DIM or diindolylmethane is a compound which is formed as a result of digestion of a substance called indole-3-carbonol, which is found in cruciferous vegetables. DIM is responsible for many of the reported health benefits of foods like kale, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
Uses of DIM (Diindolylmethane)
DIM is a molecule with a lot of uses, playing a part in a number of processes of growth and metabolism within the body. It can influence the expression of proteins involved in such varied roles as cell growth and death, growth of blood vessels, immune response, inflammatory response, and control of hormone levels.
Benefits of DIM (Diindolylmethane)
DIM is already used in the treatment of a rare form of respiratory disease called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, where it displays activity against the causative agent, human papilloma virus. It is being investigated for roles in the treatment of other HPV related disease, like cervical cancer (1), and in a number of hormone-responsive cancers of the breast and prostate (2).
The effect of DIM on hormone levels is something that is of interest to a number of bodybuilders and athletes. DIM is best known as a powerful oestrogen metaboliser. This can help optimise the ratio of testosterone to oestrogen and promotes the formation of beneficial oestrogen metabolites which maintain health. There are many reports of effects such as enhanced metabolism, fat burning and reduction in abdominal fat amongst DIM users. It can also be of assistance in minimising the effects of oestrogen, so it is a common inclusion in testosterone boosting supplements (3).
DIM (Diindolylmethane) Supplement Side Effects
DIM is a naturally occurring substance that is regularly consumed by many people in their diet. It is generally regarded as safe, and side effects are rare.
The most common of these is nausea and vomiting. This is associated with high single doses of the supplement, and can be avoided by reducing the dosage, or splitting a single large dose into a number of smaller portions (4).
There have been reports that DIM can affect blood clotting, although this has not been studied. Oestrogen is known to enhance the potential of the blood to clot, and it is theoretically possible that a decrease in this hormone caused by DIM supplementation may have some effects on coagulation. It is a good idea for people with conditions that affect clotting to speak to their doctor before commencing DIM supplementation.
DIM has also been reported to cause a darkening of the urine. This may be due to the presence of hormonal metabolites, and it is benign. This, however, is a condition that mimics the symptoms of some serious conditions like liver and kidney disease. People with these conditions, or any other chronic disease, are advised to consult a medical professional prior to DIM use.
DIM (Diindolylmethane) Side Effects in Men
DIM is a supplement that can be used by both men and women, because it balances hormone metabolites, rather than enhancing or suppressing hormone levels. Men are highly unlikely to experience classic hormonal side effects like fat gain, gyno and impotence using this supplement. Many men report benefits related to an optimised hormone balance, like fat loss and easier lean mass gain, and an increase in libido.
(1) Castañon, A.; Tristram, A.; Mesher, D.; Powell, N.; Beer, H.; Ashman, S.; Rieck, G.; Fielder, H.; Fiander, A.; Sasieni, P. (2011). "Effect of diindolylmethane supplementation on low-grade cervical cytological abnormalities: Double-blind, randomised, controlled trial". British Journal of Cancer 106 (1): 45–52.
(2) Aggarwal BB, Ichikawa H. Molecular targets and anticancer potential of indole-3-carbinol and its derivatives. Cell Cycle. 2005 Sep;4(9):1201-15.
(3) Auborn KJ, Fan S, Rosen EM, Goodwin L, Chandraskaren A, Williams DE, Chen D, Carter TH. Indole-3-carbinol is a negative regulator of estrogen. J Nutr. 2003 Jul;133(7 Suppl):2470S-2475S.
(4) Reed GA, Sunega JM, Sullivan DK, Gray JC, Mayo MS, Crowell JA, Hurwitz A. Single-dose pharmacokinetics and tolerability of absorption-enhanced 3,3'-diindolylmethane in healthy subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Oct;17(10):2619-24.