Essential Guide to DIM Supplements: Everything You Need To Know

Looking for a natural, healthy supplement which can help you to balance your hormones, lose weight, fight acne, and more? If so, someone may have recommended diindolylmethane to you by now. That name is quite a mouthful, so most people refer to it simply as “DIM.”

While DIM wasn’t all that well-known even a few years ago, it is rising to prominence in the supplement world as a simple solution to a wide range of health problems.

If you are unfamiliar with DIM, you may wonder what on earth diindolylmethane actually is and whether it can help you treat your condition.

In this article, I will explain exactly what DIM is and where it comes from, and we will take a look at the research which is currently available on its effects. You will discover DIM’s benefits and find out what conditions people use it to treat.

I will also share some advice for choosing high quality DIM supplements, and provide you with a few product recommendations. That way you can make informed decisions about your health. Let’s begin!

What Is DIM?

As mentioned already, DIM is short for “diindolylmethane.” This might sound like some kind of strange artificial chemical dreamt up in a laboratory, but it is actually associated with the most ordinary of vegetables: brassicas.

brassca salad with lots of DIM (diindolylmethane)

The brassica family of vegetables includes tasty, nutritious favourites such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Mustard greens
  • Radishes
  • Watercress

These are also referred to as “cruciferous” vegetables.

When you eat these vegetables, you are consuming a compound in the plants called indole-3-carbinol.

This in turn gets broken down in your digestive tract, producing diindolylmethane (DIM).

Eating your brassicas is one way to get more DIM in your diet. But you can also purchase DIM in supplement form.

This gives you a concentrated variety which you can take just by swallowing a capsule.

Key Point: DIM is a compound derived from broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables. You get DIM when you eat these veggies, but you can also get it in a more concentrated form by taking a supplement.

DIM Benefits

Obviously you know that brassicas are good for you. We have all been told over and over throughout our lives to eat our vegetables. But what exactly are the benefits of DIM?

Well, at this point, research into DIM is still in the very early stages. So scientists are only now beginning to explore DIM’s health benefits.

Below, I will talk about conditions which consumers treat or attempt to treat using DIM. Most of the evidence right now is anecdotal, but I will share studies where they are applicable.

Before I get into specific uses for DIM though, I want to talk a bit about DIM and estrogen, since much of the interest in using DIM revolves around hormone balancing.

Key Point: DIM is used to treat a variety of conditions, but scientific evidence is still lacking since research is still in the early stages. Nonetheless, you will hear plenty of anecdotes about how helpful DIM can be.

What Exactly is DIM’s Effect on Estrogen?

In the next section, you will notice that DIM is used to treat a lot of conditions which are affected by estrogen levels. These include PCOS, estrogen dominance, and menopause as well as others.

estrogen molecule and DIM's effect on it

Because research is still sparse, it is hard to be 100% sure what effect DIM has on the body with regards to estrogen, but it does seem to do something.

WebMD reports, “Diindolylmethane might act like estrogen in the body, but there is evidence that under certain circumstances it might also block estrogen effects.”

Meanwhile, Whole World Botanicals quotes Michael A. Zeligs, MD & A. Scott Connelly, MD as saying, “DIM has no estrogenic activity in itself. Although it helps to convert estrogen to useful metabolites, it does not directly mimic or replace estrogen. Using DIM will promote a more desirable estrogen metabolism, but it will not make up for estrogen deficiency.”

They also add, “Optimal estrogen metabolism in women is defined by the ample production of “good” estrogen metabolites. These metabolites help lower the risk of cancer and decrease the symptoms of estrogen over-stimulation, or dominance-symptoms.”

By “good estrogen” metabolites, Whole World Botanicals says that they are referring to 2-hydroxy-estrone. This can be contrasted with 16-alpha-hydroxy-estrone “bad” metabolites.

This nuanced analysis seems roughly consistent with what WebMD is talking about, assuming I am interpreting it correctly.

If you do your homework, you will find that there are already a number of studies which look into some of the effects of DIM on estrogen metabolism, and attempt to explain the mechanisms at work. I will be sharing a few of these with you.

Needless to say, estrogen’s many roles in the body are already quite complex on their own, and researchers are still struggling to understand them.

Naturally, substances like DIM which interact with estrogen are also not fully understood. So take the above more as theory than fact at this point, and be aware that predicting DIM’s impact on your particular condition may be a challenge.

