Benefits of DIM
DIM promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism and healthy hormonal balance1,2,3 and is especially helpful for managing estrogen dominant conditions. Healthy metabolism of estrogens optimizes the ratio of estrogen metabolites that is crucial for breast3, uterine4, cervical5, and prostate6 health.
Women and men also use DIM as an integral part of successful weight management programs, as discussed further below.
DIM™ is a naturally occurring phytonutrient that is found in cruciferous vegetables. Though discovered many years ago, the connection between plant-derived dietary ingredients and estrogen metabolism are just now beginning to be understood. Research has shown that DIM has the ability to act as an estrogen balancer (sometimes referred to as an estrogen blocker) in both women and men. It can be used by those addressing estrogen dominant conditions including uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breasts, and other hormone related conditions.
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Hormone Balance in Women and Men
DIM in its pure crystalline form requires an absorption enhanced delivery system for use in dietary supplements. Therefore, Energetic Nutrition has chosen to use Dr. Michael Zeligs' BioResponse DIM under the name DIMPRO with a patented absorption enhanced formula in order to bring you the highest quality product available on the market.
Dr. Zeligs not only suggests DIM for balancing women's hormones, but also recommends DIM for the symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men, such as weight gain, hair loss, and prostate enlargement. Balancing hormones can help restore wellness and vitality. Taking DIMPRO:
- Promotes healthy estrogen metabolism
- Protects against conditions related to estrogen dominance
- Protects against hormone-related cancer, heart disease
- Promotes fat loss, healthy skin and bones
- Supports healthy prostate tissue in men
How DIM Works
The dietary use of micronutrients found in plants, which are also known as phytochemicals, encompasses what we now know as Phytonutrition. The phytochemical DIM (diindolylmethane) that naturally occurs in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts has been shown to increase the regulation of hormone metabolism. The plant indoles in these cruciferous vegetables promote health, and scientists have discovered that adding these plants to the diets of animals could prevent certain forms of cancer. DIM is more biologically active than other indoles found in the cruciferous vegetable family.
||Supplementing with DIM provides the amount of indoles equivalent to eating 3 pounds of broccoli per day and can effectively shift the balance of sex hormones. “An optimal estrogen balance has implications for cancer prevention and successful aging in both women and men,” according to Dr. Michael Zeligs, M.D., co-author of the “All About DIM” book.
DIM can help increase the specific aerobic metabolism for estrogen, multiplying the chance for estrogen to be broken down into its beneficial or "good" estrogen metabolites. Many of the benefits that are attributed to estrogen, which includes its ability to protect the heart and brain with its antioxidant activity, are now known to come from these "good" metabolites, as opposed the more aggressive forms of estrogen, discussed below.
A slow metabolism of estrogen can result in too much active estrogen known as estradiol in the body; this can be problematic for both sexes. In women, elevated estradiol levels have been shown to cause weight gain (waist, thighs, hips), moodiness, and breast pain. Men tend to suffer from weight gain, loss of sex drive, prostate enlargement, and male patterned baldness, among other health issues.
DIM increases the ‘good’ estrogen metabolites that are known to be antioxidants, while simultaneously reducing the levels of undesirable or ‘bad’ estrogen metabolites which are not antioxidants and may actually contribute to cancer.
Taking DIM not only promotes healthy estrogen metabolism, it can also promote a more desirable action from testosterone. “Testosterone supports energy and mood and helps sustain interest in sex for both men and women”, according to Dr. Zeligs.
What Is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an imbalance of the common sex hormones. It can be caused by too much estrogen, not enough progesterone, or both. Many women in their twenties, mid-thirties through forties, and even women who are menopausal can be subject to estrogen dominance. Men may also be subject to these hormone imbalances. In fact, estrogen dominance in both women and men is becoming increasingly more common, as more of the population is being exposed to xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens.
Estrogen and progesterone work as a team to keep each other in check. When progesterone is low, estrogen becomes too active, and estrogen dominant conditions may develop.
Dr. John Lee was the pioneer behind the term "estrogen dominance." You can find more in depth information about estrogen dominance on our website, and in Dr. Lee’s books, What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Premenopause and What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Menopause.
DIM and Estrogen Metabolism
DIM has a unique ability to affect estrogen metabolism, as mentioned above. There are three main forms of estrogens, which include estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estradiol is the strongest and most aggressive estrogen. When in excess, this is the form of estrogen associated with many health problems. Estrone is an intermediate potency form of estrogen. It is mainly produced in the fatty tissue. Estriol is the weakest form of estrogen, and is considered by many to be protective.
Normally, estrogen metabolizes along one of two very distinct pathways, one pathway leads to the production of estradiol (the aggressive form), and the second leads to estriol production (the protective form). Some physicians hypothesizes that this second pathway may prevent estrogen from docking in certain cellular receptor sites, thus preventing the stimulation of tumor growth. DIM works to regulate hormones by increasing the body's production of healthy estrogen while simultaneously decreasing the undesirable forms of estrogen. This helps to inhibit tumor growth.
