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Home > Health Information > Health Concerns > Women’s Health > Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy

Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy - DIM

What Is DIM?

DIM stands for Diindolylmethane. Even though it was discovered over ten years ago, very few know about it.

Diindolylmethane is a substance that interests many scientists because of its link to a vegetarian diet. While eating vegetables has been known to generate health benefits, essential information was missing about what these benefits exactly were. Researchers wanted to know which substances in vegetables bring about these benefits.

That was how Diindolylmethane (DIM) was discovered. It is one of the substances found in vegetables that has two distinct benefits: a balanced hormonal system and efficient metabolism. DIM is the main ingredient found in estrobalance.

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Researchers were also interested in DIM because it was only recently that a meaningful connection was established between natural dietary foods and estrogen. Statistics reveal that individuals in industrialized countries suffer from an imbalanced hormonal system because they don't have a sufficient amount of dietary phytonutrients. These phytonutrients come from cruciferous vegetables and help metabolize estrogen.

Therefore, Diindolylmethane (DIM) is:

  • a dietary indole. An indole is an organic compound formed in the indigo plant and has a unique odor.
  • DIM is found in vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
  • When any one of these vegetables are eaten, enzymes are released, leading to the formation of DIM from Indole-3 carbinol (I3C). Even without enzymes, DIM can be produced from I3C particularly when acid is present. One organ where there is plenty of acid is the stomach.

The Role Hormones Play - How DIM Can Help

We shall explain DIM in relation to the role that hormones play in the human body.

Cells that perform a specialized function secrete substances called hormones. These hormones influence the way our metabolism and other cells function. Hormones bring about physiological changes on other human cells.

Hormones may be of two types:

  • hydrophilic - these hormones thrive in water. An example is insulin. Receptors remain on the cells' surface;
  • lipophilic - these hormones thrive in fat (fat loving cells). An example would be steroids where the receptors lie inside cells (intracellular receptors).

One fundamental truth about hormones: they cause some health problems. They also prevent certain health problems.

Sex Hormones

The three sex hormones are: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. They have a direct influence on the reproductive system.

Sex hormones not only affect the reproductive system but also perform other vital functions:

  • estrogens promote strong bones and healthy skin for both men and women;
  • testosterone also helps to promote healthy bones and muscles in men and women. It enhances one's libido, energy and mood.

You may have heard of HRT - hormone replacement therapy. This involves administering artificial estrogens to compensate for the decreasing inventories of estrogens in humans as they get older.

Prolonged HRT, however, carries serious health risks. Excessive hormone replacement therapy leads to over-exposure to estrogens known as xenoestrogens ("estrogen mimics") that carries serious health risks.

One accepted indicator of hormonal balance in men and women is the ratio of estrogen metabolites (an example would be 2- hydroxyestrone over 16-hydroxyestrone). This hormonal balance promotes health in the breasts, endometrium, uterus, cervix, prostate and other tissues.

Physicians and health care providers take estrogen and gynecologic health seriously because:

  • as a person gets older, the activity of aromatase enzymes accelerates. These enzymes transform DHEA and testosterone into estrogen. This activity can be regulated so that over-exposure to estrogens is reduced, therefore bringing about a healthier balance of estrogen in the body;
  • when hormones are over-stimulated, it is because the body is exposed to estrogen-mimics, causing an unhealthy balance of estrogen metabolites which can affect the reproductive system of both males and females.
  • when estrogen metabolites are not balanced, there is diminished efficiency in the process called protective apoptosis in various tissues and organs. Apoptosis is a type of programmed cell death in multi-cell organisms.

There are many ways estrogen balance can be achieved. One way is to regulate those enzymes that play a direct role in liver function. For instance the regulation of hepatic liver - phases 1 and 2 of detoxification - helps the metabolic process eliminate toxic chemical substances called xenobiotics that are not produced by the body. Because xenobiotics are foreign, eliminating them helps restore balanced estrogen levels.

DIM and EstroBalance

For the proper metabolism of estrogens, it will take a substantial amount of phytochemicals from cruciferous vegetables to do their work. What this means is that while cruciferous vegetables contain many phytochemicals that can regulate estrogen levels, the question is how much does one need?

Why EstroBalance Works:

Fact # 1:Cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals like indole-3-carbinol (I3C), phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), sulforaphane and diindolylmethane (DIM).
Fact # 2:These phytochemicals are produced from parent compounds that are found in certain vegetables.
Fact # 3:I3C, when ingested by the body, is converted into DIM. Even if cruciferous vegetables are excellent sources of DIM, one would have to eat significant amounts of cruciferous vegetables for estrogen metabolism or detoxification enzymes to work efficiently. An impossible task!

Just to illustrate this impossibility: if a person ate 500 grams of broccoli a day, only a minor change is seen in the estrogen metabolism process. One would have to eat much more, but this can't be done because of potential problems in the gastro-intestinal tract.

I3C and DIM combined help regulate an enzyme activity called cytochrome p450 (CYP). It helps in the detoxification - or cleansing - of the human body.

Specific Benefits of DIM

  • Both I3C and DIM have the capability to supplement the production of 2-hydroxyestrogen metabolism. DIM is a powerful inducer of 2-hydroxylase. This 2-hydroxylase introduces benefits for estrogen metabolites.
  • DIM helps produce 2-hydroxyestrone (2OH1) and 2-hydroxyestradiol (2-OH2) in various human tissues. This in turn prevents over-stimulation of estrogens. When 2-0H1 and 2-0H2 are transported by blood in the body, they are metabolized. This metabolization is made possible by catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), resulting in 2-methoxyestrone and 2-methoxyestradiol. These are vital metabolites for healthy cell development in living organisms.
  • DIM is an essential dietary indole. It is at least 10 times more powerful than I3C.
  • As a dietary supplement, DIM provides more health benefits than 13C. Three characteristics of 13C are: instability, unpredictability (when digested and stored) and the lack of biological activity (unless it is converted into DIM).

Combining EstroBalance with DIM

For Diindolylmethane to do its work effectively, it needs a bio-delivery vehicle given its insolubility in water and lipids. In a clinical study, volunteers were given pure DIM. There were no marked changes in their metabolite ratio. When they were given lower doses combined with EstroBalance, their metabolite ratios changed significantly. One of these changes was an increase of 2-hydroxy over 16-hydroxy estrogen metabolites.

The EstroBalance / DIM combination is backed by research that demonstrates that as a dietary supplement, healthy changes occur in estrogen metabolites. In fact it is the first dietary supplement that is known to produce this healthy balance. EstroBalance with DIM provides the necessary supplements to a cruciferous diet. Tests with animals showed that EstroBalance with DIM did not produce harmful side effects. In fact, because DIM is not as strong an inducer as I3C, tripling the dose to 450 mg/day did not lead to negative side effects.

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