- What other names is Indole-3-carbinol known by?
- What is Indole-3-carbinol?
- Is Indole-3-carbinol effective?
- How does Indole-3-carbinol work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Indole-3-carbinol.
3-Hydroxymethyl Indole, 3 Hydroxymethyl Indole, I3C, Indole 3 Carbinol, 3-(hydroxymethyl), 3-(hydroxyméthyl), 3 (hydroxymethyl) Indole, 3-Indolylcarbinol, 3 Indolylcarbinol, 3-Indolylmethanol, 3 Indolylmethanol, Indol-3-Carbinol, Indole, Indole 3 Carbinol, Indole-3-methanol, Indole-3-méthanol.
Indole-3-carbinol is a substance found in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, turnips, and rutabagas. It can also be produced in the laboratory.
Indole-3-carbinol is used for prevention of breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of cancer. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reviewed indole-3-carbinol as a possible cancer preventive agent and is now sponsoring clinical research for breast cancer prevention.
Indole-3-carbinol is also used for fibromyalgia, tumors inside the voice box (laryngeal papillomatosis) caused by a virus, tumors inside the respiratory tract (respiratory papillomatosis) caused by a virus, abnormal cell growth in the cervix (cervical dysplasia), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Some people use indole-3-carbinol to balance hormone levels, “detoxify” the intestines and liver, and to support the immune system.
Evening primrose oil does not seem to help the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but it might be able to prevent PMS-related flare-ups of the symptoms of a condition called irritable bowel syndrome.
There isn't enough information to know if evening primrose oil is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: acne, multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many others.
- L-carnitine deficiency. The FDA has approved the use of L-carnitine, either taken by mouth or given intravenously (by IV), for treating L-carnitine deficiency caused by certain genetic diseases or other disorders.
Likely Effective for...
- Kidney disease. About 85% of people with serious kidney disease have high levels of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke. Taking folic acid lowers homocysteine levels in people with serious kidney disease. However, folic acid supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk of heart disease-related events.
- High amounts of homocysteine in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia). High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke. Taking folic acid lowers homocysteine levels by 20% to 30% in people with normal to slightly elevated homocysteine levels. It is recommended that people with homocysteine levels greater than 11 micromoles/L supplement with folic acid and vitamin B12.
- Reducing harmful effects of a medicine called methotrexate. Taking folic acid seems to reduce nausea and vomiting, which are possible side effects of methotrexate treatment.
- Birth defects (neural tube defects). Consuming high amounts of folate in the diet and taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects.
Possibly Effective for...
- Abnormal development and growth of cells of the cervix (cervical dysplasia).
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Infant development. Research suggests that feeding infants a formula containing taurine for up to 12 weeks does not affect weight, height, head circumference, or behavior in infants.
Likely Ineffective for...
- Alzheimer's disease. Taking N-acetyl cysteine by mouth doesn't improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Head and neck cancer. Taking N-acetyl cysteine by mouth doesn't prevent new tumors or improve survival in people with head and neck cancer.
- Lung cancer. Taking N-acetyl cysteine by mouth doesn't prevent new tumors or improve survival in people with lung cancer.
- Treating organ failure. Injecting N-acetyl cysteine intravenously (by IV) might increase the risk of death in people with multiple organ failure.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Respiratory papillomatosis. There is some evidence that long-term use of indole-3-carbinol might reduce tumor (papilloma) growth in patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
- Laryngeal papillomatosis.
- Prevention of breast cancer.
- Colon cancer.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
- Hormone imbalances.
- Other conditions.
Researchers are interested in indole-3-carbinol for cancer prevention, particularly breast, cervical and endometrial, and colorectal cancer. Their reason is that diets with higher amounts of fruit and vegetable consumption are associated with a decreased risk of developing cancer. Researchers suspect indole-3-carbinol is one of several vegetable components that might protect against cancer.
Indole-3-carbinol is likely safe for most people when used in amounts typically found in the diet. It seems to be safe for most people when used in medicinal amounts under proper medical supervision. It can cause side effects such as skin rashes and small increases in liver enzymes.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, stick with indole-3-carbinol in amounts typically found in the diet. Not enough is known about the safety of using indole-3-carbinol in larger medicinal amounts.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Indole-3-carbinol might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking indole-3-carbinol along with some medications that are changed by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking indole-3-carbinol, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For treating abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix (cervical dysplasia): 200-400 mg per day has been used. However, 200 mg seems to be as effective as the higher dose.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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