Indole-3-carbinol benefits, uses and side effects

Indole-3-Carbinol Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Indole-3-Carbinol Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Nature is an ever-living source of remedial products. Certainly, there are some severe illnesses that cannot be cured without modern medical science and pharmaceutical industry. And yet, moderate health problems, almost without an exception, can be cured with the help of herbs, bacteria, roots and products of an animal origin. Sometimes we do not even have a clue about the medicinal properties of our usual day-to-day foods and drinks.

Could you imagine, that a cabbage can cure a cancer? Or elevate libido? It appears, it can, alongside with other unremarkable at first sight groceries.

Though you cannot buy any supplements with this active ingredient in our drugstore ViaBestBuy, we hope this information will be useful and interesting for you. We also offer some alternatives for I3C that can be more effective for certain health conditions.

What Is Indole-3-Carbinol?

Indole-3-carbinol is a product of decomposition of glucobrassicin. Vegetables of the family cruciferae, commonly known as the cabbage family, are the rich source of this phytochemical. Broccoli, headed cabbage, leaf cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are among them. Glucobrassicin is converted into indole-3-carbinol, when the vegetables are being cut or chewed. This way the natural drug gets in our body naturally. The users can also buy it in the form of a dietary supplement.

How Does I3C Work?

After indole-3-carbinol gets in a human’s digestive system, it is metabolized into diindolylmethane, commonly known by the abbreviation DIM. The mechanism of action of I3C is still being studied, but the scientists has documented that it suppresses the cell division, which leads to cancer, and accelerates the tumor cells’ death.

Indole-3-carbinol benefits, uses and side effects

I3C and its metabolites efficiently rid our bodies from free radicals, working as powerful antioxidants. Another biochemical effect of the medication is the regulation of the estrogen metabolism and excretion.

Indole-3-Carbinol Benefits

Indole-3-Carbinol benefits are still the subject of the medical scientific research. The studies, that have already been done, revealed such properties of I3C, as:

  • anticancer effect;
  • antioxidant properties;
  • anti-atherosclerosis action;
  • improving of the hormonal balance;
  • positive influence on sexual health;
  • antitoxin and antimicrobial power;
  • anti-papillomavirus effect.

Besides the scientifically trialed uses of I3C, this drug is also believed to be helpful for weight loss and health problems related to menopause. It is also tested for treatment of preneoplastic conditions of the neck of the womb, particularly its dysplasia.

Indole-3-Carbinol for Hormones Balance

HormonesEstrogen occurs in both men and women, even though it is a female sex hormone. It gets into cells and connects to the estrogen receptors, thus activating them. Then the receptors start performing their actions, which differ depending on the cells where they occur. They form the female secondary sex characters, regulate libido and sexual behavior, etc.

After the steroid hormones finish their work, they have to be metabolized and excreted from the human’s system. Sometimes, though, estrogen or its degradants stay in the body, and it can cause serious health problems. Usually, the liver, guts and urination system take the responsibility to convert and remove the hormones. The hydroxylation of the estrogen mainly occurs in hepar, but sometimes it fails to perform this action. The reasons for this impairment can vary, for example, the lack of vitamins of the B group, especially B6, or deficit of the magnesium in a diet. These substances are essential for our body to eliminate the remains of the hormones. Another health condition, which can negatively impact the proper estrogen biochemistry, is the dysfunction of the thyroid gland. This is why mammary and prostate tumors are often associated with a low thyroid functioning.

Not all metabolites of estrogens are harmful. Some of them are, on the contrary, necessary for the human’s health. Two products of estrogen breakdown, 2-hydroxyestrone and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone, perform opposite actions. When the first one is known as a “good estrogen”, and protects the cells and tissues from mutation to cancer, the second, or the “bad” one, is associated with oncology diseases.

