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Indole-3-Carbinol and Testosterone 

Indole-3-Carbinol and Testosterone 

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.  

Although testosterone is considered a male sex hormone or androgen that plays a key role in developing male characteristics, it helps keep hormonal balance in a stable state in both men as well as women. There is an indirect but close link between indole-3-carbinol and testosterone, which is why indole-3-carbinol is often promoted as a “testosterone booster”. But does it really help increase testosterone levels? Let’s find out together. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring the link between indole-3-carbinol and testosterone levels, particularly in the men's body. But before we get into how indole-3-carbinol can help boost testosterone levels, it’s important to learn the basics of indole-3-carbinol and testosterone a little bit more. So, let’s get started. 


Table of contents 

  • What is indole-3-carbinol? 
  • What is testosterone? 
  • Indole-3-carbinol and testosterone 
  • How to use indole-3-carbinol 
  • Precautions and side effects 
  • Final words 

What is indole-3-carbinol? 

Indole-3-carbinol, also known as I3C, is a phytonutrient that is naturally found concentrated in cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, watercress, and others. 

Cruciferous vegetables contain biologically active components called glucosinolates. Indole-3-carbinol is produced when a type of glucosinolate called glucobrassicin is hydrolyzed or broken down by the water.  

Indole-3-carbinol further gets converted into its more potent and better-absorbed metabolites called DIM or diindolylmethane in the body. Both indole-3-carbinol and DIM are also being isolated from cruciferous vegetables and widely available as supplements in various forms including capsules and tablets. 

Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is being extensively studied by researchers in order to understand its potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and hormone-balancing effects on the body.  

What is testosterone? 

Testosterone is an important hormone that plays a key role in maintaining hormonal balance in both men as well as women. It is also considered an androgen as it plays an essential role in developing and maintaining male characteristics such as body hair and a deeper voice not only in males but also in females if its effects dominate. 

A healthy testosterone level is crucial for men’s health. It impacts various bodily functions and affects sexual health, muscle and bone development, mood, energy, and body composition. Low levels of testosterone have been linked to increased risks of developing cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes along with low libido, fatigue, weight gain, and depression.    

Indole-3-carbinol and testosterone 

The synthesis of testosterone in men gradually slows with aging. Low testosterone levels are often accompanied by high estrogen levels, disrupting the testosterone-to-estrogen ratio as well as the entire hormonal balance. This is the reason why older men tend to develop various hormone-induced health consequences such as enlarged prostate, muscle loss, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, obesity, breast growth (gynecomastia), chronic fatigue, male pattern baldness, mental fog, and others.  

There is an indirect link between indole-3-carbinol and testosterone synthesis in the body. Indole-3-carbinol has been found to have the potential to inhibit the actions of an enzyme called aromatase, which appears to be responsible for disrupting hormonal balance by converting testosterone into estrogen.  

When aging men are already at an increased risk of low testosterone levels, converting testosterone into estrogen may worsen conditions. I3C can greatly help boost testosterone levels and restore its balance by inhibiting the actions of aromatase, which is why a large number of healthcare providers recommend indole-3-carbinol supplements to support testosterone levels. 

Indole-3-carbinol and its anti-estrogenic effects have also been shown to have protective effects on cells, which might help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and slow down the appearance of aging. 

A 2013 study in the European Journal of Nutrition revealed that indole-3-carbinol is efficient in inhibiting aromatase expression and has chemopreventive activity in breast cancer cells. 

How to use indole-3-carbinol 

Indole-3-carbinol is easily accessible through a healthy diet that contains considerable amounts of cruciferous vegetables. For people who find it difficult to eat enough vegetables in their diets, I3C supplements could be a good option, which are widely available in various forms such as tablets and capsules. 

Currently, there is no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) for I3C supplements so far. Though a number of clinical studies have found up to 1200 mg of I3C is safe and well-tolerable, typical doses range from 200 mg to 800 mg per day that can be taken into several divided doses as well.  

Precautions and side effects 

I3C is possibly safe in doses recommended by healthcare providers. Side effects are uncommon and generally associated with higher doses, typically when used with more than 400 mg per day. 

Common side effects include excess gas, flatulence, darkening of urine, headaches, increased bowel movements, nausea, and vomiting. Those with higher sensitivity to cruciferous vegetables may experience food allergies with symptoms of skin rash, swelling, and others. 

Since research in humans on the long-term effects of I3C is limited, most clinicians recommend a break after continuous use for up to three months. In addition, since I3C impacts hormone levels, people who are on hormone therapies, or those with hormone-related conditions such as thyroid or hormone-sensitive cancers should be mindful of their intake of I3C supplements. 

Therefore, it’s always best to consult with a licensed natural medicine expert before starting I3C supplements regardless of your medical history. 

Final words 

Indole-3-carbinol is a plant nutrient that is commonly available as supplements isolated from cruciferous vegetables. The relationship between indole-3-carbinol and testosterone is indirectly linked to each other. I3C supplements may help keep testosterone levels balanced and sustained by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into estrogen with its proven anti-estrogenic effects. 

When estrogen levels are properly maintained, testosterone levels are improved, which is vital for aging men to prevent or slow health consequences induced by low testosterone levels, such as enlarged prostate, loss of libido, mental fog, and many more.

Here you can see Vorst’s pure and natural Indole 3 Carbinol I3C 400 mg Vegan Capsules 

Here you can see Vorst’s pure and natural DIM 200 mg Vegan Capsules 

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