Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dr Dolittle, Autism and the Broccoli Sprouts

In the Dr Dolittle books and subsequent films, a man develops the power to communicate with animals.  It seems that one effect of broccoli sprout powder (and we assume Sulforaphane), in autism,  is an urge to talk, not only to humans, but also to animals.

Monty, aged 11 with ASD, took his first dose of 2.5ml of broccoli powder (Supersprouts brand from Australia) and after about half an hour developed euphoria.  The laughter later subsided and throughout the day he was very talkative.  This was relevant speech and not repeating things he had heard previously.  Other than the euphoria, which is the word chosen by elder brother Ted, a nice development was the desire to communicate with the animal world.

After a visit to his favourite ice cream shop, he looked up and saw the big railway bridge. “Bye bye railway station” commented Monty.  Walking up the hill we first passed a kitten, playing by the verge, “Hello baby kitten! Bye bye baby kitten!”  Then a big dog appeared “Hello big white dog and a woman! Bye bye big white dog and woman!”.  This was all rather unexpected.

The next day, another 2.5ml of broccoli powder and the same result.  Euphoria and lots of talking.

Then I decided to start experimenting with the dose.  I gave 1.25ml three times a day.

After the breakfast dose, no euphoria but still plenty of speech.  After lunch, the second dose and the return of mild euphoria.  After the evening dose, more euphoria.  The half-life of Sulforaphane in people is claimed to be about two hours.

Based on this limited experience, I think 2.5ml is about right.  There is no need for more.


I paid AU$ 110 (US$ 95 or GBP 60) for 300g of broccoli powder including shipping.

2.5ml of powder weighs 1.1g.  So using that daily dose of 2.5ml the cost would be 35 US cents (22 UK pence).

My earlier assumption was that a dose of about 18 g of fresh sprouts would produce the required level of Sulforaphane.  In theory, this would be 3 ml of broccoli powder, if it had 100% of the right enzymes in it and none of the bad stuff (called ESP, from the last post).  I was quite surprised at the effect of 2.5ml.  Johns Hopkins told me that most broccoli powders are no good; that is why I looked around before choosing the Australian product.

As a dosage comparison, this supplement is sold in Australia with a suggested daily dose of 5g, which equates to about 11 ml. 

So my “autism dose" looks quite conservative.  I think even half the suggested adult dose would make Monty completely hyper.

Note that the dose of the anti-oxidant NAC used in autism trials is 4X the usual adult dose of NAC and 2X the adult dose for adults with COPD (severe asthma).

The effect on an adult

I tried a scaled up dose myself, but sadly no euphoria followed.

Monty is already taking a potent anti-oxidant called NAC, which has been investigated in an autism trial at Stanford.
The broccoli sprouts produce a substance called Sulforaphane (SFN).  This substance activates Nrf2 which upregulates “phase II enzymes”; they increase the body’s antioxidant response.  SFN is also an inhibitor of HDAC (Histone Deacetylase) and this may give SFN the ability to target aberrant epigenetic patterns.
SFN is therefore a secondary anti-oxidant.  It has been shown to improve the body’s response to cancer and environmental toxins.  The chemoprotective properties may result from SFN’s epigenetic properties or the anti-oxidant properties.
SFN was shown in a recent study at Johns Hopkins to improve autism in young adults.  It is not known definitively why it was effective.

My experiment indicates that, in classic autism, Sulforaphane (SFN) does provide a marked and immediate benefit over NAC alone, which is what I set out to determine.

Australian broccoli sprout powder appears to be a relatively cheap and effective way to make SFN at home. 


  1. Hi Peter. I found your blog several months ago and have been reading it almost daily since then. I have a 4 year old ASD son that I would catagorize as "classic autism" with delayed speech, extreme anxiety, OCD behaviors, SIB, and GI issues. We tried NAC (pharmaNAC brand) but never got up to the full dose in the study because of some GI issues that did not go well with NAC. I am going to try Supersprouts soon but have a question about your conclusion. Are you saying Sulforaphane should be taken by itself without NAC, or is taking it along with NAC preferred?

    1. Hi JB. What I am saying is just because you have one "anti-oxidant therapy" does not mean you have finished the job. I half expected no effect from the broccoli because I was already giving the NAC, but the two together are better than NAC alone. So I will give both. I will even look at other ant-oxidants, since clearly the effects are different.
      If your son has problems with NAC, try ALA (alpha lipoic acid), which also needs no prescription. If GI issues are a problem look at mast cell stabilizers, if that is the problem they work very fast.