There are several preventative measures to increase the level of useful estrogens and minimize the content of harmful ones. First of all, women with extra weight, who keep to a greasy diet, pose a threat to themselves. Bad ecology is also a negative factor that causes a hormonal disbalance. So, eating healthy foods and choosing a clean environment can be very helpful. With indole-3-carbinol intake, its derivative DIM helps to create 2-hydroxyestrone and remove 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone with urine.

For the moment, the actual method of performance of I3C and diindolylmethane is still under investigation. The laboratory researches have been held on animals, and the results are very promising. For example, the capacity to lessen the general level of estrogen in the mammal’s organism. The clinical trials in people show that after administering indole-3-carbinol on a daily basis, the occurrence of good metabolites in the urine goes up, while the level of bad ones shrinks. To understand more about the actions and effects of I3C on the human hormone balance, further clinical studies have to be done.

I3C Effects on Cancer

Cancer cellsAnticancer effects of indole-3-carbinol are the most rewarding among the current studies. It was noticed that people, who consume a lot of products from cabbage family, are less exposed to the risks of certain kinds of oncology. The medical scientists extracted the acting medicinal agent of these vegetables, and tested it on mice and rats. These trials gave very promising results, as the tumors lost 65% of their size in mice that were administered I3C. This positive effect was observed on such kinds of cancer, as breast oncology, malignant tumors of the prostate gland, lungs, digestive tract and liver. In these cases, DIM and I3C seemed to suppress cancer growth. The researches are going on, as the medical authorities need more evidences of the healing properties of this treatment. All the more, another experiment on rats gave diametrical results. Animals, who took indole-3-carbinol orally, had more cases of uterus, thyroid and colon cancers. The clinical trials on people are still to be conducted.

Indole-3-Carbinol for Genital Health

Due to its positive effects on the hormone balance, indole-3-carbinol prevents and decreases the risks of various diseases of reproductive organs of men and women. For example, clinical studies in women with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia testify that an oral consumption of I3C alleviated such symptoms, as itching and painful rash. The lesions shrinked and even disappeared. The medical researches from the United Kingdom, who observed those female patients, came to a conclusion, that this effect was achieved due to the anti-inflammatory and estrogen regulating actions of the drug. It is a very far-reaching result, as such health conditions can result in an oncology disease. Male reproductive organs, such as prostate, can also be protected from cancer with the help of our medication. It is very important for men to eliminate estrogen from the body properly, and I3C effectively does this work, reducing the risk of serious illnesses.

Reversing Cervical Lesions

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) is a dangerous health condition, which is characterized by unhealthy cell development on the walls of the neck of the womb. It is not accompanied by any symptoms, this is why it is very important to do the pap smear procedure from the age of 14, when the risk to develop lesions intensively goes up. This is a precancerous condition, but it takes many years for the eruptions to convert into malignant neoplasms. Usually, CIN is provoked by the virus of human papilloma (HPV).

American medical scientists from Louisiana University published the results of their study in the journal Gynecologic Oncology. They tested I3C on 30 women with cervical neoplasia. Comparing with placebo group, the medication gave positive effects in half of examinees. Lesions disappeared completely and the risk to develop cancer was stemmed.

I3C Benefits for RRP

HPVRRP is deciphered as a recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. This malady is also caused by HPV, it is a condition when the papillomas grow in upper airways, lower respiratory tract and lungs. Earlier it was cured only with the help of the surgical intervention. It did not kill the virus, though, and the growths came back. Firstly, indole-3-carbinol has been trialed on animals. 75% of mice, which were infected with papilloma and then were given I3C, did not have RRP. All mice without treatment developed growths.

Human experiments are currently going on. The first 49 examinees gave the following results:

  • a little more than 25% did not have any recurrence of the illness;
  • a little less than 25% showed the alleviation of symptoms;
  • less than 30% did not feel any changes, the rest of the subjects did not complete the trials.

But this research is only the first one, and the medical science has to do more placebo controlled trials to establish the effects of indole-3-carbinol on papilloma virus and benign growths.

