By: Marlene Affeld ~ Body builders, athletics, as well as men suffering from obesity are asking their doctors about the interaction of indole 3 carbinol and testosterone. Indole 3 carbinol, also known as I3C, has gained immense popularity around the gym and health food stores for it’s amazing ability to help the body avoid water retention, prevent bloating and shed unwanted pounds.
What is Indole 3 Carbinol?
Indole 3 carbinol, a micronutrient also commonly called I3C. We obtain I3C from the food we ingest. I3C is also synthesized in the body. It is the precursor to another important indole and phytonutrient, diindolylmethane (DIM). I3C triggers a series of complex reactions in the body that culminates in the maintenance and management of estrogen levels. I3C and DIM are often recommended by physicians to promote metabolism of estrogen and to prevent, manage and treat estrogen-associated health conditions, such as prostate cancer, BPH (enlarged prostate), breast and cervical cancer. Research data reveals that estrogen plays an integral contributor role in 50 percent of all cases of prostate cancer.
Multiple medical research epidemiological studies present evidence that an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables such as Bok choi, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, Brussels sprouts, kale, radishes, and broccoli provides Indole-3-carbinol benefits that include lowering the risk of many different types of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are also an ideal source of other phytonutrients that also have protective effects against cancer. Phytonutrients include selenium, folate, vitamin C, carotenoids and fiber.
Where Does The Estrogen In Our Bodies Come From?
Some estrogens come from the environment and hormone-laden poultry and livestock. Toxic estrogens, called xenoestrogens, encourage estrogen dominance in both men and women. Toxic estrogens come from things that we come into contact with everyday: plastic water bottles, pesticides, household cleaning supplies, herbicides, and noxious industrial chemicals which contain DDT, PCB or sulfates. Over time exposure to these toxins can accumulate and add up to toxic estrogen levels in our bodies.
Men also produce estrogen. In fact, as they grow older, they not only produce less testosterone than they did in their youth, but a larger portion of the testosterone they do produce now is synthesized to estrogen. This effect is known as andropause or male menopause. During male menopause, men experience their own set of symptoms, while they may not get hot flashes and night sweats, they do experience depression, mood swings, weight gain, breast enlargement, more belly fat, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido: all in all, not a pretty picture.
Both men and women with excess levels of estrogen frequently complain of fatigue, restlessness, a lack of purpose, and anxiety for the future.
Testosterone is integral to healthy hormonal balance in both women and men. Testosterone, know as an androgen for it dominate effect on male characteristics such as a deeper voice, distribution of body hair and male genital development.
Testosterone Changes To Estrogen
Estrogen is crucial to life, however; too much of a good thing is often harmful; so it is in the case of estrogen. For good health it is imperative that estrogen levels are in balance. In women, elevated estrogen levels can cause severe and complex health issues including hormonal headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, irregular menstrual cycles, endometriosis, cervical and breast cancer and infertility.
When researching the correlation between Indole 3 Carbinol and testosterone, scientists report that the metabolism of estrogen occurs via one of two separate pathways: The initial metabolic pathway, 16 alpha-hydroxylation, or the secondary ‘healthy promoting ’ metabolic pathway, 2-hydroxylation. Indole 3 carbinol prompts estrogen to take the beneficial path, a process that changes estrogen into an anti-estrogen. Because testosterone converts to estrogen, even in the male body, I3C may support balance in persons who take testosterone precursors. I3C has been studied as a potential cancer preventive, and 300-400 mg converts approximately 50 percent of some stronger estrogens to weaker estrogens in healthy men and women.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) are both naturally occurring plant alkaloids formed by the hydrolysis of indole glucosinolate (glucobrassicin). The majority of the scientific community agrees that the biggest share of what Indole 3 carbinol accomplishes in the human body is the direct result of its metabolite, DIM.
Researches determined this after noting that the beneficial effects observed from I3C are only derived from taking the micronutrient orally. When injected, there is no reaction. Scientists, therefore conclude that action in the gastrointestinal tract “signals” the I3C to react so that it can modulate the estrogen metabolites. Fact is the acidic stomach is where the two Indole 3 carbinol molecules combine to form DIM.
Persons wishing to reap the benefits of I3C, can convert I3C in their stomach or take dietary supplement formulation that provides DIM directly.
No matter if you prefer to obtain I3C from a diet rich in sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables or take a supplement, the potential health benefits should be explored with your doctor to determine your current estrogen levels and what dosage is best for you.