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Buff guy posing with his arms above his headIndole-3-Carbinol Prevents Fat Gain, often abbreviated I3C, is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. It is often taken as a supplement for its effects on estrogen metabolism deemed positive by the bodybuilding community. A recent study published in 2011 has found evidence that indole-3-carbinol may also help keep you lean.

18 male mice were split into 3 groups: a control group, a group fed a high fat diet intended to induce body fat gains, and a group fed a high fat diet but was also given 5mg/kg daily of indole-3-carbinol. After 12 weeks of diet and supplementation, both groups fed the high fat diet gained more body fat than the control group, however there were some differenced between the two groups eating the high fat diet. The group using indole-3-carbinol along with the high fat diet gained less body weight and body fat, and the group also showed itself to be superior in terms of other obesity-related factors as well such as improved glucose tolerance and lowered leptin levels.

From the results, the researchers concluded that indole-3-carbinol has anti-obesity effects in mice. In other words, the indole-3-carbinol appeared to reduce the gain of body fat as well as reduce some of the other negative effects on health of a diet which induces obesity. If these effects are also apparent in humans, indole-3-carbinol might be useful to supplement with to prevent fat gain from a high calorie diet while an individual attampts to add muscle mass. More research is needed to reach a solid conclusion, especially human research, but indole-3-carbinol has other health benefits as well which may make it worth looking in to for supplementation.



Chang HP, Wang ML, Chan MH, Chiu YS, & Chen YH. (2011). Antiobesity activities of indole-3-carbinol in high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.). 27(4), 463-70.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cassie is a chemistry major and national level bodybuilder. Questions or comments? Talk to Cassie on the FORUM or on FACEBOOK.

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