I-3-C and DIM
Indole- 3- carbinol (I- 3- C) and the closely related DIM may be the ultimate nutrients for healthy estrogen levels, detoxification—and more
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, help protect against some cancers and environmental toxins. Among their beneficial nutrients, indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) is one of the most important. It helps rid our bodies of toxins, may reduce risk for several cancers, and may even protect against the harmful effects of radiation.
In supplements, I-3-C is also available as DIM (3,3’- diindolylmethane). DIM is a metabolite of I-3-C, meaning that our bodies convert I-3-C into DIM. Both forms have been tested in studies.
Toxins such as bisphenol-A (BPA), found in many plastics, contain chemicals that mimic estrogen. They raise estrogen levels, creating an imbalance and potentially increasing risk for hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
In women, toxin-triggered hormonal imbalance can accentuate PMS and contribute to thyroid disorders. The same mechanism can also trigger or increase uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.
In men, some conversion of testosterone to estrogen is normal, but toxins inflate the process, resulting in excess estrogen. This may contribute to an enlarged prostate and increase risk for prostate cancer.
How the Supplements Work
Animal and lab studies show that both I-3-C and DIM stimulate detoxifying enzymes, helping to eliminate toxins and harmful forms of estrogen that can lead to cancer. These nutrients can also stop or slow development of cancer cells. So far, animal and lab studies have shown effects on breast, prostate, cervical, ovarian, pancreatic, colon, and lung cancer cells.
In one animal study, I-3-C prevented or reversed BPA-related prostate damage. In another, I-3-C reduced tobacco-induced lung cancer tumors. And another animal study found that DIM reduces damage from radiation by stimulating DNA repair.
MEET THE EXPERT: has extensive experience in clinical nutrition and functional medicine. He lectures on these topics to clinicians throughout the country and is the Education Content Manager for Nature’s Way Brands.