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Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C)

 

What is Indole-3-Carbinol used for?

Indole-3-Carbinol can be used for a range of health issues. Besides being taken to balance out hormonal levels, assist in detoxing or perhaps just as a general health boost, it can be used to treat:

Cancer: A study conducted in Haifa, Israel at the Israel Institute of Technology investigated the use of I3C on mice as a preventative as well as a therapeutic treatment for cancer. Injected directly into the prostate tumour, it hindered the growth. It was found to regulate genes that played a significant role in the control of cell cycle, cell proliferation and signal transduction.

Although more studies are being conducted worldwide to include a spectrum of factors, Indole-3-Carbinol was found to impede estrogen receptors in breast membranes, reducing the risk of breast cancer.

There is a repair protein known as BRCA that prevent damaged genetic DNA being passed to the next generation. Faulty BRCA genes increase the risk of developing cancers. As low amounts of BRCA are seen in cancer cells, it is suggested that higher levels of BRCA will prevent further growth. It is proposed that Indole-3-Carbinol will assist in boosting this repair protein.

The studies that are currently being undertaken include assessing I3C in conjunction with various illnesses including Lymphoma and Leukemia. Please seek advice from your doctor for further information regarding Indolei-3-Carbinol to treat cancer. 

Fibromyalgia: A range of symptoms defines this musculoskeletal condition including muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, sleeping difficulty, fatigue and decreased pain threshold on tender points. These tender points, also defined as trigger points, include hips, knees, outer elbows, upper chest, shoulders and back of head. Suffering from this syndrome often leads to anxiety and depression.

Laryngeal papillomatosis: This is a tumour, caused by a virus, inside the voice box. It can also be used to treat tumours in the respiratory tract.

Cervical dysplasia:This is a condition where there are abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix. It’s a precancerous condition that’s most commonly found in sexually active women under the age of 30. Symptoms are not obvious and prognosis is often discovered after a Pap test. If left untreated, the risk of developing cervical cancer heightens.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): Also known as lupus, this autoimmune disease is characterised by severe fatigue, joint pain, headaches, anaemia, facial rash and blood clots. This disease attacks certain parts of the body in alternative phases, which generally allows affected people to live a normal life. SLE is not curative and the aim is to relieve the symptoms through diet and lifestyle choices. Taking Indole-3-Carbinol may support cellular reproduction and assist in detoxifying the body.

Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasiaA trial conducted in the United Kingdom assessed women who suffered this disease and were randomized to receive 200 and 400mg of Indole-3-Carbinol. It was found there was no difference between those who consumed 200mg and those who consumed 400mg. Nevertheless it proved to be successful with lesion size and severity dramatically reduced with a better symptomatology and vulvoscopic appearance however the vulval areas with the most traumas did not improve.

What is the dosage?

It is recommended that 200-400mg a day be used. Consult with your doctor to establish the appropriate amount for you.

What are the side effects?

Indole-3-Carbinol is still a relatively new breakthrough. Human trials have revealed side effects including skin rashes, intestinal pain, nausea, balance problems, tremor or an increase in liver enzymes. If consumed in amounts relative to a diet, it is safe, however any consumption should be taken under medical supervision. If you are pregnant, breast-feeding or taking contraception, consult with your doctor regarding the use of Indole-3-Carbinol. 
Despite its benefits, there is evidence that prolonged use has tumour-promoting properties in certain situations. A study in male rats showed fertility issues. There is also a possibility it might increase the chances of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women as it promotes the inactivation of estrogen. If you take medication that is broken down in the liver, Indole-3-Carbinol may increase the rate of it breaking down and decrease its effectiveness. It is important to seek advice from your doctor regarding all the risks associated with any supplement.