Does DIM Work?
DIM (diindolylmethane) is often claimed to be useful for preventing cancer and for treating numerous other conditions, but does DIM work? There is currently not enough evidence to know for sure if the dietary supplement really works for any use. When evaluating any claims on the effectiveness of DIM, it is a good idea to check the references for such claims, just to be safe.
DIM (diindolylmethane) is a dietary supplement claimed to be beneficial for many different uses, such as:
- Preventing various types of cancer, including:
- "Balancing" estrogens in the body
- Preventing an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH)
- Treating endometriosis
- Treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Treating chronic breast pain
- Reducing the side effects and risks of estrogen hormone replacement therapy
- Reducing the effects and risks associated with environmental estrogen exposure (such as through the water supply or certain plastics).
DIM is one of several compounds that are formed in the stomach when indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is digested. I3C is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli). Convincing, reliable scientific evidence is lacking for most DIM uses. In general, most of the claims for DIM rely on information from I3C studies or from studies in isolated cells or laboratory animals (not humans). Also, some claims are based on information from studies on dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables.
When evaluating any claims of effectiveness for DIM, it is a good idea to check the references for such claims. In many cases, you will find that the studies cited involve I3C, not DIM. Although some people claim that any information about I3C automatically applies to DIM, this has not been shown to be the case. Be wary of any DIM claims that try to imply that I3C studies automatically apply to DIM.
Some people claim that DIM is more effective or less toxic than I3C, while others insist that I3C is better. This is a controversial and unresolved issue, and most people (and Web sites) involved in this argument either sell I3C or DIM supplements or hold patents for such products. Even Web sites that look quite scientific and objective may contain unreliable or deceptive information.