1H-Indole-3-methanol, 1H-indol-3ylmethanol, 3-Hydroxymethyl Indole, 3 Hydroxymethyl Indole, I3C, Indole 3 Carbinol, 3-(hydroxymethyl), 3-(hydroxyméthyl), 3 (hydroxymethyl) Indole, 3-Indolylcarbinol, 3 Indolylcarbinol, 3-Indolylmethanol, 3 Indolylmethanol, Indole-3-Carbinol, Indinole, Indole, Indole 3 Carbinol, Indole-3-methanol, Indole-3-méthanol.


Overview Information

Indole-3-carbinol is formed from a substance called glucobrassicin found in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, turnips, and rutabagas. Indole-3-carbinol is formed when these vegetables are cut, chewed or cooked. It can also be produced in the laboratory.

People use indole-3-carbinol for cancer prevention, to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

There is interest in indole-3-carbinol for cancer prevention, particularly breast, cervical, and colon cancer, because diets with higher amounts of fruits and vegetables are linked to a decreased risk of these cancers. Indole-3-carbinol is present in several vegetables and might help protect against cancer.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix (cervical dysplasia). Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol by mouth helps treat cervical dysplasia.
  • Ovarian cancer. Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol along with standard chemotherapy and surgery allows women with ovarian cancer to live longer, and increases the time that they stay cancer-free.
  • Small, wart-like growths caused by HPV that usually affect the voice box (recurrent respiratory papillomatosis). There is some evidence that long-term use of indole-3-carbinol might reduce the wart-like growths in people with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
  • An autoimmune disease that causes widespread swelling (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE). Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol by mouth does not improve symptoms of SLE.
  • Skin cancer. Some women develop lesions on the vulva that can lead to skin cancer. Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol by mouth might reduce the size of these lesions and improve symptoms in some women with this condition.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Preventing breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of cancer.
  • Liver damage caused by chemicals.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of indole-3-carbinol for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Indole-3-carbinol is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken as a medicine under proper medical supervision. Doses up to 400 mg daily have been used safely for 3-76 months. It can cause side effects such as skin rashes and diarrhea.

In higher doses, indole-3-carbinol can cause balance problems, tremor, and nausea.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if indole-3-carbinol is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Indole-3-carbinol is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth as a medicine under proper medical supervision. Doses of 6-17 mg/kg body weight have been safely used in children and teenagers for 12-76 months.

Bleeding conditions: Indole-3-carbinol might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking indole-3-carbinol might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Surgery: Indole-3-carbinol might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking indole-3-carbinol might cause bleeding complications during surgery. Stop taking indole-3-carbinol at least 2 weeks before surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with INDOLE-3-CARBINOL

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Indole-3-carbinol might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking indole-3-carbinol along with some medications that are changed by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking indole-3-carbinol talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.



The appropriate dose of indole-3-carbinol depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for indole-3-carbinol. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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