that not all sources of omega-3s are the same.  And then educate them that they needed to look for DHA on food labels.”

From glucoraphanin to sulforaphane

Glucoraphanin is the precursor to sulforaphane , which has been identified as the most beneficial compound in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Sulforaphane is a potent natural inducer of Phase 2 detoxification enzymes, which eliminate many types of free radicals and environmental pollutants, and trigger ongoing antioxidant action that lasts for as much as three days, said the company.

The enzyme myrosinase is required to convert glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, and it is often denatured during cooking, or not present in many commercial extracts, there is scientific evidence to support the production of sulforaphane from glucoraphanin by gut microflora, including Cancer Prev. Res.​ (March 2011, Vol. 4, pp. 384-395), and Mol. Nutr. Food Res.​ (Dec 2012, Vol. 56, pp. 1906-1916).

Tony Talalay, CEO of BPP, said the GRAS self-affirmation is an “important step in establishing the commercial value of SGS as the highest quality broccoli product available for broad consumer use to support health and wellness.

“Importantly, the [GRAS] panel did not just evaluate the safety of the finished broccoli extract, but extensively reviewed our manufacturing processes and controls to ensure that SGS meets the highest standards.”

FDA GRAS & supplements

According to the GRAS self-affirmation, the dose per serving is 115mg/SGS which is 15mgs of glucoraphanin per serving.

“While we only included beverages in our notification, we plan to amend the list based on customer interests,” ​she added. “SGS is very temperature stable, meaning it can be added to hot and cold food/beverage applications.  And we are investigating many other applications that we think SGS would work well in.”

Sullivan confirmed that the company is already working to obtaining a letter of no objection from FDA for the GRAS status. “Based on feedback from the panel, we feel that FDA will have no objection,”​ she said.

The ingredient has been available for dietary supplement manufacturers for several years, and BPP SGS is “doing very well,”​ said Sullivan, “especially in the health professional channel. 

“This is because so much of the research is on anti-cancer benefits and that’s a hard message to communicate on label,”​ she added. “One of the projects I’m currently working on is combing through the science to better understand what structure function claims we feel can be supported so that foods and supplements can make impactful claims on label.”

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