Prostaphane is called the first supplement containing active sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a phytonutrient that comes broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. The supplement is marketed to help men over 45 who have prostate problems such as difficulty urinating, weak urination stream, and frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom. Does Prostaphane work? Let's look at clinical research and see what we can discover.
What is Prostaphane
Prostaphane is basically a sulforaphane supplement. Sulforaphane is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrient in broccoli which studies have noted may have health benefits. The”Prosta” in the name of Prostaphane is a reference to the effects of sulforaphane on prostate health.
The makers of Prostaphane state their supplement is different than others because it contains sulforaphane. Other supplements contain precursors of sulforaphane (like glucoraphanin and thioglucoside hydroxysulfate).
While these other phytonutrients are important, they must be converted to sulforaphane. Prostaphane would be seen as better because no conversion is needed.
Each tablet of Prostaphane is said to contain 3.5 oz (100g) of raw broccoli.
What Is Sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one of the many plant nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. More specifically, we make sulforaphane when we chew foods that contain its precursor compound (called glucoraphanin). Chewing releases the precursor compound. This, in turn, reacts with an enzyme (called myrosinase) that forms sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane is a member of a larger class of plant nutrients called isothiocyanates. As the name suggests, sulforaphane contains sulfur, an important element with many uses in the body. For example, sulforaphane can increase glutathione production.
Garlic is another potent sulfur-containing food.
Various studies suggest sulforaphane has a wide range of health effects. Just some of those include:
While impressive, most studies involve lab animals or large populations of people who eat cruciforms vegetables. These leaves open the possibility that the food may be more powerful than individual nutrients in the food.
Foods With Sulforaphane
Technically speaking, foods do not contain sulforaphane. Rather, foods like cruciferous vegetables contain a precursor molecule (called glucoraphanin) which reacts with an enzyme (called myrosinase), and this reaction forms sulforaphane when those foods are chewed.
That said foods that produce the most sulforaphane when eaten include:
- Broccoli (and broccoli sprouts)
French researchers published a study on Prostaphane. This study, which is in french, involved men with prostate cancer who were given 60 mg of Prostaphane for 5 days.
The expression of a prostate cancer gene was suppressed after taking the supplement. This study appears to be a summary of an investigation that appeared in a clinical journal. As such, there are aspects of the study we don't know.
Another investigation has noted the supplement slows the rise in PSA in men who had prostate removal surgery.
Prostaphane And Cancer
Two studies so far have looked at the effects of this supplement on prostate cancer (see next section). More work needs to be done on other types of cancer.
Prostaphane And Prostate Cancer
One study has noted Prostaphane seems to reduce the expression of a cancer gene. In another -more interesting – investigation, researchers recruited 78 men whose PSA levels were rising after having their prostates removed. The researchers gave Prostaphane (60 mg/day) to the men 6 months, followed by 2 months of no treatment.
Results showed the Prostataphane supplement slowed the rise in PSA after about 3 months of use. In theory, this might mean the supplement may slow the rate of prostate cancer progression. More research is needed to confirm this.
It will require more studies to answer bigger questions such as does taking the supplement to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and does the supplement extend the lives of those who have prostate cancer.
Prostaphane And NRF2
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is a hot topic in the world of anti-aging medicine. In short, NRF2 is a compound that helps us make antioxidants. Aging is associated with a decline in antioxidant defense mechanisms.
So, the better our natural antioxidant defenses are, the better we can protect ourselves from free radical damage (oxidative stress) – and maybe aging.
The Protandim supplement is also touted to raise NFR2.
Some have wondered if Prostaphane can raise NFR2. To date, none of the studies on this supplement have looked at NRF2. That said, there is research on sulforaphane. Research involving isolated cells has noted sulforaphane can raise NRF2 in lung cells of rats exposed to cigarette smoke (I know, yuck!).
The research is intriguing but most involve rats, mice, and isolated cells in a petri dish. Clinical trials involving humans cannot be located.
