At present, the commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs in clinical treatment of cancer cells at the same time will cause great damage to other tissues or cells of the body, which prompts people to seek effective non-toxic side effects from other aspects of anti-cancer agents. Epidemiological studies have found that there is a certain relationship between the intake of certain foods and the reduction of cancer incidence. Some food ingredients such as beta-carotene, indole-3-methanol and α-tocopherol play a natural anti-cancer role. So it is more and more important to find effective anti-cancer ingredients from food. Among them, indole-3-methanol（I3C） is an important food anti-cancer agent.
Source and function of indole-3-methanol（I3C）
Sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables and Brassinin in cabbage can induce phase II enzymes existing in exogenous detoxification process to block the activity of carcinogens and play an anti-cancer role. Among the derivatives of cruciferous vegetable active ingredients, the most important one is indole-3-methanol（I3C）.
For the first time, I3C's role in humans was demonstrated by testing the metabolic level of NKN in smokers. I3C can increase the level of liver metabolites of NKN, a carcinogen in tobacco, and improve the clearance rate of NKN in liver. I3C has the effect of anti-human lung cancer.
Recent clinical trials have shown that the metabolic level of estrogen C2 in urine increases and the concentration of some metabolites that activate estrogen receptors decreases after oral administration of a certain amount of I3C in both men and women. These effects can reduce the stimulation of estrogen to certain organs of the mitochondria. Therefore, I3C has anti-breast cancer activity.
Since I3C exhibits a wide range of physiological activities and is an active ingredient in food, its various anti-tumor activities have aroused great interest. Because of its simple chemical structure and large-scale chemical synthesis, I3C has attracted more and more attention as a new food anticancer agent.
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