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.<br/><br/>


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 conditions such as cancer prevention, systemic lupus erythematosus, tumors inside the respiratory tract, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

Researchers are interested in indole-3-carbinol for cancer prevention, particularly breast, cervical and endometrial, and colorectal cancer. Their reason is that diets with higher amounts of fruit and vegetable consumption are associated with a decreased risk of developing cancer. Researchers suspect indole-3-carbinol is one of several vegetable components that might protect against cancer.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Abnormal development and growth of cells of the cervix (cervical dysplasia). Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol by mouth helps treat cervical dysplasia.
  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. There is some evidence that long-term use of indole-3-carbinol might reduce tumor (papilloma) growth in people with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol by mouth does not significantly improve symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). . VIN is a precancerous condition of the vulva. Early research shows that taking indole-3-carbinol by mouth might reduce the size of lesions and improve symptoms in people with this condition.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Preventing breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of indole-3-carbinol for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Indole-3-carbinol is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth 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 is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking indole-3-carbinol if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children:Indole-3-carbinol is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people 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.



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.<br/><br/> 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.<br/><br/> 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


  • Sugino, T., Aoyagi, S., Shirai, T., Kajimoto, Y., and Kajimoto, O. Effects of Citric Acid and l-Carnitine on Physical Fatigue. J Clin Biochem.Nutr. 2007;41(3):224-230. View abstract.
  • Sulkers, E. J., Lafeber, H. N., Degenhart, H. J., Przyrembel, H., Schlotzer, E., and Sauer, P. J. Effects of high carnitine supplementation on substrate utilization in low-birth-weight infants receiving total parenteral nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;52(5):889-894. View abstract.
  • Sum CF, Winocour PH, Agius L, and et al. Does oral L-carnitine alter plasma triglyceride levels in hypertriglyceridaemic subjects with or without non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus? Diabetes Nutr Metab Clin Exp 1992;5(3):175-181.
  • Sun, Z. J., Yang, C. B., Wang, H., and Li, Y. [The impact of L-carnitine administration on the serum level of myocardium injury markers in patients with acute carbon monoxide poisoning]. Zhongguo Wei Zhong.Bing.Ji.Jiu.Yi Xue 2011;23(12):739-742. View abstract.
  • Sunamori M, Nakagawa T, Fujisawa S, and et al. Myocardial response to pretreatment with L-carnitine in patients with cardiac valve replacement. Vascular Surgery 1991;25(8):607-617.
  • Suzuki, Y., Narita, M., and Yamazaki, N. Effects of L-carnitine on arrhythmias during hemodialysis. Jpn Heart J 1982;23(3):349-359. View abstract.
  • Swart I, Rossouw J, Loots JM, and et al. The effect of L-carnitine supplementation on plasma carnitine levels and various performance parameters of male marathon athletes. Nutr Res 1997;17:405-414.
  • Swoboda, K. J., Scott, C. B., Crawford, T. O., Simard, L. R., Reyna, S. P., Krosschell, K. J., Acsadi, G., Elsheik, B., Schroth, M. K., D'Anjou, G., LaSalle, B., Prior, T. W., Sorenson, S. L., Maczulski, J. A., Bromberg, M. B., Chan, G. M., and Kissel, J. T. SMA CARNI-VAL trial part I: double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of L-carnitine and valproic acid in spinal muscular atrophy. PLoS.One. 2010;5(8):e12140. View abstract.
  • Tabibi, H., Hakeshzadeh, F., Hedayati, M., and Malakoutian, T. Effects of l-carnitine supplement on serum amyloid A and vascular inflammation markers in hemodialysis patients: a randomized controlled trial. J Ren Nutr. 2011;21(6):485-491. View abstract.
  • Tanner, L. M., Nanto-Salonen, K., Rashed, M. S., Kotilainen, S., Aalto, M., Venetoklis, J., Niinikoski, H., Huoponen, K., and Simell, O. Carnitine deficiency and L-carnitine supplementation in lysinuric protein intolerance. Metabolism 2008;57(4):549-554. View abstract.
  • Tarantini, G., Scrutinio, D., Bruzzi, P., Boni, L., Rizzon, P., and Iliceto, S. Metabolic treatment with L-carnitine in acute anterior ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. A randomized controlled trial. Cardiology 2006;106(4):215-223. View abstract.
  • Tarighat, Esfanjani A., Mahdavi, R., Ebrahimi, Mameghani M., Talebi, M., Nikniaz, Z., and Safaiyan, A. The effects of magnesium, L-carnitine, and concurrent magnesium-L-carnitine supplementation in migraine prophylaxis. Biol.Trace Elem.Res 2012;150(1-3):42-48. View abstract.
