Sulforaphane: A prophylactic natural compound for psychiatric disorders

Kenji Hashimoto, Ph.D.


Professor, Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, Japan



Accumulating evidence suggests that the nutrition might influence the development of numerous psychiatric disorders, and that inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in the pathophysiology of these psychiatric disorders. The potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compound sulforaphane (SFN) is found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli sprout. These beneficial effects of SFN are thought to be mediated via activation of the transcription factor Keap1-Nrf2 system which plays a key role in the inflammation and oxidative stress. Here, we discuss the potential role of SFN in the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders. We will talk about the potential of SFN as prevention and treatment of depression and psychosis using animal models. We found that dietary intake of SFN-rich foods can prevent the onset of depression by chronic social defeat stress and inflammation in rodents. Furthermore, we found that dietary intake of SFN-rich foods can prevent the onset of psychosis in adult offspring after maternal immune activation.


In conclusion, these results suggest that dietary intake of SFN-rich foods might have prophylactic effects on psychiatric disorders.