Functional Medicine

What are the Benefits of Nrf2?


Oxidative stress is a major contributor in the development of a variety of health issues, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, accelerated aging and neurodegeneration. Antioxidant rich foods, herbs and supplements can be utilized to protect the human body from high levels of oxidative stress. Recent research studies have demonstrated that the Nrf2 gene pathway can help amplify the effects of antioxidants. The benefits of Nrf2 are described below.

Protects the Body Against Toxins

NRF2 is an intrinsic substance which can protect the cells from harmful, internal and external compounds. NRF2 may help enrich the human body’s reaction to drugs/medications and toxins, improving the production of proteins that help eliminate compounds from the cell, known as multidrug resistance-associated proteins, or MRPs. By way of instance, NRF2 is triggered upon cigarette smoke inhalation to allow the lungs to detox.

Additionally, it is essential for the lungs to protect themselves against allergens, viral diseases, bacterial endotoxins, hyperoxia, and various environmental pollutants. The constant trigger of Nrf2 however, can decrease the levels of a substance known as glutathione throughout the human body. NRF2 may also protect the liver from toxicity and it can protect the liver from arsenic hepatotoxicity. Moreover, NRF2 protects the liver and brain from alcohol consumption. By way of instance, Nrf2 can protect against acetaminophen toxicity.

Fights Inflammation And Oxidative Stress

NRF2 activation can help battle against inflammation by diminishing inflammatory cytokines, such as those present in psoriasis. NRF2 may also decrease inflammation associated with a variety of health issues like arthritis and fibrosis of the liver, kidney, and lungs. NRF2 may also help control allergies by lowering Th1/Th17 cytokines and raising TH2 cytokines. This can be beneficial for ailments like asthma.

NRF2 additionally protects against cellular damage from blue light and from UVA/UVB  found in sunlight. Nrf2 deficiencies can make it a whole lot easier to get sunburnt. One rationale behind this is because NRF2 is capable of regulating collagen in response to UV radiation. Advanced Glycation End-Products, or AGEs, contribute to the development of many health issues, including diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. NRF2 can decrease the oxidative stress of AGEs within the body. NRF2 may also protect the human body from higher levels of heat-based stress.

Enhances Mitochondria And Exercise Performance

NRF2 is a mitochondrial booster. NRF2 activation contributes to a rise in ATP energy for mitochondria, in addition to enhanced use of oxygen, or citrate, and fat. With no NRF2, mitochondria would just have the ability to function with sugar, or glucose, rather than fat. NRF2 is also essential for mitochondria to develop through a process known as biogenesis. NRF2 activation is vital in order eto take advantage of  the benefits of exercise.

Because of Nrf2’s activity, exercise raises mitochondrial function, where this result may be amplified with CoQ10, Cordyceps, and Caloric Restriction. Moderate exercise or acute exercise induces mitochondrial biogenesis and an elevated synthesis of superoxide dismutase, or SOD, and heme-oxygenase-1, or HO-1, through NRF2 activation. Alpha-Lipoic Acid, or ALA, and Dan Shen can boost NRF2 mediated mitochondrial biogenesis. Furthermore, NRF2 can also improve exercise tolerance where NRF2 deletion makes exercise harmful.

Protects Against Hypoxia

NRF2 also helps protect the human body from cellular oxygen loss/depletion, a health issue called hypoxia. Individuals with CIRS have reduced levels of oxygen since their NRF2 is obstructed, resulting in reduced levels of both VEGF, HIF1, and HO-1. Ordinarily, in healthy individuals with hypoxia, miR-101, which is required for the creation of stem cells, are overexpressed and enhance amounts of NRF2/HO-1 and VEGF/eNOS, therefore preventing brain damage, but that does not appear to occur in CIRS.

Hypoxia, characterized by low HIF1, in CIRS can also result in a leaky blood brain barrier due to an NRF2 imbalance. Salidroside, located in the Rhodiola, functions on NRF2 activation and assists with hypoxia by increasing levels of VEGF and HIF1 within the human body. NRF2 can also ultimately protect against lactate buildup in the heart. NRF2 activation may also stop hypoxia-induced Altitude Motion Sickness, or AMS.