  2. Hi Peter, I'm glad it worked well for Monty.
    Maybe with SFN, as with NAC, its a good idea to start with a more reliable source to be sure if it works or not, and to fine tune dosage.
    I did like the idea of broccolli sprouts, but I'm sure I won't manage to do it properly and consistently over time.

  3. I am a little confused. You just give Monty the sprout powder you bought? I am giving my 7 year old organic sulfur. He is definitely doing well with that, but I want the chatty "Hi Kitty! Bye Kitty!" effect. So,I want to try the sulfuraphane, but should I drop the sulfur? Do you have to wait 30 minutes before you give Monty his other vitamins/medications? I think you got him the powder, but what do you mix it into? Thanks for the info!

  4. Monty has some other vitamins/medications at about 7am in glass filled with water/juice. I just add the broccoli powder to this existing mixture. It does make it go green and have a strong smell, but he drinks it up with no problem. Some kids are much more fussy and then you might need to give the broccoli powder in something else like apple sauce, or mix it in food. I did not stop any of his existing vitamins/medications. Be aware that according to the "experts" most broccoli powders do not have the active enzyme needed. It got destroyed in the processing. This is why I looked far and wide for a good one. There may be many others. It was the euphoria after 30 minutes that proved to me that my powder was certainly doing something. You can imagine many things, but not that.

  5. Hi Peter, We tried 2.5 gm of SuperSprouts along with NAC (pharmaNAC -3x 900mg tablets) and saw immediate effects after about 45 minutes. Our son has always had SIB and agression issues, but over the last 4 weeks, they escalated to the point where he had to be hospitalized. So far, this is the only thing that has given him any relief. He still is on edge though with sky high anxiety, but the favorable mood the sprouts plus NAC creates has tapered the raging down significantly. Are you still giving Monty 2.5 ml once a day, or have you modified that dosage? Are supersprouts going to be part of your official polypill?

    1. Great news. Yes I will put the sprouts in my official polypill. I even started to write the post about it, but I thought it might be premature. I look on the internet for other people who have found it successful. A few hundred have read my posts, I have no idea why they do not try it. I think 2.5ml once a day is the right dosage for my 11 year old. If you have SIB problems, I would try Verapamil. It stopped the SIB within about 10 minutes in my son. It is like removing the fuse from bomb, the explosion just cannot happen. The first time I used it, it was such a wonderful experience, like putting out a fire that nobody could extinguish.

    2. Funny you say that. While my son was in the hospital, the psychiatrists tried the usual round robin of antipsychotics and antidepressants. None of them worked. We were discharged and decided to handle it at home with outpatient psychiatry. I told our new psychiatrist we want off all of the antipsychotics (right now he is on Abilify) because they do not work and we want to try Verapamil. She wanted some supporting documentation on Verapamil so I sent her Dr Persico's video and your blog. Surprisingly, she was impressed and is in the process of checking with the hospital Cardiology department for it's safety (my son is 4). I am hoping to hear back from her today about it (fingers crossed).

  6. Hi Peter, just getting round to ordering this. Is it SuperSprouts which is best? Thank you as always for your amazing help.

    1. Yes Monica, that brand does actually work. It looks like most people respond to it. If it works, you should see a positive mood change from the first dose.

  7. Great! Have ordered some (for the whole family!) thanks again. Monica

  8. Thank you! I've ordered the Australian brand myself. One question: someone mentioned that the sulphur may increase sulphur-eating bacteria in the gut. Would the use of an probiotic be advisable? Also, does it matter if it's taken with meals?



  9. Thanks for your wonderful blog. My 5 year old daughter had a reaction similar to your son when I gave her 2.5ml Supersprouts powder.

    You mention that "2.5ml of powder weighs 1.1g" but I only get about 0.6g to 0.9g for 2.5ml depending on how tightly packed it is (I tend to use a scale more than a measuring spoon)?

    1. I think it varies from batch to batch, even the colour varies. I would use the smallest amount that gives you the effect you want.

  10. Mr. Peter, did you discontinue the use of sulforaphane simply because you saw the NAC better, do you know or believe that a combination of both would be best?

    1. Carlos, the effect of NAC is not the same as sulforaphane.

      Long term users of sulforaphane have commented that over time they have had to increase the dosage substantially, otherwise the effect was lost. This meant increasing the amount of broccoli powder by 3X.

      If your child responds well to NAC and broccoli/sulforaphane, it would make sense to use both.

  11. Does it cause fever, I gave it to my daughter, could not see any changes except she got little fever


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