Posted on: 12.05.2023 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

As we reach a certain age, it seems that more and more of our friends are being diagnosed with breast cancer. This can be disheartening and frightening. While we know women who are estrogen dominant or those who have eleveated estrogen levels are at greater risk for breast cancer, women in premenopause or even those experiencing menopause symptoms can be diagnosed with this awful disease.

However, cancer is not an inevitable part of growing older! Arming yourself with the right information on how you can prevent breast cancer from happening in the first place can help lessen your fears and improve your overall health. And a key piece of that information is an amazing nutrient that has been shown to significantly lower your risk of breast cancer: DIM.

DIM and Breast Cancer

DIM (diindolylmethane) is a compound found in Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. When you eat these vegetables, the chewing process releases plant enzymes, which in turn create a phytochemical known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C). DIM is formed directly from I3C in the acidic environment of the stomach. Best of all, DIM has also been found to be highly stable, requires no conversion, and promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism.

When we talk about estrogen or estrogen levels, we are actually referring to three different compounds: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. During estrogen metabolism, estradiol (the most potent of the three) is converted into estrone. Estrone then becomes either 2-hydroxyestrone (a “good” estrone metabolite) or 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (a “bad” estrogen metabolite). The good metabolite (2-hydroxyestrone) is then converted into 2-methoxyestrone and 2-methoxyestrodial. These two estrogen metabolites have been shown to inhibit the growth of malignant tumors. Conversely, 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone has been strongly associated with cancer growth.

This is where DIM comes in. Research has shown that when DIM is ingested, it not only encourages its own metabolism, but that of estrogen. While it is not an estrogen or even an estrogen-mimic, its metabolic pathway exactly coincides with the metabolic pathway of estrogen. When these pathways intersect, DIM favorably adjusts the estrogen metabolic pathways by simultaneously increasing the good estrogen metabolites and decreasing the bad estrogen metabolites.

After many studies confirmed that the 2-hydroxyestrone to 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio was a good predictor of breast cancer risk, researchers set out to determine if consumption of Brassica vegetables could influence this ratio. In 2000, American researchers took urine samples from 34 healthy postmenopausal women. They then added 10 grams of broccoli a day to the women’s diets. After taking another urine sample, researchers found that this dietary change significantly increased the 2-hydroxyestrone to 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio.

A similar study conducted in 2001 looked at the dietary habits of postmenopausal Swedish women aged 50 to 74. When asked how often, on average, they consumed a wide variety of foods, including 19 different commonly eaten fruits and vegetables, researchers found that those women who ate 1 to 2 servings of Brassica foods a day had a 20 to 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those women who ate virtually none.

What’s a Girl to Do?

Clearly, we all need to eat more Brassica vegetables. Aim for at least two servings a day to help keep estrogen levels of estrogen metabolites in the right balance. You can also augment your diet with a good, high-quality DIM supplement. Dr. Lark suggests taking 30 mg of DIM a day.


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