What is Indole-3-Carbinol?Pure indole-3-Carbinol is an off-white solid belonging to the group of indoles. Indole-3-carbinol is only formed in these vegetable after crushing or during cooking.
DistributionThe phytochemical indole-3-carbinol is found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts. Indole-3-carbinol is made from indole-3-glucosinolate by the enzyme myrosinase. This enzyme is only activated after maceration of the vegetables.
Health Benefits of Indole-3-CarbinolIndole-3-carbinol and its main metabolite diindoylmethane modulates several nuclear transcription factors resulting in a variety of biological and biochemical effects. Indole-3-carbinol works as a strong antioxidant, thereby protecting the DNA and other cell structures.
Indole-3-carbinol has chemopreventive activity and stimulates the production of detoxifying enzymes. The phytochemical protects against carcinogenic effect of pesticides and other toxins.
The anticancer effects of indole-3-carbinol and its metabolite diindoylmethane are the result of specific activities: inducing enzymes that metabolize carcinogens, enhancing DNA repair, inducing G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Indole-3-carbinol blocks estrogen receptor sites on the membranes of breast and other cells, thereby reducing the risk of cervical and breast cancer. Indole-3-carbinol increases the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone and inhibits the 4-hydroxylation of estradiol. This is a favourable action of indole-3-carbinol because 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone and 4-hydroxyestrone have carcinogenic action. The estrogen metabolite 2-hydroxyestrone has protective against several types of cancer. Studies with animals have demonstrated that indole-3-carbinol reduced the carcinogenic affects of aflatoxins. The influence of indole-3-carbinol on the development of prostate cancer is less clear. Most studies report protective effects but a few studies indicate that indole-3-carbinol may promote prostate cancer formation. Treatment of skin cancer cells with ultraviolet-B results in the apoptosis of their apoptosis, a favorable effect that seems to be stimulated by indole-3-carbinol. Some studies also show a beneficial effect on the treatment of skin cancer.
A few studies demonstrate the beneficial effects of indole-3-carbinol on lipid synthesis and platelet aggregation, suggesting that this phytochemical could help to improve heart health.
SynonymsI3C, 3-hydroxymethyl indole, 3-indole methanol