Key Point: The exact relationship between DIM and estrogen is unclear at this point, but it appears that DIM may enhance estrogen metabolism in a manner which can treat and prevent certain conditions.

What Can You Use DIM to Treat?

Now that you know a bit more about DIM basics, let’s take a look at some popular uses for DIM.

dim as medicine

DIM for Cancer

Most of the attention focused on DIM at this point in time concerns DIM’s use as a possible treatment or preventative for cancer.

For example, in this study, you can read about how DIM can actually cause cancer cell death.

You can read more about using DIM for breast cancer in this article as well as this one.

WebMD also mentions that a product called BioResponse-DIM by BioResponse has successfully reduced PSA levels in cases of prostate cancer, but has failed to provide results in cases of cervical dysplasia (a condition which may lead to cancer).

Then again, this study states, “Oral DIM at 2 mg/kg/day is well tolerated with no significant toxicity. We observed a high rate of clinically significant improvement in confirmed CIN 2 or 3 lesions among both treatment groups in this randomized clinical trial.”

In short, evidence right now is conflicting, and is fairly lacking in general, just because there has not been a whole lot of research done in this area yet.

Should you try DIM for cancer? I think it is wise to talk to your healthcare professional about it, but it does look like it may be of help to some people.

As there is insufficient evidence yet to declare that it is helpful—and it clearly does not stand on its own as a treatment—you should consider it supplementary in nature. It is an adjunct to other methods for treating cancer or preventing it, not a replacement for them.

Key Point: There is a good deal of interest right now in studying whether DIM can help prevent or treat cancer. There is some initial evidence to suggest that it is possible, but not enough yet to draw any firm conclusions.

DIM For Estrogen/Estrogen Dominance

Another popular use for DIM is to treat the symptoms of estrogen dominance.

You have already read the comments from Michael A. Zeligs, MD & A. Scott Connelly, MD on this use, suggesting that it is indeed a good fit.

If you are not familiar with estrogen dominance, it is a condition which is recognised by many alternative health practitioners, but not by the mainstream medical community.

In estrogen dominance, the ratio of estrogen-to-progesterone is imbalanced, favoring estrogen.

This can occur during your childbearing years, or it may show up during perimenopause.

Now, I want to remind you that researchers still do not know whether DIM behaves like estrogen or blocks estrogen.

As a result, it can be hard to predict exactly what its effect will be if you suffer from estrogen dominance. It could make you feel better, or it could make you feel worse.

I once tried using DIM, and actually felt worse, but it could be because my case of “estrogen dominance” is not actually estrogen dominance at all.

Lab tests suggest that my estrogen and progesterone ratios are normal, but that a condition I have potentially involving neurotransmitters and unfortunate genes results in me needing an exaggerated level of progesterone to feel good.

I have run into numerous anecdotal cases where women with actual estrogen dominance stated that DIM was a game-changer for them.

So I would say that DIM may very well be effective for estrogen dominance, but to proceed with caution because of all the variables involved—especially since it is hard to verify cases of estrogen dominance medically.

Key Point: DIM may be useful in cases of estrogen dominance. As the effects of DIM are still unclear however, it may be best to exercise caution if you are going to try using it to balance your hormones.

DIM for PCOS

ovaries (PCOS)

Another condition which involves hormonal imbalance which DIM is sometimes used to treat is PCOS. PCOS stands for “polycystic ovarian syndrome.” This is a widespread health condition believed to impact around 4-8% of the childbearing population at a minimum—possibly up to triple that percentage.

PCOS is defined by imbalanced androgen production coupled with insulin resistance issues. As the name indicates, it can cause ovarian cysts to form.

I have been unable to find scientific research yet to support the use of DIM to treat PCOS, but I did find this explanation for the rationale:

“Aromatase inhibitors would also be helpful in reducing hyperestrogenism [in PCOS]. Aromatase inhibitors are well known to reduce the synthesis of estrogen from progesterone and testosterone in peripheral adipose tissues. Less well known is that aromatase inhibitors may also act on thyroid hormones. The administration of aromatase inhibitors to poultry causes an increase in T3 and T4. Urtica dioica (nettles), Serenoa repens (saw palmetto), and Prunus africana (pygeum africanum) may all act as aromatase inhibitors as do the cruciferous vegetables and the indoles such as (diindolylmethane) DIM.”

