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Cruciferous Veggies & Your Health, Part 2

In our previous newsletter we looked at some of the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables and their health benefits. In this edition we will further explore some of the novel phytonutrients present.


Previously we discussed Diindolymethane (DIM) and its ability to detoxify and balance levels of estrogen and its undesirable metabolites. DIM is actually a metabolite of another compound occurring in crucifers: indole-3-carbinol, I3C for short. I3C is the precursor to DIM and has to be converted by stomach acid. It is possible that some of I3C’s benefits derive from the DIM to which it is converted in the body. However, there have been many clinical studies on I3C specifically, with conclusions drawn that its effects seem to parallel DIM’s activity. Like DIM, it favorably balances estrogen metabolites thereby reducing risk of hormone-driven cancers. It has been shown to decrease incidence of not only breast and prostate cancer, but also colon cancer. It acts as an aromatase inhibitor, preventing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.

Anti-Cancer Studies

I3C appears to have activity against some Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) strains as well as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Indole-3-carbinol induces Phase I and Phase II enzymes in the liver that clear carcinogens. I-3-C has been shown in animal studies to have chemopreventive effects against tumor development in mammary gland, liver, lung, cervix, and gastrointestinal tract tissues. In addition, it has been shown to have these chemopreventive effects in both spontaneous and chemically-induced tumors.

Brain & Cognitive Protection

Cruciferous phytonutrients, with their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties may prevent neurodegenerative diseases. For instance, researchers from “The Archives of Neurology” found that people who ate higher amounts of tomatoes,
cruciferous vegetables and dark, leafy greens had lower Alzheimer’s
risk. Carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin found in crucifers have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain where they provide protection again cognitive decline. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies have
demonstrated the ability of sulphoraphane to prevent various brain diseases,
including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autism spectrum disorders.

Eclectic Kale Powder

Evergreen Nutrition carries Thorne’s Indole-3-Carbinol, which supplies 200 mg per capsule. Solaray’s Breast Gard, mentioned in the previous newsletter as a source of DIM, also provides I3C. A wonderful source of cruciferous phytonutrients plus antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, Eclectic Institute’s Kale Powder is organic, raw, and a versatile ingredient for inclusion in smoothies or cooking.