July 22nd, 2021 | Posted By: Magdalena Wszelaki | Posted in Articles, Estrogen Dominance

Why DIM Alone Isn’t Enough For Estrogen Dominance

Why DIM Alone Isn’t Enough For Estrogen Dominance

What You Will Learn in This Article

  • DIM – the Estrogen Dominance supplement
  • Some benefits of DIM
  • When DIM stops working… what’s going on?
  • How sulforaphane works with DIM
  • How calcium D-glucarate works with DIM
  • Overcome Estrogen Dominance with help from this kit
  • Who can benefit from the Estrogen Reset Kit
  • Where to start

If you’ve spent much time on this website, you may have noticed that we dedicated most of our resources to help women address Estrogen Dominance. If you are not familiar with this hormonal condition, start by either reading my book Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, or read this comprehensive article for a great overview of this condition. There, you’ll also find a FREE assessment you can take to help you figure out whether you’re likely to be estrogen dominant.

The short version is that Estrogen Dominance is an imbalance of one or more of the following:

  1. Estrogen and progesterone
  2. Protective/”good” (E3) and aggressive/”bad” (E1 and E2) estrogens.
  3. Too many “Dirty” metabolites created from breaking down estrone (E1)

Many women have been advised or have found recommendations from books or online to take a supplement called DIM. It’s one of the top recommended supplements for overcoming estrogen dominance.

In fact, its effects on estrogen are the main reason those with a higher risk for breast- or other estrogen-sensitive cancers are advised to eat more broccoli and other Brassica-family vegetables. (1) DIM is a great supplement that works well for women of all ages in reducing symptoms of estrogen dominance. However, many women report that it works really great for a while, but then it stops.

So, what happened? What’s missing? Stay tuned – that’s what we’ll cover in this article.

DIM: The “Estrogen Buster”

DIM stands for di-indolyl-methane. DIM comes from indole-3-carbinol, which is a compound naturally found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collards. When these foods reach the stomach, indole-3-carbinol is broken down by the stomach acid. DIM is then released as a by-product. (2)

However, the amount of DIM you get from digesting a serving or two of broccoli isn’t going to be enough if you’re in a state of estrogen overload. You’d need to eat about 6 pounds of these vegetables a day to get a therapeutic dose of DIM. (3)

That’s where supplements come in. A clinical trial published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer has reported that it takes a dosage of about 100 mg of DIM to have any effect on estrogen dominance. (4)

While taking indole-3-carbinol (I3C) can be helpful for some women, I do not recommend taking supplemental I3C for two reasons:

  1. I3C needs cofactors in the stomach to get converted to DIM. Then it’s the DIM that does the work. (3) Most people have low stomach acid and the conversion may not happen.
  2. In the process of improving 2:16 estrogen metabolism, I3C also increases 4-hydroxy estrone, which is linked to breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers in some women. (5)

The conclusion is: DIM works a lot better, and it does so without the potential negative effects you can get from taking I3C. This molecule is so great for getting rid of excess estrogen that it’s often referred to as the “Estrogen Buster.” However, it’s not a complete story.

Learn more about taking DIM as a supplement in this short video:

Some Benefits of DIM

DIM is best known as a nutrient that supports healthy estrogen metabolism. It’s also known as a supplement that can help in the prevention of hormone-related cancers due to its anti-estrogenic and anti-androgenic effects. (6, 7)

Here are a few known benefits of DIM: (3)

  • Supports Phase 1 liver detoxification
  • Helps break down estrogen into “clean” estrogens, not the antagonistic “dirty” ones
  • Promotes a healthy balance of testosterone and estrogen by preventing some testosterone from converting into estrogen. (acting as an aromatase inhibitor)
  • Protects cells from the damaging effects of oxidation (working as an antioxidant).

The benefits of DIM

All these benefits make DIM an attractive addition to one’s supplement regimen… That is until it stops working.

When DIM Stops Working. . . What’s Going On?

While DIM can be an effective supplement for some, it doesn’t work as well alone. In fact, you can feel worse after taking it if you’re taking it by itself. DIM needs the help of a couple of other nutrients to help it completely flush out the extra estrogen. Here’s what’s actually happening…

The way DIM works is through supporting only Phase I of liver detoxification. However, complete estrogen metabolism in the body requires support of both Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification pathways.

