“Eat your brussel sprouts!”

Mom really did have a great reason for forcing us to eat those
horrible vegetables but I bet she didn’t even know the full

It turns out that cruciferous
vegetables including broccoli,
cauliflower, brussel sprouts and
cabbage contain Indole 3 Carbinol
(I3C). I3C is the reason our moms
were so strongly encouraging us to
eat up.

Since being discovered, Indole 3
Carbinol has been used in many
studies that suggest several health
benefits, especially for women.
Oral ingestion of Indole 3 Carbinol
has been shown to alter the
metabolism of estrogen in a
beneficial manner. As we know from
hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
studies, excess estrogen in the
body can be damaging. It’s fairly
common knowledge that HRT can
increase the risks of most
gynecological cancers including
endometrial, ovarian and breast
cancer as well as increasing the
risks of heart attacks and stroke.
HRT can also induce PMS type
symptoms including bloating, breast
tenderness, moodiness and
irritability and water retention.

So, if all these things can occur
because of an increase in estrogen,
maybe we should understand a little
better what it is that is causing
this to happen. Here is a little
Biology 101.

Both male and female bodies have estrogen receptors. These
receptors are like electrical outlets. The purpose of estrogen
receptors is to receive estrogen and allow the body to process
the estrogen. Just like there are many different things that
you could plug into an electrical outlet, there are several
different types of estrogen that can plug into estrogen
receptors. In the case of electrical outlets, various things
will pull different amounts of power such as the difference
between a night light and a computer. Obviously, the computer
will draw much more power than the night light, but the least
amount of power will be drawn from one of those little plastic
safety plugs.

Back to the estrogen receptors. Different forms of estrogen;
phytoestrogen, estriol, estrone, estradiol and xenoestrogens,
have different effects when plugged into those estrogen
receptors. The weaker the estrogen, the less estrogenic effects
they will have on the body. The stronger the estrogen, the more
negative effects they will have on health. But just as any
house has a limited number of electrical outlets, the body has
a limited number of estrogen receptors.

Ideally we want to plug as many estrogen receptors as possible
with weak estrogens, primarily phytoestrogens which come from
plant sources. HRT and hormonal birth control methods all use
the strongest natural estrogen, estradiol. Indole 3 Carbinol
mimics the weakest forms of estrogen. Therefore, the more
Indole 3 Carbinol that is absorbed by the body and used to plug
the estrogen receptors, less receptors will be available to the
stronger estrogens.

Studies indicate that Indole 3 Carbinol is more beneficial than
Tamoxifen for the prevention of breast cancer1. This may be due
to I3C’s ability to mimic very weak estrogen in the body.

Studies have also indicated that Indole 3 Carbinol was
beneficial to mice suffering from Lupus and other autoimmune

Other studies indicate that Indole 3 Carbinol may be beneficial
for the following concerns.

• Ovarian cancer
• Prostate cancer
• Colon cancer
• Human Papilloma Virus (HVP)
• Cervical dysplasia3

In addition, because of the ability Indole 3 Carbinol seems to
have on estrogen, case studies are now showing it may be
beneficial for:

• Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms
• Breast tenderness, cramping and other menstrual symptoms
• Helping to relieve muscle soreness do to exercise or

With so much contributing to the numerous benefits of Indole 3
Carbinol, it may be time to start listening to mom and eat
those veggies!

1. “Prevention and treatment of cancer with indole-3-carbinol”,
Alternative Medicine Review, Dec, 2001 by Matthew S. Brignall

2. “Indole-3-carbinol in women with SLE: effect on estrogen
metabolism and disease activity”, Lupus, Volume 10, Number 11,
November 2001, pp. 779-783(5)

3. “Placebo-controlled trial of indole-3-carbinol in the
treatment of CIN”, Gynecol Oncol. 2000 Aug;78(2):123-9

About The Author: Nicole Bandes is a Certified Herb Specialist
that has been helping others to regain their health and
vitality since 1999. Nicole uses and recommends Nature’s
Sunshine Products Indole 3 Carbinol for her family and friends.
Read more articles by Nicole at http://www.naturallyherbs.com.

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