Slows Down Aging

Several compounds which may be fatal in massive quantities may increase longevity in rather tiny quantities due to xenohormesis through NRF2, PPAR-gamma, and FOXO. A very small quantity of toxins raises the cell’s ability to become better equipped for the next time it’s challenged with a toxin, however, this is not an endorsement to consume poisonous chemicals.

A good illustration of this process is with caloric restriction. NRF2 can improve the lifespan of cells by raising their levels of mitochondria and antioxidants as well as lowering the cells’ capability to die. NRF2 declines with aging because NRF2 prevents stem cells from dying and assists them to regenerate. NRF2 plays a part in enhancing wound healing.

Boosts the Vascular System

Done correctly with the production of sulforaphane, NRF2 activation may protect against heart diseases like high blood pressure, or hypertension, and hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. NRF2 can enhance Acetylcholine’s, or ACh, relaxing activity on the vascular system whilst reducing cholesterol-induced stress. Nrf2 activation may strengthen the heart, however, over-activated Nrf2 can raise the probability of cardiovascular disease.

Statins may prevent or lead to cardiovascular disease. NRF2 also plays a major part in balancing iron and calcium which may shield the human body from having elevated levels of iron. By way of instance, Sirtuin 2, or SIRT2, can regulate iron homeostasis in cells by activation of NRF2 which is believed to be required for healthy levels of iron. NRF2 can also help with Sickle Cell Disease, or SCD. NRF2 dysfunction might be a reason behind endotoxemia like with dysbiosis or lectins induced hypertension. Nrf2 may also protect the human body against amphetamine induced damage to the vascular system.

Fights Neuroinflammation

NRF2 can shield against and assist with inflammation of the brain, commonly referred to as neuroinflammation. Furthermore, NRF2 can help with an Assortment of Central Nervous System, or CNS, disorders, including:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) – reduces amyloid beta stress on mitochondria
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Huntington’s Disease (HD)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD) – protects dopamine
  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
  • Stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic) – aids hypoxia
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

NRF2 has revealed a decrease of neuroinflammation in teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD. Idebenone pairs properly with NRF2 activators contrary to neuroinflammation. NRF2 may also improve the Blood Brain Barrier, or BBB. By way of instance, NRF2 activation with carnosic acid obtained from rosemary and sage can cross the BBB and cause neurogenesis. NRF2 has also been demonstrated to raise Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF.

NRF2 also modulates some nutritional supplements capacity to cause Nerve Growth Factor, or NGF as it  can also aid with brain fog and glutamate-induced issues by modulating N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, or NMDA receptors. It may also lower the oxidative stress from quinolinic acid, referred to as QUIN. NRF2 activation can protect against seizures and large doses can decrease the brink of a seizure. At regular doses of stimulation, NRF2 can enhance cognitive abilities following a seizure by lowering extracellular glutamate in the brain and by it’s ability to draw cysteine from glutamate and glutathione.

Relieves Depression

In depression, it’s normal to notice inflammation in the brain, especially from the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, as well as decreased BDNF. In some versions of depression, NRF2 can improve depressive symptoms by lowering inflammation within the brain and increasing BDNF levels. Agmatine’s capability to decrease depression by raising noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, and BDNF in the hippocampus depends upon NRF2 activation.

Contains Anti-Cancer Properties

NRF2 is equally a tumor suppressor as it is a tumor promoter if not managed accordingly. NRF2 can protect against cancer caused by free radicals and oxidative stress, however, NRF2 overexpression can be found in cancer cells as well. Intense activation of NRF2 can assist with a variety of cancers. By way of instance, the supplement Protandim can reduce skin cancer by NRF2 activation.

Relieves Pain

Gulf War Illness, or GWI, a notable illness affecting Gulf War Veterans, is a collection of unexplained, chronic symptoms which may include tiredness, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory ailments, and memory issues. NRF2 can improve symptoms of GWI by diminishing hippocampal and general inflammation, in addition to decreasing pain. NRF2 can additionally assist with pain from bodily nerve injury and improve nerve damage from diabetic neuropathy.

Improves Diabetes

High glucose levels, best referred to as hyperglycemia, causes oxidative damage to the cells due to the disruption of mitochondrial function. NRF2 activation may shield the human body against hyperglycemia’s harm to the cell, thereby preventing cell death. NRF2 activation can additionally protect, restore, and enhance pancreatic beta-cell function, while reducing insulin resistance.