  • Tejani, A. M., Wasdell, M., Spiwak, R., Rowell, G., and Nathwani, S. Carnitine for fatigue in multiple sclerosis. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2010;(2):CD007280. View abstract.
  • Tejani, A. M., Wasdell, M., Spiwak, R., Rowell, G., and Nathwani, S. Carnitine for fatigue in multiple sclerosis. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2012;5:CD007280. View abstract.
  • Thomas, S., Fischer, F. P., Mettang, T., Pauli-Magnus, C., Weber, J., and Kuhlmann, U. Effects of L-carnitine on leukocyte function and viability in hemodialysis patients: A double-blind randomized trial. Am.J Kidney Dis 1999;34(4):678-687. View abstract.
  • Thomsen, J. H., Shug, A. L., Yap, V. U., Patel, A. K., Karras, T. J., and DeFelice, S. L. Improved pacing tolerance of the ischemic human myocardium after administration of carnitine. Am J Cardiol. 1979;43(2):300-306. View abstract.
  • Tomassini, V., Pozzilli, C., Onesti, E., Pasqualetti, P., Marinelli, F., Pisani, A., and Fieschi, C. Comparison of the effects of acetyl L-carnitine and amantadine for the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: results of a pilot, randomised, double-blind, crossover trial. J Neurol.Sci 3-15-2004;218(1-2):103-108. View abstract.
  • Toptas, B., Baykal, A., Yesilipek, A., Isbir, M., Kupesiz, A., Yalcin, O., and Baskurt, O. K. L-carnitine deficiency and red blood cell mechanical impairment in beta-thalassemia major. Clin Hemorheol.Microcirc. 2006;35(3):349-357. View abstract.
  • Torrioli, M. G., Vernacotola, S., Mariotti, P., Bianchi, E., Calvani, M., De Gaetano, A., Chiurazzi, P., and Neri, G. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of L-acetylcarnitine for the treatment of hyperactive behavior in fragile X syndrome. Am.J Med Genet. 12-3-1999;87(4):366-368. View abstract.
  • Torrioli, M. G., Vernacotola, S., Peruzzi, L., Tabolacci, E., Mila, M., Militerni, R., Musumeci, S., Ramos, F. J., Frontera, M., Sorge, G., Marzullo, E., Romeo, G., Vallee, L., Veneselli, E., Cocchi, E., Garbarino, E., Moscato, U., Chiurazzi, P., D'Iddio, S., Calvani, M., and Neri, G. A double-blind, parallel, multicenter comparison of L-acetylcarnitine with placebo on the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in fragile X syndrome boys. Am.J Med.Genet.A 4-1-2008;146(7):803-812. View abstract.
  • Touati, G., Valayannopoulos, V., Mention, K., de, Lonlay P., Jouvet, P., Depondt, E., Assoun, M., Souberbielle, J. C., Rabier, D., Ogier de, Baulny H., and Saudubray, J. M. Methylmalonic and propionic acidurias: management without or with a few supplements of specific amino acid mixture. J Inherit.Metab Dis 2006;29(2-3):288-298. View abstract.
  • Trappe, S. W., Costill, D. L., Goodpaster, B., Vukovich, M. D., and Fink, W. J. The effects of L-carnitine supplementation on performance during interval swimming. Int J Sports Med 1994;15(4):181-185. View abstract.
  • Trivelli G, Vitali P Girmenia S Castelli F. Trattamento della dislipidemia dell'emodializzato con L-carnitina. Clin Eur 1983;22:405-415.
  • Trovato GM, Ginardi V, Di Marco V, and et al. Long-term l-carnitine treatment of chronic anaemia of patients with end-stage renal failure. Curr Ther Res 1982;31:1042-1048.
  • Turpeinen AK, Kuikka JT, Vanninen E, and et al. Long-term effects of acetyl-l-carnitine on myocardial sympathetic innervation in diabetic patients. Diabetologia 1997;40(1):A32.
  • Turpeinen, A. K., Kuikka, J. T., Vanninen, E., Yang, J., and Uusitupa, M. I. Long-term effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on myocardial 123I-MIBG uptake in patients with diabetes. Clin Auton.Res 2000;10(1):13-16. View abstract.
  • Uppin, M. S., Sundaram, C., Meena, A. K., Reddy, K. M., Reddy, K. K., Vanniarajan, A., and Thangaraj, K. Lipid storage myopathies with unusual clinical manifestations. Neurol.India 2008;56(3):391-393. View abstract.
