Benzo[a]pyrene toxicokinetics in humans following dietary supplementation with 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) or Brussels sprouts

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2023 Feb 1;460:116377. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2023.116377. Epub 2023 Jan 13.


Utilizing the atto-zeptomole sensitivity of UPLC-accelerator mass spectrometry (UPLC-AMS), we previously demonstrated significant first-pass metabolism following escalating (25-250 ng) oral micro-dosing in humans of [14C]-benzo[a]pyrene ([14C]-BaP). The present study examines the potential for supplementation with Brussels sprouts (BS) or 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) to alter plasma levels of [14C]-BaP and metabolites over a 48-h period following micro-dosing with 50 ng (5.4 nCi) [14C]-BaP. Volunteers were dosed with [14C]-BaP following fourteen days on a cruciferous vegetable restricted diet, or the same diet supplemented for seven days with 50 g of BS or 300 mg of BR-DIM® prior to dosing. BS or DIM reduced total [14C] recovered from plasma by 56-67% relative to non-intervention. Dietary supplementation with DIM markedly increased Tmax and reduced Cmax for [14C]-BaP indicative of slower absorption. Both dietary treatments significantly reduced Cmax values of four downstream BaP metabolites, consistent with delaying BaP absorption. Dietary treatments also appeared to reduce the T1/2 and the plasma AUC(0,∞) for Unknown Metabolite C, indicating some effect in accelerating clearance of this metabolite. Toxicokinetic constants for other metabolites followed the pattern for [14C]-BaP (metabolite profiles remained relatively consistent) and non-compartmental analysis did not indicate other significant alterations. Significant amounts of metabolites in plasma were at the bay region of [14C]-BaP irrespective of treatment. Although the number of subjects and large interindividual variation are limitations of this study, it represents the first human trial showing dietary intervention altering toxicokinetics of a defined dose of a known human carcinogen.

Keywords: 3,3’-diindolylmethane; Accelerator mass spectrometry; Benzo[a]pyrene; Brussels sprouts; Human carcinogen dosing; Toxicokinetics.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Benzo(a)pyrene*
  • Carcinogens*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Toxicokinetics


  • 3,3'-diindolylmethane
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Carcinogens