That paragraph is excerpted from this article, which I have found to be a solid read regarding herbs for PCOS. I recommend checking it out in its entirety.

Should you try DIM for PCOS? That is totally up to you. Given that research is lacking at this point, I would give the same advice I did with estrogen dominance, and that is to proceed with caution if you do decide to give it a go.

Key Point: Another popular use for DIM is the treatment of PCOS. Like estrogen dominance, this condition involves a hormonal imbalance. Research is still lacking, but many people swear by its effectiveness.

DIM for Menopause

As you head into perimenopause, your hormones are subject to many erratic ups and downs. This can result in a slew of symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, pain issues, fatigue, mood swings and more. It can feel like you are on a rollercoaster.

This article explains, “Unlike other phytonutrients such as soy isoflavones, DIM has no hormonal properties in itself. DIM helps to restore oestrogen balance during pre-menopause. DIM stimulates more efficient oestrogen metabolism. Supplementing the diet with DIM and eating cruciferous vegetables increases the specific aerobic metabolism for oestrogen, multiplmaroon squareying the chance for oestrogen to be broken down into its beneficial or “good” estrogen metabolites.

Once again, more research in this area is warranted, but you will find a lot of anecdotal evidence which supports the use of DIM for treating the symptoms of perimenopause.

Just keep in mind that experiences of perimenopause can differ greatly from one woman to the next. Hormones are highly individualized things, and there are numerous variations in the ways in which they fluctuate during this change of life.

So with this use for DIM too, you should proceed carefully. Take notes on your perimenopause symptoms and on how DIM seems to affect you.

Key Point: Perimenopause is a time of change during which hormonal imbalances are common. Some women use DIM to help improve estrogen metabolism during the transition.

DIM for Men

I have gone over a number of female uses for DIM, which may lead you to suspect that this supplement is only useful for women. But that is not necessarily the case. Men may be able to benefit from DIM as well.

First of all, I mentioned briefly earlier that DIM may have benefits for prostate cancer. This article quotes Dr. Michael Zeligs, M.D. as saying, “A recent study of Seattle men showed that three or more servings of cruciferous vegetables a week can reduce prostate cancer risk almost by half.”

This may not be the only benefit of DIM for men either. As the article linked above explains, “Since DIM promotes a more active metabolism of estrogen, unmetabolized estrogen levels fall and the 2-hydroxy-estrogens increase. The 2-hydroxy-estrogens possess the unique ability to displace testosterone from SHGB and set it free.”

So if you are looking to boost your levels of free testosterone, DIM may be one way to do it.

Now, on that note, I do want to bring up PCOS again.

Women with PCOS have elevated testosterone levels, so this could actually be one adverse effect of DIM on females suffering from that disorder.

So if DIM does help you with PCOS, great—stick with it. But if it seems to be making matters worse, that could be the reason. In that situation, it might be better to seek a different treatment.

Key Point: DIM is used to treat a number of female health issues, but it may also help men to prevent prostate cancer and increase free testosterone levels.

DIM for ACNE

Acne is often related to hormonal issues. This is something I can definitely attest to, as I have had issues with it my whole life.

As you might guess, those issues were at their worst when I had a range of other pronounced symptoms of likely hormonal imbalance.

There are actually DIM products which are marketed specifically toward acne sufferers.

Once again, you will not find a lot of scientific evidence from research studies supporting DIM for acne, because there simply has not been a lot of formal investigation in this area.

But you can find some intriguing anecdotes online. Check out this forum thread for example.

The thread contains some interesting discussion, as well as a couple impressive before and after photos.

Key Point: If you have acne as a result of hormonal issues, consider trying DIM as a treatment. There are a lot of people online who have reported great results within a short time period.

DIM for Weight Loss

Another possible use of DIM is as a weight loss aid. I usually avoid linking to patents, but this paper is well worth checking out, as it provides a highly detailed and well-researched explanation of how DIM may work to promote weight loss.

As with the other uses of DIM discussed here, more research is required to state definitively that this supplement can help you burn unwanted fat, but it seems like there is a strong basis for believing it is effective.

Key Point: DIM may be able to help you shed some extra pounds.

DIM for Bodybuilding

bodybuilder DIM supplement

You might already have guessed just based on what you have learned so far about DIM that it has become a popular supplement among bodybuilders.

