Indole-3-Carbinol

What other names is Indole-3-carbinol known by?

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.

What is Indole-3-carbinol?

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.

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Possibly Effective for...

  • Abnormal development and growth of cells of the cervix (cervical dysplasia).

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.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  • Hormone imbalances.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of indole-3-carbinol for these uses.

How does Indole-3-carbinol work?

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.

Are there safety concerns?

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.

In very high doses, indole-3-carbinol can cause balance problems, tremor, and nausea.

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.

Are there any interactions with medications?


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.

Dosing considerations for Indole-3-carbinol.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • 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.

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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).

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Reviewed on 9/17/2019
References

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Rosen CA, Woodson GE, Thompson JW, et al. Preliminary results of the use of indole-3-carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1998;118:810-5. View abstract.

Srivastava B, Shukla Y. Antitumour promoting activity of indole-3-carbinol in mouse skin carcinogenesis. Cancer Lett 1998;134:91-5. View abstract.

Telang NT, Katdare M, Bradlow HL, et al. Inhibition of proliferation and modulation of estradiol metabolism: novel mechanisms for breast cancer prevention by the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997;216:246-52. View abstract.

Wong GY, Bradlow L, Sepkovic D, et al. Dose-ranging study of indole-3-carbinol for breast cancer prevention. J Cell Biochem Suppl 1997;28-29:111-6. View abstract.

Yuan F, Chen DZ, Liu K, et al. Anti-estrogenic activities of indole-3-carbinol in cervical cells: implication for prevention of cervical cancer. Anticancer Res 1999;19:1673-80. View abstract.