How to detox estrogen in 3 steps

Liver detoxification is made up of two phases:

  • Phase I is all about oxidation (basically, burning up toxins, used up estrogens, etc., with oxygen and enzymes).
  • Phase II is conjugation (combining the oxidized toxins and used up hormones with other substances to make them less dangerous).

Phase II also makes the toxins water soluble, preparing them to be eliminated from the body through the bile or urine.

If DIM is used alone, it will help with Phase I liver detoxification, so the toxins and hormones will be oxidized (broken down) and made ready to be eliminated. However, without an active Phase II pathway, these oxidized toxins will get recirculated in the body, rather than being eliminated. (3)

This means that DIM only partially helps to remove metabolized estrogen from the body. It can also make you feel worse, because the toxins, used up hormones (estrogen), bile acids, get sent back through your body, creating inflammation and more imbalance.

That’s why DIM needs to be combined with two other nutrients, sulforaphane and calcium D-glucarate. These two nutrients help the liver complete the detoxification process and eliminate the excess estrogen from the body.

Complete Estrogen Detoxification

How Sulforaphane Works With DIM

Sulforaphane is an active component of cruciferous vegetables — and especially broccoli sprouts. You can certainly get some of it in your diet by including these foods. However, it’s difficult to know just how much sulforaphane is in each serving of broccoli or sprouts, because it varies widely. Again, that’s why a sulforaphane supplement could be helpful.

Broccoli Seed Graph

Sulforaphane works with DIM by additionally supporting Phase II of liver detoxification — specifically, the sulfation (sulphation) pathway, which is the main pathway for estrogen metabolism. (8)

After the estrogens are oxidized in phase I (along with thyroid hormones, environmental toxins, etc), sulfation helps to eliminate “dirty” estrogen metabolites by combining them with sulfur-based compounds, like sulforaphane. They are then water-soluble and are ready to be eliminated from the body via the kidneys and liver. I personally use and recommend Brocco Power, our sulforaphane supplement. The recommended dosage is 500 mg a day.

Sulforaphane also increases the “good”/protective estrogens, so that you maintain a healthy estrogen balance.

How Calcium D-Glucarate Works With DIM

Calcium is another powerful supplement that supports Phase II liver detoxification. (I actually took it before my surgery to help me detoxify better from all the medications they put me on. You can read about my pre- and post-surgery protocol here. But instead of the sulfation pathway, calcium d-glucarate works on the glucuronidation pathway of Phase II – another key pathway that metabolizes “dirty” estrogens.

The glucuronidation pathway uses glucaric acid (which is what calcium d-glucarate converts to) to bind toxins, including “spent” estrogens. Supplementing with calcium d-glucarate helps inhibit the production of an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which is produced in the gut. High levels of beta-glucuronidase are associated with breast, prostate, and colon cancers. (9)

Calcium d-glucarate helps keep metabolized estrogens from being reabsorbed. It also clears out the “dirty” estrogens that may be contributing to estrogen dominance.

The recommended dosage of Calcium D-Glucarate ranges from 150 mg to 300 mg per day. This supplement should be taken with meals for best absorption.

Precautions: Because Calcium d-glucarate can speed up the metabolism of toxins, it can also decrease the effectiveness of medications. So, if after talking to your doctor, you decide to take calcium d-glucarate, you might want to take it a few hours away from your medication(s).

You can learn more about calcium d-glucarate and how it helps with hormone balance by reading this article.

Overcome Estrogen Dominance With Help From This Kit

Estrogen Reset Kit

Based on the above research and positive experience of our community, I’ve put together a kit specifically for Estrogen Dominance. It’s called the Estrogen Reset Kit. It contains all 3 of the supplements you need to normalize your estrogen levels and get back to balance:

These three supplements used together offer complete estrogen metabolism and elimination. Taking this kit along with following a hormone balancing diet can massively speed up your recovery from estrogen dominance and its frustrating symptoms.

Precautions: Some research has shown that DIM could affect blood sugar levels. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or hypoglycemia, or are taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar, please talk to your healthcare provider before taking DIM. If you decide to add DIM to your supplement regimen, make sure your blood glucose levels are being monitored along the way.

