Lowering Estrogen to Fight Man Boobs: A Look at DIM Supplements

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In our ongoing pursuit of optimal health and vitality, the role of naturally occurring compounds can’t be underestimated. Among them, Diindolylmethane, or DIM, derived from nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetables, is emerging as a powerful player. Its significance is gaining wider recognition with benefits spanning hormonal balance, immune function, and even cancer prevention. But, with an array of supplement options available on the market, finding the right supplement can be overwhelming. This article will guide you through the journey of understanding DIM and spotlight the best DIM supplements for men.

What is DIM (Diindolylmethane)?

DIM refers to Diindolylmethane, which is a natural compound that is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It is a metabolite (breakdown product) of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is also found in these vegetables. DIM supplements are often marketed as a way to support healthy estrogen metabolism in the body, and to promote hormonal balance.

A Story of DIM, “Man Boobs” and Broccoli

Jack was a young man concerned about the appearance of his chest. He had noticed that he had developed some excess tissue in the area, which made him feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. He had heard that this condition was commonly referred to as “man boobs,” and that it could be caused by a variety of factors, including hormone imbalances and excess body fat.

One day, Jack came across an article about a natural compound called DIM (Diindolylmethane), which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. The article explained that DIM can help to support healthy hormone balance and metabolism, and may have a beneficial effect on “man boobs.”

Inspired by this information, Jack decided to incorporate more broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables into his diet. He started by adding a serving of broccoli to his lunch and dinner each day, along with other vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

Over time, he began to notice some positive changes in his body. He lost some excess body fat, which helped to reduce the appearance of his “man boobs.” He also felt more energetic and focused, which he attributed to the overall improvement in his diet and lifestyle.

Jack was encouraged by these results and continued to prioritize cruciferous vegetables in his diet and eventually added a DIM supplement to his routine as well. He found that the combination of dietary and supplemental sources of DIM helped to further improve his hormone balance and support his overall health and wellbeing.

In the end, Jack realized that his journey towards better health and confidence had started with something as simple as a serving of broccoli each day. He found out what every dietitian-nutritionist knows: that the natural compounds found in plant-based foods can have a powerful effect on the body, and that small changes in diet and lifestyle can make a big difference over time.

How DIM Functions As An Aromatase Inhibitor

Aromatase is an enzyme that is primarily produced in the adrenal glands, ovaries, and fat cells. It plays a key role in estrogen synthesis by catalyzing the conversion of androgens (such as testosterone) into estrogens (such as estradiol). This conversion is important for maintaining healthy estrogen levels in the body, but too much aromatase activity can lead to an overproduction of estrogen. This can increase the risk of hormone-related conditions such as breast and prostate cancer.

DIM (Diindolylmethane) functions as an aromatase inhibitor by blocking the activity of the aromatase enzyme, which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogens. DIM blocks aromatase activity by binding to the enzyme and blocking its ability to convert testosterone into estrogens. By blocking aromatase, DIM can help to reduce the overall production of estrogen in the body, which can reduce the risk of hormone-related conditions.

In addition to its effects on aromatase, DIM also blocks the formation of “bad” estrogen metabolites that can interact with DNA in a way that promotes cancerous changes in cells. These effects on estrogen metabolism make DIM a promising natural alternative to synthetic aromatase inhibitors for managing estrogen-related conditions.

Too Much Estrogen in Men

In men, aromatase inhibitors are sometimes used to treat conditions that are associated with high levels of estrogen, such as gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue) and certain types of male infertility. In these cases, the decision to use an aromatase inhibitor is typically based on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and laboratory tests.

The laboratory value that is most commonly used to indicate the need for an aromatase inhibitor in men is the serum estradiol level. Estradiol is the most potent form of estrogen and is typically measured in picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) in men. Normal estradiol levels in men range from 10-50 pg/mL, although this can vary depending on age, health status, and other factors. Labs are available as a salivary test through the NutriScape Lab Shop.

In men with conditions such as gynecomastia or male infertility, elevated estradiol levels may be indicative of excessive aromatase activity, which can lead to an overproduction of estrogen. In these cases, an aromatase inhibitor may be prescribed to help reduce the amount of estrogen in the body and improve symptoms.

A physician should be consulted to evaluate a person’s individual symptoms, health status, and treatment goals. It is also important to monitor serum estradiol levels regularly while taking an aromatase inhibitor, as excessive suppression of estrogen levels can lead to side effects such as bone loss and decreased libido.

DIM in the Formation of Different Types of Estrogens

DIM (Diindolylmethane) functions in the molecular metabolism of estrogen by promoting the formation of “good” estrogen metabolites and inhibiting the formation of “bad” estrogen metabolites.