  • Uzun, N., Sarikaya, S., Uluduz, D., and Aydin, A. Peripheric and automatic neuropathy in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus: the effect of L-carnitine treatment on the peripheral and autonomic nervous system. Electromyogr.Clin Neurophysiol. 2005;45(6):343-351. View abstract.
  • Vacha, G. M., Giorcelli, G., D'Iddio, S., Valentini, G., Bagiella, E., Procopio, A., di Donato, S., Ashbrook, D., and Corsi, M. L-carnitine addition to dialysis fluid. A therapeutic alternative for hemodialysis patients. Nephron 1989;51(2):237-242. View abstract.
  • Valcour, V., Yeh, T. M., Bartt, R., Clifford, D., Gerschenson, M., Evans, S. R., Cohen, B. A., Ebenezer, G. J., Hauer, P., Millar, L., Gould, M., Tran, P., Shikuma, C., Souza, S., and McArthur, J. C. Acetyl-l-carnitine and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-associated neuropathy in HIV infection. HIV.Med. 2009;10(2):103-110. View abstract.
  • van Dalen, E. C., Caron, H. N., Dickinson, H. O., and Kremer, L. C. Cardioprotective interventions for cancer patients receiving anthracyclines. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2008;(2):CD003917. View abstract.
  • van Dalen, E. C., Caron, H. N., Dickinson, H. O., and Kremer, L. C. Cardioprotective interventions for cancer patients receiving anthracyclines. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2011;(6):CD003917. View abstract.
  • Van Oudheusden, L. J. and Scholte, H. R. Efficacy of carnitine in the treatment of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot.Essent.Fatty Acids 2002;67(1):33-38. View abstract.
  • Vaux, E. C., Taylor, D. J., Altmann, P., Rajagopalan, B., Graham, K., Cooper, R., Bonomo, Y., and Styles, P. Effects of carnitine supplementation on muscle metabolism by the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and near-infrared spectroscopy in end-stage renal disease. Nephron Clin.Pract. 2004;97(2):c41-c48. View abstract.
  • Verrina, E., Caruso, U., Calevo, M. G., Emma, F., Sorino, P., De, Palo T., Lavoratti, G., Turrini, Dertenois L., Cassanello, M., Cerone, R., and Perfumo, F. Effect of carnitine supplementation on lipid profile and anemia in children on chronic dialysis. Pediatr.Nephrol. 2007;22(5):727-733. View abstract.
  • Kim, Y. S. and Milner, J. A. Targets for indole-3-carbinol in cancer prevention. J.Nutr.Biochem. 2005;16(2):65-73. View abstract.
  • Rogan, E. G. The natural chemopreventive compound indole-3-carbinol: state of the science. In Vivo 2006;20(2):221-228. View abstract.
  • Anon. Broccoli compound inhibits HSV. AIDS Patient Care STDS 2003;17:609. View abstract.
  • Anon. Indole-3-carbinol. Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review 2005;10(4):337-42. View abstract.
  • Bailey GS, Dashwood RH, Fong AT, et al. Modulation of mycotoxin and nitrosamine carcinogenesis by indole-3-carbinol: quantitative analysis of inhibition versus promotion. IARC Sci Publ 1991;105:275-80. View abstract.
  • Balk JL. Indole-3-carbinol for cancer prevention. Altern Med Alert 2000; 3:105-7.
  • Bell MC, Crowley-Nowick P, Bradlow HL, et al. Placebo-controlled trial of indole-3-carbinol in the treatment of CIN. Gynecol Oncol 2000;78:123-9. View abstract.
  • Bradlow HL, Michnovicz J, Telang NT, Osborne MP. Effects of dietary indole-3-carbinol on estradiol metabolism and spontaneous mammary tumors in mice. Carcinogenesis 1991;12:1571-4. View abstract.
  • Bradlow HL, Michnovicz JJ, Halper M, et al. Long-term responses of women to indole-3-carbinol or a high fiber diet. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1994;3:591-5. View abstract.
  • Bradlow HL, Sepkovic DW, Telang NT, Osborne MP. Multifunctional aspects of the action of indole-3-carbinol as an antitumor agent. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1999;889:204-13. View abstract.
  • Bradlow HL. Indole-3-carbinol as a chemoprotective agent in breast and prostate cancer. In Vivo 2008;22(4):441-5. View abstract.
  • Dashwood RH. Indole-3-carbinol: anticarcinogen or tumor promoter in brassica vegetables? Chem Biol Interact 1998;110:1-5. View abstract.