Research involving DIM has identified two good estrogens, 2-hydroxy estradiol and 2-hydroxy estrone. These are the antioxidants of the estrogen world and induce the self-destruction of tumor cells (apoptosis). When these two beneficial estrogens are low, tumor growth is more likely to occur. DIM increases the body's production of these healthy estrogens.
16-hydroxy estrone and 4-hydroxy estrone are the more harmful forms of estrogen, and have been linked to tumor growth and other estrogen dominant conditions. Supplementing with DIM helps reduce the these more aggressive estrogen metabolites while simultaneously increasing the protective metabolites. These so called "bad" estrogens can have a negative impact by allowing oxidation of cells, damage of DNA, and the promotion of cancer. DIM positively interferes with cells that are prone to divide and grow in the presence of these two particular forms of estrogen.
In short, DIM increases the good estrogens, and decreases the bad estrogens. Some refer to this action as being an "estrogen blocker." Research suggests DIM may reduce the risk of breast, uterine, cervical, and prostate cancers. These cancers are commonly estrogen related which is why it is so important to balance estrogen dominance in both women and men. The following chart demonstrates how estrogen is metabolized into its beneficial most forms:
DIM for Women
Estrogen is necessary, and is a good thing when metabolized correctly and properly balanced with progesterone and other sex hormones. It can improves mood and memory, promotes bone health, and lowers the risk of breast and uterine cancer, all of which are associated with estrogen dominance. Furthermore, properly metabolized estrogen can produce beneficial effects from testosterone which helps support moods, as well as libido and energy.
In menstruating women, estrogen may not be metabolized efficiently due to many different factors, such as stress, poor diet, poor liver function, obesity, xenoestrogen exposure, hormonal contraceptive use, and pesticide residues in food. DIM's conversion of unhealthy estrogen metabolites into the beneficial forms will not only help protect against hormone related cancers, it can also help with the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, including PMS, as suggested by Dr. Zeligs.
Taking DIM can have a balancing effect benefiting disorders and symptoms associated with estrogen-progesterone imbalance, including but not limited to:
In premenopausal women, often the first age-related hormonal imbalance involves a decreased production of progesterone. This reduction in progesterone output during the second half of the menstrual cycle, can cause irregular periods and contribute to premenstrual mood disorders. The "good estrogen" metabolites stimulate increased progesterone production from ovarian cells. Hormonal imbalances in premenopausal women can also be attributed to the same factors as menstruating women listed above.
It was once believed that women who are menopausal/postmenopausal have low levels of estrogen. However, for some women, this may no longer be the case. While it may be true that women in this phase of life are no longer producing as much estrogen as they did in prior years, many are still remaining estrogen dominant due to the long term use of hormone replacement therapies, exposure to environmental estrogens, obesity, poor liver function, and declining progesterone production.
Research has shown that women with prolonged exposure to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) have a higher risk of developing hormone related cancers. DIM may help decrease risk of estrogen-related breast cancer and other estrogen related disorders.
DIM supplementation is an effective means to promote positive estrogen metabolism, especially for those who are using or have used long term HRT, as it can provide a margin of safety while reducing the negative consequences of "bad" estrogen metabolites and promoting proper metabolization of the estrogen being supplemented with.
DIM is generally recommended for women who are menstruating (early thirties), or premenopausal (mid-thirties on) with high estrogen levels. Menopausal women using HRT, as mentioned above, can also use DIM to help counter balance the negative effects associated with this type of hormone therapy.
Menopausal women can use Myomin, which is a Chinese herbal formula that can help reduce excess estrogen. This product is not as strong of a metabolizer as DIM and is often suggested for those who are menopausal to post-menopausal because they are not producing as much natural estrogen.
Myomin and DIM can also be used safely by women in their twenties and thirties. Because DIM has actions that differ from Myomin, many women who are not menopausal choose to take both supplements for a more aggressive approach.
DIM for Men
Dim may also benefit men by improving estrogen-dominant related health issues such as hair loss, atherosclerosis, prostate problems, lowered libido, gynecomastia (male breast growth), and impotency.
German Researchers have documented a correlation between age related accumulations of estrogen in human prostate glands with the presence of benign prostate enlargement.
This research suggests the role of estrogen as a growth promoting hormone in men, as well as women. Dr. Zeligs states, “the accumulation of this particular hormone is indicative of male ‘andropause’. Increased PSA (prostate specific antigen) production was shown to be specifically inhibited by 2-methoxyestradiol, the beneficial form of estrogen metabolites, which is promoted by DIM.” Therefore, supplementing with DIM is the ideal way for men to get rid of unwanted estrogen, as too much estrogen may not only lead to prostate problems, it can also lessen the action of testosterone.
