Page 1: Contents
- Page 1: We are People with Parkinson’s Disease ● Standardizing the preparation of high-quality Broccoli Seed Tea ● Attenuating the impact of Parkinson’s Disease on QoL, One Symptom At a Time (OSAT) ● Sulforaphane activates the transcription factor Nrf2, the master regulator of cellular redox balance ● A strategy to stop Parkinson’s Disease: resolving mitochondrial dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons ●
- Page 2: The science behind BS-RG ● How does the BS-RG work?
- Page 3: Frequently asked questions
As the first phase winds down, the second phase begins in earnest.
After more than 3 years, about 2500 hours of intellectual effort focused on validating the Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway and its impact on Parkinson’s disease, about 250 hours of experimental work to develop a broccoli seed tea (BST) rich in isothiocyanates to activate this pathway and unquantifiable personal investment, the Parkinson’s Disease research project which I initiated in 2019 is now approaching the end of its first stage.
This line of investigation for Parkinson’s disease was abandoned by the pharmaceutical industry more than ten years ago, not because of doubts about its potential efficacy, but because its profitability could not be assured. Since plant-based molecules cannot be protected by strong patents, projects based on such molecules are often considered by commercial drug companies to carry a high financial risk which leads to them being abandoned, irrespective of any potential medical benefit for patients. My research, alongside that of numerous scientists who have worked in this field for decades, convinced me that activating the Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway could indeed deliver considerable benefit as a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients.
This project is now approaching the end of its first phase. In recent weeks we have made unprecedented progress towards maximizing the yield of sulforaphane in BST from a standard seed source. This was made possible through a novel analytical technique which I developed specifically to study the reaction kinetics of the hydrolysis of glucosinolates by the enzyme myrosinase. This technique has enabled me to converge empirically towards optimizing the hydrolysis parameters. It has also opened a Pandora’s box of surprises and questions that need to be answered.
At the same time, members of the recently-formed Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group are impatient to begin what will become an important part of the second phase, self-experimentation with a vastly improved form of Broccoli Seed Tea.
The next stage will be fundamentally different from the previous one. It can probably be summed up as: Testing, Testing, and Testing. The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group, has established a tentative program and is currently setting up the organisational structure needed to carry it through. It will require a change in dimensions in terms of scientific, technical, financial, organisational and human resources.
I am therefore calling on People with Parkinson’s disease and those who care for them to help us ensure the future development of this unique project. To my knowledge, this is the only Parkinson’s disease project, run entirely by People with Parkinson’s disease, doing practical, hands-on research. We firmly believe that we will soon be able to demonstrate its potential as a functional pathway to stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
We would like to invite everyone with an interest in Parkinson’s disease to take a look at what we are doing. If you like what you see, then support this project by joining us or by helping in whatever way you can. We are flexible and open to propositions from established research groups or organisations which might help drive this forward. Our aim is simply to get this research done as effectively as possible.
About The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group
The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group for Parkinson’s disease brings together People with Parkinson’s interested in pursuing research on sulforaphane with the aim of slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Sulforaphane activates the transcription factor Nrf2 which regulates oxidative stress, inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction in cells. According to leading scientists, these conditions are major contributors to the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Sulforaphane is made from glucoraphanin, a substance found in broccoli seeds.
We are “People with Parkinson’s Disease”
Most of us have never met in person, but we know each other pretty well. About 20 of us have been chatting about Parkinson’s disease for 2 years on Sundays, late morning for some, late afternoon for others, sharing our experiences of Parkinson’s disease across different continents. Top left, that’s Frank Mundo from Maine, USA. Frank looks after administration for the Group. He is also piloting our first OSAT (One Symptom At a Time) study looking at:
The Impact of Broccoli Seed Tea on Urinary Urgency
That’s right, we are looking at Parkinson’s disease from an entirety new perspective, “One Symptom At a Time”, starting with one which causes a lot of distress but which few people talk about: Urinary Urgency! If UU is also one of your symptoms, then talk to Frank. He runs a special Zoom meeting on Tuesday’s that is currently focused on this subject. Our second symptom study, focused on Fatigue will be launching shortly. Next to Frank, that’s me, Dr Albert Wright, a British scientist with Parkinson’s disease. I started researching ways to slow my own Parkinson’s disease progression in 2018 and began making broccoli seed tea containing sulforaphane 18 months later. I write articles about the science behind this approach in plain language so that people without scientific training can learn more about their Parkinson’s disease and how its progression can be slowed or even stopped. In fourth place on the top row is Marc Anderson who set up these Parkinson’s disease Zoom meetings. You will get to meet many other People with Parkinson’s committed to taking an active role in dealing with their PD. We talk about all things related to Parkinson’s disease: sleeping, family relations, dealing with doctors, diets, food supplements, exercise and of course, research, broccoli, sulforaphane and PD.
