Eat your broccoli is on the lips of many parents and what’s good for your children is also good for adults. Why so much attention to this dense green flowerlike vegetable and the other vegetables in this Brassica family such as cabbage, radishes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and daikon?
These cruciferous vegetables contain high levels of Indole- 3- Carbinol or I3C, which has been shown to suppress the growth of various tumor cells including breast, prostate, endometrial, colon and leukemic cancer cells as well as inducing death of these cells in experiments. It acts to transform estrogen in men and women to a protective rather than destructive form.
Estrogen is made internally in men and women and can also be ingested in our foods. We all have a unique way of “metabolizing” and estrogen can be metabolized into a 2 hydroxy (2-OH) or 16 hydroxy (16-OH) form depending on which enzymes that drive the reactions are activated. Xenobiotic estrogens are external compounds with estrogenic activity that may thereby affect the risk of breast cancer. They are found in pesticides and plastics as well as hormone treated meat and poultry. These tend to promote the metabolism of estrogen to the more toxic forms.
I-3 C drives the chemical reactions to form more 2-OH estrogen and some xenobiotic estrogens drives the chemical reactions to form more 16 OH estrogen. The ratio of 2:16 may be an important indicator of cancer risk. Many leading cancer centers found that higher levels of 2 OH estrogens protects against cancer, whereas higher levels of 16 OH estrogens increases the risk. You can measure your 2:16 ratio to determine how you metabolize estrogen.
So, give and take some good advice to maximize your metabolism to form protective compounds, eat your broccoli and Brassica vegetables, eat organic and don’t heat your foods in plastic to minimize exposure to xenoestrogens. In addition, have your 2:16 ratio measured. You may want to supplement with I-3-C or its active metabolite di-indole methane otherwise known as DIM. Find a good healthcare practitioner who can help guide your choices regarding high quality supplements, testing procedures and determining your unique metabolic profile to decrease your risks of cancer as well as other disease.