For more on NRF2 see:
The supplement website (Prostaphane.com) states each table has the following ingredients:
Anti-caking agent: dicalcium phosphate; bulking agent: microcrystalline cellulose; maltodextrin; anti-caking agents (magnesium carbonate, silica [nano] and magnesium stearate); broccoli (Brassicaoleracea) seed extract; film-coating agent (thickener: hydroxypropylmethylcellulose; bulking agents: microcrystalline cellulose; stearic acid; coloring (titanium dioxide, quinoline yellow, patent blue)); thickener: arabic gum.
Who Makes Prostaphane
The company is called Triballat‐Noyal and is based in France. The branch of the company which deals with Prostaphane is Nutrinov Laboratories. TriballatNoyal is a respected brand, having been in business for over 3 generations.
The company is located at BP 93106 – 35 531 Noyal sur Vilaine – France.
Company phone number is +33 (02) 99 04 11 11.
1 Is Prostaphane a drug?
This is a dietary supplement. It's not a prescription medication.
2 How do they make It?
Prostaphane is made from broccoli seeds. The oil is removed from the seeds prior to the extraction of sulforaphane. All seeds are non-GMO and the processing of the supplement takes place entirely in France in cooperation with European regulations.
3 Does it shrink prostate size?
It is unknown if Prostaphane will shrink the size of an enlarged prostate. At least one study has noted the supplement slows the rise in PSA. Elevated PSA levels may signal prostate cancer. Preliminary evidence also suggests sulforaphane may inhibit enzymes involved in the formation of prostate cancer.
4 How many do you take?
The company suggests 1-3 tablets per day, taken with water before a meal for 3 to 6 months. Each tablet contains 10 mg of broccoli seed extract. So, taking 1 to 3 tablets per day would contain 10-30 mg of sulforaphane. The company states up to 6 tablets a day may be needed in special cases but does not provide details on who would require this.
5 Can diabetics take it?
The supplement is diabetic friendly in that it does not contain any added sugar. That said, diabetics should consult their pharmacist /doctor prior to using dietary supplements. If they are not familiar with the product, ask if any of your medicine would interact with vegetables like broccoli.
6 What about hypothyroidism?
The company recommends people with hypothyroidism and/or take medicine for this condition (like levothyroxine) to speak to their doctors. Broccoli, like other cruciferous vegetables, contains compounds called goitrogens which reduce our absorption of iodine. Iodine is critically important to make thyroid hormone.
That said, people with hypothyroidism usually have no dietary restrictions as long as they separate what they eat from taking their medication by at least 1 hour.
One study of a broccoli sprout beverage showed no change in thyroid hormones when it was given to women for 84 days.
7 Prostaphane storage
This is a supplement that needs to be refrigerated. Keeping the product cold preserves the active ingredient. The company recommends a temperate between 35 and 46 degrees F (2 to 8 Celcius).
8 How much sulforaphane?
Each tablet contains 10 mg of Sulforaphane.
9 Does cooking make foods less effective?
Cooking broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables breaks down the enzyme (myrosinase) which is needed to make sulforaphane. Some may think this means eating the foods raw (or taking a supplement) is a better way to go. Remember, however, our microbiome also contains the myrosinase enzyme. So, don't worry about destroying sulforaphane by cooking.
10 Does it help Progeria?
Progeria (Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome) is a rare medical disorder resulting in rapid aging. Preliminary evidence suggests sulforaphane may help aspects of progeria but the evidence is in its infancy. No human trials demonstrating sulforaphane can slow aging or help people with progeria could be located.
The company which makes Prostaphane makes no reference to progeria or anti-aging claims.
Where To Buy Prostaphane
At this time the supplement appears to only be sold in France. You can check the Prostaphane.com site for updates. That said, Swanson Vitamins Sulforaphane also contains sulforaphane (not a precursor).