  • Exon JH, South EH. Dietary indole-3-carbinol alters immune functions in rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2000;59:271-9. View abstract.
  • Gao X, Petroff BK, Oluola O, et al. Endocrine disruption by indole-3-carbinol and tamoxifen: blockage of ovulation. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2002;183:179-88. View abstract.
  • Grubbs CJ, Steele VE, Casebolt T, et al. Chemoprevention of chemically-induced mammary carcinogenesis by indole-3-carbinol. Anticancer Res 1995;15:709-16. View abstract.
  • He YH, Friesen MD, Ruch RJ, Schut HA. Indole-3-carbinol as a chemopreventive agent in 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) carcinogenesis: inhibition of PhIP-DNA adduct formation, acceleration of PhIP metabolism, and induction of cytochrome P450 in female F344 rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2000;38:15-23. View abstract.
  • Jin L, Qi M, Chen DZ, et al. Indole-3-carbinol prevents cervical cancer in human papilloma virus type 16 (HPV16) transgenic mice. Cancer Res 1999;59:3991-7. View abstract.
  • Kim DJ, Han BS, Ahn B, et al. Enhancement by indole-3-carbinol of liver and thyroid gland neoplastic development in a rat medium-term multiorgan carcinogenesis model. Carcinogenesis 1997;18:377-81. View abstract.
  • Kojima T, Tanaka T, Mori H. Chemoprevention of spontaneous endometrial cancer in female Donryu rats by dietary indole-3-carbinol. Cancer Res 1994;54:1446-9. View abstract.
  • McAlindon TE, Gulin J, Chen T, et al. Indole-3-carbinol in women with SLE: effect on estrogen metabolism and disease activity. Lupus 2001;10:779-83. View abstract.
  • McDanell R, McLean AEM. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): a review. Food Chem Toxicol 1988;26(1):59-70. View abstract.
  • Michnovicz JJ, Bradlow HL. Induction of estradiol metabolism by dietary indole-3-carbinol in humans. J Natl Cancer Inst 1990;82:947-9. View abstract.
  • Michnovicz JJ. Increased estrogen 2-hydroxylation in obese women using oral indole-3-carbinol. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998;22:227-9. View abstract.
  • Naik R, Nixon S, Lopes A, et al. A randomized phase II trial of indole-3-carbinol in the treatment of vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2006;16:786-90. View abstract.
  • Natl Inst Health, Natl Inst Environmental Health Sci. Indole-3-carbinol. Available at:
  • Pence BC, Buddingh F, Yang SP. Multiple dietary factors in the enhancement of dimethylhydrazine carcinogenesis: main effect of indole-3-carbinol. J Natl Cancer Inst 1986;77:269-76. View abstract.
  • Reed GA, Peterson KS, Smith HJ, et al. A phase I study of indole-3-carbinol in women: tolerability and effects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2005;14:1953-60. View abstract.
  • Rosen CA, Bryson PC. Indole-3-carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis: long-term results. J Voice 2004;18:248-53. View abstract.
  • Rosen CA, Woodson GE, Thompson JW, et al. Preliminary results of the use of indole-3-carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1998;118:810-5. View abstract.
  • Srivastava B, Shukla Y. Antitumour promoting activity of indole-3-carbinol in mouse skin carcinogenesis. Cancer Lett 1998;134:91-5. View abstract.
  • Telang NT, Katdare M, Bradlow HL, et al. Inhibition of proliferation and modulation of estradiol metabolism: novel mechanisms for breast cancer prevention by the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997;216:246-52. View abstract.
  • Tutelyan VA, Trusov NV, Guseva GV, et al. Indole-3-carbinol induction of CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP3A1 activity and gene expression in rat liver under conditions of different fat content in the diet. Bull Exp Biol Med 2012;154(2):250-4. View abstract.
  • Weng JR; Tsai CH; Kulp SK; Chen CS. Indole-3-carbinol as a chemopreventive and anti-cancer agent. Cancer Letters 2008;262(2):153-63. View abstract.
  • Wong GY, Bradlow L, Sepkovic D, et al. Dose-ranging study of indole-3-carbinol for breast cancer prevention. J Cell Biochem Suppl 1997;28-29:111-6. View abstract.
  • Yuan F, Chen DZ, Liu K, et al. Anti-estrogenic activities of indole-3-carbinol in cervical cells: implication for prevention of cervical cancer. Anticancer Res 1999;19:1673-80. View abstract.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased INDOLE-3-CARBINOL?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

More Resources for INDOLE-3-CARBINOL

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.