When estrogen is broken down in the body, it can be metabolized into several different forms, some of which are considered beneficial and some of which are considered harmful. For example, some estrogen metabolites have been associated with an increased risk of breast and other hormone-related cancers, while others have been associated with a reduced risk.

DIM helps to promote the formation of beneficial estrogen metabolites by increasing the activity of certain enzymes in the liver that are responsible for metabolizing estrogen. Specifically, DIM stimulates the activity of the enzyme cytochrome P450, which converts estrogen into a metabolite called 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1). 2-OHE1 is considered a “good” estrogen metabolite because it has been shown to have anti-cancer effects.

At the same time, DIM inhibits the formation of “bad” estrogen metabolites, such as 4-hydroxyestrone (4-OHE1) and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (16alpha-OHE1), which have been associated with an increased risk of breast and other hormone-related cancers. DIM accomplishes this by inhibiting the activity of another enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. By inhibiting aromatase, DIM reduces the overall production of estrogen, which can reduce the risk of harmful estrogen metabolites.

In summary, DIM promotes the formation of beneficial estrogen metabolites while inhibiting the formation of harmful ones, which can help to support healthy estrogen metabolism and reduce the risk of hormone-related conditions such as breast and prostate cancer.

How Is DIM Produced In The Body?

DIM (Diindolylmethane) is produced in the body from indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.

When these vegetables are consumed, I3C is released and is metabolized by stomach acid into various products, including DIM and other indoles. These compounds are further metabolized by the liver and other tissues, where they undergo further transformations and are eventually excreted in the urine.

The exact mechanisms by which I3C is converted into DIM in the body are not fully understood, but it is thought to involve the action of certain enzymes in the digestive tract and liver. Additionally, the production of DIM from I3C may be influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, and gut microbiota.

It is important to note that the amount of DIM that is produced in the body from cruciferous vegetables can vary widely depending on factors such as the type of vegetable, the method of preparation, and individual differences in metabolism. For this reason, some people choose to supplement with DIM in order to ensure a consistent intake of this compound. However, it is generally recommended to obtain nutrients and compounds from whole foods whenever possible, rather than relying solely on supplements.

What Are the Food Sources of I3C and DIM?

here is a table of some common dietary sources of indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and diindolylmethane (DIM):

FoodServing SizeI3C ContentDIM Content
Broccoli1 cup, chopped200-300 mg50-100 mg
Cauliflower1 cup, chopped100-200 mg10-30 mg
Brussels Sprouts1 cup, cooked50-100 mg5-10 mg
Kale1 cup, chopped20-50 mg10-20 mg
Cabbage1 cup, chopped10-20 mg2-5 mg
Bok Choy1 cup, chopped10-20 mg5-10 mg
Collard Greens1 cup, cooked5-10 mg2-5 mg
Turnips1 cup, cooked5-10 mg2-5 mg
Mustard Greens1 cup, chopped3-5 mg2-5 mg
Radishes1 cup, sliced3-5 mg2-5 mg
It’s important to note that the I3C and DIM content of these foods can vary depending on factors such as the variety, growing conditions, and preparation method. However, consuming a variety of these vegetables on a regular basis can help to ensure a consistent intake of I3C and DIM and other beneficial compounds.

While I3C is converted to DIM in the body, the amount of DIM that is produced from I3C can depend on the activity of certain enzymes in the digestive tract and liver, as well as other factors such as the presence of other nutrients that may affect DIM metabolism.

In addition, the conversion of I3C to DIM may not be the only pathway by which I3C exerts its effects on the body. I3C may also be metabolized into other biologically active compounds that have their own effects on health and metabolism.

While I3C is converted to DIM in the body, the amount of DIM that is produced from I3C can depend on the activity of certain enzymes in the digestive tract and liver, as well as other factors such as the presence of other nutrients that may affect DIM metabolism.

In addition, the conversion of I3C to DIM may not be the only pathway by which I3C exerts its effects on the body. I3C may also be metabolized into other biologically active compounds that have their own effects on health and metabolism.

For these reasons, it’s important to consume a variety of whole foods that contain both I3C and DIM, as well as other beneficial compounds. Consuming a balanced and varied diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, including cruciferous vegetables, can help to support optimal health and wellbeing.

What Are The Potential Health Benefits of DIM?