To join the Broccoli and Sulforaphane Research Group for Parkinson’s Disease, please click on the inscription form button here:
If you are new to Broccoli & Sulforaphane as a means to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, you might be excused for thinking that this broccoli thing is a joke. Indeed, it might be more appealing to you if sulforaphane, this remarkable molecule that might change your life, had been discovered in a rare reptile in the Amazon rain forest. But fortunately for People with Parkinson’s, sulforaphane can be made from broccoli seeds and that means we can easily have access to sulforaphane (SFN). Note however that there is very little sulforaphane in the green vegetable you put on your plate and even less in the seeds.
Standardizing the preparation of high-quality
broccoli seed Tea
Broccoli Seed Tea is a great way to make active sulforaphane. The BS-RG is working to develop and standardize its preparation in order to deliver precise quantities of active sulforaphane every time we make the tea. To do this we need a rich source of a molecule called glucoraphanin (GR). Not all broccoli seeds are rich in GR so we have procured a unique stock of seeds with a very high GR content. After that, making sulforaphane from broccoli seeds involves some complex biological and chemical reactions. We are continuously learning more about these processes in order to make the best Broccoli Seed Tea possible.
To make sulforaphane we must first extract the glucoraphanin into solution in hot water, but that is only the first step. We then follow this with some biology by adding an enzyme which breaks the GR into several smaller chemical entities. This enzyme is fragile, we have to look after it carefully and give it enough time to do it’s job. Fortunately, we can now measure how well the enzyme is getting on. After the biology, it’s time for some chemistry. Some of the chemical entities then combine to make an unstable intermediate molecule. This intermediate molecule then rearranges to make either sulforaphane, or a nitrile that we don’t want. A lot can go wrong with all these processes. Our research is directed towards understanding them and identifying the best conditions to reliably make high-quality broccoli seed tea every time.
Regular broccoli seeds are Unpredictable.
We use a unique source of very-high-quality seeds
The seeds of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), contain glucoraphanin, the precursor of sulforaphane. There are dozens of varieties of broccoli which have been developed by crossing broccoli with other brassica species to improve yield or resistance to pests. As a result the glucoraphanin content of broccoli seeds varies considerably depending on the variety, but the actual glucoraphanin content is rarely known. Indeed, some special varieties of broccoli, especially those intended for growing sprouts, do not belong to the Brassica oleracea var. italica species and the seeds contain no glucoraphanin at all. Given this situation, it is extremely difficult for individuals to obtain a reliable a source of broccoli seeds for the purpose of making BST containing sulforaphane.
To avoid this problem, the BS-RG has procured a stock of broccoli seeds with a high, quantified glucoraphanin content for use in our research. These seeds are not for sale and are not commercially available to the general public. Furthermore, we are not authorized to divulge the source, the supplier or other details about these seeds.
attenuating the impact of Parkinson’s disease on
Quality of life, one symptom at a time (OSAT)
An important part of our research is to evaluate the effects of BST on Parkinson’s disease, One Symptom At a Time (OSAT), starting with symptoms that severely impact people’s Quality of Life. After discussions with the members, we have selected three symptom groups for this program. These are Urinary Urgency, Fatigue and Speech Impairment. The first of these, The Urinary Urgency Group is being constituted by Frank Mundo as I write (September 2022) and will be followed shortly afterwards by our second OSAT group : Fatigue. For this reason, if you wish to join the BS-RG, you will be invited to indicate the symptoms that most affect your quality of life. The information you provide will remain confidential. The success of this program requires that all participants are fully committed to completing any experimental program they may decide to participate in (low dropout rate) and to understanding the science and the risks involved. People who demonstrate their willingness to achieve the required level of understanding and commitment will be contacted to discuss the possibility of their participation in a future self-experimentation program.
