Please Note: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.
DIM is a particular supplement that has been growing in popularity, especially among women, because it can help correct hormonal imbalances.
An increasing amount of people are taking DIM supplements to help with issues like acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), weight loss and maybe even cancer.
Here, we take a look at what DIM is, how it may affect your body, and if supplementing with it may be worth looking further into.
What is Diindolylmethane (DIM)?
DIM stands for diindolylmethane, a natural compound found in cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and more.
The compound is derived from glucobrassicin, a natural plant component that becomes broken down into indole-3-carbinol (I3C) when these vegetables are cut or chewed. When digested, I3C then turns into DIM in the human stomach.
DIM has been shown to support the liver’s detoxification function and control estrogen metabolism to help balance hormones. It’s also displayed anti-cancer effects in the body.
We’ll talk more about its potential benefits below.
What Are DIM Supplements?
So, why not just add more cruciferous vegetables to your diet to increase your DIM intake?
First of all, any heat can lessen the impact of DIM. Cooking, boiling or microwaving this group of vegetables actually reduces the absorption of glucobrassicin and DIM in the body (1).
But if you take away the heat and eat your cruciferous vegetables raw or even fermented (like with sauerkraut), you may run into another possible issue: goitrogens.
Cruciferous vegetables are naturally high in goitrogens, which can potentially impact thyroid production. However, this is typically only the case when consumed in very large quantities.
That said, those who have an underactive thyroid and are also deficient in iodine may need to be especially careful of the amount of these vegetables they consume raw.
Low-temperature steaming for 3-4 minutes may be the best way to both reduce those goitrogenic components and preserve the compounds that transform into DIM in your body (2).
But supplements can offer you a much higher dosage of DIM than you’d likely be able to consume in vegetables.
On the other hand, a DIM supplement will lack all of the other beneficial nutrients—including fiber, vitamins, and minerals—that come with consuming whole cruciferous vegetables.
For example, another glucobrassicin found in broccoli was shown to be more effective in inhibiting colon cancer than I3C and DIM (3).
So, if you’re considering taking a DIM supplement, don’t forget to continue eating your veggies, too!
Summary: Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a natural compound found in cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. DIM can help support detoxification and help balance hormones. Supplements can be taken to provide a much higher dosage of DIM than you’ll likely get from just consuming vegetables.
DIM Supplement Benefits
DIM is most effective in helping maintain hormonal balance, especially between estrogen and testosterone in both men and women.
In general, DIM’s ability to prevent large increases or decreases in estrogen can help with a number of issues, including acne, menopause symptoms, weight gain, and even cancer.
It may also work as a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
DIM’s ability to prevent both estrogen and testosterone excess may also lower your risk of acne caused from a hormonal imbalance.
Hormonal acne typically appears on the chin, cheeks or jawline and is often linked with the menstrual cycle (you will likely see it appear at the same time in your cycle).
This is often the case during menopause, when estrogen levels drop and androgen hormones may rise.
While some people may find that a DIM supplement can help reduce hormonal acne, no specific studies have actually looked at the link between DIM and acne.
Estrogen Dominance and Menopause
In men, it can cause enlarged breasts or infertility.
Some people use DIM as an estrogen blocker, but it doesn’t actually stop the production of estrogen. Instead, it blocks the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen.
Meanwhile, too little estrogen can also cause issues, which is often the case in menopause. DIM doesn’t increase or decrease the level of estrogen, but it does help the body better metabolize it.
DIM’s balancing effect on estrogen can also help shed some unwanted pounds.
Too much or too little estrogen can cause the body to store more fat (7).
To make matters worse, both men and women produce estrogen in their fat tissues. So, the more fat you have, the more estrogen you make. Women typically hold this fat in their hips and thighs (8).
Along with balancing estrogen, DIM and its precursor, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), can also suppress adipogenesis, which is the process of producing new fat cells.
One study on mice tested I3C and its effect on weight. The mice injected with I3C showed a decrease in body weight and fat accumulation even when consuming a high-fat diet (9).
A more recent study on mice found even more promising results with the use of DIM. Mice on a high-fat diet showed a reduced risk of obesity and decreased fat tissue when injected with DIM (10).
While little has been studied on the direct impact between DIM and weight in humans, we do know that obesity is often linked with hormonal imbalances. Taking DIM could help prevent this.
There’s some promising research around DIM and cancer, particularly in the breast and prostate.
One study on postmenopausal women with a history of early-stage breast cancer found that taking a DIM supplement for 30 days increased the metabolism of one of the “good” estrogens, 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) (11).
Another found that it inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells in mouse models (12).
It also activates an enzyme called AMPK-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps induce apoptosis (cell death) in prostate cancer cells (14).
Other test-tube studies have found that DIM supplementation for 30 days showed anti-cancer activities in cancer cells related to prostate, breast, endometrial, colorectal, pancreatic and leukemia (15).
Another powerful way it works against cancer is via its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Keep in mind that all of these studies have only been done in the lab. There have been few clinical trials, and those have mostly shown little or no significant effect from DIM supplementation on women with a high risk of breast cancer (18).