Who Can Benefit From The Estrogen Reset Kit:

If you have any of the following issues, associated with Estrogen Dominance, you may benefit from the Estrogen Reset Kit:

  • PMS
  • cellulite
  • stubborn fat on the butt and thighs
  • water retention
  • weight gain, especially around the butt and hips
  • tender, lumpy, or fibrocystic breasts
  • heavy periods
  • irregular periods
  • lack of ovulation
  • endometriosis
  • infertility
  • fibroids
  • uterine polyps
  • thyroid nodules
  • estrogenic cancers, such as breast, ovarian, or uterine

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, this kit may be a piece of the (health) puzzle for you.

Where to Start

Where do you start if DIM stopped working for you? If budget is an issue right now, I’d recommend starting with a Sulforaphane supplement (Brocco Power). Then, if your symptoms don’t subside, I’d recommend adding back the DIM and also Calcium D-Glucarate.

That said, if you purchase all three of these supplements together as the Estrogen Reset Kit, rather than individually, it’s going to save you $33.83 – practically the cost of an additional supplement. So in the long run, getting the kit is the most efficient way to go — both in terms of cost and in terms of getting your Estrogen Balance under control.

Have you had this experience of DIM working and then not working when taking it by itself? Did you find Sulforaphane and Calcium D-glucarate to be helpful? Let us know in the comments below.

Resources

  1. Gong, Yixuan et al. “3,3′-Diindolylmethane is a novel mitochondrial H(+)-ATP synthase inhibitor that can induce p21(Cip1/Waf1) expression by induction of oxidative stress in human breast cancer cells.” Cancer research. 2006.
  2. Omar I. Vivar, Elise F. Saunier, Dale C. Leitman, Gary L. Firestone, Leonard F. Bjeldanes, Selective Activation of Estrogen Receptor-β Target Genes by 3,3′-Diindolylmethane, Endocrinology. April 2010.
  3. Wszelaki, M. Overcoming Estrogen Dominance. New Type Publishing. 2020.
  4. Dalessandri, Kathie M et al. “Pilot study: effect of 3,3′-diindolylmethane supplements on urinary hormone metabolites in postmenopausal women with a history of early-stage breast cancer.” Nutrition and cancer. 2004.
  5. Zahid, Muhammad et al. “The greater reactivity of estradiol-3,4-quinone vs estradiol-2,3-quinone with DNA in the formation of depurinating adducts: implications for tumor-initiating activity.” Chemical research in toxicology. 2006.
  6. Liu, Xiaojiao, and Kezhen Lv. “Cruciferous vegetables intake is inversely associated with risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis.” Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland). 2013).
  7. Gee, Jason R et al. “Phase Ib placebo-controlled, tissue biomarker trial of diindolylmethane (BR-DIMNG) in patients with prostate cancer who are undergoing prostatectomy.” European journal of cancer prevention : the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP). 2016.
  8. Xu, Yali et al. “Effect of estrogen sulfation by SULT1E1 and PAPSS on the development of estrogen-dependent cancers.” Cancer science. 2012.
  9. “Calcium-D-glucarate.” Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic. 2002.

33 Comments to Why DIM Alone Isn’t Enough For Estrogen Dominance

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for the info.A bit confused.Always read that cruceferious veggies are not good the thyroid. .Would like to be part if your email subscription.Thank you for the good work.
    Roxanne Salas

    • Hi Roxanne,

      Yes, the information on cruciferous vegetables is a bit confusing! That’s why we put together an article on cruciferous vegetables specifically to help clear things up: https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/truth-cruciferous-thyroid-not-think/

      I hope this is helpful to you. I added your email to our newsletter subscribers, so you should receive your first email from us soon. 🙂

      Please get in touch if we can answer any other questions.

      – HB Team

  2. I started taking DIM almost a month ago as per recommendation from Alisa Vitti. I could see a huge change. No pms symptoms, only slight cramping, a lighter blood flow, higher energy levels. I still experienced spotting before the period. I’ve been suffering from painful periods and/ or endometriosis for my entire life (I’m almost 39), and it is all down to your book which I’d read over a year ago. I’ve been doing my own research and it’s beyond me how no one ever told me to approach the problem more holistically. Going from one gynecologist to another for years, the only “solutions” I was offered were the pill and strong painkillers. Thank you for your work.

    • We’re so honored to be a part of your healing journey, Gosia! It is incredible how difficult it can be to get this information from medical practitioners, and definitely part of our mission to make this information more accessible to women suffering from the many symptoms and conditions of imbalanced hormones.

