25 Feb


This systematic review included five experimental studies; three randomized double-blind placebo and two open-label studies of the effects SFN has on ASD. After reviewing and comparing clinical data, the results have shown a significant improvement with behavior, social and cognitive scores with SFN use. The clinical outcomes from the first trial by Singh et al. (2014[52]) even prompted a follow- up case report (Lynch et al., 2017[29]). Nine individuals from original SFN trial group had continued to use SFN even after the clinical trial was over (3 years post) and noted seeing continual positive effects on ASD symptoms. The clinical use of SFN in ASD and other neurological disorders is growing, and more clinical trials are currently being conducted in hopes to strengthen its use as a positive treatment option

Individuals with ASD tend to have lower levels of sulfur-containing compounds which are essential to the human body to conduct key regulations, as well as have abnormal levels of specific biomarkers such as: oxidative stress, glutathione, and mitochondrial dysfunction (Bittker, 2016[3]; Rossignol and Frye, 2011[45], 2014[46]).

The use of clinical laboratory biomarkers has given many answers to the possible reasons for the social and cognitive impairments in ASD. Even though ASD is defined as a behavior disorder, many individuals with ASD tend to share similarities when it comes to biochemistry (Frustaci et al., 2012[14]). Oxidative stress is affected by the balance, or lack thereof, between pro-oxidants and antioxidant systems in the cells (Ghanizadeh et al., 2012[17]). The damage to cellular tissue caused by free radicals like reactive oxygen species (ROS) is what leads to oxidative stress and or mitochondrial dysfunction (Rossignol and Frye, 2011[45]). This damage ultimately contributes to the progress and clinical diagnosis of autism (Chauhan and Chauhan, 2006[8]). Mitochondrial dysfunction may be a direct result from elevated levels of OS, since ROS is generated from pro-oxidant environmental toxicants and activated immune cells (Rose et al., 2015[42]).

McGuinness G, Kim Y. Sulforaphane treatment for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. EXCLI J. 2020 Jun 26;19:892-903. doi: 10.17179/excli2020-2487. PMID: 33013262; PMCID: PMC7527484.

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