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March 1998, Volume 22, Number 3, Pages 227-229
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Increased estrogen 2-hydroxylation in obese women using oral indole-3-carbinol
J J Michnovicza

The Foundation for Preventive Oncology, P.O. Box 702, F.D.R. Station, New York, N.Y. 10150, USA

aCorrespondence: Dr JJ Michnovicz


OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the dietary phytochemical, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), influences the level of estradiol 2-hydroxylation in obese women.

DESIGN: A clinical intervention study involving the ingestion of purified I3C, 400 mg, for two months.

SUBJECTS: Five healthy, overweight, premenopausal women (age: 35-47 y, body mass index (BMI): 27-53 kg/m2).

MEASUREMENTS: Two estrogen metabolites, 2-hydroxyestrone (2OHE1) and estriol (E3), were measured by radioimmunoassay in untimed overnight urine samples, before and after ingestion of I3C.

RESULTS: The ratio of urinary estrogens, 2OHE1/E3, was significantly increased in obese women following I3C, reflecting induction of 2-hydroxylation in these women.

CONCLUSIONS: Obese premenopausal women experience increased estrogen 2-hydroxylation in response to the dietary agent, I3C, similar to non-obese women. This response to I3C may result in a hormonal milieu that helps reduce estrogen-dependent cancer risk.


indole-3-carbinol; obesity; 2-hydroxylation; catechol; estrogen; cytochrome P-450; cruciferous vegetables

Received 21 March 1997; revised 27 October 1997; accepted 3 November 1997
March 1998, Volume 22, Number 3, Pages 227-229
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF