Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a natural chemical formed in your digestive tract from a compound called glucobrassicin, which is contained in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. DIM supplements also are available from many retail sources and might help prevent or suppress growth of several forms of cancer, including breast, colon and prostate cancer. Consult your doctor to discuss whether consuming a DIM supplement is a good strategy for you.
Cancer is a group of diseases in which cells grow out of control, dividing rapidly and invading healthy tissue. These abnormal cells might form tumors in one or more places in the body and also might metastasize, spreading to other locations where they cause secondary cancerous growths. Diindolylmethane might help control or stop the growth of cancer through several of its actions, such as stopping cell division, inhibiting invasion of healthy tissue by malignant cells and suppressing growth of blood vessels in cancerous tumors. A clinical trial of DIM by the National Cancer Institute, begun in 2009 and still ongoing as of April 2011, is testing whether the compound prevents spread or recurrence of prostate cancer in human cancer patients
Human papilloma virus, or HPV, is a microorganism that causes several disorders, including a form of cervical cancer and a lung disorder called respiratory papillomatosis. DIM might help reduce the symptoms of these disorders and suppress their recurrence, possibly by inhibiting growth of the virus. In a small clinical study of subjects with respiratory papillomatosis published in "Journal of Voice" in 2004, consuming DIM seemed to lessen recurrence of the disease, measured five years following treatment with the supplement. These are promising findings, although larger, carefully controlled studies of DIM and viral infections are needed.
Effects on Estrogen
DIM also might promote healthy metabolism of estrogen and relieve some problems caused by estrogen imbalance. According to Thomas Lee, NMD, the compound seems to promote conversion of estrogen to healthy metabolites, leading to a better balance of natural estrogens in your body. The result might be some improvement in the symptoms of perimenopause, chronic breast pain caused by high estrogen levels and discomfort caused by premenstrual syndrome.
Recommendations and Precautions
Diindolylmethane supplements are available in capsules or tablets from most health food stores. Although a recommended dose has not been established, a dose of 108 mg daily has been used in clinical studies with no significant side effects. Do not take DIM supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you take any prescription medications, discuss use of DIM with your doctor to determine if it is appropriate for your situation.
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Diindolylmethane
- Naturodoc.com: DIM (Di-indolyl Methane) for Natural Protection from Estrogen's Effects; T. Lee, NMD
- Linus Pauling Institute: Indole-3-Carbinol
- "Journal of Voice;" Indole-3-Carbinol for Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis: Long-Term Results; C. Rosen and P. Bryson; June 2004
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Diindolylmethane in Treating Patients With Stage I or Stage II Prostate Cancer Undergoing Radical Prostatectomy