Wellness isn’t static—and calling it dynamic is an understatement. I’m speaking from experience when I say wellness is a never-ending journey with new research to consider, new obstacles to overcome, and new mindsets to adopt. My interest in wellness sprung about in my teenage years, but it truly changed the trajectory of my life when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 32. As scary as that life-or-death period was, I am thankful every day that I was able to stay hopeful in my pursuit of healing holistically. It wasn’t an easy road, but I loved my life and everything within it too much to just give up.
As I’ve worked to age gracefully, I’ve learned that healing from one condition doesn’t mean I won’t encounter another. Another challenge I was faced with after my cancer diagnosis was estrogen dominance—my estrogen levels were too high for too long. I was working with my naturopath to get to the root cause, but estrogen dominance is multifaceted, meaning there likely wasn’t one main reason for the imbalance. Regardless of the cause, we agreed it wasn’t beneficial to my health to let my levels stay high, especially since certain cancers are associated with high estrogen levels. Knowing the risks, my naturopath put me on DIM, which brought my hormone levels back to balance. So, while I’ve experienced the wonders of DIM firsthand, I know it’s not the most well-known supplement for others. Let’s discuss DIM to see if it could help you the way it helped me.
3,3′-Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a natural compound that comes from the breakdown of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is found in the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. The process of chewing these vegetables triggers the release of I3C, turning on other enzymatic reactions in the digestive system that lead to the formation of DIM. As a result, DIM is considered a bioactive metabolite of I3C. This conversion is particularly important for its impact on estrogen metabolism within the body.
DIM has gained recognition for its ability to balance estrogen levels and influence the production of various estrogen metabolites. Specifically, DIM tends to favor the generation of 2-hydroxyestrone, a less potent form of estrogen, over the more biologically active 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone. This shift in estrogen metabolism is thought to contribute to hormonal balance, with potential implications for conditions related to estrogen dominance. While DIM naturally occurs in cruciferous vegetables, it’s available in supplement form for those seeking a concentrated amount to enhance its benefits.
Understanding Estrogen Dominance
To understand estrogen dominance, we first need to understand estrogen. Estrogen is a primary sex hormone in both males and females, though it’s much more prominent in women. Estrogen is vital in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, regulation of the menstrual cycle, and maintenance of reproductive tissues. It influences various physiological functions, including bone health, cardiovascular health, and the maintenance of skin integrity. Estrogen also contributes to the health of the reproductive organs and supports pregnancy. While essential for normal bodily functions, an imbalance, such as estrogen dominance, can lead to various health issues and requires careful management for overall well-being.
Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen levels are elevated beyond progesterone levels for a prolonged time, disrupting the delicate hormonal equilibrium. Especially in perimenopause through postmenopause, hormone balance can be thrown off as many women undergo bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, potentially causing them to go into an estrogen-dominant state. This imbalance can trigger various symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, breast tenderness, mood swings, and fatigue. Long-term implications of estrogen dominance extend to an increased risk of conditions like breast cancer. Understanding and managing estrogen dominance is crucial for restoring hormonal balance, and DIM can be the healthy addition you need to promote overall well-being.
Benefits of DIM
DIM has received attention in several studies for its potential in cancer protection, particularly against hormone-related cancers like breast and ovarian cancer. By promoting the conversion of estrogen into less biologically active forms, DIM may contribute to reducing the risk of certain cancers associated with hormonal imbalances.
DIM has been shown to have liver-protective properties. The liver plays a crucial role in detoxification, and DIM enhances this process by aiding in the metabolism and elimination of estrogen metabolites. A healthy liver function is essential for overall well-being and hormonal balance.
Difficulties managing weight are often associated with hormonal imbalances. One study revealed that supplementing with DIM decreased body fat in premenopausal women, making it a worthy consideration for those aiming for weight management as part of their overall wellness.
DIM’s influence on hormonal balance extends to skin health, offering potential benefits for those dealing with acne related to hormonal imbalances. DIM has been shown to inhibit the formation of the C. acnes bacterial species, which causes common acne. Supplementing with DIM can help contribute to a more balanced hormonal environment, potentially controlling acne symptoms.
Potential Side Effects of DIM
While DIM is generally well-tolerated, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. For some women, DIM supplementation may cause hot flashes. Additionally, DIM might actually exacerbate endocrine disorders rather than alleviate them. As with any supplement, individual responses can vary, highlighting the significance of personalized guidance to ensure that DIM aligns with individual health needs and goals.
Pure Encapsulation’s DIM Detox is my go-to DIM supplement because it provides me with the amazing benefits of DIM and contains ingredients like milk thistle and alpha lipoic acid for liver detoxification support. But as always, everybody is different. Consult a healthcare professional to ensure you’re optimizing your health to meet your unique needs.
Wellness can be complicated. The foundations of good health (a healthy diet, regular exercise, high-quality sleep, etc.) are key, but when life throws you a curveball, you need to be prepared. If you’re experiencing hormone-related symptoms and looking for a solution, DIM might be for you. Still, I understand the potential worries of trying a new supplement. I want to help, especially since I’ve been in your place. Book a one-on-one session with me today and we will discuss your unique needs and goals to create harmony with your hormones and overall health.