Phenylethyl isothiocyanate: a bioactive agent for gastrointestinal health

Ezequiel R. Coscueta*, Ana Sofia Sousa, Celso A. Reis, Maria Manuela Pintado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The incidence of gastrointestinal pathologies (cancer in particular) has increased progressively, with considerable morbidity and mortality, and a high economic impact on the healthcare system. The dietary intake of natural phytochemicals with certain bioactive properties has shown therapeutic and preventive effects on these pathologies. This includes the cruciferous vegetable derivative phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a bioactive compound present in some vegetables, such as watercress. Notably, PEITC has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, and anticarcinogenic properties. This review summarized 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 discussed the safe and recommended dose of PEITC. In addition, we established a framework to guide the research and development of sustainable methodologies for obtaining and stabilizing this natural molecule for industrial use. With PEITC, there is great potential to develop a viable strategy for preventing cancer and other associated diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. However, this topic still needs more scientific studies to help develop new PEITC products for the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, or food industries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number794
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Gastrointestinal health
  • Natural anti-cancer
  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Natural antioxidant
  • Nutraceutical
  • Watercress


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