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What's the Hype About DIM: Diindolylmethane

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

Diindolylmethane is made in the body from a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli.

Diindolylmethane might act like estrogen in the body but also block estrogen effects. It appears to help destroy cancer cells and reduce swelling.

People commonly use diindolylmethane for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Broccoli Extracts (DIM and I3C)

This group of nutrients makes the Brassicaceae family of vegetables so great for healthy estrogen levels. If you’re not able to get enough of these foods through your regular meals, or you or t to further support estrogen metabolism, you can supplement with DIM or I3C, which are two closely related compounds.

  • DIM: DIM stands for diindolylmethane and is also known as the “estrogen blocker” because of its ability to convert bad estrogens into less harmful forms of the hormone. It also blocks an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen in the body. DIM is what the body creates when you eat I3C through your food.

  • I3C: Indole-3-Carbinol is found in cruciferous vegetables, so it’s essentially a precursor to DIM. I3C aids in healthy estrogen metabolism and detoxification. For example, urine samples collected before and after oral ingestion of 13C showed a significant decrease in estrogen in as little as a few weeks.

DIM is derived from cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli. DIM Supplement comes typically in capsules, sometimes combined with other supplements to optimize the desired outcome.

  1. DIM helps in weight loss – Most women struggling with seemingly impossible weight loss are due to imbalanced estrogen. Taking DIM, together with a low-calorie calorie diet & exercise, can make weight loss easier.

  2. DIM helps in Fat metabolism. – Imbalanced estrogen makes it challenging to lose fat. Men would take DIM to reduce breast fat (male boobs).

  3. DIM regulates irregular periods – Millions of women have irregular or missed monthly periods. Taking DIM can restore your periods to normal.

  4. DIM Controls Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – You know the struggle before periods, girls. Bloating, lousy mood, vomiting, acne, cramping, food cravings, weight gain – you name it. Taking DIM is enough to control these issues.

  5. DIM balances estrogen hormone levels. – DIM normalizes estrogen levels most women suffer from due to foods and environmental toxins like plastic and car fumes.

  6. DIM reverses a condition called estrogen dominance. – When the body produces little or no progesterone hormone to counter the effects of estrogen, the condition is called estrogen dominance. Taking DIM helps in managing estrogen dominance.

  7. DIM improves fertility. – Hormonal imbalance is one of the causes of infertility. Balanced estrogen levels are a perfect way to increase the chances of conceiving where the hormonal imbalance is the cause.

  8. DIM is Perfect for PCOS. – Women with ovarian cysts deal with a myriad of estrogen & testosterone-related issues. DIM helps to normalize these hormones.

  9. DIM controls Hormonal Acne – Hormonal acne (especially in women) starts with high testosterone. Taking DIM means addressing the internal cause of hormonal acne – better than applying acne creams.

  10. DIM controls Testosterone Levels – This is common in PCOS. Can cause facial hair growth, depression, acne

  11. DIM may prevent breast cancer – high levels of bad estrogen cause 80% of breast cancers. This type of breast cancer is called estrogen receptor (ER) breast cancer.

  12. DIM Shrinks Uterus Fibroids – Like we just saw on breast cancer, fibroids grow bigger and faster when harmful estrogen levels are high. Fibroids feed on higher than normal estrogen levels.

  13. DIM prevents Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, some types of colon cancer & prostate cancer in men – There is a lot of research showing DIM may help prevent these types of cancer.

  14. DIM helps control menopause symptoms – During fertility years, our body produces a type of estrogen called estriol (the good estrogen). During menopause, the body has the wrong type (which causes fibroids, cancers, etc.). Taking DIM helps lower the bad estrogen. Taking DIM can help with menopause symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, etc.

  15. Take DIM with Milk Thistle for Liver Detox & Endometriosis: Taking DIM with another supplement called milk thistle has been shown to reduce the severity of endometriosis.

So, the benefits of taking DIM are so many that every woman can benefit from it. The added advantage of making it easier to lose weight/fat and controlling PMS is good enough for me.

Everyone is unique, so are our needs. One person may want to take DIM for PCOS; another may take it for acne. It is one supplement every woman should have in their supplement stack!

