DIM is a compound that is produced when cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli or cauliflower, are digested in the stomach. It is also available as a dietary supplement. DIM supplements are claimed to be beneficial for numerous different uses, most of which are related to estrogen metabolism or cancer. However, there is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of this supplement for any use.
What Is DIM?
DIM (diindolylmethane) is a breakdown product of indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables. It is popular as a dietary supplement and is claimed to be useful for a variety of different purposes, most of which are related to estrogen metabolism or cancer.
(Click Benefits of DIM for more information on what it is used for, including additional uses.)
How Does It Work?
DIM is formed when indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is digested in the stomach. It is thought that I3C affects the metabolism (breakdown) of estrogen hormones in the body, increasing the levels of certain "good" estrogen compounds while decreasing the levels of "bad" estrogens. Also, I3C may act as an anti-estrogen and may inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells. It is likely that I3C also works in several other ways that are not fully understood.
It is often claimed that DIM works just like I3C, although research suggests that there may be important differences between the two compounds. For instance, some studies have suggested that DIM may have different effects on estrogen metabolism compared to I3C and that DIM may have both anti-estrogen and estrogen-like activity. Currently, there is much debate (mostly among manufacturers and patent holders of various DIM and I3C products) about which compound is best and whether DIM provides the same benefits as I3C.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed July 8, 2008.
Parkin DR, Malejka-Giganti D. Differences in the hepatic P450-dependent metabolism of estrogen and tamoxifen in response to treatment of rats with 3,3'-diindolylmethane and its parent compound indole-3-carbinol.
Cancer Detect Prev 2004;28(1):72-9.
Bovee TF, Schoonen WG, Hamers AR, Bento MJ, Peijnenburg AA. Screening of synthetic and plant-derived compounds for (anti)estrogenic and (anti)androgenic activities.
Anal Bioanal Chem 2008;390(4):1111-9. Epub 2008 Jan 11.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click