DIM works by promoting more “free” testosterone that can help maximize the body’s response to weight training and muscle building and can dramatically change the fat-burning ability of men. When a man is estrogen dominant, the body produces a protein that testosterone can bind to, and then it is no longer considered to be in its “free” beneficial form; bound testosterone can have undesirable effects similar to that of excess estrogen. For example, low libido, excess weight gain, impotence, and depression.
Scientific studies have shown that high levels of “free” testosterone and low levels of estrogen have been linked to lean body mass, an efficient fat-burning metabolism, and low abdominal obesity. Other benefits from “free” testosterone are improved moods, cardiovascular health, memory, a healthy libido, and better overall physical conditioning.
According to Zeligs, “testosterone exerts its actions differently depending on whether it is free or bound to carrier proteins in the blood.” When estrogen is metabolized into the good hydroxyl forms it has the ability to set testosterone free by bumping it off of the testosterone binding proteins.
Other Uses for DIM
DIM supplementation can help promote fat loss by reducing the levels of unhealthy estrogens that can cause excess weight to be deposited around the abdomen, thighs, and hips in both women and men. DIM is most effective when combined with a well-balanced, high-fiber diet, as well as exercise.
Furthermore when studied, the combination of “good” estrogen metabolites in conjunction with an increase in “free” testosterone promoted by DIM, was responsible for increasing metabolism and therefore initiating a more active release of fat cells that have been stored in the body by increasing metabolism.
Read more about the connection between hormone balance and weight loss in our blog The Skinny on Fat - and the Role Hormones and Obesogens Play.
"Improving estrogen metabolism with DIM results in direct and indirect support for more efficient weight training. Using DIM can help provide the first estrogen-management system for women and men. ‘Good’ estrogen metabolites directly support muscle well-being through their antioxidant action,” says Dr. Zeligs.
DIM can be used during intense workouts with maximum weights to develop larger and stronger muscles quickly. Dr. Zeligs also states, “You can start out with this as your goal, then move to lighter weight and more reps to encourage complete growth of new muscles. This regimen will maximize your metabolic rate and keep you fit and trim.”
Many health care professionals are now beginning to recognize a link between hormone imbalances and fibromyalgia symptoms. Like hormone imbalances, fibromyalgia can be one of the most frustrating and elusive problems that conventional medicine is facing today. Physicians generally do not know what to do for fibromyalgia beyond prescribing medications that are aimed at reducing symptoms, instead of addressing the underlying cause(s). DIM has been shown to help reduce excess estrogen levels that lead to symptoms that are associated with estrogen dominance and fibromyalgia. For example:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Migraine headaches
- Memory loss
- Foggy thinking
Calcium D-Glucarate and DIM
DIM helps reduce the levels of undesirable or 'bad' estrogen metabolites. One of the processes by which estrogenic compounds and toxins are metabolized, broken down, and eliminated is through the conjugation and glucuronidation processes that occurs in the liver. However, there is an enzyme called Beta-Glucuronidase that can interfere with the elimination process by breaking the bond between the used hormone/toxin and the water soluble substance that it should ideally be broken down into to be excreted from the body.
||Fortunately, Calcium D-Glucarate can help to inhibit or stop the beta-glucuronidase enzyme that can interfere with this process, allowing the body to properly eliminate the used hormones and toxins. Calcium D-Glucarate is an important part of fully eliminating excess estrogens and toxins. We highly recommend Calcium D-Glucarate for anyone's dietary supplement program, and particularly when taking DIM.
Suggested Further Reading
Hormonal Balance - for more information about balancing hormones when you have fibroids.
Estrogen Dominance - for further information about hormones, estrogen dominance, and environmental estrogens.
Fibroids – to learn about uterine fibroid tumors.
Fibromyalgia – to learn about fibromyalgia.
Calcium D-Glucarate - is an important supplement in fully eliminating excess estrogens and toxins.
Natural Progesterone and Myomin - for other products which may also assist with obtaining hormonal balance.
National Cancer Institute - The National Cancer Institute (NCI) coordinates the Nation's research program on cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and control. BioResponse Nutrients works with the NCI to discover the further health potential of DIM.
ClinicalTrials.gov - ClinicalTrials.gov is a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and lists clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. Visit this site to see Active Clinical Studies using BioResponse DIM (BR-DIM).
DIM FAQ - An online resource site about Diindolylmethane (DIM). Includes references, published articles and abstracts on DIM, and more.
The Skinny on Fat - and the Role Hormones and Obesogens Play - An article on the connection between hormone balance and weight loss.
Other Important Facts about DIM
DIMPRO also contains phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine's role in the maintenance of cell-membrane integrity is vital to all of the body's basic biological processes. Clinical studies have demonstrated that choline is essential for normal liver function. When the liver is functioning properly, it is able to efficiently metabolize estrogen. Phosphatidylcholine is derived from soy, in a form that does NOT include any phytoestrogens, so it is safe for those who are estrogen dominant.
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