Diindolylmethane and Estrogen

The exact mechanism of action is unknown, but doctors Michael Zeligs and Scott Connelly state in their book, "All About DIM," that some of the benefits are likely derived from DIM helps balance sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. They explain that when estrogen is broken down in your body, it can form beneficial or harmful estrogen metabolites. DIM helps your body break down estrogen into a healthy type. The beneficial estrogen metabolites have antioxidant properties and help to protect the heart and brain from free-radical damage. Diindolylmethane also simultaneously reduces the levels of harmful estrogen metabolites, which is beneficial because they are associated with an increased risk for obesity, breast cancer, and uterine cancer. Additional problems related to too many harmful estrogen metabolites include moodiness and breast pain in women and loss of sex drive in men.

Testosterone-balancing Benefits

Diindolylmethane also appears to promote a healthy balance of testosterone in the body. Testosterone supports energy, promotes a happy mood, and helps to maintain a healthy sex drive. In addition, Zeligs states that DIM may have an anti-aging effect and may help encourage lean body mass. When combined with exercise, it can increase muscle mass. However, these benefits are speculative, and more research needs to be done to confirm the efficacy of these claims.

Anticancer Benefits

According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, DIM has been found to help prevent and treat breast and prostate cancers. Studies on animals also found DIM to prevent the replication and load of cancer cells. Exactly how DIM helps prevent and treat cancer is unknown; however, DIM inhibits angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels. Tumors require the growth of new blood vessels to supply the unnecessary nourishment for tumors to thrive. By preventing the development of new blood vessels, DIM may therefore help to abolish tumors. Unfortunately, only a few small studies have been done on DIM so far, and more research needs to be done to confirm the usefulness of DIM as an anti-cancer supplement.

Additional Information

Although DIM is produced in your body when you consume cruciferous vegetables, you would have to eat a massive amount of raw vegetables every day to get the purported benefits of DIM. Absorbable forms of pure DIM have been developed and are sold as dietary supplements. According to Zeligs, no adverse effects have been reported from DIM supplements at doses up to 200 mg; however, mild nausea and headache have been reported with doses of 300 mg. Diindolylmethane may also interact with certain medications. It would help if you talked to your healthcare practitioner before supplementing with DIM.

Food Sources of Diindolylmethane

DIM is a natural substance generated when the body breaks down indole-3-carbinol, which is found in certain vegetables, mainly the cabbage family. You can get your intake of diindolylmethane if you include these healthy foods in your diet:

  • Broccoli (half cup, chopped): 27 mg per 44 g

  • Red Cabbage (half cup, chopped): 29 mg per 45 g

  • Cauliflower (half cup, chopped): 22 mg per 50 g

Diindolylmethane Side Effects

When taken correctly in the small amounts found in foods, diindolylmethane is likely safe. Diindolylmethane may cause a decrease in the amount of sodium in the body.

Some common side effects occur in some, not all, following DIM usage, including a rash with eosinophilia and central serous chorioretinopathy (x).

Talk with your doctor before taking diindolylmethane supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, and have hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.

Since diindolylmethane sometimes acts like estrogen, individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions should be careful before adding the supplement to their diet over the concern that it might worsen hormone-sensitive conditions.

General Side Effects

DIM is considered nontoxic, but more research is needed to determine its safety fully. When 353 women at risk for developing cervical cancer took DIM supplements, nearly 70 percent experienced some nonserious side effect, according to a study published in the "British Journal of Cancer" in November 2011. The most common side effect was the darkening of the urine. About one-fourth of the women experienced increased bowel frequency, while 18 percent had headaches or gas. Less common side effects included nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and a skin rash. Nearly 13 percent of the women reported changes in their menstrual cycle when they took DIM.

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  • NYU Langone Medical Center: Diindolylmethane

  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Diindolylmethane

  • British Journal of Cancer: Effect of Diindolylmethane Supplementation on Low-Grade Cervical Cytological Abnormalities: Double-Blind, Randomised, Controlled Trial: Table 5: Adverse Events and Secondary Findings

  • Thyroid: 3,3-Diindolylmethane Modulates Estrogen Metabolism in Patients With Thyroid Proliferative Disease: A Pilot Study

  • BMC Cancer: Low Levels of 3,3-Diindolylmethane Activate Estrogen Receptor Alpha and Induce Proliferation of Breast Cancer Cells in the Absence of Estradiol

  • Molecular Medicine: Interplay of Genes Regulated by Estrogen and Diindolylmethane in Breast Cancer Cell Lines

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