How The Supplement DIM Works & Could It Solve Your Hormonal Issues?




We’ve always been told how important it is to eat our vegetables and how we should be aiming for 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but why exactly is that? Well apart from providing essentials vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre; fruit and vegetables also contain a range of different compounds that support health. One family of vegetables that contain a range of compounds essential for supporting health are the cruciferous family. The cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and kale, and these are rich in indole-3-carinole (I3C). I3C is a beneficial phytochemical that can be converted to another metabolite in the acidic environment of the stomach. This metabolite is called 3,3’-diindolymethane, or DIM as it is commonly known.





DIM has become a popular food supplement in helping to support oestrogen metabolism and clearance and therefore addressing ‘oestrogen dominance’. But how does it do this? Well first let’s take a step back and take a look at what we mean by oestrogen and ‘oestrogen dominance’. Oestrogens are one of our sex hormones that are heavily involved in reproductive function but also play a part in regulating bone density, skin integrity, energy, mood, and cognition. There are three major oestrogens – oestrone, oestradiol and oestriol – and these all have their own parts to play throughout our reproductive years. Oestrogens, like all sex hormones, need to be synthesised, transported and received by tissues so they can be utilised by the body. Once they have completed their function they then need to be biotransformed, conjugated, and eliminated. This is a fine balance. If the balance shifts then high (dominance) or low oestrogen can result.



‘Oestrogen dominance’ refers to elevation of oestrogen relative to progesterone (another of our sex hormones), elevation of specific types of oestrogen or oestrogen metabolites, or cells being more sensitive to oestrogenic signalling.



Unfortunately we’d have to consume a huge quantity of raw cruciferous vegetables every day to get enough DIM, which let’s face it isn’t realistic no matter how much you like the green stuff. However DIM is available as a food supplement and its popularity has risen as it is thought to provide a variety of health benefits. Its main health benefit is that it can help to balance our sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone. An imbalance in oestrogen and testosterone can cause numerous unpleasant and nagging signs and symptoms. Some signs and symptoms include:


- Breast pain and tenderness

- Moodiness

- Low sex drive in both men and women

- PMS, especially the irritable, aggressive manifestation with heavy periods

- PCOS (weight gain, facial hair, acne, male pattern balding)

- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)

- Fibroids

- Endometriosis

- Fibrocystic cysts

- Headaches or migraines

- Peri-menopausal symptoms (hot flushes, night sweats, low sex drive)

- Depression and anxiety

- Oestrogen responsive cancers including breast and uterine



So how can DIM help with the above signs and symptoms?


DIM primarily works by helping to support oestrogen metabolism and clearance and therefore addresses ‘oestrogen dominance’. But how does it do this? Well first let’s take a step back and take a look at what we mean by oestrogen and ‘oestrogen dominance’. Oestrogens are one of our sex hormones that are heavily involved in reproductive function but also play a part in regulating bone density, skin integrity, energy, mood, and cognition. There are three major oestrogens – oestrone, oestradiol and oestriol – and these all have their own parts to play throughout our reproductive years. Oestrogens, like all sex hormones, need to be synthesised, transported and received by tissues so they can be utilised by the body. Once they have completed their function they then need to be biotransformed, conjugated, and eliminated. This is a fine balance. If the balance shifts then high (dominance) or low oestrogen can result. ‘Oestrogen dominance’ refers to elevation of oestrogen relative to other sex hormones including progesterone and testosterone, elevation of specific types of oestrogen or oestrogen metabolites, or cells being more sensitive to oestrogenic signalling.


This state of excessive oestrogenic activity can stem from certain internal imbalances and also as a result of external exposures. Every day we are exposed to synthetic compounds that mimic oestrogens, known as xenoestrogens, which can interfere with the action of the oestrogen we naturally produce. Xenoestrogens are released into our food, tap water and environment from medications such as the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT); topical synthetic products (e.g. cosmetics) containing aluminium, parabens and UV filters; plastic or tinned food storages and hormones fed to animals.


Why supporting liver detoxification is SO IMPORTANT when supplementing with DIM.