The extract from this vegetable may reduce autism symptoms

Stop avoiding that broccoli, especially if you or your child has autism. According to new research, a chemical in broccoli sprouts may help improve symptoms in some individuals with autism.

The substance in question is sulforaphane, which researchers say has previously been shown to reduce oxidative stress within the body. Oxidative stress is known to cause issues of inflammation and DNA damage, and individuals with autism are particularly prone to this form of stress due to biochemical abnormalities in their cells.

The research, which followed forty boys and young men, ages 13 to 27, with moderate to severe autism, found many of those taking sulforaphane daily substantially improved in several aspects of their behavior during treatment. While not all study participants showed improvement on sulforaphane, those that did experienced substantial improvements in their social interaction and verbal communication, along with decreases in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors, when compared to those who received a placebo.

Though the root cause of autism remains elusive, experts feel the broccoli sprout extract is targeting the disorder at one of its most base levels. Researchers know autism is related to biochemical abnormalities in the body, something sulforaphane is efficient at correcting, but the chemical also does something unique for individuals with autism.

In the study, sulforaphane also improved the body’s heat-shock response, a series of cellular events that occur to protect cells against damage from high temperatures, such as those associated with a fever. Many people with autism see an improvement in symptoms when they are feverish, something experts believe is because this is when the body naturally goes into its heat-shock response and releases special proteins designed to prevent the formation of harmful aggregates generated by stress.

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