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Indole-3-Carbinol for PCOS

Indole-3-Carbinol for PCOS

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.  

PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most prevalent female medical concerns that lead to infertility at their reproductive ages. The use of indole-3-carbinol for PCOS and its associated symptoms has shown promising results in current research findings. But how does it work? Let’s explore together. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring the effects of using indole-3-carbinol for PCOS symptoms according to research findings. But before we get into how indole-3-carbinol can help with PCOS, it’s important to learn exactly what PCOS is, what symptoms it involves, and what's causing it. So, let’s get started.   

Table of contents 

  • What is PCOS? 
  • Symptoms of PCOS
  • Causes of PCOS 
  • What is indole-3-carbinol?
  • Benefits of indole-3-carbinol for PCOS
  • How to use indole-3-carbinol
  • Precautions and side effects 
  • Final words 

What is PCOS? 

PCOS is the abbreviated form of polycystic ovarian syndrome, a female medical condition in which the ovaries make high amounts of male sex hormones called androgens that are normally found in small amounts in women. As the name suggests, in PCOS, multiple small cysts or fluid-filled sacs may develop in the ovaries, though this is always not the case.


High levels of androgens and cysts interfere with ovulation and cause a wide range of symptoms involved with PCOS, including disrupted menstrual cycles, hirsutism (excess body hair), and infertility. 

Currently, there is no complete cure, but medications and dietary supplements can hugely help alleviate symptoms and prevent the progression of the disease and its associated health complications.   

Symptoms of PCOS

Every woman with PCOS is unique and symptoms may widely vary from one case to another. However, common symptoms may include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Irregular periods, missed periods, or periods that last too long or too little
  • Ovaries that become large and might have multiple fluid-filled sacs or cysts
  • Infertility 
  • Male-pattern hair loss or thinning hair 
  • Hirsutism or excess body hair, including face, chest, and back
  • Oily skin or acne 
  • Weight gain, particularly fat storage around the belly 
  • Thick or dark skin patches under the breasts, in the armpits, or on the back


Causes of PCOS

The exact cause is yet not fully understood. Factors that are assumed to be involved with PCOS include: 

Insulin resistance - Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance, meaning the body cannot use insulin properly. Excess insulin levels may cause increased levels of androgens. 

Obesity - Obesity or being overweight may also increase the risk of insulin resistance and contribute to developing PCOS symptoms or make them worse. 

Inflammation - Chronic inflammation may induce the ovaries to produce more androgens that lead to various cardiovascular risks. 

Heredity - Certain genes may run this condition in families. 

What is indole-3-carbinol?

Indole-3-carbinol or otherwise called I3C is a plant compound that naturally occurs in cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and others. When it is consumed, the acidic environment of the stomach breaks it down and forms several oligomeric compounds, including DIM (diindolylmethane), that have different biological activities in the body. 

Studies suggest that both indole-3-carbinol and its metabolite DIM have significant anti-estrogenic and antiproliferative properties that can help various hormonal disorders such as PCOS and oncological conditions like breast cancer. 

Benefits of indole-3-carbinol for PCOS

Both Indole-3-carbinol and its metabolite DIM have been shown to have a tremendous hormone-balancing activity that can hugely help with PCOS. Elevated levels of estrogen play an important role in disrupting hormone balance and developing cysts in ovaries. Indole-3-carbinol improves estrogen metabolism and helps restore hormone balance. 

Addressing insulin resistance is also a vital aspect of treating PCOS. Indole-3-carbinol has the capacity to improve glucose metabolism and lower insulin resistance, which in turn, can help decrease the production of androgens. 

Finally, indole-3-carbinol has noticeable anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the body, a possible major cause of PCOS. 

A recent 2020 review focused on the use of indole-3-carbinol and its metabolite DIM in gynecology in Actual Gynecology and Obstetrics showed that indole-3-carbinol and DIM favorably influence estrogen and glucose metabolism and lower insulin resistance, all of which seem to be promising and safe complementary treatment for PCOS and other hormonal diseases. 

How to use indole-3-carbinol

The exact dose of indole-3-carbinol and DIM supplements for PCOS is individual and may differ from woman to woman. However, in general, the doses range from 200 to 800 mg per day which can be taken into several divided doses throughout the day. Work with a professional naturopathic physician to determine the exact dose. 

Precautions and side effects

The use of indole-3-carbinol for PCOS is considered safe and well-tolerated when taken as advised. There are no reported occurrences of serious side effects so far. But minimal and uncommon side effects may occur in some women. 

Common side effects are typically associated with higher doses that may include headaches, stomach upsets, and decreased sodium levels which is very rare. 

Besides, indole-3-carbinol may interfere with how the liver metabolizes certain medications such as olanzapine and propranolol. Therefore, always consider asking a qualified naturopathic physician to determine whether these supplements are right for you or what would be the best method of use. 


Final words 

PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most dominant female medical conditions, which is caused by increased androgen levels. The use of indole-3-carbinol for PCOS has been found highly helpful in reducing symptoms and restoring hormonal balance without causing any serious side effects. 

indole-3-carbinol can help favorably modulate the processes of estrogen and glucose metabolism, and lower insulin resistance and inflammation with its anti-estrogenic, anti-inflammatory, and hormone-balancing effects in the body. Work with a professional naturopathic physician to determine your safety and the best possible doses.

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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