There are two reasons for this. The first is of course the previously mentioned benefit for weight loss.

The second reason is that DIM can boost testosterone, as discussed previously. This can make it easier to bulk out.

So DIM can theoretically help you build muscle while burning fat, resulting in a sculpted physique.

Once again, I emphasize that further research is warranted.

Key Point: Because DIM is able to boost your free testosterone levels while also potentially helping you to burn fat more efficiently, it may make an excellent supplement for bodybuilding.

Tips for Using DIM

You now know more about the different uses for DIM as well as the research which is currently out there.

I recommend that you routinely look up DIM articles in scholarly search services to see what new articles are being published.

There is a lot of groundbreaking work going on in the area of hormones right now.

While it is slow-going, you will find that new evidence is emerging for herbal supplements like DIM on a regular basis.

You will also need to take a scientific approach to evaluating your own DIM results for just that reason.

You too are on the cutting edge of science. You too will be making discoveries about your health as you experiment with supplements like DIM.

Following are some recommendations to ensure you get the most out of using DIM:

  • Select DIM products to try with care. Make sure that you are getting a high-quality supplement (see the section below).
  • Check the instructions on the bottle and follow them carefully. Keep in mind that it takes time to adjust hormones, and supplements like DIM typically work best if you follow through on taking them diligently over an extended period of time.
  • Take careful notes on how DIM seems to affect you. Make sure that it is truly a good fit for your condition, and that it is helping to improve your hormone balance, not disrupt it.
  • Raise or lower your dosage as needed so that you continue to get the best results.
  • It doesn’t hurt to consult with a doctor. This may only get you so far, but an endocrine expert may be able to shed some more light on your condition and/or clarify whether DIM is likely to be a good fit for you.

Key Point: You will achieve the best results with DIM if you are methodical in your approach to using it.

What To Look for in a High-Quality DIM Supplement

magnifying glass with eye in it

As mentioned, you should not just purchase the first DIM supplement you come across.

The reason is that quality varies a great deal in the supplements industry.

This is the result of a general lack of oversight as well as the booming popularity of alternative treatments.

Here is what you should look for when you are shopping for DIM in order to ensure that you are getting a high quality product you can trust:

  • Look for a brand which has a strong reputation. Maybe it is a brand you have heard of before, maybe it isn’t—there are a lot of companies which now specialize in selling supplements online which may not be stocked in your local stores. Regardless, check the company’s background out and its reviews.
  • Quality ingredients. Find out how the DIM for the supplement has been sourced and processed. Is it third-party tested for purity as well as potency?
  • Bioavailability. How easy is it for your body to digest the product and make use of its nutritional value? Some products are enhanced with BioPerine, which is a black pepper extract. This extract can boost bioavailability for ingredients up to 2,000%.
  • Vegetarian. Whether this is important to you or not will of course be dependent on your diet.
  • The right dosage for your requirements. The best way to figure out how much DIM to take is to look up the condition which you are attempting to treat. See if there is research available on that condition, and if so, what dosages have been demonstrated in studies to be effective. If you cannot find any relevant dosages, just pick a trusted product to try, and see if you can work out the best dosage for your needs over time through trial and error.
  • Free of unwanted additives or contaminants. For example, you may want to look for a product which is free of soy (especially if you are worried about soy as an endocrine disruptor), gluten, contamination from tree nuts, etc. Obviously artificial ingredients also are something you do not want to find in your DIM. Basically, the last thing you want is to throw off the progress you are trying so hard to achieve by getting a product which isn’t pure.
  • Easy to swallow. If you take supplements now, you are well aware that some are much easier to swallow than others. You can check user reviews for subjective feedback in this area.

Key Takeaway: Finding the right DIM supplement may take some time and effort, but it is worth it to get a high quality product.

What Are Some Recommended DIM Supplements?

You now know all about the research and anecdotes which back up DIM for treating a number of diverse health conditions. You also have some advice for selecting DIM supplements and making the most of them. But where should you begin in your search for the right product?

Below are some top recommended products which meet our criteria for ingredient quality, purity, brand reputation and more.

