Does DIM Lower Estrogen Levels?

Last modified on April 22nd, 2024

Does DIM lower estrogen, and if so, can it lower estrogen too much? Does it affect testosterone, too, or just estrogen? These are some questions that I frequently see being asked about a DIM supplement. DIM is one of my favorite supplements, and I’ve discovered that I can’t live without it. I’ll talk more about my DIM experiences below, but before doing so, I want to get into the science of a DIM supplement and answer whether or not it lowers estrogen.

TL:DR: Does DIM lower estrogen? The answer is no; DIM doesn’t necessarily lower estrogen levels. Instead, it promotes optimal estrogen metabolism and balances good and bad estrogen.

What is a DIM Supplement?

Diindolylmethane is a compound in cruciferous vegetables. It naturally occurs in foods like cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts and is derived from indole-3-carbine or IC3, also found in these vegetables.

The possible benefits of a DIM supplement can include:

  • Estrogen metabolism: Since my goal is to answer does DIM lower estrogen, I’ll get more into the effects on estrogen below, but overall, one of the primary reasons people use DIM supplements is because it has a role in estrogen metabolism.
  • Hormonal balance: DIM impacts hormonal balance beyond its effects on estrogen metabolism. Research suggests it might affect testosterone and progesterone.
  • Menopause benefits: Some studies indicate taking a DIM supplement could help alleviate menopause symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes, potentially because it’s a modulator of estrogen levels.
  • Cancer prevention: Some evidence suggests DIM could have anti-cancer properties, in particular for cancers that are hormone-related, like breast, cervical and prostate.
  • Anti-inflammation: DIM has anti-inflammatory effects, but more research is likely needed. It also has antioxidant properties.
  • Liver health: I primarily take a DIM supplement for balanced hormones and possible liver benefits. DIM can support liver health because it enhances your detox processes. The liver plays a role in hormone metabolism and removing toxins from your body, so supporting it can help rebalance hormones and have numerous other benefits.
  • Bone health: According to preliminary research, DIM may help support bone health by moderating estrogen levels, which is critical to maintaining bone density.

To answer whether or not DIM lowers estrogen or to help highlight the benefits of the supplement, it’s beneficial to understand estrogen in general.

The mechanisms of action of DIM supplements can include the following:

  • One primary mechanism of action is the ability of DIM to influence estrogen metabolism, leading to a more favorable estrogen profile, which we’ll discuss more below.
  • DIM supplements may modulate the activity of hormone receptors, which means they can influence the downstream signaling pathways involved in hormone regulation.
  • DIM can exert anti-inflammatory properties by suppressing pro-inflammatory molecule activity.
  • The compound has been shown to induce the expression of phase II detoxification enzymes, which are critical in detoxifying and eliminating cancer-causing and other harmful compounds from the body. By enhancing these particular detox pathways, DIM might reduce cancer risk and support the overall detoxification process.
  • A pro-apoptotic effect means that DIM can induce cell death in cancer cells, making it promising for cancer prevention and treatment.
  • DIM can modulate signaling pathways involved in cellular growth, survival and differentiation. For example, it can inhibit the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, often dysregulated in cancer cells.

The Role of Estrogen in Health

Estrogen isn’t one hormone. It’s a group of hormones. We often associate estrogen only with female health, but it’s also part of male health. Estrogens are produced mostly in female ovaries and in smaller amounts in male testes. They can also be made in fat tissues and the adrenal glands.

Estrogen is a steroid hormone; estradiol is the strongest and primary form in premenopausal women.

What Is Estrogen?

Estrogen hormones include estradiol, estrone and estriol. These are hormones synthesized from cholesterol, and they’re responsible for regulating the female reproductive system.

In males, estrogen contributes to reproductive function, heart health and bone health.

How Does Estrogen Work?

Estrogen binds to receptors, and once it does, it starts a cascade of cellular responses. These include cell growth, differentiation, metabolism and gene expression.

Physiological processes involving estrogen include pregnancy, brain function, the menstrual cycle and heart function.

In female health, estrogen triggers ovulation, preparing the body for potential pregnancy. It’s needed for the development and maintenance of female organs, and it helps maintain bone density by blocking bone resorption and promoting bone formation. Low estrogen levels are why women after menopause are at risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Estrogen has heart-protective effects, and one reason premenopausal women have a lower heart disease risk compared to men of the same age is partially due to estrogen levels.

