Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 269-282

First online:

Glucosinolates, isothiocyanates and human health

  • Maria TrakaAffiliated withPhytochemicals and Health Programme, Institute of Food Research Email author 
  • , Richard MithenAffiliated withPhytochemicals and Health Programme, Institute of Food Research

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Concurrent with the increase in our knowledge of the genetic and environmental factors that lead to glucosinolate accumulation in plants, and the role of these compounds and their derivatives in mediating plant–herbivore interactions, there has been significant advances in our understanding of how glucosinolates and their products may contribute to a reduction in risk of carcinogenesis and heart disease when consumed as part of the diet. In this paper, we review the epidemiological evidence for the health promoting effects of cruciferous vegetables, the processes by which glucosinolates and isothiocyanates are absorbed and metabolised by humans, with particular regard to the role of glutathione S-transferases, and the biological activity of isothiocyanates towards mammalian cells and tissues.


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