Sulforaphane [SFN: 1-isothiocyanato-4-(methylsulfinyl)butane] belongs to the isothiocyanate class of phytochemicals. Glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate precursor of SFN, is a glucosinolate found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. All glucosinolates are composed of a basic structure consisting of a β-D-thioglucose group, a sulfonated oxime group, and an amino acid-derived side chain. Glucosinolates are activated by enzyme-dependent hydrolysis to their respective isothiocyanates. SFN (molecular formula C6H11NOS2) is the biologically active isothiocyanate produced by the metabolism of glucoraphanin by the enzyme myrosinase.
SFN is one of the most frequently studied plant-derived isothiocyanate organosulfur compounds. It has been reported to exhibit a wide range of biological effects including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, neuroprotective, and antidiabetic.
SFN shows a range of biological activities and health benefits in humans, has been found to be a very promising chemopreventive agent against not only a variety of cancers such as breast, prostate, colon, skin, lung, stomach, and bladder but also against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes