Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

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Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound found in “cruciferous” vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Scientists think these crunchy vegetables may help protect the body against cancer because they contain diindolylmethane and a related chemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

Dim helps balance the sex hormone estrogen and testosterone. When the body breaks down estrogen, for example, it can form either a harmful or beneficial metabolite. DIM, in some clinical and animal studies, has been shown to help the body form the more beneficial estrogen metabolite and reduce formation of the harmful metabolite. The beneficial estrogen metabolites can have many positive effects, including reducing the risk for some types of cancer. DIM may benefit patients with certain types of prostate cancer and may help reverse abnormal changes in cells on the surface of the cervix. Some scientists think DIM will be useful for preventing breast, uterine and colorectal cancer. However, because of the variability in types of cancer and the sensitivity of the estrogen system in the body, DIM and I3C supplements may not be appropriate for everyone.

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Database. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/diindolylmethane

Fujioka, N. et al., ” Research on cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, and cancer prevention: a tribute to lee w. wattenberg.” Mol Nutr Food Res (Feb 2016) doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500889. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26840393

Ashrafian, L.,et al. “Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled multicenter clinical trial (phase IIa) on di-indolylmethane’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of CIN: implications for cervical cancer prevention.” The EPMA Journal. (2015) 6:25. doi:10.1186/s13167-015-0048-9. Accessed on March 23, 2016: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685602/

Ahmad, A., et al., “The Bounty of Nature for changing the cancer landscape.” Mol Nutr Food Res (Jan 2016). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500867. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26799714

Higdon, J.V. et al., “Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis.” Pharmacol Res. (Mar 2007) 55(3): p 224-36. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104366180700032

Minich, D.M. & Bland, S. “A Review of the Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Cruciferous Vegetable Phytochemicals.” DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00303.x p 259-267 First published online: 1 June 2007. Available from: http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/6/259

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