Protects Vision And Hearing

NRF2 can protect against harm to the eye from diabetic retinopathy. It might also avoid the formation of cataracts and protect photoreceptors contrary to light-induced death. NRF2 additionally shield the ear, or cochlea, from stress and hearing loss.

Might Help Obesity

NRF2 may help with obesity primarily due to its capacity to regulate variables that operate on fat accumulation in the human body. NRF2 activation with sulforaphane can raise inhibit of Fatty Acid Synthesis, or FAS, and Uncoupling Proteins, or UCP, resulting in less fat accumulation and more brown fat, characterized as fat which includes more mitochondria.

Protects The Gut

NRF2 helps protect the gut by safeguarding the intestine microbiome homeostasis. By way of instance, lactobacillus probiotics will trigger NRF2 to guard the gut from oxidative stress. NRF2 can also help prevent Ulcerative Colitis, or UC.

Protects Sex Organs

NRF2 can shield the testicles and keep sperm count from harm in people with diabetes. It can also assist with Erectile Dysfunction, or ED. Some libido boosting supplements like Mucuna, Tribulus, and Ashwaganda may enhance sexual function via NRF2 activation. Other factors that boost NRF2, such as sunlight or broccoli sprouts, can also help improve libido.

Regulates Bones And Muscles

Oxidative stress may result in bone density and strength reduction, which is normal in osteoporosis. NRF2 activation could have the ability to improve antioxidants in bones and protect against bone aging. NRF2 can also prevent muscle loss and enhance Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, or DMD.

Contains Anti-Viral Properties

Last but not least, NRF2 activation can ultimately help defend the human body against several viruses. In patients with the dengue virus, symptoms were not as intense in individuals who had greater levels of NRF2 compared to individuals who had less degrees of NRF2. NRF2 can also help people who have Human Immunodeficiency-1 Virus, or HIV. NRF2 can protect against the oxidative stress from Adeno-Associated Virus, or AAV, and H. Pylori. Finally, Lindera Root may suppress Hepatitis C virus with NRF2 activation.

Nrf2, or NF-E2-related factor 2, is a transcription factor found in humans which regulates the expression of a specific set of antioxidant and detoxifying genes. This signaling pathway is activated due to oxidative stress as it enhances numerous antioxidant and phase II liver detoxification enzymes to restore homeostasis in the human body. Humans are adapted to function throughout a state of homeostasis or balance. When the body is confronted with oxidative stress, Nrf2 activates to regulate oxidation and control the stress it causes. Nrf2 is essential to prevent health issues associated with oxidative stress.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight

Sulforaphane and Its Effects on Cancer, Mortality, Aging, Brain and Behavior, Heart Disease & More

Isothiocyanates are some of the most important plant compounds you can get in your diet. In this video I make the most comprehensive case for them that has ever been made. Short attention span? Skip to your favorite topic by clicking one of the time points below. Full timeline below.

Key sections:

  • 00:01:14 – Cancer and mortality
  • 00:19:04 – Aging
  • 00:26:30 – Brain and behavior
  • 00:38:06 – Final recap
  • 00:40:27 – Dose

Full timeline:

  • 00:00:34 – Introduction of sulforaphane, a major focus of the video.
  • 00:01:14 – Cruciferous vegetable consumption and reductions in all-cause mortality.
  • 00:02:12 – Prostate cancer risk.
  • 00:02:23 – Bladder cancer risk.
  • 00:02:34 – Lung cancer in smokers risk.
  • 00:02:48 – Breast cancer risk.
  • 00:03:13 – Hypothetical: what if you already have cancer? (interventional)
  • 00:03:35 – Plausible mechanism driving the cancer and mortality associative data.
  • 00:04:38 – Sulforaphane and cancer.
  • 00:05:32 – Animal evidence showing strong effect of broccoli sprout extract on bladder tumor development in rats.
  • 00:06:06 – Effect of direct supplementation of sulforaphane in prostate cancer patients.
  • 00:07:09 – Bioaccumulation of isothiocyanate metabolites in actual breast tissue.
  • 00:08:32 – Inhibition of breast cancer stem cells.
  • 00:08:53 – History lesson: brassicas were established as having health properties even in ancient Rome.
  • 00:09:16 – Sulforaphane’s ability to enhance carcinogen excretion (benzene, acrolein).
  • 00:09:51 – NRF2 as a genetic switch via antioxidant response elements.
  • 00:10:10 – How NRF2 activation enhances carcinogen excretion via glutathione-S-conjugates.
  • 00:10:34 – Brussels sprouts increase glutathione-S-transferase and reduce DNA damage.
  • 00:11:20 – Broccoli sprout drink increases benzene excretion by 61%.
  • 00:13:31 – Broccoli sprout homogenate increases antioxidant enzymes in the upper airway.
  • 00:15:45 – Cruciferous vegetable consumption and heart disease mortality.
  • 00:16:55 – Broccoli sprout powder improves blood lipids and overall heart disease risk in type 2 diabetics.
  • 00:19:04 – Beginning of aging section.
  • 00:19:21 – Sulforaphane-enriched diet enhances lifespan of beetles from 15 to 30% (in certain conditions).
  • 00:20:34 – Importance of low inflammation for longevity.
  • 00:22:05 – Cruciferous vegetables and broccoli sprout powder seem to reduce a wide variety of inflammatory markers in humans.
  • 00:23:40 – Mid-video recap: cancer, aging sections
  • 00:24:14 – Mouse studies suggest sulforaphane might improve adaptive immune function in old age.
  • 00:25:18 – Sulforaphane improved hair growth in a mouse model of balding. Picture at 00:26:10.
  • 00:26:30 – Beginning of brain and behavior section.
  • 00:27:18 – Effect of broccoli sprout extract on autism.
  • 00:27:48 – Effect of glucoraphanin on schizophrenia.
  • 00:28:17 – Start of depression discussion (plausible mechanism and studies).
  • 00:31:21 – Mouse study using 10 different models of stress-induced depression show sulforaphane similarly effective as fluoxetine (prozac).
  • 00:32:00 – Study shows direct ingestion of glucoraphanin in mice is similarly effective at preventing depression from social defeat stress model.
  • 00:33:01 – Beginning of neurodegeneration section.
  • 00:33:30 – Sulforaphane and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 00:33:44 – Sulforaphane and Parkinson’s disease.
  • 00:33:51 – Sulforaphane and Hungtington’s disease.
  • 00:34:13 – Sulforaphane increases heat shock proteins.
  • 00:34:43 – Beginning of traumatic brain injury section.
  • 00:35:01 – Sulforaphane injected immediately after TBI improves memory (mouse study).
  • 00:35:55 – Sulforaphane and neuronal plasticity.
  • 00:36:32 – Sulforaphane improves learning in model of type II diabetes in mice.
  • 00:37:19 – Sulforaphane and duchenne muscular dystrophy.
  • 00:37:44 – Myostatin inhibition in muscle satellite cells (in vitro).
  • 00:38:06 – Late-video recap: mortality and cancer, DNA damage, oxidative stress and inflammation, benzene excretion, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, effects on the brain (depression, autism, schizophrenia, neurodegeneration), NRF2 pathway.
  • 00:40:27 – Thoughts on figuring out a dose of broccoli sprouts or sulforaphane.
  • 00:41:01 – Anecdotes on sprouting at home.
  • 00:43:14 – On cooking temperatures and sulforaphane activity.
  • 00:43:45 – Gut bacteria conversion of sulforaphane from glucoraphanin.
  • 00:44:24 – Supplements work better when combined with active myrosinase from vegetables.
  • 00:44:56 – Cooking techniques and cruciferous vegetables.
  • 00:46:06 – Isothiocyanates as goitrogens.

When the human body is confronted with harmful internal and external factors like toxins, the cells must rapidly trigger their antioxidant abilities to counteract oxidative stress. Because increased levels of oxidative stress have been determined to cause a variety of health issues, it’s important to use Nrf2 activation to take advantage of its benefits. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal health issues. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez

Additional Topic Discussion: Acute Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Because of this, injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.

EXTRA EXTRA | IMPORTANT TOPIC: Recommended El Paso, TX Chiropractor?


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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "What are the Benefits of Nrf2?" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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