Uses for Diindolylmethane
People use diindolylmethane supplements for a number of reasons, including:
- cancer prevention
- weight loss
- relief of premenstrual syndrome
- treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy
Diindolylmethane is purported to produce changes in estrogen metabolism, a biological process thought to influence the development of certain hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer. Diindolylmethane can increase levels of 16-hydroxy estrogens (considered to be beneficial estrogens) while reducing levels of 2-hydroxy estrogens (potentially harmful estrogens).
Unlike soy isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, DIM is not an estrogen mimic or "phytoestrogen" and has no inherent estrogenic activity. DIM acts to balance the natural response to estrogen by adjusting the activity of metabolic cytochrome enzymes and specialized estrogen receptor molecules.
When estrogen is broken down in your body, it can either form beneficial or harmful estrogen metabolites, and DIM helps your body to break down estrogen into the beneficial type. The beneficial estrogen metabolites have antioxidant properties and help to protect the heart and brain from free-radical damage
Benefits of Diindolylmethane
To date, research on the health effects of diindolylmethane is fairly limited. However, some preliminary research suggests that diindolylmethane may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available studies:
1) Diindolylmethane and Breast Cancer
In a small 2004 pilot study published in Nutrition and Cancer, researchers found that taking diindolylmethane supplements may provide some protection against hormone-dependent cancers by altering estrogen levels. The study involved 19 older women with a history of early-stage breast cancer.
In addition, laboratory studies suggest that diindolylmethane may help inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
2) Diindolylmethane and Cervical Cancer
Although some data has suggested that taking diindolylmethane supplements may slow the development of cervical cancer, a 2012 study published in the British Journal of Cancer failed to show any benefit. The study involved 551 women with newly diagnosed, low-grade abnormalities in cervical cells. For six months, participants took either diindolylmethane supplements or a placebo daily. Diindolylmethane supplements failed to have a significant beneficial effect on cervical cell changes or the presence of HPV.
3) Diindolylmethane and Other Forms of Cancer
Preliminary findings from test-tube studies and animal-based research indicates that diindolylmethane may offer some protection against prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer. However, due to a lack of research, it's too soon to tell whether diindolylmethane may help fight these forms of cancer in humans.
Diindolylmethane and Weight Loss
Although diindolylmethane supplements are sometimes touted as natural weight loss aids, there's no scientific evidence to support the claim that taking diindolylmethane promotes weight loss.
Side Effects of Diindolylmethane
To date, very little is known about the safety of using diindolylmethane supplements in the long term.
Due to diindolylmethane's potential to affect estrogen metabolism, there's some concern that taking diindolylmethane supplements could aggravate hormone-sensitive conditions (including hormone-dependent cancers, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids). Given these safety concerns, it's important to seek medical advice prior to using diindolylmethane supplements.
Sources of Diindolylmethane
Diindolylmethane is produced when the body digests indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in the following vegetables:
- Brussel sprouts
- collard greens
- mustard greens
Edited by Green Gables, 06 October 2012 - 12:57 AM.