When your body digests cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Bok choy, etc.), it produces diindolylmethane or DIM. Research suggests that DIM can positively affect estrogen levels. Thus, DIM supplements are gaining in popularity as a potential treatment for various hormone-related conditions, such as menopause symptoms, prostate issues, and specific cancers.
As mentioned, DIM comes from cruciferous vegetables. However, you must consume several servings a day to reap any benefits, which may be difficult for some people. That’s why those looking to treat a particular issue choose to take DIM supplements. Keep reading to learn more about DIM supplements and how they may benefit you.
DIM and Its Anti-Cancer Effects
Prolonged exposure to high estrogen levels puts one at risk of developing breast cancer. The estrogen metabolite ratio 2/16 hydroxyestrone, in particular, is a risk factor for breast and prostate cancer.
A 2006 study found that the ratio of estrogen metabolites in the urine is associated with a risk of developing invasive breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women. One metabolite, 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1), is a less potent and more beneficial form of estrogen. Research suggests that it may also help reduce the effects of the more potent form called 16-hydroxyestrone (16-OHE1), which has promoted the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells in vitro.
A low ratio of 2-OHE1 and 16-OHE1 (low 2-OHE1; high 16-OHE1) suggests an increased risk of breast cancer. The goal is to raise this ratio. But how do we do that? With DIM, of course!
The consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been shown to increase the 2/16 ratio in healthy, postmenopausal women over four weeks. In one study, the 2/16 ratio increased by 29.5% after researchers provided the participants with an extra 500g/day of broccoli for 12 days.
DIM Fights Prostate Issues
Along with protecting against prostate cancer, DIM supplements may also help safeguard against prostate enlargement.
DIM works by combating PIN (prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia), a condition doctors characterize by prostate cell growth. It is a precursor to prostate cancer.
During a 12-month-long study, researchers provided men with high-grade PIN with 900mg of DIM or a placebo once a day. Those who took the DIM supplement experienced significant improvement in PIN and overall prostate health.
Animal and test-tube studies also provide evidence that DIM helps prevent prostate cancer.
Can DIM Boost Weight Loss?
Estrogen plays a vital role in regulating fat accumulation. This suggests that using DIM to regulate estrogen levels may help control weight.
Multiple studies have linked an estrogen imbalance (either too much or too little) to an increased risk of weight gain in men and women.
Furthermore, one study on mice showed that DIM supplements might stimulate fat breakdown and prevent fat cell formation. Researchers fed the mice a high-fat diet and provided them with 23mg of DIM per pound of body weight. Even while on a high-fat diet, researchers observed that the DIM significantly reduced the formation of new fat cells.
Other Potential Uses for DIM
The research that exists on DIM shows that this supplement has its benefits. However, more research is required to prove the positive effects DIM has on other conditions, such as:
- Hormonal acne
- Hot flashes
- PMS symptoms
- Estrogen imbalances in men
DIM Side Effects
The current human research on DIM supplements suggests that it is not toxic or have serious side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Darkening of the urine
- An increase in bowel movements
Less common symptoms include:
- Skin rash
Since DIM interacts with estrogen levels, it may affect people with hormone-sensitive cancers or those on hormone therapies. These people should speak with their doctor before starting a DIM supplement regimen.
In human research, the dosage of DIM ranges from 108 to 900mg per day. However, one study suggests that a higher dosage of DIM (over 300mg) may be associated with negative side effects, such as nausea, headache, and vomiting.
If you believe DIM supplements could be beneficial for you, speak with your doctor to develop a dosage that is right for you.
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