      – HB Team

  3. Good morning,I am a breast cancer patient, did chemo, did the breast surgery ,and I am going to do radiation ,after my Doctor will start me on Anastrozole ,my cancer is 95% estrogen,do you think Your estrogen reset kit will help?

  4. Hello,

    Thank you so much for the info on the three phases. How does DIM affect the sugar levels? Does it increase or decrease?

    Thank you kindly,

  5. Hi
    I’m in perimenopause, I entered when I was 40. Suffered all my life with weight gain issues. I don’t have a thyroid abd I’m insulin resistant and leptin resistant. I did a Dutch plus test and I’m deficient in progesterone abd though I’m really low in estrogen 14 level ( I get night sweats, hot flashes, dry skin, anxiety etc) My ratio is off abd considered estrogen dominant. Is it ok to take DIM? I’ve taken it in the past and immediately felt horrible within a day of starting it. Should I start with the sulforaphane? Could someone be allergic to sulfur? Should I replace my estrogen along. Do you have an article I can read about this? Thank you

    • Hi Jennifer. DIM supports Phase I of liver detoxification, and so some women can feel worse if they are just taking DIM. This is where sulforaphane (Brocco Power) and Calcium D-Glucarate come into play. If you have any allergy concerns, it’s important to talk to your health practitioner.

      This article has more information about how these three supplements work together: https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/top-3-supplements-for-estrogen-dominance/

      We are currently waiting for a new shipment of our Brocco Power supplement, so our Estrogen Rest Kit is currently out of stock. (https://wellena.com/pages/wellena-estrogen-reset-kit) When possible, we suggest taking these supplements in this order:

      Start with: Brocco Power for 1-2 weeks
      Add next: Calcium D-Glucarate
      Add last: DIM

      I hope this helps! Please reach out to [email protected] if we can answer any other questions or do more to support you.

      – HB Team

  6. Should I take all three supplements together or spread them out throughout the day? Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Tifani! Yes, you can take all three at the same time. If you are new to the Estrogen Reset Kit supplements (DIM, Brocco Power/sulforaphane, and Calcium D-Glucarate), it can help to introduce on at a time. The suggested regimen is Brocco Power, then Calcium D-Glucarate, and end with DIM.

      – HB Team

  7. Hi, Last year I was diagnosed with ER and PR positive invasive ductal carcinoma. Thankfully it was caught early and did not require chemo or radiation. I opted for a bilateral mastectomy with natural tissue reconstruction. I do not have to take any hormone medication. I have cleaned up my diet/life (with the help of Magdalena!) and have been taking the estrogen reset kit. I just upped my dose of Dim to two pills with two calcium D-Glucarate and one Brocco Power all at once after dinner. Is that a good way to take them?

    • Hi Tia. It’s great to hear you are making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle to support your health!

      For the Estrogen Reset Kit, the suggested regimen is: 1 capsule DIM, 2 capsules Calcium D-Glucarate, 1 capsule Brocco Power. It’s a good idea to follow this regiment for a couple of months before increasing any dosages.

      As for what time of day to take them, these supplements can be taken at any time of day, together or separate.

      I hope this information helps. Please reach out to [email protected] with any additional questions.

      – HB Team

  8. I took calcium glucarate for about a year and worked wonderfully for my estrogen dominance. Then it stopped working. Is this because I wasn’t supplementing with DIM as well?

  9. How do you know when to stop taking these supplements? Or are they meant to be used indefinitely to maintain balance?

    • Hi Gabi, many women do move on from using the three separate supplements once the majority of estrogen dominance symptoms have ceased. DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate are meant to be taken shorter term like 3-6 months. The Brocco Power can be taken long term. Wise Women’s Balance is another Wellena product that can be used for more for a maintenance supplement. I hope this helps. ~Kamalani HB Support

    • Hi Allen, since men can still be estrogen dominance this protocol could be suitable. That said, you will want to consult with you practitioner first to determine whether this would be a good fit for you. It will work to lower all estrogen levels to help with rebalancing, so connecting your practitioner will be an important first steps. ~HB Support

  10. Hi! I started Dim the first of October and 2 weeks later I ovulated on my own! I have PCOS so this is amazing!! However now I’m on cycle 2 and my body is struggling to ovulate. Is it because I didn’t take the other 2 along with it? Are these to be taken all together for long term?