Summary: DIM is most effective in helping maintain hormonal balance, especially between estrogen and testosterone. It may help reduce hormonal acne and menopause symptoms, and promote weight loss. There’s also promising research that shows DIM may be effective in treating certain cancers. However, most of these studies have only been performed on animals or in test tubes.
DIM Supplement Side Effects and Dosage
While there are promising benefits that can come with taking DIM, there are some potential side effects to take note.
DIM is safe for most individuals, but you may experience some mild detox-like symptoms including:
- Dark-colored urine
- Changes in menstrual cycle
Due to its effect on estrogen, it’s best to avoid DIM if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It also has the potential to worsen hormone-sensitive conditions, including endometriosis, fibroids, and breast, uterine or ovarian cancers.
Those being treated for cancer should also avoid taking DIM supplements without consulting a doctor first.
Currently, there’s not enough evidence to determine the safest and most effective DIM dosage. It likely depends on numerous individual factors, including age and health.
You’ll often see DIM come in 100-200mg capsules. One study determined that DIM was well tolerated at single doses of up to 200mg, and that it was possible to increase the dose to 300mg without major side effects (19).
As with any supplement, it’s best to talk with your doctor before using.
Summary: DIM is safe for most individuals, but some may experience mild detox-like symptoms, including fatigue, headache, and nausea. The safest and most effective dosage is still unknown and likely depends on individual factors.
DIM Supplement Reviews
DIM supplements can be found at most health food and drug stores and is widely available online.
Here are what customers are saying about a few of the top-selling DIM supplements sold on Amazon.
Smoky Mountain Naturals’ DIM Supplement 200mg Plus BioPerine
Rating: 4 stars
This product is marketed to both women and men to help with estrogen balance, cystic acne, PCOS, hormonal acne treatment, menopause relief, weight loss, bodybuilding, and as an aromatase inhibitor.
It includes BioPerine (a black pepper extract), which the company says “maximizes absorption of DIM.”
Around 66% of over 3,000 reviewers gave these supplements a 5-star rating. Many of these customers found the product helped relieve menopause symptoms, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), mood swings, brain fog and acne.
Meanwhile, 13% of customers only gave it 1 star. Common complaints include side effects like headaches, temporary hair loss and allergic reactions like swelling and skin rashes. Some found that it made their symptoms (like hot flashes) worse or simply didn’t work.
You can learn more about Smoky Mountain Naturals’ DIM Supplement on Amazon.
Genius Estrogen Balance – DIM Supplement w/ Grape Seed Extract
Rating: 4.5 stars
This product is also geared toward both women and men to help inhibit excess estrogen, provide menopause relief, reduce hot flashes, boost weight loss and restore clarity.
Each capsule includes 150mg of DIM, as well as 150mg of grape seed extract, which the company claims “acts as a natural aromatase inhibitor” and “improves blood flow.” There’s also 5mg of BioPerine, which they say can “enhance absorption of nutrients by at least 30%.”
About 78% of over 780 reviews have a 5-star rating. Satisfied customers say the product helped improve acne, bloating, mood swings and hot flashes, and promote weight loss.
Only 6% of reviewers gave it a 1-star rating. Unhappy customers report experiencing sleeplessness, severe headaches, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects. Others say it didn’t offer any benefits and is a waste of money.
You can learn more about The Genius Brand’s DIM Supplement on Amazon.
Summary: DIM supplements are widely available online. Some of the best-selling products on Amazon have received mostly positive reviews, with satisfied customers saying the supplements helped promote weight loss and reduce acne, bloating and hot flashes. Unhappy customers reported unpleasant side effects or no noticeable benefits to taking DIM.
Should You Be Taking DIM Supplements?
DIM is just one more reason you should be eating your vegetables.
This natural compound is found in cruciferous veggies and has been shown to be effective in balancing hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone.
This balancing act can lead to a reduction in hormonal acne and menopause symptoms, and also promote weight loss.
DIM has even shown promising anti-cancer effects, especially in breast and prostate cancer cells.
However, it can be hard to get much DIM by just consuming vegetables. This is why DIM supplements have become increasingly popular.
Many online customers of some of the top-selling supplements have reported positive effects after taking DIM.
That said, most research on DIM has been based on animal or test-tube studies, and there’s little evidence of its effectiveness in humans.
But if you’re interested in trying a supplement, DIM is safe for most individuals.
You’ll just want to avoid it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a hormone-sensitive condition (like endometriosis or fibroids) or are being treated for cancer.
If you do decide to try DIM supplements, you’ll be looking to drop around $20 for a month’s supply, but it may be worth it if you find that it helps reduce any symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Just don’t forget to increase your cruciferous vegetable consumption as well, because a simple supplement won’t provide you with all of that extra fiber, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds that come with eating whole foods.
In fact, it may be all of these factors working together that offers the most health benefits in the long run.
Previously published on dietvsdisease.org
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