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Broccoli’s Hidden Medicinal Benefits, with Dr. Martin Katz

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

As a society, our first instinct in treating illness is usually to go straight to medication. However, as longtime listeners of the show know, the food we eat is just as, or even more important to our health than taking a medication. In the second episode of a series with Dr. Martin Katz, he and the Amens discuss some of the most beneficial micro-ingredients found in vegetables, specifically a certain molecule found in broccoli.

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Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Daniel Amen, MD:
The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome back. We're here with Dr. Martin Katz, really to look at a different way to get and stay healthy. I'm so excited that you're with us. I mean, we're really kindred spirits on this journey.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And if you didn't hear the first episode, please listen to the first episode. And at the end of this episode, tell us what you learned in the first two episodes and post. Give us a review if you wouldn't mind. Go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com but post what you've learned in these episodes, because they're fascinating. For me it's fascinating because it just so mirrors my own journey in healthcare. But we want to know what you've learned, maybe take a screenshot, take a photo, repost it, and tag us.
Daniel Amen, MD:
So Martin let's continue the discussion. So you're in Montana and your epiphany just begins to grow. I need to do something different. So continue on with the story.
Martin Katz:
Yeah. So we had the one child. We got pregnant with the second. Montana's wonderful. It's beautiful. We have a child. Our family's back East. And my oldest child threw up on her as she was traveling back to... I can't remember, Bozeman. And she said, "I've had enough of traveling by myself." Because I'd traveled one way with her, but she would stay East for two, three weeks and I could only stay for a week. So I made contact with a fitness center here on the East coast. There's a few of them, pretty big, sort of upscale fitness. And I started something called Wellness MD and at places called ACAC. And I would say it was in my earlier days. It's one of those things. If I knew then what I know now, how would have it worked out? Would have worked out probably differently, but it was a great experience.
I got to work with incredible personal trainers, nutritionists, people who are really interested in moving people's health. And so we started a diet program, medically supervised weight loss program. This is when I still believed in weight loss. Not that weight loss is bad, but it's not what we need to be focused on. But I was pretty focused on it because it seemed like a good thing to do. And it was a catch phrase and we were all doing it. And so in building that program just learned a lot about nutrition, exercise, and all the things we spoke about earlier, sleep, and how they impacted health. I mean, what's amazing to me in today's days you get these physicians. I will refer to a general surgeon or to a hematologist, oncologist. And they'll say it doesn't matter what you eat or it doesn't matter what you've put into your system.
And it blows my mind because I mean, they're using medicines, where do they think the medicines are being metabolized and processed. And so it absolutely matters. And if they were just take the time to start reading the literature, which you know, we don't have time. We don't have a lot of time. You are so busy with medicine now, electronic medical records, blah, blah, blah. And we have these drug reps that are coming in and telling us what we should be doing. And we don't have broccoli drug reps because there's no money there. We don't have sulforaphane drug reps. We don't have curcumin, all the different incredible polyphenols and isothiocyanates and all that. They're not represented. And so these doctors don't...
Daniel Amen, MD:
That's actually hysterical.
Martin Katz:
It's so true.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
It's [crosstalk 00:04:30].
Martin Katz:
And most doctors, when I was in medical school, so I think half of the illnesses I see as a psychiatrist are related to the bad food people eat. And yet of the 80,000 hours it took me to become a physician, 16 of those was dedicated to nutrition.
Daniel Amen, MD:
You got 16 hours, that's a lot.
Martin Katz:
It was because I went to a very forward thinking medical school, but it's just insane that people don't think foods matters.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
It's crazy.
Martin Katz:
And you know they don't think food matters because when my parents were in the hospital, they fed them like they were trying to kill them.
Daniel Amen, MD:
And waking them up throughout the night.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
Absolutely. So I worked in an ICU unit and we call it ICU psychosis. So the only time we called psychiatrists, we didn't really want to, but we called them when we needed to knock our patients out in spite of all of the beeps and the alarms of waking up, opening their eyes to check their pupils. But we needed them out because they would wake up with psychosis. And so we're waking them up all the time. But I also went to a very forward thinking school who wouldn't let you have some of these foods that we talk about now. And I thought they were crazy. I would bring my own lunch bag and huge thing of coffee because I'm like, these people are nuts. They're nuts that they're not letting us eat junk food.
Martin Katz:
That's amazing.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
