Twenty-five years ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered that four-day old broccoli sprouts had 20-50x as many cancer-preventing components than full-grown broccoli had. These components eventually became known as DIMs (Diindolylmethane). Since then, it has become clear that DIM has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting effects. But what is DIM, exactly?
What is DIM?
Let’s start at the beginning. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage contain compounds called indoles. When you eat cruciferous vegetables, your stomach acid breaks down indole-3-carbinol into DIM.
DIM has been found to be beneficial in creating a healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone. This is because DIM converts the more potent form of estrogen (estradiol) into the weaker form (estriol).
Why is that important? Estradiol is often called “the bad estrogen.” It’s the one people are referring to when they talk about estrogen-based cancers. Your body contains estrogen receptors. When estriol occupies an estrogen receptor, it prevents estradiol’s strong “multiply” signals.
In a perfect world, limiting the amount of estradiol would not be an issue, but our world is not perfect. Stress, estrogen-filled factory meats, and environmental toxins can all contribute to higher than normal estrogen levels, which can cause estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can lead to PMS symptoms, PCOS, and certain kinds of cancer.
How Can DIM Help Me?
Now we’ve cleared up the “What is DIM” question, let’s move on to this important one.
Since DIM is a naturally occurring compound produced by your body when you eat your vegetables, you can expect it to play a critical role in how your body functions. Although research on DIM is still in its infancy, studies have already found that DIM compound may have several estrogen-related effects on your body. It:
- Supports the prevention of the effects of estrogen on your cells
- Decreases the toxins your body’s natural metabolism produces
- Promotes weight loss
- Enhances memory
- Boosts antioxidants
- Improves your mood
- Promotes good muscle development
- Supports your cardiovascular health
- Improves prostate health
- Improves acne
- Helps with fibroid problems
The Cancer Connection
A few clinical trials have shown that DIM supports healthy estrogen levels, lowering the risk of certain cancers and diseases associated with estrogen-like lupus. Researchers are excited about studies showing that DIM may prevent and/or treat breast, cervical, colon, gastric, prostate, and thyroid cancers.
DIM for Men
We’re focusing a lot on estrogen here, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that DIM is only beneficial for women. It’s beneficial for men, too. DIM is considered a testosterone blocker because it blocks an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen, which can support your testosterone levels.
That’s why DIM is often used by
- male bodybuilders,
- men struggling with “man boobs,” and
- men with extra weight they want to lose.
Using DIM Supplements for Optimal Health
You asked: What is DIM and how can it help? The answer is that DIM is a truly powerful compound.
But there’s one thing to keep in mind whether you’re a man or woman who wants to experience the benefits of DIM. Eating your veggies probably won’t be enough to get the results you are looking for!
So why can’t you just eat Brussels sprouts every day?
DIM is produced when your body digests cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, so it would make sense to increase your intake of this kind of vegetable. Eating more vegetables of any kind is always a good idea. But:
- You would have to eat two pounds of cruciferous vegetables to reap the medicinal benefits of a DIM supplement.
- You would also have to do this every day to keep a consistent level of DIM in your body because it takes DIM 24 hours to break.
Not to mention that DIM production is most effective when you eat uncooked vegetables! Let’s face it. Eating multiple servings of raw cruciferous vegetables at every meal every day isn’t that realistic (or satisfying).
On the other hand, DIM supplements are power-packed with DIM. There’s no need for your body to go through the conversion process that’s required to get your DIM from vegetables. In addition, you can boost DIM supplements with other ingredients that work synergistically with DIM to provide you with better absorption and results.
Still have questions?
If you want to know how long it takes for DIM to work, we posted about that here.
We’ll turn now to five of the other most common questions that our clients ask about DIM.
1 When to Take DIM? Morning or Night?
The best time of day to take DIM supplement is still in question. Most people find that taking DIM in the morning with a glass of water and a little food is the best way to go.
Some women who have insomnia related to estrogen dominance, perimenopause, or menopause find that taking DIM at night helps them stay asleep longer – and even through the night.
The key is to find what works for you and stick with it. Make it a part of your daily ritual to keep your hormone levels from roller-coastering.
2 Will DIM Help Me Lose Weight?
It depends on what’s stalling out your weight loss. In some cases, DIM could help you lose weight because it evens out your estrogen levels, which helps your metabolism to function better.
Research has shown that DIM increases lipolysis (fat burning), so DIM could help when you shed a few pounds! One study found that cruciferous vegetables which produce DIM as a metabolite have the potential to prevent or treat chronic obesity.
3 Can I Use DIM for Menopause Symptoms?
Absolutely! Women in perimenopause or menopause have found DIM to relieve many of the symptoms associated with the hormone imbalance that causes these conditions. See also our note about HRT Complete at the bottom.
4 Can I Use DIM for PCOS?
DIM is often recommended for women suffering from PCOS flare-ups. Since DIM may help reduce the annoying symptoms of estrogen dominance (excess levels of estrogen), it may help women with PCOS process and eliminate excess estrogen.
5 Can I Take DIM if I’m Pregnant?
No. Your hormone levels change consistently to support your body and your growing baby during pregnancy. Altering hormone levels by taking a DIM supplement is dangerous for you both. If you want to know more about how safe DIM is, check out our post here.
Ready to feel your best again?
Now you know the answer to what is DIM and how it can help you, we can tell you about the team at our sister clinic, Evexias Medical Center! They have a wide range of experience in customizing hormone optimization treatments using a combination of BHRT and DIM supplements for both women and men.
In addition to DIM, Evexias Denver uses a proprietary supplement called HRT Complete. This dietary supplement combines DIM with Vitamin B, Folate, CoQ10, and other beneficial ingredients such as Shilajit and Fenugreek seed extract. We are excited to share more about these and other amazing supplements we offer in our office. Contact us for a consultation today!