The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group for Parkinson’s Disease

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What is the Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group and how does it work?

The linked file explains how the BS-RG is being reorganised for the benefits of People with Parkinson’s disease. It explains how the Group is structured into two functionally different arms:

  • The Facebook group, a discussion group open to anyone with an interest in Broccoli seeds, sprouts, sulforaphane and their potential impact on Parkinson’s disease. you can find that here : https://www.facebook.com/groups/645876747094585
  • The Experimental arm of the BS-RG which brings together People with Parkinson’s Disease committed to conducting their own research into the impact of sulforaphane on the progression of Parkinson’s disease and developing a high-performance Broccoli Seed Tea. The activities of the Experimental Arm are described and reported on this site.

This section carries out practical experimental research on Broccoli Seed Tea, sulforaphane and Parkinson’s disease. These are lengthy and costly process, until recently funded on a personal basis. From the 1 December members will be asked to contribute to the operations of the Group. Access to the website will remain free of charge.

There are several links in the attachment which will explain more about the Group, its goals and the underpinning research.

Summary

  • Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are major conditions driving the loss of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease.
  • The transcription factor Nrf2 is the master regulator of redox balance and mitochondrial renewal in astrocytes and neurons.
  • Sulforaphane is a potent activator of the Nrf2 pathway. It is made by hydrolysis of glucoraphanin. The best source of glucoraphanin is broccoli seeds.
  • The Broccoli and Sulforaphane Research Group has developed techniques to evaluate broccoli seeds and optimise the yield of sulforaphane in a standardized broccoli seed tea.
  • Broccoli seed tea is now being used by BS-RG members to evaluate the capacity of sulforaphane to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
  • This program looks at Parkinson’s disease in an innovative way – One Symptom At a Time – selected on the basis of their impact on Quality of Life.

Progress

As the first phase ends successfully, 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 300 hours of experimental work to develop a broccoli seed tea (BST) rich in isothiocyanates to activate the Nrf2 pathway and unquantifiable personal investment, the Parkinson’s Disease research project, initiated in 2019 has finally completed its first phase.

Investigating the activation of the Nrf2 pathway by sulforaphane 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. The evaluation of decades of research by leading scientists, provided convincing evidence that activating the Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway could deliver benefit as a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients. This hypothesis was tested for 30 months using an extract of broccoli seeds containing sulforaphane, the potent activator of the the transcription factor Nrf2. During that time, research into the biological and chemical processes involved in the conversion of glucoraphanin to sulforaphane lead to progressive improvements in the quality of the broccoli seed tea.

October 2022 marked a breakthrough in stabilizing the yield of sulforaphane from a standard seed source. This was made possible through the development of novel research specifically designed to study the reaction kinetics of the hydrolysis of glucosinolates by the enzyme myrosinase to produce sulforaphane. As a result, the BS-RG now has exclusive access to a set of well-defined processing parameters (the BST Protocol) that enable users to prepare a standardized Broccoli Seed Tea with a consistent yield of sulforaphane. The establishment of the latest BST Protocol (November 2022), marks the end of the basic research phase of the project and opens the way to the second phase: consolidation of knowledge already accumulated and self-experimentation using standardised BST by members of the BS-RG to study Parkinson’s disease.

Members of the Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group launched the second phase in late October 2022 with a pilot study of the impact of a standardised Broccoli Seed Tea on Urinary Urgency in Parkinson’s disease. All participants in this self-experimentation study had declared Urinary Urgency as their symptom of PD having the most severe impact on their quality of life. Other symptoms having a strong impact on quality of life are also being monitored. The next symptom study to be launched will be “Fatigue”. This study will be launched in December 2022.

The next stage will be fundamentally different from the first one. It can probably be summed up as: Testing, Testing, and Testing. The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group, has established a tentative program and is setting up the organisational structure in several countries needed to carry it through. This will require a change in dimensions in terms of scientific, technical, financial, organisational and human resources.

This is the only Parkinson’s disease project doing practical, hands-on research, run entirely by People with Parkinson’s disease . We firmly believe that we will soon be able to demonstrate its potential as a functional therapy to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease. We invite everyone with an interest in Parkinson’s disease to read these pages and learn more about what we are doing. If you like what you see, then please support this project by joining us or by helping financially. We are also open to propositions from established research groups or organisations to partner with us. Our aim is simply to get this research done as effectively as possible.

This research has been funded for more than 3 years on a personal basis. The costs of the next phase will far exceed what I can fund personally. Please consider donating to enable this unique research program to continue.

This will enable the purchase of much-needed precision laboratory equipment and support our growing experimental program.

Dr Albert Wright

About The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group

The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group for Parkinson’s disease is a community of People with Parkinson’s committed to 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 drivers of 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 in November 2022. 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 & 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 has now finalised a protocol for the preparation of a standardised high quality BST. To do this we needed a rich source of a molecule called glucoraphanin (GR). Since not all broccoli seeds are rich in GR we have procured a unique stock of seeds with a 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 just like making a herbal tea. We then follow this by adding an enzyme called myrosinase, which can break the GR by cutting the S-bond that binds the glucose molecule (C6H12O6) and liberates it. This is a slow process which involves direct physical contact between GR molecule and the active site of the myrosinase enzyme. There are several types of myrosinase which we select from other brassica species on the basis of their activity and resistance to thermal degradation. The activity of all myrosinase enzymes increase with temperature but so does their rate of degradation. For each type of myrosinase there is an optimum time/temperature window which enables the enzyme to hydrolyse the glucoraphanin without being significantly degraded.

