- Word is getting out, and DIM has started picking up steam as a supplement of choice to deal with a variety of issues such as acne, PMS, mood swings, fibroids, menopause symptoms, and even things like man boobs.
- DIM restores healthy hormone balance by adjusting the balance of bad estrogens to good estrogens, and it blocks aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen.
- Read on to find out the benefits of DIM and whether it’s right for you.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) alone is not enough. Diindolylmethane (DIM), which is also found in cruciferous vegetables, supports Phase 1 liver detoxification. That means partnering DIM with sulforaphane and calcium d-glucarate can provide your body with what it needs to keep your hormones balanced.
sourced from certified organic whole vegetables
Let’s take a step back first. Remember when the buzz was that cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) help prevent breast cancer? That’s because they contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol. When indole-3-carbinol hits your stomach acid, a chemical reaction converts it to diindolylmethane (DIM), and that’s what works its magic.
You could eat a giant serving bowl of broccoli and cabbage to get the researched dose of DIM, and veggies are obviously necessary for overall health. But there’s a catch. The veggies that contain indole-3-carbinol are the same ones that contain goitrogenic compounds — compounds that mess with your thyroid.
If you have thyroid problems, you have to pay attention to goitrogens. There’s a two-way cause-effect relationship between your thyroid and excess estrogen. You can still have your broccoli and cabbage with a lazy thyroid. You don’t want piles of it, though. If you take DIM in a capsule, you avoid those extra compounds and the resulting thyroid pitfalls.
The benefits of DIM go way beyond breast cancer prevention. Keep reading to find out what DIM can do for weight loss, acne, menopause and more.
is DIM an estrogen blocker?
You’ll see people using DIM as an estrogen blocker, but that’s not exactly how it works. Your body will continue to produce the estrogen it would have produced without DIM. Xenoestrogens (estrogen imitators from your personal and household products and environment) still make their way inside your body as they would without DIM.
More accurately, DIM works two ways. First, it blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Second, it converts bad estrogens into good estrogen metabolites.
good estrogen vs bad estrogen
A lot of women and a substantial portion of men are either aware or suspect they are estrogen dominant — they have too much estrogen relative to other hormones.
It’s not enough to demonize all estrogens. Certain estrogens have a positive action on the body, while others cause problems.
Good estrogen: 2-hydroxyestrone
There’s a bit of controversy as to whether 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) causes cancer or prevents it. It’s tricky because so many other factors go into DNA damage and tumor formation. So far, evidence points to 2-OHE1 as a cancer preventive.
Healthy levels of 2-OHE1 are associated with:
- Lower body fat and more muscle
- Higher quality collagen in the skin and joints
- Healthy bone density
- Proper cholesterol levels (in animal models)
2-OHE1 also serves as a strong antioxidant, protecting the body from damaging free radicals.
Bad estrogens: 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone, 4-hydroxyestrone
Levels of 16-alphy-hydroxy-estrone (16-OHE1), the ‘bad’ estrogen, are elevated in women and research animals with breast cancer. Newer research takes it a step further, pointing out that it’s not the individual levels that matter — rather, it’s the ratio of good estrogen to bad estrogen. If your estrogen metabolism favors 2-OHE1, you’re less likely to experience the negative effects of estrogen, including pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer.
Although 4-hydroxyestrone (4-OHE1) gets far less research attention in estrogen studies, the research that is out there confirms it as a cancer-causing estrogen. It deserves more scrutiny for its influence on cancer because of its ability to alter DNA without even hooking up to an estrogen receptor.
These estrogen metabolites are the ones responsible for all of the problems you may attribute to estrogen, including chronic constipation, PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, water retention, acne, low sex drive, headaches, chronically itchy legs, and more.
why menopause makes you look masculine
Androgen, or testosterone, is a “male sex hormone” that generally appears in low levels in women. However, menopause often triggers higher levels of androgen. During menopause, which generally happens at around age 52, a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, the two most common female sex hormones. When this happens, the hypothalamus tells the adrenal glands to take over and start producing smaller amounts of these hormones.
