Researchers are looking into the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting effects of diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound commonly found in cruciferous vegetables including:
DIM supplements appear to help adjust the hormone estrogen. A few clinical trials have shown that it supports healthy estrogen levels, and may lower the risk of certain cancers and diseases like lupus that are linked to estrogen.
Research shows that about one in three cancer deaths is related to poor nutrition and could be prevented. Scientists see lower cancer risks in people who eat a lot of vegetables. That’s why DIM is so intriguing.
Research is ongoing to see if DIM can have any of the following estrogen-related effects on your body:
- Helps prevent the effects of estrogen on cells
- Slows some cancer cells
- Lowers toxins produced by your body’s natural metabolism
- Boosts antioxidants
- Promotes weight loss
- Enhances memory
- Improves mood
- Reduces symptoms of PMS
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Promotes good muscle development
- Improves prostate health for men
How to Include DIM in Your Diet
Even if you eat plenty of veggies, you may not get much DIM if cruciferous vegetables aren’t a regular part of your meals. Here’s what to know:
DIM is not just for women. You may think of estrogen as only a female hormone, but it’s not. Men also benefit from DIM. Some of their testosterone changes into estrogen and is metabolized in the liver. Levels of a certain kind of estrogen may lead to higher risks of cancer in men, just as it can in women.
Choosing a dose. Before trying any supplement, talk to your doctor. DIM may reduce the effectiveness of some medications. Your doctor can decide whether you need to switch to a different drug while taking DIM. They can also help you figure out what amount is right for your needs.
Improving your diet. In place of supplements, include cruciferous vegetables in your diet. The best way to get any nutrient is through healthy eating. If you don’t like them by themselves, include them in smoothies or baked dishes. You’ll also benefit from the other vitamins, minerals, and fiber they provide.
Supplements may be more effective. One study found that DIM supplements are more effective than DIM that comes from food. Supplements may be boosted for better absorption.
Safety concerns. Though DIM supplements are popular, there is still no significant proof of their safety and effectiveness. In fact, they may be harmful to some women. If you’re of reproductive age, estrogen is necessary to support healthy breast, bone, and endometrial tissue.
Understanding the risks. If you’re pregnant, your hormone levels are changing to support your growing baby. Altering those levels by taking DIM is dangerous for you both. DIM may also reduce the effectiveness of oral birth control medications.
After menopause, women’s bodies make less estrogen. So DIM may not have much benefit. The worst-case scenario is that DIM may further osteoporosis – thinning bones – by lowering your body’s ability to keep a healthy bone density.
All medications and supplements have a risk of interacting with one another, and DIM is no different. Always talk to your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.