Last modified on October 20th, 2023
Does DIM lower estrogen levels? Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound your body creates when digesting cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. DIM also affects your estrogen level.
Because of the effects of DIM on estrogen, these supplements are increasingly popular to help with hormonal conditions such as acne, menopause, some types of cancer, and prostate problems.
Key Takeaways—Does DIM Lower Estrogen Levels?
- DIM is thought to balance estrogen levels
- Along with lowering excess levels and helping promote the metabolism of estrogen, it can also be beneficial to alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause since it acts as a modulator for estrogen imbalance
- As a supplement, DIM may stimulate the production of a less potent and more beneficial type of estrogen, which is 2-hydroxyestrone
- The supplement might also reduce the effects of a stronger form of estrogen, which is associated with weight gain and an increased risk of breast and uterine cancer. This is considered bad estrogen.
- DIM may inhibit aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, promoting healthy estrogen metabolism.
What is DIM?
Diindolylmethane or DIM is a compound that you create when you’re digesting cruciferous vegetables. Taking DIM in dietary supplement form is becoming increasingly popular to balance hormones and deal with hormone-related side effects.
When you eat cruciferous vegetables, your stomach acid breaks down a compound called indole-3-cabinol, producing a new compound which is DIM.
Observational studies have found a link between intake of a large amount of cruciferous vegetables and a reduced risk of some types of cancer, including prostate and breast. Researchers think insole-3-cabinol might be at least somewhat responsible for beneficial estrogen metabolism.
What Are the Symptoms of High Estrogen?
If a man or woman has high estrogen or is estrogen dominant, it can create side effects and diminish their quality of life.
Your hormones need to be in balance for you to have optimal health and feel well. Estrogen is often called a female hormone, while testosterone is a male hormone. Despite these names, both are found in women and men. Typically, women have more estrogen, and men have more testosterone.
Along with another female sex hormone, progesterone, estrogen helps initiate sexual development, regulates the menstrual cycle, and affects the reproductive system.
In men, estrogen plays a role in sexual function.
High estrogen symptoms can occur on their own but can also stem from your lifestyle or taking certain medicines. You might also have low levels of progesterone or testosterone, which disrupts your estrogen levels and create symptoms of imbalance.
If you have high estrogen or your hormones aren’t balanced, according to scientific evidence, symptoms for women can include:
- Tenderness and swelling of the breasts
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Fibrocystic breast lumps
- Reduced sex drive
- Irregularity of your periods
- Symptoms of PMS
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Cold feet and hands
- Problems sleeping
- Brain fog and memory problems
In men, high estrogen levels can lead to infertility and erectile dysfunction. Men with high estrogen may also have stimulated growth of their breast tissue, which is known as gynecomastia.
Having high levels of estrogen can put you at an increased risk of developing a number of other conditions. Elevated estrogen is a risk factor for ovarian and breast cancers, as well as endometrial cancer.
High estrogen levels raise the risk of stroke and blood clots, and thyroid dysfunction. You may find if you have thyroid dysfunction due to estrogen dominance, you experience changes in weight, difficulty losing weight, and fatigue.
Does DIM Lower Estrogen Levels?
Does DIM lower excess estrogen levels? In short, yes. Oral DIM supplementation has a balancing effect, so taking it may help make sure all of your hormone levels are where they should be.
DIM is a phytonutrient that helps to metabolize and break down estrogen in your body so it can be removed properly, promoting balance. When you supplement with DIM, it shifts the production of estrogen metabolites away from a harmful form of the hormone and to one that’s more beneficial.
Most problems related to high estrogen and estrogen dominance come from the 16-hydroxy metabolite. When you have symptoms and health effects of too much estrogen, it’s because you have too little 2-hydroxy and too much 16-hydroxy, which is specifically how DIM helps lower estrogen levels.
Theoretically, you could eat more cruciferous vegetables to increase your intake, but you’d have to eat them by the pound to get the benefits of a supplement.
Many people find that the effects of DIM are significant. The typical dosage for women is 100 to 200 mg a day. Men should take 200 to 400 mg of DIM a day.
What Are the Other Benefits of DIM Supplements?
Along with reducing or balancing estrogen levels, below, we explore some of the other benefits of DIM supplements.
Anticancer Effects and Reduced Cancer Risk
In animal and test-tube studies, DIM supplements have been shown to prevent the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, but the evidence is limited in humans right now.
There was a study of 130 women with breast cancer taking tamoxifen therapy. They received either a placebo or 150 mg of DIM twice a day in a clinical trial. The group taking DIM supplements had a significant improvement in their ratio of the two types of estrogen.
Increasing ratios of 2-hydrozyestrone to 16-hydrozyestrone may reduce the risk of breast cancer and have anti-tumor effects.
Another study in 19 women who were post-menopausal found taking 108 mg of DIM a day led to beneficial changes in their estrogen levels.
In animal and test-tube studies, there seemed to be protective effects against prostate, colon, and ovarian cancers.
There may be benefits of DIM for women with cervical cancers, but more research is needed.
DIM supplementation isn’t just for women. Men can experience benefits as well, largely thanks to its ability to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. There’s some evidence DIM supplements can protect against prostate cancer and prostate enlargement.
DIM specifically may help fight prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia or PIN. PIN is characterized by prostate cell growth, and it’s thought to lead to prostate cancer.
In a year-long study, more than 20 men with high-grade PIN took a placebo or 900 mg dose of DIM a day. The participants taking DIM had significant prostate health improvements and improvements in PIN.
Estrogen plays a key role in how your body accumulates fat, so there’s a theory that DIM supplements could help with lowering body weight to combat these effects of estrogen and promote hormonal balance.
Having an imbalance of estrogen in both men and women, whether that’s too much or too little, leads to an increased risk of weight gain.
DIM supplements can also help prevent fat cell formation and stimulate the breakdown of fat. There are indirect benefits of these effects, like improvements in cardiovascular health.
Other Benefits of a DIM Supplement
Other potential benefits of taking a DIM supplement are:
- It may help with the treatment of hormonal acne.
- These supplements could help with hot flashes that occur due to hormonal changes in menopause.
- It could help with symptoms of PMS.
- May help correct estrogen imbalances in men, which are linked to infertility, erectile dysfunction, and breast development.
Does DIM Have Any Side Effects?
There isn’t a huge amount of research in humans regarding DIM supplements, but currently, what’s available doesn’t show there are any major adverse effects or toxic side effects.
The most common side effect is a headache, which tends to go away after you take the supplements regularly. Other potential side effects can include darker urine and an increase in bowel movements.
Rarely side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
If someone has hormone-sensitive cancer or estrogen-sensitive cancer, more specifically, or is taking hormone replacement therapy, they should avoid taking DIM supplements without their doctor’s approval.
You should talk to your healthcare provider about taking any supplement.
Final Thoughts—Does DIM Lower Estrogen Levels?
Does DIM lower estrogen levels? It seems that it does. There’s an important distinction to make here—some people worry that it could lower their estrogen levels too much or that they shouldn’t take DIM if they have low estrogen levels. That might not be the case because it seems to be a modulator of estrogen and the conversion of estrogen to testosterone levels.
There are possible benefits for pre-, menopausal, and postmenopausal women because of the effects of estrogen balance.
These supplements can also have benefits for middle-aged men and older men who have concerns about the health of their prostate gland, based on human studies.
DIM has implications for reducing the breast cancer risk and promoting cancer prevention for many people, as well as delivering healthier estrogen production and healthier estrogen metabolism.
Rather than eliminating it, DIM helps balance out the ratios of the types of estrogen you have in an optimal way and also has a number of other health benefits.