For many, eating a healthy diet can be hard for a wide variety of reasons. From low income to lack of reliable food sources, not everyone has the luxury of eating the veggie rainbow of foods or even meeting most dietary food group requirements. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, we end up needing more of certain nutrients than our diets provide us. So what do we do?
Resorting to supplements can help many meet their basic dietary needs for vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. DIM supplements are among the hundreds of different supplements you can choose to include in your diet. And while the substance that this supplement is made of is helpful, is the DIM tablets helpful or are they just another waste of money?
Better yet, what is a DIM supplement?
What does DIM Stand for?
DIM is short for a plant-based indole-3-carbinol compound known as 3,3’-Diindolylmethane. This compound is one of the many healthy byproducts of our bodies digesting cruciferous vegetables. You can find this plant indole in vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, mustard greens, and watercress.
The DIM supplements are the tablet variant of this indole compound.
How DIM Supplements Work
DIM supplements are useful in balancing the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. But assisting the body with balancing hormones isn’t all the DIM does. It can help support the liver through its detoxification processes, prevent harmful androgens from getting into the body’s receptors, improve the breakdownof estrogen into healthy metabolites, and acts as an aromatase inhibitor.
Now that we have an idea of how diindolylmethane works, let’s see what the benefits are of taking a DIM supplement.
What are the Benefits of Taking DIM Supplements?
While you should often try to get DIM from natural sources, you can still get the same benefits from the DIM supplements. While studies are still be conducted on the benefits of DIM, many give some credit to the health benefits of DIM from natural sources. Some of those health benefits are:
- It can help prevent colorectal, uterine, ovarian, breast, and certain types of prostate cancersDIM stimulates healthy estrogens and reduces bad estrogens. With the reduction of unhealthy estrogens, DIM helps prevent precancerous cells from growing and reduces the cell division of abnormal cells.
- It helps women who have PMS (premenstrual syndrome)DIM helps balance testosterone and estrogen in the body. This balance reduces or eliminates PMS-related symptoms.
- It can potentially prevent an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy)Another use for DIM’s natural hormone balancing properties is it can reduce estrogen in men. High estrogen levels in men are proven to be a factor in causing enlargement of the prostate.
- It promotes healthy cell growth regulationWith healthy cell growth regulation, your body has an easier time removing damaged and abnormal cells.
- It improves the regulation of energy and metabolism of stored fatDIM can assist those who struggle to lose weight. The natural sources of DIM help improve digestion, free up testosterone, and increase healthy levels of estrogen. With a healthy balance of testosterone, you can also see improvements in muscle adaptation and growth when exercising.
- It can assist in slowing certain age-related diseasesHealthy types of estrogen have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to help with reducing the degeneration of joints and muscles such as arthritis and heart disease.
- It can potentially help reduce risks for heart attacks in menHigh estrogen levels do more harm to men than testicular-related condition, it can also heighten their risks for heart attacks. Since DIM helps reduce unhealthy estrogen levels, it can reduce men’s risk for heart attacks.
- It can help women going through perimenopause (menopause transition)Estrogen levels often falter or even increase to unhealthy levels as a woman transitions into menopause. DIM helps slow down your estrogen metabolism and increases the production of healthy estrogen.
- It can potentially be helpful for those who have certain sex hormone imbalancesPeople with genetic hormone imbalances can benefit from DIM’s hormone-balancing properties. It is also beneficial for those who have inheritable forms of breast cancer.
As you can see, there are many wonderful benefits of including lots of diindolylmethane into your diet. But before you use this supplement, there are some downsides to taking DIM supplements.
Common Side Effects of DIM Supplements
When taking DIM supplements, some women have shown some of the following symptoms:
- Periods lasting longer than normal
- Frequency changes in the menstrual cycle
- Aggravation of hormone-sensitive conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and certain hormone-dependent cancers
Other potential side effects include muscle pain, joint pain, vomiting, headaches, mild nausea, gastrointestinal distress, hyponatremia, rashes, hyperglycemia, arthralgias, and risks for developing central serous chorioretinopathy (CSR).
If any of the following side effects occur, stop taking DIM supplements immediately and consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible for further advice and instructions.
Are There Any Drugs that Can Affect DIM Supplements?
Yes, DIM supplements have shown interactions with sodium-depleting diuretics, estrogen-related hormone medications, and certain hormones in hormone replacement therapies. DIM also has minor interactions with certain substrates such as cytochrome P450 1A2.
Drug interactions aren’t the only concerns people should have when taking DIM supplements, some people with certain health conditions shouldn’t take them at all.
Who Should Avoid Taking DIM Supplements?
While DIM may be helpful for some people, certain individuals should avoid using DIM supplements.
People with the following conditions should not take DIM supplements:
- Hormone-sensitive cancers
- Uterine fibroids
- Allergies to DIM
Women who are breastfeeding and/or pregnant and children can take small doses but should avoid taking any dose larger than 2-24 milligrams. If you do take DIM supplements, do not take them for longer than 12 weeks, unless your health care provider says otherwise.