Indole-3-Carbinol and Systemic Lupus

The autoimmune disorder systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE for shortness, is a very dangerous illness, where the immune cells attack their own organism. It presents in such symptoms, as a red rash on the face, pains in legs and arms, high temperature, fatigue, edemas, hair loss, tissue damages of the liver, kidneys, etc.

This disorder is often associated with the hormonal balance, especially with estrogen, as it occurs in women oftener than in men. In animals, I3C decreased the symptoms of the disease, protected the organs and prolonged the life of the subjects. There is not clinical evidence about the healing effects of the drug in human patients with lupus.

Safety of I3C

I3C should be taken orally, in the form of a dietary supplement it can be consumed with or without food. Indole-3-carbinol was not noticed to cause any harm in doses below 400 mg per day. Very rare cases of skin irritations and insignificant, short-time changes in liver chemistry were documented, but they passed themselves without any consequences.

The only contraindication for indole-3-carbinol is the allergic reaction on this medicinal preparation. If you see any hives, rashes, feel itches and swelling, you should stop using the drug and consult a doctor. I3C interacts with the medicines that are metabolized in the liver. The actions and effectiveness of these drugs can be changed, if they are taken together. Some of them are:

  • eugeroic adrafinil;
  • antipsychotics haloperidol, olanzapine and clozapine;
  • muscle relaxant and pain killers cyclobenzaprine and pentazocine;
  • antidepressants fluvoxamine and imipramine;
  • cardiac drugs: mexiletine, propranolol;
  • certain anti-cholesterol drugs and other.

No negative effects of I3C on pregnant or breastfeeding women were indicated, but this problem has to be studied more attentively and scientifically, to be sure that it is safe for a maternity patient, fetus or a newborn. As for now, we do not recommend new or expectant mothers using the supplements with this preparation.

Potential Side Effects & Risks

I3C side effectsAlthough, indole-3-carbinol is commonly safe, there is a chance to develop serious side effects, when taking I3C without a medical assistance. More than 400 mg of everyday intake for a long period may result in diarrhea, skin irritations, loss of coordination, dizziness, vomiting and tremors. If you experience any of these, you should discontinue the medicine immediately and talk to your doctor. It is very important to read the guidelines, which go with every product. The package leaflet contains the information about the strength and recommended doses of the preparation. Follow these instructions to avoid serious damage to your health.

As we have already mentioned, some tested animals developed certain kinds of cancer after they were given I3C, but this adverse effect was not observed in human researches. There were also the cases of infertility, documented during the trials, but again — only in rats and mice, people never reported about such problems after using indole-3-carbinol. Women in climacteric age should be very careful with I3C supplements, as they suppress estrogen, and it can cause osteoporosis in this period of life.


As indole-3-carbinol is used for different indications, people often compare its effects and benefits with other medications. It was noticed, for example, that I3C can work together with such antiestrogen drug, as tamoxifen. Together they work more effectively and give better results. Their methods of operation are different, and together they complement each other’s actions. They battle both adherent and non-adherent tumor cells, suppress the synthesis of cancer DNA and a specific kinase activity, completely stop the action of a certain endogenous protein. All these actions are strongly represented in the cooperation of I3C and tamoxifen.

Indole-3-Carbinol vs Arimidex

Anastrozole is another medication for a female breast cancer, it is traded as Arimidex. Internet users often ask, which medication is better, safer and more effective, comparing indole-3-carbinol vs Arimidex. Our phytonutrient seems to have less adverse effects, it can be bought without a prescription and used for a long time with relatively low risks. In the same time, anastrozole is a licensed medication, with scientifically proven effects.

The action of Arimidex lies in ablating the conversion of the male hormones to estrogens. It binds the aromatase enzyme, thus preventing this process, and helps to balance the hormonal levels in the organism. It is unknown, if it interacts or cooperates with I3C, most reporters in the web advise not to take them together, as the consequences are unclear.