Prostaphane vs. The Competition
There are many prostate supplements on the market. So far, no clinical studies have compared this supplement to other products such as:
- Super Beta Prostate (see review)
- Prosvent (see review)
Most prostate supplements contain Beta-sitosterol/ saw palmetto, pumpkin seeds, and various minerals. This is very different than Prostaphane which contains a broccoli seed extract (sulforaphane).
Are Broccoli Supplements Good?
Most broccoli supplements contain phytonutrients such as diindolylmethane or precursors to sulforaphane like glucoraphanin. The effectiveness of sulforaphane compared to other phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables is not known. It's likely they compliment each other and have different effects. I don't think its as simple as believing sulforaphane is better than other phytonutrients.
This is one reason to eat vegetables in addition to taking supplements so you have all your bases covered.
Prostaphane vs. Sulforfane
No clinical study – so far – has compared sulforaphane to Prostaphne. Since they are basically the same thing, it's tempting to assume their effects would be identical. It will take research to know for certain. Likewise, researchers have not compared the supplement to sulforaphane-containing foods.
Kudos to the Triballat‐Noyal company website for mentioning the importance of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.
Prostaphane Side Effects
Foods containing sulforaphane are usually well tolerated. Studies also show the Prostatphane supplement is well tolerated. Bloating was reported in one investigation but other than that no significant side effects have been noted.
Here is a list of basic things to consider when taking this supplement. This list is not complete:
- Start with less than recommended for the first week
- Speak to your doctor/pharmacist if you have any medical issues like hypothyroidism, epilepsy, diabetes, etc.
- Speak to your doctor/pharmacist first if you take blood thinner medications
- Stop taking at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- If you are pregnant/breastfeeding, talk to your doctor
- The effects on autism spectrum disorder require more study
One study noted a small (4 pound) increase in body weight with sulforaphane use. This study involved young men with autism. Those receiving sulforaphane also had worse outcomes than those not receiving the supplement. The reasons for this are not known. The effects of sulforaphane and autism spectrum disorder require further investigation.
Does Prostaphane Work?
Some research suggests Prostaphane may help PSA levels. It may also impact genes associated with cancer. Sulforaphane -the active ingredient in this supplement – has an ever-growing amount of clinical research on its health benefits too. The research is interesting but more work needs to be done to determine if Prostaphane (or sulforaphane) reduces cancer risk or prolongs the lives of people with cancer.
Joe M. says
I’ve been consuming broccoli sprouts for years for general health and cancer prevention. Rhonda Patrick has a good podcast. I have no idea how much sulforaphane I’m actually consuming. I heat 1.5 cups of sprouts for 45 seconds in the microwave to reduce nitrile formation, add a little extra myrosinase(horseradish) and water, then blend in a cup of cold water Every other day.
Seeds are inexpensive and easy to grow. Prostate is OK at 65yo, beta-sitosterol mega-strength (source naturals) helps with flow. PSA is good at 1.0.
This study failed to find benefit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25431127.
Great website, Joe! You are the go-to guy for straight facts on supplements.
Joe Cannon says
Joe, thanks for that study! I looked at it. Like most supplement/nutrition studies it was small (only 20 people) but I like that it lasted 20 weeks (5 months). They set the bar kind of high in that they were looking for a reduction in PSA levels by more than 50%. Even if someone had a 30% reduction in PSA levels, I’d call that significant. While sulforaphane does get a lot of attention when it comes to the prostate I think what you are doing is better – eating broccoli. There’s more to broccoli than just sulforaphane.
Your PSA level is fantastic!
Joe Cannon says
Rick, thanks so much! I will probably do a podcast episode on this too (Joe Cannon Heath podcast)
Susan Gerhartz says
All your investigative research is very much appreciated, thank you.
Joe Cannon says
Susan, thanks so much! I’m really happy to know it helped 🙂
john leonard says
Always informative and well researched Joe
Joe Cannon says
John, thanks for your kind words 🙂