There is some evidence to suggest that DIM may offer several potential health benefits, although more research is needed to confirm these effects. Here are some of the health benefits of DIM that have been studied:

  • Supports healthy estrogen metabolism: DIM has been shown to promote the conversion of “bad” estrogen metabolites into “good” ones, which may help to reduce the risk of hormone-related conditions such as breast and prostate cancer.
  • May help with weight loss: Some studies suggest that DIM may help to support healthy weight management by reducing fat accumulation and promoting fat burning. [PMID: 36111381]
  • May reduce the risk of certain cancers: Preliminary research suggests that DIM may have anti-cancer effects, particularly in breast, prostate, and cervical cancer. [PMC5059820]
  • May support heart health: Some studies suggest that DIM may help to reduce inflammation and support healthy cholesterol levels, which may promote heart health. [PMC9960368]
  • May have anti-inflammatory effects: DIM has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in some studies, which may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. [PMC7030851]

It is important to note that while there is some evidence to suggest that DIM may offer these health benefits, more research is needed to confirm these effects and to determine the optimal dosage and form of DIM supplementation. As with any dietary supplement, it is always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before starting to take DIM.

What Are The Health Risks of Too Much I3C and DIM?

While DIM (Diindolylmethane) is generally considered safe for most people when taken at recommended doses, taking too much DIM can potentially lead to side effects.

Some of the possible side effects of taking too much DIM include:

  1. Hormonal imbalances: While DIM is often taken to support healthy hormone balance, taking too much DIM can actually disrupt hormone levels and lead to imbalances. This can cause symptoms such as menstrual irregularities, breast tenderness, and mood changes.
  2. Increased risk of hypothyroidism: There is some evidence to suggest that taking high doses of DIM may interfere with thyroid function and increase the risk of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid).
  3. Digestive issues: High doses of DIM may cause digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset.
  4. Drug interactions: DIM may interact with certain medications, such as tamoxifen and other anti-estrogen drugs, as well as medications that are metabolized by the liver. Taking too much DIM may increase the risk of these interactions.

For these reasons, it is important to follow recommended dosages when taking DIM supplements, and to consult with a healthcare provider before starting to take any new dietary supplement. If you experience any side effects while taking DIM, you should stop taking it and consult with a healthcare provider.

Is It Safe to Supplement With I3C than DIM?

Taking DIM (Diindolylmethane) and I3C (Indole-3-Carbinol) supplements is generally considered safe for most people. These compounds are found naturally in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and they have been widely studied for their health benefits. Most research indicates that these supplements have a low risk of side effects when taken at recommended doses.

In general, it is always a good idea to obtain nutrients and compounds from whole foods whenever possible, rather than relying on supplements. Eating cruciferous vegetables can help to ensure a consistent intake of I3C and other beneficial compounds, while minimizing the risks of potential side effects associated with high-dose supplementation. If you are considering taking I3C or DIM supplements, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider first, especially if you are taking medications or have a medical condition.

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DIM + I3C

DIM + I3C by Seeking Health contains 400 mg of dietary indoles. DIM (diindolylmethane) is a metabolic byproduct of I3C (indole-3-carbinol), a compound found in broccoli, cabbage and other vegetables in the Brassicacae family. These well-known indoles are combined with other related compounds to provide a broad spectrum of support for processing estrogen metabolites, such as 16-alpha hydroxy-estrone.

It is thought that exposure to xenoestrogens found in plastic, as well as changes in hormone production during aging, may contribute to unbalanced hormone levels. Indole compounds such as those in DIM + I3C may help support the body’s normal hormone processing mechanisms, which are important for maintaining physiological balance. DIM, I3C and other indoles may also help support normal detoxification processes in the liver, regular cell cycle progression, and healthy genetic processes.* 

Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) readily breaks down in the presence of stomach acid into diindolylmethane (DIM). Although diindolylmethane has been claimed to be the preferred form for dietary supplementation, a wide spectrum of indoles such as those found in DIM + I3C may provide a greater range of support, more closely resembling the variety of indoles found in natural sources.* 

Combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, indole compounds along with other nutrients like boron and other trace minerals may help support healthy hormone balance. Supporting proper liver function is also important for maintaining normal hormone metabolism. directed by your healthcare professional.

Serving Size: 1 Capsule

Amount Per Serving
I3C … 200mg
(indole-3-carbinol)
DIM … 200mg
(diindolylmethane)
PQQ … 4mg
(from Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium Salt)

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up


So there you have it—IC3 and DIM supplements, along with foods rich in these compounds, offer a range of health benefits. From supporting hormone balance to promoting liver detoxification and even offering some cancer-fighting properties, these compounds are making a strong case for inclusion in your wellness journey. While more research is still needed to establish long-term effects, existing studies point to promising health advantages.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Creator of Supplement Sciences and NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Log in to comment and save this article on your board or send your comments to reviews@supplement-sciences.com

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