Is It Possible For A Broccoli Sprout Extract To Help Treat Schizophrenia?

Many individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia have incidents of hallucinations and delusions which can potentially effect their daily activities. 

Nevertheless, those diagnosed may find it difficult to look for medical care. In the opinion of World Health Organization (WHO), schizophrenia has an impact on more than 21 million individuals all over the world, but many are unable to receive good health treatment. Drugs are a well known type of cure but they do not affect everyone who has this disease. They are attached with a never ending list of side effects, commencing from cardiovascular issues to well known disease called “the shakes.”

Researchers at the John Hopkins Schizophrenia Center in Baltimore, MD, are sure that a chemical imbalance in the brain might be held accountable for schizophrenia, and utilized a supplement extract from broccoli sprouts to adjust it. There are various studies recently published to examine this imbalance.

Dissimilarities in the brain

The initial stage of the analysis, the results which are to be seen in JAMA Psychiatry, included studying brain dissimilarities between individuals with schizophrenia and those not diagnosed with it.

Altogether, there were 81 individuals observed with schizophrenia from the John Hopkins Schizophrenia Center, including 91 individuals who weren’t affected with schizophrenia. Those in the latter group experienced their first psychosis episode in the previous 2 years.

The researchers used a magnet to calculate five brain regions, and they removed magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) data. These processes indicated the levels of many chemicals present in the brain. On an estimate, people diagnosed with schizophrenia had 4% less of the chemical glutamate in the anterior cingulate cortex region. Glutamate’s job is to transfer signals between nerve cells. A principle has been discovered since 1980 that glutamate has a duty in the onset of schizophrenia; from then researchers have discovered scientific proof to confirm the connection.

Glutamate is seen in the chemical glutathione. In the latest research, the scientists discovered that individuals with schizophrenia had a reduction of glutathione in a brain area known as anterior cingulate cortex and present in the brain’s thalamus. Particularly, those with schizophrenia are seen to have 3% less glutathione in the anterior cingulate cortex and 8% low glutathione in the thalamus.

Managing chemicals

The next research, of which the findings are seen in the journal PNAS, concentrated on the governing of glutamate and if the brain used glutathione to preserve this certain chemical. If this was the answer, the researchers further needed to look if they could take help of a drug to release and preserve glutamate when required.

The scientists utilized a drug called L-Buthionine sulfoximine on rat brain cells. Incorportating this drug avoided an enzyme that changes glutamate into glutathione from working, outcome being the brain using increased glutamate. By proceeding with this, nerve cells transmitted more signals to other cells, imitating the brain order of individuals with schizophrenia.

Changing this procedure to preserve glutamate, rather than utilizing it, needed something a little distinct. Broccoli sprouts have a chemical called sulforaphane, that can turn on a gene that can make more of the enzyme that changes glutamate into glutathione. When glutathione interacts with the rat brain cells, the signals dispatched by the cells reduce. This performance is contrasting of what happens to individuals with schizophrenia.

The last study that is published in Molecular Neuropsychiatry, attempted to copy the glutathione effects of sulforaphane in well and fit human brains. Four women and five men consumed two 100-micromole everyday doses of sulforaphane for 7 days in a row. The tablets were in the form of broccoli sprout extract. MRS data observed three brain areas pre and post consuming the medicines and it was seen , after a week, that an increase of 30% in glutathione levels was evident.

A possible procedure to avoid the disease

Further research is required on the dosages and timings to see if sulforaphane is a protective and effective way to lower schizophrenia symptoms, the scientists add. Their small-scale research was able to discover, however, the only drawback was occurrence of stomach upsets. This happened only when the individuals took their capsules without prior eating.

Sulforaphane supplements are there to purchase, but the team warns not to take them without a consultation from the doctor, as it still unknown if the commerical version will create an impact. Gradually, the researchers have believe that sulforaphane can become an alternative altogether for the current antipsychotic drugs that are taken for schizophrenia.

“The supplement could even go further in managing the condition”, comments Dr. Akira Sawa.It’s possible that future studies could show sulforaphane to be a safe supplement to give people at risk of developing schizophrenia as a way to prevent, delay, or blunt the onset of symptoms.” further says Dr. Akira Sawa, Ph.D.director of the John Hopkins Schizophrenia Center.