Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition


Taylor & Francis


School of Medical and Health Sciences / Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute / Centre for Precision Health / School of Science / Centre for Integrative Metabolomics and Computational Biology




Hill, C. R., Liu, A. H., McCahon, L., Zhong, L., Shafaei, A., Balmer, L., . . . Blekkenhorst, L. C.(2023). S-methyl cysteine sulfoxide and its potential role in human health: A scoping review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Advance online publication.


Higher intakes of cruciferous and allium vegetables are associated with a lower risk of cardiometabolic-related outcomes in observational studies. Whilst acknowledging the many healthy compounds within these vegetables, animal studies indicate that some of these beneficial effects may be partially mediated by S-methyl cysteine sulfoxide (SMCSO), a sulfur-rich, non-protein, amino acid found almost exclusively within cruciferous and alliums. This scoping review explores evidence for SMCSO, its potential roles in human health and possible mechanistic action. After systematically searching several databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, SCOPUS, CINAHL Plus Full Text, Agricultural Science), we identified 21 original research articles meeting our inclusion criteria. These were limited primarily to animal and in vitro models, with 14/21 (67%) indicating favorable anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hypercholesterolemic, and antioxidant properties. Potential mechanisms included increased bile acid and sterol excretion, altered glucose- and cholesterol-related enzymes, and improved hepatic and pancreatic β-cell function. Raising antioxidant defenses may help mitigate the oxidative damage observed in these pathologies. Anticancer and antibacterial effects were also explored, along with one steroidogenic study. SMCSO is frequently overlooked as a potential mediator to the benefits of sulfur-rich vegetables. More research into the health benefits of SMCSO, especially for cardiometabolic and inflammatory-based pathology, is warranted. Human studies are especially needed.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.