The result of the hydrolysis reaction is an unstable intermediate molecule [shown in brackets]. This intermediate molecule then rearranges to make either sulforaphane, or a nitrile, a molecule that is not biologically active. Many things can go wrong with these reactions. Our research is directed towards understanding these processes and identifying the best conditions to reliably make high-quality broccoli seed tea every time. These conditions are incorporated into the BST Protocol.

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 was launched by Frank Mundo in October 2022 and will be followed in November 2022 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 the experimental program they decide to participate in (low dropout rate) and to understanding 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 having 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 was 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 October 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.

To join the Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group for Parkinson’s Disease, please click on the inscription form button here:

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 are addressing 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 now been achieved.

  • To define a preparation protocol to reliably produce a standardised Broccoli Seed Tea with a consistent sulforaphane yield.

This objective has now been achieved.

  • 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 objective 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.

The target processes for the BST-RG are those that sustain the vicious circle of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.

We believe that if we can target the causes of this damage to dopamine-producing neurons, we may be able to achieve several things:

  1. reduce and eventually eliminate the chronic state of stress and fatigue of dopaminergic neurons and attenuate the symptoms caused by this chronic state,
  2. improve the energy-producing capacity of these neurons by renewing damaged mitochondria,
  3. improve the redistribution of dopamine to those parts of the brain that are suffering dopamine shortage,
  4. enable dopamine neurons to repair damage by regrowing the axon arborescence,
  5. 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.

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6 thoughts on “The Broccoli & Sulforaphane Research Group for Parkinson’s Disease”

    1. Impressive article! Well written and very easy to understand by lay persons. Understanding that standardized BST could use the NRF2 pathway to block free radical damage at the mitochondria level is an important key .

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  1. Other patient Scientists Ben Stecher (Ontario), Gary Sharpe PhD(UK) and Frank Church PhD would be terrific subject/assets for this project. They are widely known and published at various levels. Ben and Frank are DBS. Not sure about Gary.

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  2. Hi just stumbled on this page by pure chance but comprehending the cause of mental disease and other degenerative/autoimmune diseases and most importantly how to fix them, is a subject that i am very de interested on . After reading on the strategy that (STOP) are implementing to deal with the damage to the dopaminergic neurons i would like share a few ideas, and also to bring to your attention that it is possible to also use Moringa plant to activate NRF2 just as strongly as sulforaphane from broccoli seeds https://link.springer.com/article/10.1208/s12248-019-0301-6
    Also since the reason you pursuing NRF2 gene activation is to block the free radical damage at the level of the mitochondria why not use the main antioxidant the mitochondria already produces and uses to fight the oxidative damage ? Melatonin is the most powerful endogenous antioxidant that can block mitochondrial damage in a very effective way once it reacts with a oxygen species the metabolites it produces can further continue to fight free radicals without needing to be recycled this way not depleting other antioxidant stores , it also can repair the mitochondrial dysfunction and reestablish normal energy 36/38 ATP’s production by stopping the vicious cycle ((Warburg effect 4 ATP’s ) i think that due the nature of the molecule Melatonin it can achieve the same as NRF2 activation https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/25874 and both strategy’s should complement each other very well. High dose melatonin is very safe almost side effect free (it has been already used for the same reasons to treat PD patients )
    Another thing i would like to add is stopping the damage and protecting the Neurons is extremely important and will probably stop progression of the disease , but that is not enough we must also understand the root cause so we can fix it, there has been some amazing research done on the field of the microbiome with some very astonishing results linking the onset of Parkinson with a dysfunctional microbiome (most people with Parkinson disease have usually had gut problems , leaky gut , constipation etc) when doing Fecal mater transplant using a PD patient as a donor to implant their microbiome on mice grown on completely sterile conditions (no microbiome) , the mice develop Parkinson disease symptoms showing that the microbe profile of the gut can be a strong causative factor , the same have been done with other degenerative diseases with similar outcomes , also cases of Alzheimer ,dementia and bipolar disorder have seen improvements or total remission after receiving FMT from healthy donors .
    One therapy that have been showing amazing results on the treatment of Parkinson disease is Fetal stem cells injections where patients have regained the control of their motor skills , unfortunately it has been blocked from being implemented on most of the world and it is just available in Ukraine from Emcell clinic , this is nice documentary that shows the success it as in various diseases (including Parkinson) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw7fkz80380

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    1. Tried to enter my occupation in the skills section of inscription but it won’t allow any entry. Also, there is no USA on the country list.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for this info Bob Wood. Sorry about that. There were several errors in the design of that inscription form that went unnoticed. I have corrected it and hopefully it will now work properly.

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