December 10, 2003
DIM: A Little Warrior Takes on a big Disease
Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a plant-compound found
in brassica veggies such as broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage,
and Brussels sprouts. When you eat these foods, 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.
Originally, researchers looked to I3C for cancer-preventive benefits.
However, they found that it was unpredictable, reacted very erratically
during digestion, and was completely ineffectual until it was converted
into DIM. Based on this data, researchers then turned their attention
to DIM and found that it was highly stable, required no conversion,
and promoted beneficial estrogen metabolism.
DIM Alters the Estrogen Metabolism Pathway
When we talk about estrogen, we are actually referring to three
different compounds: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. During estrogen
metabolism, estradiol is converted into estrone. Estrone then becomes
either a good estrone metabolite or a bad
estrogen metabolite. The good metabolite is then converted into
two estrogen metabolites that have been shown to inhibit the growth
of malignant tumors; however, the bad metabolite 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.
Since higher levels of bad estrogen circulating in the bloodstream
have been associated with higher breast cancer rates, scientists
theorized that by increasing the good estrogen to bad estrogen ratio,
you could protect against estrogen-fed cancer.
Brassica Vegetables Have an Impact
I recommend increasing your intake of brassica vegetables. Researchers
have 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. You can also take a good, high-quality
DIM supplement. Because DIM is extremely insoluble in both water
and lipids, it is poorly absorbed without a good biodelivery vehicle.
For this reason, I highly suggest taking 30 mg of DIM a day. Be
sure the product is standardized to 25 percent DIM. While no adverse
side effects have been associated with DIM, some women have experienced
digestive upset. I have found that taking DIM at mealtime can usually
Read More on Breast Health:
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
Keep it SIMPLE tip Exercise Lowers Breast Cancer
Recommendations for Breast Health
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