They actually had a point and these people were very healthy. It was in one of the blue zones. And so I'd see these hundred year old people coming in 98, 100 years old that were Seventh-day Adventist. Now I'm not Seventh-day Adventist, but I started to think there's something to this lifestyle thing, because as these people started to come in, it was their first major medical issue. They were on no medications or maybe one medication, which was weird because the surrounding towns, the people from the surrounding towns would come in, train wrecks. And so I'm like, "What? This is weird." They had no lines in their faces. I'm like, "Something's got to be going on." And it started triggering my own interest in nutrition. And so that started my journey. And plus it didn't hurt that I had my own major health crisis.
Martin Katz:
So we need to get to broccoli because I promise people when we started this week, we're talking about broccoli and they're going to fall in love with broccoli, as opposed to what the first president Bush... What'd he say, "I'm President, I don't have to eat broccoli."
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
You shouldn't have to eat it. You should want to eat it.
Daniel Amen, MD:
So how did the interest in sulforaphanes come about?
Martin Katz:
So that's a great question. I would say probably four or five years ago it was not a molecule that actually heard of. I'd heard of curcumin and I heard of a lot of the Gallic acids and all the other isocyanates and IC3 and the like. But I had not really studied or even actually heard about sulforaphane. So the story starts, actually a little bit of a sad note, with a beautiful young lady by the name of Mara. And she came to me, I took over her care when she had developed metastatic breast cancer over time. She was in a lot of pain. She had metastases I think to her liver and bones at the time. So she was in quite a bit of pain. She had a fair amount of nausea, vomiting, so limited appetite.
And met her husband who's one of the partners in Broccolette and they were working with a PhD guy because she was now past chemotherapy. That wasn't going to be beneficial. She was receiving some radiation therapy, but it was their choice to try and manage it more naturally.
And we had the opportunity at that point to biopsy one of the lesions to make sure that's what it was. And being a physician I knew the interventional radiologist real well. And I said, "Hey guys, by the way, is there any chance that I could get some of that tissue? I know a guy, this PhD guy that I was telling you about, I know this guy who can do something with those cells." And they said, "Sure." So, we were able to obtain those cells. We grew those cells. And then what we did is we subjected those cells to a bunch of naturaceuticals or John did.
And one of them was sulforaphane, which again, I had not really heard about. Come to find out sulforaphane was incredibly beneficial in a good way for her cells. So this is where the journey started. So we understood that broccoli actually is not very high in sulforaphane, actually broccoli sprouts are incredibly high in sulforaphane, about a hundred times more high than broccoli, the mature plant. And so we started growing broccoli sprouts for her and then juicing them. And if you've ever done that, you realize it's got quite a taste. It's fairly pungent. It's a strong taste. If you want to try it, go for it, but just realize it has a taste. And so we were trying to put it with lemon juice so she would tolerate it. But she would get to maybe a quarter of it and either throw up or be like "I'm done." And David to say, the least is an exhaustive guy. And so he started looking at different options and he went out and looked at different supplements.
And then he read a study that showed that the supplements unfortunately don't provide very much of the sulforaphane that he was looking at. I'm not saying that's true of all sulforaphane or glucoraphanin supplements, but certainly the ones that he was looking at. And so we charged ourselves or charged John really with coming up with a way to stabilize sulforaphane. It's quite an unstable molecule. And so John started playing with it in his little lab. I don't remember how long it took him, but he eventually figured out how to stabilize sulforaphane. And so we were the first American company. It is a French company that has done it. So a little bit of a different process. There is more chemical, ours is a perfectly natural process where we have been able to now stable our sulforaphane.
The interesting thing about that, if you read about and learn about sulforaphane is it's actually a fairly small molecule and it's a lipophilic molecule, which means it gets into the body very well. So as opposed to these precursor molecules, and I can explain this a little bit more. When you chew broccoli or broccoli sprouts, where it's really high, you release these precursor molecules. One is called glucoraphanin. In a lot of these supplements that's referred to as sulforaphane glucosinolates, which is very, very confusing. And again, very frustrating with the supplement company that there's so much confusion out there. But it is really glucoraphanin. It is a glucosinolate, but it's not sulforaphane. It's a precursor molecule. And when you chew the broccoli sprouts, you release an enzyme called myrosinase. The two will combine myrosinase and glucoraphanin to form sulforaphane, which is very bioavailable.
And so when you're looking at supplements, which is something we're very interested in bringing best supplement to market, you got to make sure that it has biologic activity and that it's biologically available.
Daniel Amen, MD:
So when we come back we're going to talk about some of the published research on sulforaphanes and how they may help you. So what did you learn during this episode? Post it on any of your social media sites and hashtag #brainwarriorswaypodcast. That would be great. You can also leave a question, a comment or view at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. We'll enter you into a raffle to win one of Tana's books or my new book, The End of Mental Illness. Stay with us.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
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Daniel Amen, MD:
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