The self-experimentation program of the BS-RG is very much dependent on the availability of a standardized method for making BST in order to be able to deliver the most precise quantities of active sulforaphane with each preparation. Research into the complex processes involved in transforming glucoraphanin into sulforaphane is being carried out by Dr Albert Wright. This research has enabled new information to be used in reformulating and improving the performance and reproducibility of BST. The latest version of the “Protocol for the preparation of the Broccoli Seed Tea”, dated September 2022 is confidential and is reserved solely for members directly involved in the self-experimentation programs. This protocol is specifically designed to optimize the yield of sulforaphane from our stock of broccoli seeds with a high, quantified glucoraphanin content and will be used in all of our research programs worldwide.
Sulforaphane activates the transcription factor Nrf2,
the master regulator of cellular redox balance
The mission of the BS-RG is to develop and standardize the preparation of broccoli seed tea in order to be able to deliver precise quantities of sulforaphane to activate Nrf2 as a strategy to stop the processes that drive the progression of Parkinson’s disease. BS-RG members will have priority to benefit from this research.
To achieve this objective, we will address several areas simultaneously:
- To obtain a reliable and sufficient source of high-quality broccoli seeds to enable all experimental work to be done using a standardized source material with a quantified GR content. This objective has already been achieved.
- To define a standardized preparation protocol to reproducibly produce a broccoli seed tea with a relatively constant, known sulforaphane content. We are making excellent progress towards achieving this objective.
- To enable people with Parkinson’s disease to carry out well-designed self-experimentation on the activation of the transcription factor Nrf2 using a broccoli seed tea prepared to meet the above specifications. This is in progress.
- To share the information generated by this research, in priority with active BS-RG members.
A strategy to stop Parkinson’s Disease:
Resolving mitochondrial dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons
The BS-RG is focused on stopping the processes that damage and destroy dopamine-producing neurons. These are the earliest and most localised processes in the chain of events causing Parkinson’s disease.
The final objective of the BS-RG is to use sulforaphane in Broccoli seed tea to activate the transcription factor Nrf2 as a means of stopping oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage in neurons. These processes are involved in a vicious circle that generates increasing amounts of ROS and increases the damage to mitochondria inside the neurons that make dopamine. The reduced energy production and increased ROS which results, reduces the capacity of these neurons to produce and deliver dopamine in more distant regions of the brain. This internal damage to these neurons is the very first step in the development of Parkinson’s disease, but it goes unrecognized for many years because the symptoms it creates (fatigue and other non-motor symptoms), can also be attributed to conditions due to age rather than to Parkinson’s disease. Any dopamine shortage in more distant brain regions reduces the capacity of these regions to function properly. The brain adapts to this situation by making new connections reduce the workload of the affected regions but this solution is imperfect and leads to the development of motor symptoms. At the point of diagnosis, both of these conditions (internal neuron damage and regional brain adaptation) are present and progress simultaneously.
We believe that if we can target the causes of this damage to dopamine-producing neurons, we may be able to achieve several things:
- reduce and eventually eliminate the chronic state of stress and fatigue of dopaminergic neurons and attenuate the symptoms caused by this chronic state,
- improve the energy-producing capacity of these neurons by renewing damaged mitochondria,
- improve the redistribution of dopamine to those parts of the brain that are suffering dopamine shortage,
- enable dopamine neurons to repair damage by regrowing the axon arborescence,
- prevent further damage to the more distant brain regions.
The first 3 of these changes involve molecular or internal cellular operations, such as neutralizing oxidative stress (with a timescale of hours) and improving mitochondrial function (with a timescale of days). With effective therapy, these changes could therefore be accomplished over quite short periods and the impact observable through improvements in non-motor symptoms over the same timescales.
The fourth objective will require cellular repair and regrowth of axons and synapses. These processes may be only partially achievable will take much longer to complete than the timescale of the proposed experiments.
The fifth may have a purely preventative role, with no observable effects over the timescale of our experimentation.