Estrogen contributes to male bone health, regulates sperm production and maintains reproductive organs. It also plays a role in male libido and sexual function and has cardio-protective effects.

Does DIM Lower Estrogen?

Back to the original question—does DIM lower estrogen? The answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no.

DIM supplements are associated with estrogen balance rather than lowering estrogen levels. DIM works by modulating estrogen metabolism instead of directly reducing levels.

DIM works by promoting the conversion of estrogen into its less potent forms. That shift in estrogen metabolism is thought to improve one’s estrogen profile, alleviating estrogen dominance symptoms and reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers.

Modulating estrogen and lowering estrogen are two different approaches to influencing estrogen levels.

Modulating vs. Lowering Estrogen

Modulating estrogen regulates its activity, metabolism, and effects but does not necessarily decrease the body’s overall levels. DIM optimizes the ratio of different estrogen metabolites and helps modulate estrogen by promoting the conversion to less potent forms.

The goal of modulating estrogen is to support balanced hormones and lower the risk of estrogen-related health issues while at the same time maintaining the physiological functions that rely on it.

Lowering estrogen is about reducing overall levels in the body, and it’s usually a goal to address conditions characterized by excess estrogen. Lowering estrogen might be something needed for estrogen-dependent conditions like hormone-sensitive cancers. Hormone-sensitive cancers include breast and endometrial cancer. Lowering estrogen overall can also be the goal if you have a condition made worse by high estrogen, such as uterine fibroids.

There are different ways to lower estrogen, including medications that suppress its production, like aromatase inhibitors or blocking estrogen receptors.

Can DIM Lower Estrogen Too Much?

While DIM is known for modulating estrogen metabolism and promoting a more favorable estrogen profile, it is possible that if you used a high dose for a long period of time, your levels could become excessively low. However, the risk of DIM lowering estrogen too much is low, especially when you use it as instructed.

Is DIM an Estrogen Blocker?

DIM is not an estrogen blocker. It’s instead an estrogen modulator. DIM doesn’t directly block estrogen receptors or inhibit its synthesis. It instead influences the balance of metabolites.

Estrogen Metabolism vs. Lowering Estrogen

Estrogen metabolism and lowering estrogen are two different concepts, and understanding the difference between them is part of answering the question, “Does DIM lower estrogen?” and help you know if it could be a helpful supplement for you.

Estrogen metabolism is the process through which estrogen is broken down in the body and turned into metabolites. Estrogen metabolism includes a set of reactions occurring mostly in the liver and other tissues as well. Estrogen metabolism is crucial for the balance and activity of estrogen within the body. The balance between the different types of estrogen metabolites can influence estrogen activity, receptor binding and overall signaling.

Optimizing the metabolism of estrogen involves the promotion of estrogen conversion into less potent, less harmful metabolites while minimizing the production of those harmful metabolites.

On the other hand, lowering estrogen means you’re reducing the body’s overall levels. Strategies to lower estrogen can include inhibiting its synthesis, blocking estrogen receptors or promoting estrogen clearance from the body. There are certain situations where lowering estrogen is beneficial, but it can also have side effects.

The Difference Between High Estrogen and an Estrogen Imbalance

High estrogen levels mean the overall amount circulating in your body is high. High estrogen levels can stem from natural fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, taking medicine with estrogen-like oral contraceptives, and obesity because there’s increased estrogen production in fat tissue. Estrogen-producing tumors and environmental exposure to estrogen-like compounds are other reasons for generally high levels.

High estrogen can cause irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings and breast tenderness, as well as a higher risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. In men, elevated estrogen can lead to enlargement of the breast tissue, reduced libido and erectile dysfunction.

By contrast, an imbalance of good vs. bad estrogen refers to dysregulation in how the body metabolizes it.

Genetics, lifestyle, diet and hormonal imbalances can lead to an imbalance in good vs. bad estrogen.

