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Home > Research Department  > Supplement Articles > I3C
    Supplement Articles  
I3C
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
Last Updated: September 22nd, 2015

When your Mother told you to eat your broccoli, you really should have listened!

I3C

Some food sources include Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy & more!
Broccoli is an excellent source of Indole-3 carbinol, which has anti-cancer properties, aids in the detoxification of estrogen, reduces free radicals, and helps to protect the liver.

What is it?
I3C also known as indole-3-carbinol is a substance found in cruciferous (Brassica family) vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli, kale, and similar green leaf vegetables, I3C offers powerful antioxidant properties.

It is also promotes more efficient estrogen metabolism, helping to decrease excess estrogen or prevent estrogens from building up in the body. This is particularly useful for many female cancers that can be estrogen dependent (like some breast, cervical and endometrial cancers), meaning they grow dependent on the amount of (excess) estrogen in the system.

I3C and Cancer, particularly Breast Cancer
Initial research into I3C use has shown great promise for its role as an anti-cancer therapeutic in a wide range of cancers including: lung, liver, colon, cervical, endometrial, prostate, and breast cancers. I3C is a precursor to diindolylmethane (DIM). Emerging evidence has shown that exposure of human cancer cells to I3C or DIM trigger transcriptional, cell signalling, enzymatic, and metabolic changes that directly lead to the stoppage of replication and/or apoptosis (regulated cell death). This has been particularly well studied in estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers, where I3C has also been seen to prevent BRCA1-dependent cell migration. This implicates I3C as a possible agent to reduce the metastasis of BRCA1 positive breast cancers. Interestingly, I3C has even found to be additionally beneficial when used in conjunction with Tamoxifen, a common anti-cancer agent used in breast cancer.

I3C and Lupus (SLE)
There is also some very promising research on the use of I3C for the treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythmatous (SLE or Lupus). Primarily affecting women, Lupus has also been associated with estrogen dominance. It is proposed that I3C can block the development of certain B and T cells of the immune system, which then causes a drop in the auto-antibody production thought to be a major causative factor in the development of Lupus. For more information on Lupus, please click here.

I3C and DIM
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a product of the digestion of I3C in the presence of stomach acid. It has independent metabolic effects as well in both men and women. It may be beneficial to supplement DIM in the place of I3C in people with reduced stomach acid. Both I3C and DIM are being examined in clinical trials for their treatment of various types of cancer. There is also preliminary research implicating DIM as an immunomodulating supplement against auto-immune disease, although further research is required. For more information on DIM, please click here.

How can I take I3C?
I3C can be consumed in the diet, or found in capsule form, if supplementation is needed. Recent research has suggested a chemopreventative dose of 300mg/day.

Important Information

I3C is considered safe in both food/diet amounts and therapeutic dosages, although high supplementation has caused skin rashes and small increases in liver enzymes, less frequently tremors and nausea. Overuse and/or preventative use of I3C is further ill advised because of its hormone altering effects in normal individuals that can result in systemic hormone dysregulation. For this reason, do not use as a supplement while pregnant or breastfeeding.

I3C – QUICK FACTS

FOOD SOURCES

·  Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, cress, turnip.

APPLICATIONS

·  Various cancers, particularly hormone mediated cancer, SLE.

OPTIMUM DOSAGE

·  300mg/day. (Clinical doses may be higher as recommended by your practitioner).

WORKS WELL WITH

·  Sulforaphane, Milk thistle, Dandelion, Globe artichoke.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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·  Avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding. Chronic use may result in hormone dysregulation.

For informational purposes only.  Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2015.  For educational purposes only.  Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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