X

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.