Signs Your Bad Estrogen Is Too High

If you’re wondering does DIM lower estrogen, it could be because you’re experiencing side effects you’d like to eliminate. Signs your bad estrogen is too high relative to your good estrogen include:

  • Persistent tender or swollen breasts, especially before menstruation.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles or heavy or prolonged bleeding or breakthrough bleeding between periods.
  • Fibrocystic breasts.
  • Weight gain, especially centered around the hips, thighs and abdomen.
  • Irritability, anxiety or depression.
  • Fatigue, lethargy and low energy.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Water retention or bloating.
  • Decreased libido.

DIM and Estrogen-Sensitive Cancers

Estrogen-sensitive cancers are influenced by the presence of estrogen in the body. Estrogen can affect human breast cancer cells and human prostate cancer cells, and an imbalance can raise breast cancer risk and the risk of other hormone-sensitive cancers.

These types of cancers usually have estrogen receptors on their cells. These ERs allow them to respond to estrogen with cell growth promotion and proliferation. Estrogen-sensitive cancers include breast cancer and sometimes endometrial cancer.

DIM can affect estrogen-sensitive cancers through different mechanisms, including:

  • Modulating estrogen metabolism can help reduce the estrogenic stimulation of cancer cells and stop tumor growth.
  •  DIM has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. It may interfere with the cellular signaling pathways involved in cell growth and division and could slow down cancer progression.
  • DIM can induce apoptosis. Apoptosis is programmed cell death, including estrogen-sensitive cancer cells.
  • A DIM supplement may modulate estrogen-receptor activity and signaling pathways, inhibiting the ability of estrogen to stimulate cancer cell growth.
  • DIM supports detoxification pathways, especially in the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolizing and toxin elimination, including carcinogens. By improving your body’s ability to detox, DIM could help remove the substances that might contribute to the development and progression of cancer.

DIM has also been studied for potential effects on prostate cancer cells. It’s thought that it may interfere with androgen receptor signaling, which drives prostate cancer’s growth and progression. By inhibiting AR activity, DIM may suppress androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cell growth. It could also improve the effectiveness of androgen deprivation therapy.

While prostate cancer is considered an androgen-driven disease, estrogen receptors are also expressed in prostate cancer cells. Estrogen might play a role in tumor progression, but DIM, through modulating estrogenic stimulation of prostate cancer cells, may help inhibit tumor growth.

The Benefits of Healthy Estrogen Metabolism

Healthy estrogen metabolism is an important part of health, and the ability of DIM to influence this process is important to understand. Benefits of healthy estrogen metabolism include:

  • A reduced risk of hormone-related cancers.
  • Balanced hormonal function influences reproductive function, heart health, and mood regulation.
  • Bone health, including bone formation and mineralization.
  • Cardiovascular health is achieved through the modulation of vascular function, inflammation, and lipid metabolism.
  • Mood regulation since estrogen influences neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
  • Weight management and the promotion of optimal metabolic function and energy balance.
  • DIM relieves menopausal symptoms through hormonal balance and stability. In postmenopausal women, it can continue to benefit everything from weight management to detoxification and bone health.
  • Optimal detoxification.

Does DIM Lower Progesterone?

There’s limited evidence to suggest DIM directly affects progesterone levels. The effects of DIM on progesterone levels aren’t well established. It may indirectly influence progesterone levels by promoting hormonal balance, but that’s all currently known.

Does DIM Lower Testosterone?

DIM’s impact on testosterone is less clear than its impact on estrogen metabolism and balance. Some studies have shown it could have a slight anti-androgenic effect. That would mean it could reduce the activity of testosterone because it’s an estrogen, but the evidence isn’t conclusive yet.

Final Thoughts—Does DIM Lower Estrogen?

DIM is a powerful, effective supplement to help you maintain healthy estrogen levels, but it doesn’t necessarily work by lowering estrogen. Instead, it helps your body properly metabolize estrogen so your levels are well-balanced, but you still have adequate estrogen to fulfill its role in your health. 


This post contains affiliate links, meaning we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products or services that we trust and believe will add value to our readers. Your support helps keep this website running and allows us to continue providing valuable content. Thank you for your support!"

author avatar
Ashley Sutphin Watkins
Ashley Sutphin Watkins is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She's a medical content writer, journalist and an avid researcher of all things related to health and wellness. Ashley lives near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee with her family.
Scroll to Top

Subscribe For News and Updates on Health, Wellness, Vitamins and Supplements