  11. Hi

    I have 28 day cycles always have but since coming off the levlin pill birth control 5 years ago which I was on for 10years I have had really low energy elevated every month I’ll have two weeks of dragging my feet in my period and the week following. What info would I need to look into before taking the reset kit? Do I need to know 100% that I am estrogen dominant? Doctors have always told me they suspect I am ED.

    My energy is debilitating and hard as I am a very active and fit person and can never keep consistency with my goals. My bloods always say I have great iron etc when I don’t take supplements.

    Also do you ship to Australia 😇 I’m very hopeful that this can help

  12. I have very high estrogen and hbg. Progesterone and testosterone are within normal limits. Will DIM help in eliminating the excess estrogen without affecting other hormones?

  13. I already take DIM with no issues, I’m adding Broccoli power, how long before I notice a change ?

  14. Hi Susie, this depends on your current liver function and what pathway needs support. There can be a large time range, but you can typically begin to notice changes within two to six months. ~HB Support

  15. Hello. I’m wondering about the long term use of the products, long after detoxifying is complete. Will all three of these products need to be taken long term to keep things balanced?

  16. Hi Emily, the DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate in the trio are meant to be taken shorter term like 3-6 months. The Brocco Power can be taken longer term. DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate will lower all estrogens, both the clean and the dirty, so it is best to use these items for a shorter period of time vs. long term. Brocco Power / Sulforaphane does not lower estrogens, but opens up the pathways of detoxification, and so can be taken long term. The DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate in the trio are meant to be taken shorter term like 3-6 months. The Brocco Power can be taken longer term.

    I hope this helps! ~HB Support.

  17. One other person asked this, but I couldn’t find anyone’s answer, so sorry for the repeat. I couldn’t find any information regarding the research for HOW DIM affect blood sugars, so I wondered if there are any links you could include for the research referred to and also is it said to increase or decrease blood sugars?

  18. Hi Becka, these clinical trails show some interesting results in regards to the effect DIM has on blood sugar. But it’s important to note that this study was conducted with the intent of evaluating DIM for diabetic patients, not general blood sugar influences.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6943523/

    This research study also found interesting evidence that DIM may improve insulin sensitivity. Although this was not a human study, it does show promising results. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29722480/

    I hope this helps! ~HB Support

  19. Hi,

    Can taking too much DIM and calcium d-glucarate (or taken for too long) cause missed periods due to their oestrogen-lowering effects?

    Thanks

  20. Hi Donna, low estrogen can impact missed or irregular periods. This is an important hormone for the regularity of our periods. Taking DIM and Calcium D-Glucarate for a prolonged amount of time can lower our “clean” and “dirty” estrogens. Although there are many things that impact estrogen and menstruation, it’s important to take these supplements for a length that fits your bodies needs. I hope this helps. ~HB Support

  21. Hi! I’ve recently found out I have an endometrioma (which I believe means I likely have endometriosis) after suffering with almost constant spotting between periods and a lack of ovulation. I’ve read that endo is usually caused by too much estrogen so I’ve just started taking DIM in the last two weeks to see if that helps. Just finished my period. and where it would usually be 6-7 days long and fairly heavy, it was only 3 days long and very light – day 3 wasn’t much more than what I’d say my spotting is like between periods. Is this normal? I didn’t realise DIM could alter what my period was like, I was just hoping it would help with spotting! I realise I’ve not been taking it long though…
    Thanks!

  22. Hi Jolee, DIM does has the potential to affect your period because it affects estrogen levels.
    In Magdalena’s Overcoming Estrogen Dominance book, there is a whole protocol for endometriosis in that would be worth exploring. I hope this helps! ~HB Support.

  23. Hi,

    I’ve recently started taking DIM and Calcium D Glucarate (another brand) and 2 weeks in I’ve developed what looks like hormonal acne.
    Should I continue or stop? It’s so difficult to know when to push through.
    Thanks

    Sonia

  24. Hi Sonia, acne can be seen as a detox symptoms while your body is detoxing the estrogen. You things to support your detox pathways to help this. Some options include:

    Increase water intake – Drink half your body in ounces per day
    Dry brushing
    Hot and cold contrast showering
    Sauna – anything to make you sweat
    Epsom salt baths

    We hope this helps! ~HB Support

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