Indole-3-carbinol belongs to the group of indoles. This is a compound found in a number of cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. However, this substance is only formed when the plant leaves are cut or when the plant cells are otherwise damaged. This is a type of universal cell protection that has been shown to effectively neutralise those substances that attack healthy cells. For this reason, it can be helpful in supporting normal cell growth. As a result of this neutralisation, indole-3-carbinol is also helpful in counteracting harmful inflammation in the body. It may also help to promote the production of glutathione by liver cells. Glutathione is one of the body’s strongest protective molecules.
In the acidic environment of the stomach, diindolylmethane (DIM) is formed from indole-3-carbinol. It has been shown that DIM can have a positive effect on oestrogen metabolism, as it can lead to an increase in 2-hydroxyestradiol production. The right balance between the different oestrogen metabolites is important for normal oestrogen metabolism. Normal oestrogen metabolism is especially desirable during the menopause in women. At the same time, indole-3-carbinol can prevent the occurrence of uncontrolled cell growth and alleviate any oestrogen dominance in men.
If the absorption of indole-3-carbinol through the diet is not sufficient or there is an increased need, this nutrient can be supplemented through special food supplements.