Phenethyl isothiocyanate, a bioactive agent for gastrointestinal health: a review

Ezequiel Coscueta, Ana Sofia Sousa, Celso Reis, Manuela Pintado

Research output: Working paperPreprint



The incidence of gastrointestinal diseases (cancer in particular) has increased progressively with considerable morbidity, mortality, and a high economic impact on the healthcare system. Dietary intake of natural bioactive phytochemicals showed to have cancer-preventing and therapeutic effects. This includes the cruciferous vegetable derivative phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a bioactive compound from watercress. PEITC antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties are of particular importance. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the role of PEITC as a potential natural nutraceutical or an adjuvant against oxidative/inflammatory-related disorders in the gastrointestinal tract. We also discuss the safe and recommended dose of PEITC. Besides, we establish a framework to guide the research and development of sustainable methodologies for obtaining and stabilizing this natural nutraceutical for industrial use. This is a topic that still needs more scientific development, but with the potential to lead to a viable strategy in the prevention of cancer and other associated diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021


  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Natural antioxidant
  • Nutraceutical
  • Watercress


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