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Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils


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Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Indole-3-Carbinol
General Features
Indole-3-Carbinol has been shown to be one of the major anti-cancer substances found in cruciferous vegetables.
Frequent consumption of these vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy) is
associated with reduced risk of cancer in many human and animal studies.1-8 Indole -3-Carbinol is a member of the
class of sulfur-containing chemicals called glucosinolates (previously called thioglucosides).9 It is formed by the action
of myrosinase enzyme acting on the parent compound glucosinolates, whenever cruciferous vegetables are crushed
(e.g., chewing) or cooked.10,11 Indole-3-Carbinol and other glucosinolates (e.g., other indoles and isothiocyanates such
as sulforphane) are antioxidants and potent stimulators of Phase I and Phase II detoxification enzymes in the liver and
intestinal epithelial cells.12,13,14 In this capacity it helps the body more easily eliminate toxic compounds, including
many carcinogens.15,16,17 Indole-3-Carbinol also acts as a phytoestrogen (plant-based estrogens) and, in this capacity,
can bind to estrogen receptors in the body, reducing the ability of stronger estrogens from over stimulating
reproductive tissues such as the breast, cervix, uterus, and in males, the prostate gland. In this regard, the ingestion
of Indole-3-Carbinol is highly associated with the prevention of reproductive organ cancers in women and men.3,4,8 It
also promotes the metabolism of certain endogenous estrogens (estrone) into a safer, less cancer-promoting form (2-
OH-estrone), further helping to reduce risk of reproductive organ cancers, according to modern wisdom.18,19,20 Thus
far, human studies have used a dose of 300-400 mg per day to demonstrate this outcome.33
Clinical Application and Mechanism of Action
1. Prevention of Female Reproductive Cancers
In experimental animal testing with mice and rats, Indole-3-Carbinol and brussels sprouts, respectively, have
demonstrated an ability to reduce mammary cancer incidence in animals exposed to carcinogens that are known to
promote mammary cancer in these species.21,22 In human studies, the ingestion of Indole-3-Carbinol has been
shown to increase the metabolism of estrone hormone to 2-hydroxyestrone rather than the16-alpha-hydroxyestrone
metabolite. Studies indicate that 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in
women and, conversely, 2-hydroxyestrone is associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. Thus, Indole-3-
Carbinol influences the body’s enzyme systems in a fashion that favorably influences the 2-hydroxyestrone to 16-
alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio, helping to reduce risk of breast cancer.20,21,23,24 A large prospective study involving
5,000 Italian women and a second study of patients with either benign or malignant breast lesions highlighted the
ability of a higher 2/16 hydroxyestrone ratio to predict which women were less prone to breast cancer development.
a. Breast Cancer: Epidemiological studies and experimental evidence strongly suggests that Indole-3-Carbinol may
reduce breast cancer risk through the above-cited mechanisms.25,26,27,28 To date there are no human intervention
trials that have tested Indole-3-Carbinol as a preventive or therapeutic agent against breast cancer.
b. Cervical Cancer: In a 12-week double-blind study, 8 of 17 patients with early-stage cervical cancer given 200 or
400 mg of Indole-3-Carbinol per day experienced a complete reversal of their condition.29 Animal studies have also
shown that indole-3-carbinol can help prevent cervical cancer in the presence of various carcinogens.30,31
2. Respiratory Tract Papillomas
Indole-3-Carbinol supplementation reduced or halted the formation of papillomas (precancerous lesions) in 12 out
of 18 patients with recurrent respiratory tract papillomas in a small trial.32
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