Posted on: 09.11.2022 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

December 10, 2003


Breast Health

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

alleviate this.

Read More on Breast Health:

Getting Started

Breast Cancer

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Fibrocystic Disease

Keep it SIMPLE tip — Exercise Lowers Breast Cancer


Nutritional Therapies


Change your Lifestyle

Caffeine: Friend or Foe

Soy Controversy

Related Information

Recommendations for Breast Health

Complementary Therapies

Primavera Recipe

Oxygen Therapy and Oxidants



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