Normally, this does not cause severe symptoms or issues. After all, menopause is a natural and unavoidable biological process. It shouldn’t cause sexual or physical problems in the body, and healthy menopausal women can actually handle these lower amounts of estrogen and progesterone really well.
So why do issues arise?
Generally speaking, this happens when there is a problem with the adrenal system. If the adrenals are fatigued, they can’t produce the replacements that they’re supposed to. The hypothalamus, then, stays “on” continuously requests those hormones from the body. That overactive hypothalamus causes menopausal symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- More belly fat
- Loss of collagen
- Muscle atrophy
- Night sweats
- Bone loss
- Sleep problems
- Decreased tolerance to stress
- Facial hair
Causes of High Androgen
Now, it’s important to note that – like with other ‘menopause symptoms’ – menopause will not generally ‘trigger’ high testosterone. A healthy menopausal or postmenopausal woman, then, will not deal with any of these symptoms.
Instead, androgen levels rise when something is going wrong. Typically, it happens when you have high levels of Fat Storing Hormone. In general, high androgen levels can happen for a couple of reasons:
Higher Fat Storing Hormone In The Body
Maybe you’re eating a lot of sugar. But maybe you’re not. Like we mentioned, during menopause – and in postmenopausal women – the ovaries stop working and the adrenal gland backs up the ovaries.
Well, this process can lead to a sudden spike of cortisol, the primary stress hormone in the body. Why? The adrenals can sometime over-act when trying to make up the hormone loss caused by the ovaries going into retirement.
That cortisol can then convert into Fat Storing Hormone.
High Cortisol Directly
High cortisol can also come directly from high stress, and this will also cause high levels of testosterone.
It is noted here on pubmed that DIM is is the first example of a pure androgen receptor antagonist from plants. Also sea kelp has iodine and a lot of times that will help balance the estrogen situation because there’s a huge relationship between estrogen and iodine. That actually takes some stress off the whole system.
DIM for acne
Do you have hormonal acne? Here are a few telltale signs of hormonal acne:
- Does your acne appear at the same time in your menstrual cycle each month?
- Is your acne the deep, painful, cystic variety that doesn’t easily pop? (Don’t try to pop it…but you know the kind of blemishes these are.)
- Do you see your acne along the chin, jawline, or cheeks?
If this sounds like you, you might benefit from DIM.
Hormonal acne results from an imbalance of good estrogens, bad estrogens, and testosterone. When you supplement with DIM, it works to prevent the bad estrogen pathways and strengthens the good estrogens and testosterone. When everything is in balance, you skin will have the proper support to stay clear and healthy.
why the bodybuilding community loves this natural type of hormone therapy
DIM inhibits aromatase, so that more testosterone is freely available in your system to benefit your heart, bones, skin, and brain. Plus, when aromatase isn’t able to convert testosterone into harmful estrogen metabolites, you have fewer symptoms of estrogen dominance like acne and mood swings.
DIM + SGS + CDG and weight loss
People report weight loss with diindolylmethane supplementation, for several reasons. For one, bad estrogens signal to your body to hold onto weight, especially in the hips and thigh. If you have a better balance of estrogen metabolites, you’re less likely to hold onto unnecessary body fat.
how excess estrogen contributes to the formation of age spots
Excess estrogen relative to progesterone levels contributes to increased age spot formation. In addition, excess estrogen increases iron absorption, which could prove problematic. Synthetic hormones like the pill, stress, protein deficiency, and poor liver detoxification all contribute to increased estrogen levels.
treatments most naturopaths do not recommend
Remember, there are a few other common treatments available. These include:
- Hormone therapy (HT), which consists of either estrogen and progestin (hormone replacement therapy) or estrogen-only therapy (ET)
- Low-dose birth control pills containing estrogen
- Testosterone therapy
That said, any naturopaths I have spoken with don’t really find these to be viable solutions.
While oral estrogens can boost SHBG levels and reduce levels of free testosterone, these treatments can cause long-term problems like:
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- And more