1. Smoky Mountain Naturals DIM

smoky naturals dim supplement
  • 60 capsules
  • Serving size: 1 capsule
  • 200 mg DIM
  • Contains BioPerine for added bioavaibility
  • Other ingredients include: NuFlow (Organic Brown Rice Concentrate), Vegetable Capsule

This DIM supplement has been subjected to rigorous third-party testing. The capsules themselves are easy to swallow. One thing I like about this product is that there are a number of before-and-after photos in the reviews. This is more helpful in evaluating its effectiveness than simply stating, “It works!”

2. Nutricost DIM (Diindolylmethane) Plus BioPerine

nutricost dim supplement
  • 120 capsules
  • Serving size: 1 capsule
  • 300 mg DIM
  • BioPerine for added bioavailability
  • Other ingredients include: rice flour, veggie capsule, calcium silicate, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate

A number of things stand out about this DIM product. For starters, it is gluten-free. For another, it is non-GMO. Thirdly, it is more cost-effective than a number of competing products. It contains a higher amount of DIM per capsule and more capsules per bottle than other similarly-priced supplements.

3. DIM Elite

dim elite supplement
  • 120 capsules
  • Serving size: 2 capsules
  • 250 mg DIM
  • Also contains vitamin E and dong quai
  • BioPerine included
  • Other ingredients include: rice flour, vegetable cellulose

If you are specifically taking DIM to try and treat menopause or PCOS, you may want to consider this product. It is formulated for that purpose with the addition of dong quai and vitamin E. Another major plus is how few inactive ingredients it contains; it seems like one of the best options on the market in terms of purity.

4. Nature’s Way DIM-Plus

natures way dim plus supplement
  • 60 capsules
  • Serving size: 2 capsules
  • 100 mg DIM Complex
  • Protectamins® Vegetable Blend (spinach, broccoli, cabbage): 100 mg
  • Other ingredients include: Cellulose, plant-derived capsule

Nature’s Way is a very well-known and popular brand for supplements. As you may already be familiar with their products, that may increase your comfort level buying from them. As with some of the other products recommended here, you can find some before and after photos for acne.

5. EU Natural DIM Pure

EU naturals DIM pure supplement
  • 60 capsules
  • Serving size: 1 capsule
  • 200 mg DIM
  • 3 mg BioPerine
  • Other ingredients include: Cellulose, rice flour

Last but not least, we offer our own DIM product. As always, we created this product with both purity and potency in mind. You will find no unnecessary binders, fillers or additives in EU Natural DIM—just wholesome DIM goodness. Our product is free of gluten, dairy and wheat, and is manufactured in a cGMP Certified Laboratory according to FDA protocols.

EU Natural DIM is also cruelty-free, and your purchase counts toward Vitamin Angels 1-for-1 Match. So when you purchase our DIM supplement, you are not only helping yourself, but others too.

Conclusion: A High Quality DIM Supplement May Be Able to Help You With a Range of Health Issues

We are still very much in the early stages of research when it comes to DIM. If you look up scholarly articles, you will find that most are focused around cancer, and even there, we have more questions than answers.

We are still very much in the early stages of research when it comes to DIM. If you look up scholarly articles, you will find that most are focused around cancer, and even there, we have more questions than answers.

Nonetheless, lots of people have stories to tell about how DIM has made a massive difference in their lives. DIM may be able to help both men and women to balance their hormones, speed up weight loss, put on muscle, and live more comfortable, enjoyable lives.

So if you think that DIM may be able to help you, it is worth giving it a try. Purchase one of the high quality DIM supplements we have recommended above, and keep a log of your symptoms, the amount of DIM you are taking, and any changes you are experiencing. DIM may not be suitable for everyone, but if it is a match for your needs, it could be just the health breakthrough you are looking for!

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3,3′-Diindolylmethane
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1049/diindolylmethane
https://wholeworldbotanicals.com/facts-about-dim-and-womens-health/
https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/7/2470S/4688465
https://www.nature.com/articles/bjc2011496
https://www.gynecologiconcology-online.net/article/S0090-8258(09)00864-6/fulltext
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3255482/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295202008560
https://academic.oup.com/carcin/article/23/8/1297/2390243
https://ndnr.com/botanical-medicine/melissa-and-other-dopaminergic-herbs-useful-in-treatment-of-pcos/
https://wholeworldbotanicals.com/facts-about-dim-and-mens-health/
https://www.jkscience.org/archive/volume101/reviewarticle/Dietary%20supplements%20in%20menopause_review%20article.pdf
https://patents.google.com/patent/US6534085B1/en