What is Diindolylmethane (DIM)
DIM is a natural substance created in the body during the breakdown of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.
One of DIM's primary functions is aiding in the proper metabolism of estrogen, which is why health experts often recommend people at risk of certain cancers like prostate and breast cancer, consume cruciferous vegetables at every meal.
DIM can be bought as a dietary supplement and is most often used as an estrogen detoxification agent or "blocker". This is because studies have shown DIM to both increase the rate that harmful estrogens are metabolized and excreted; as well as blocking aromatase enzymes that convert testosterone into estrogen.
Why You Need to Detox Harmful Estrogens
Estrogens are hormones that are naturally produced by the body in both men (yes men, you need estrogen too) and women, and are essential for optimum health and vitality. However, not all estrogens are created equal and too much of some of metabolites can be harmful to the body and cause a wide range of issues, including:
Belly fat (especially in men)
Painful, irregular, and/or heavy periods
Excess body fat around the glutes, thighs, and hips (especially in women)
Increased risk for certain types of cancers, including: as prostate and breast
So where does all of this "bad estrogen" come from? Well, some of it is produced naturally by our bodies, while other types of harmful estrogens (i.e., xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens) are absorbed into the body via too much soy, cosmetics, plastics, soaps, household cleaners, herbicides, pesticides, and lotions.
Several particular estrogens concerning scientists include: 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone, 4-hydroxyestrone, and estradiol.
These estrogens and metabolites, when in excess, are believed to contribute to the issues listed above and are believed to be key risk factors for certain types of cancers.
The first step in detoxifying harmful estrogens should always be to reduce our exposure to these substances and to replace our cosmetics with phthalate free soaps, body washes, shampoos, and lotions. It is also important to reduce our exposure to plastic and to drink out of glass when possible.
3 Key Health Benefits of DIM
Aside from potentially alleviating the issues mentioned above, DIM has been shown in multiple studies to have the following potential health benefits.
Health Benefit of DIM #1: Estrogen Detoxification
Studies have shown DIM and its precursor, Indole-3-Carbinol, to increase the rate at which these harmful estrogens are metabolized and urinated out of the body. Additionally, DIM has been shown to block the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen.
This combination of estrogen reducing action is believed to improve the androgen to estrogen ratios in the body helping to relieve some of the issues caused when the ratios become largely imbalanced.
Click here to read more about other powerful estrogen blocking herbs and supplements.
Health Benefit of DIM #2: Prostate Health and Potential Cancer Prevention
As previously mentioned, certain estrogens have been label as "bad" by scientists due to their association with Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), Prostate, and certain forms of breast cancer.
Studies have shown that DIM may be a helpful/preventative control for stopping the formation and growth of cancer in tissues in these areas of the body.
Health Benefit of DIM #3: Fat Loss
Excess estrogen has been shown to contribute to the accumulation of unwanted body fat in specific areas of the the body: especially around the pecs and belly in men; and, around the hips, butt, and thighs on women.
We've heard from many customers who are incredibly fit and otherwise lean, who complain that they just can't get rid of troublesome body fat. In many cases, excess estrogen could be the problem...especially when it comes to man boobs.
As DIM helps to remove these harmful estrogens from the body, scientists have shown body fat has less of a tendency to accumulate in these areas (when combined with a diet and regular exercise).
That said, we don’t encourage DIM specifically for fat loss. It is more of a secondary benefit. Your primary weight loss tools should always be eating more plants, intense exercise, and regular fasting. Something like DIM should not be used until you have covered all these bases first.
Recommended Dose and Precaution
A recommended dose has not been established (and we are not making a personal recommendation for you), but doses of between 100 and 150 mg daily have been used in most cited research without any major observed side effects being notated.
That said however, DIM is not for everyone and definitely should not be taken by women who are pregnant, could become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Additionally, always talk to your doctor before taking DIM to determine if it is appropriate for you; especially if you are on any form of medication, including birth control.
There are several key health benefits of DIM supplementation that mostly tie back to its ability to reduce and block the accumulation of harmful estrogens in the body; especially in breast and prostate tissue. It can also be a helpful tool for those struggling to reduce body fat in specific areas of the body.
Resources and Additional Reading:
Estradiol and its metabolites 4-hydroxyestradiol and 2-hydroxyestradiol induce mutations in human breast epithelial cells. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16287077/)
Carcinogenicity of catechol estrogens in Syrian hamsters. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3009986/)
Catechol estrogen quinones as initiators of breast and other human cancers: implications for biomarkers of susceptibility and cancer prevention. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16675129/)
A CONTROLLED SAFETY STUDY OF DIINDOLYLMETHANE IN THE IMMATURE RAT MODEL (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015182/)
Effect of Diindolylmethane on Estrogen-related Hormones, Metabolites and Tamoxifen Metabolism: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial (http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/26/3/435.1)
Aromatase inhibitors in men: effects and therapeutic options (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143915/)