Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a plant nutrient isolated from cruciferous vegetables that promotes the breakdown and synthesis of estrogen within the body. It helps the human body reduce its levels of “bad” exogenous estrogens in turn increasing “good” endogenous estrogen.
What is “Bad” Estrogen?
“Bad” estrogen comes primarily from exposure to xenohormones – man made and environmental chemicals that bind to estrogen receptor sites and act like estrogen within the body. They contribute to the formation of extra estrogen receptor sites and also prevent the liver from eliminating excess estrogen. Increased levels of “bad” estrogen are also promoted by obesity and contribute to hormonal imbalance.
Then, what is “Good” Estrogen?
Our body’s “good” estrogen has many responsibilities in terms of supporting healthy fertility. For women, estrogen helps the follicle in an ovary to mature in preparation for ovulation, supports a healthy menstrual cycle, and helps to create a thick endometrium in preparation for implantation. In men, estrogen helps to regulate the process by which sperm matures.
5 Ways DIM Benefits Estrogen Levels
1. Promotes healthy estrogen metabolism – DIM helps the body break down “bad” estrogen to be properly eliminated allowing for “good” estrogen to do its job and participate in healthy hormonal balance. “Both DIM and I3C [the plant nutrient isolate] induce the activity of phase I and phase II enzymes involved in the biotransformation and elimination of steroid hormones and carcinogens in vitro,” according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
2. Supports hormone balance – By helping the body eliminate excess estrogen, DIM becomes an ally to and a beneficial supplement for those dealing with estrogen-dominant fertility health conditions such as:
- uterine fibroids/polyps
- ovarian cysts
- irregular menstrual cycles
- immature egg maturation
- immature sperm maturation
3. Decreases the symptoms of estrogen dominance – DIM may aid in the relief of the following symptoms associated with estrogen dominance:
- hair loss related to hormonal imbalance
- helps regulate an irregular menstrual cycle
- supports cervical health
- breast tenderness
- pain associated with endometriosis
- slow metabolism
- weight gain
4. Helps to protect cellular health – “Both plant indoles [DIM] and “good” estrogen are known to be cell protectors through their action as antioxidants,” according to Doctor’s Michael Zeligs and A. Scott Connelly. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals that damage cellular health. “Good” estrogen is believed to help the body regulate proper cell growth, while naturally eliminating the damaged/dead cells, a process called “programmed cell death”. “Bad” estrogen is thought to promote the growth of abnormal cells.
5. Supports mood, libido and fat-burning metabolism – Compared to other hormones in the female body such as estrogen and progesterone, women have lower levels of testosterone. Despite the lower levels of testosterone, the right levels of testosterone in women is important. For women, testosterone plays a key role in mood, libido, and fat-burning metabolism. Excess “bad” estrogens can block hormone receptor sites which prevents other hormones from actively and efficiently doing their jobs. Because the female body already naturally has lower levels of testosterone, any drop in this could be detrimental to health. DIM helps rid the body of excess estrogen which, in turn, helps testosterone in the female body stay active. Active testosterone supports positive mood, sex drive, and active aerobic metabolism – the process whereby oxygen, blood glucose, glycogen, and fat is used to fuel the muscles of the body primarily during exercise. “Good” estrogens naturally regulate energy within the body; they are the controllers of metabolism.
Supplementing with DIM: What You Need to Know
DIM does not have estrogenic activity, does not mimic estrogen, and will not make up for estrogen deficiency. What it can do is help the body to improve hormone balance and protect cellular health. If you have been struggling to overcome a fertility issue associated with estrogen dominance or are looking to improve egg health, or hormone balance, consider supplementing with DIM as part of your natural fertility program.
While cruciferous vegetables contain DIM, there is no way to get enough of this nutrient through cruciferous vegetable intake alone. To reap the benefits DIM has to offer, it is best taken as a nutritional supplement. To learn more about DIM click here…
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) Information Resource Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.diindolylmethane-dim.com/
- Diindolylmethane. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/diindolylmethane
- The Three Metabolic Energy Systems. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/the-three-metabolic-energy-systems
- Zeligs, M., & Connelly, A.S. (2000). All about DIM. New York, New York: Avery.