I3C vs Chrysin

HoneyIn contrast to anastrozole, chrysin is widely used together with indole-3-carbinol. It is a natural chemical, found in honey, carrots, mushrooms and certain flowers. The common uses of chrysin are:

  • regulation of the testosterone and estrogen levels by inhibiting the aromatase;
  • anticancer action by inhibiting the malignant cells’ division and growth;
  • antioxidant and anti inflammatory effects.

The healing properties of chrysin are not scientifically proven, and there is no clinical evidence of its effectiveness. Still, it often goes together with I3C in dietary additives, along with other phytochemicals.

Indole-3-Carbinol vs DIM

DIM, or diindolylmethane, is one of the active products of the I3C breakdown. Indole-3-carbinol does not work itself, it has to be ingested to start acting. In the stomach, it breaks down into DIM and several other molecules, which all are believed to perform their own curing duty. DIM is responsible for estrogen metabolism and excretion.

As well as I3C, diindolylmethane is available in the nutrient additives. Its action and effects are not clear, there are no scientific proofs of its effectiveness in humans against cancer, but as it is one of the derivatives of a comparatively well-studied indole-3-carbinol, health providers put great hopes on DIM as a remedy against different kinds of cancer.

Placing indole-3-carbinol vs DIM, some specialists say that the latter starts acting faster, as it gets into our system in active form, while I3C needs to be digested and metabolized. You will not find any occurrence of I3C in the blood, as it does not exist in the body in its original form. Right after administration it starts converting to its active breakdown products. DIM reaches its highest concentration in plasma 2 hours after indole-3-carbinol consumption, and a little quicker, when it is taken as diindolylmethane. Other medical researches testify that this derivative cannot be properly absorbed into blood as it is, and there is a need in an artificial chemical surrounding, kin to the one in I3C. These two preparations are often placed together in the dietary supplements, and it seems they amplify each other, acting together quicker and more efficiently than separately.

I3C in Food

Brassica familyThe diet, rich with vegetables of Brassica family, can give you from 20 to 120 mg of indole-3-carbinol every day. It is a good dose to prevent dangerous conditions and avoid various health disorders related with estrogen disbalance. By the way, cabbages contain lots of other useful products, such as bioflavonoids, vitamins, dietary fibre, amino acids, etc. Pay attention, though, that most healthy properties are expressed brighter, when you consume vegetables raw.

Vegetables, that are especially rich with glucobrassicin, are garden cress, brussel sprouts and mustard leaves. They can supply you with almost 100 mg of glucosinolates in one dish. Turnips, bok choy, savoy cabbage, watercress, broccoli and others also contain a high volume of useful compounds. In fact, the whole cruciferous family is very prodigal of healing phytochemicals. Still, sometimes it is better to think about taking nutrient additives with higher I3C concentration, as some health conditions require more vigorous medical intervention.

As with any other drug, I3C is better to be taken under the control of your medical adviser. He should know your clinical history, be informed about all medication you are taking and your current health condition. Having this information, a doctor can prescribe correct rates and methods of administration. The supplements that deliver up to 200 mg of the active ingredient, can be safely used for a year and a half. Doses between 200 and 400 mg were administered for 90 days without any adverse reactions.

Alternatives to Indole-3-Carbinol

There is one more reason why men take this natural nutrient. Ridding their bodies of estrogen, it is believed to increase male libido and improve sexual function. Many of the users, though, report about low efficacy of this drug for such indications. They observe the changes in hormonal levels, but tell about little to no improvement in achieving an erection.

Online pharmacyThe online pharmacy ViaBestBuy suggests you to try strong, safe and wallet-friendly medications that will bring your sexual life to order. Such pills, as generic Cialis with tadalafil as an active substance, or Kamagra with sildenafil, are well-tried and trusted by our customers and many men all over the world. If you are still not sure, you may read the blog and users’ reviews on our site, real people’s opinion will convince you, that our drugs are not only cheap — they really work. Dozens of men brought back their sexual vigor with ViaBestBuy!

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