Clarification On DIM And Its Uses For Breast Cancer


Photo courtesy of and M Bartosch
Photo courtesy of and M Bartosch

Clarification On DIM And Its Uses For Breast Cancer

Back to work!  I’ve been moving from Colorado to Australia, hence the very quiet period on the website.  Just before leaving, I had the opportunity to get some clarification on DIM and its uses for breast cancer from Naturopath Dr Jacob Schor, whose views on various health matters have appeared on this blog previously, most notably in these two articles:

DIM Is Not The Wonder Supplement We’ve Been Led To Believe

More Information On Dim, Estrogen Metabolite Ratios

I was quite upset when I wrote that first article, but I am letting it stay on this site in the event that other women are given the same information about DIM – that it acted like Tamoxifen.  That does not appear to be the case, but it does have some therapeutic value for breast cancer.  Read on.

Once you’ve read the above two articles, and the lengthy article that Dr Schor wrote about estrogen metabolite ratios, you’ll understand better what the issue is with regard to DIM and the old theory of how it supposedly worked.

Basically, natural health care providers have been – for years – recommending the supplement DIM for their patients who have estrogen receptor positive breast cancer but they have been basing their recommendations on a theory that just hasn’t been proven to be true.

Wait!  Don’t Throw The DIM Out Yet!

Dr Schor, in a recent email to me, shared with me the following:  “That theory is used to justify DIM use but we shouldn’t mix the two up.  Just because the theory doesn’t work doesn’t mean that DIM doesn’t work.  Because it seemed to lock in to the theory, all benefits were thought to come from its effect on estrogen metabolites.  I’m not sure that is so but I am also not sure we should throw DIM in the trash.  I think we need to think twice about testing 2 vs 16 metabolite ratios, that we should not think these lab tests are prognostic and we should not be in a rush to move them one way or another.

There seem to be a surplus of interesting papers being published that suggests that DIM does things we want it to do.  There are a growing number of reasons to take it.  There are fewer and fewer reasons to think the 2/16 hydroxy estrogen theory is the reason why it is useful.
Dr Schor referred me to the following very interesting articles:

2,2′-diphenyl-3,3′-diindolylmethane: a potent compound induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells by inhibiting EGFR pathway, Bhowmik A, Das N, Pal U, Mandal M, Bhattacharya S, Sarkar M, Jaisankar P, Maiti NC, Ghosh MK, PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59798. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059798. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Modulation of CYP19 expression by cabbage juices and their active components: indole-3-carbinol and 3,3′-diindolylmethene in human breast epithelial cell lines, Licznerska BE, Szaefer H, Murias M, Bartoszek A, Baer-Dubowska W, Eur J Nutr. 2013 Aug;52(5):1483-92. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0455-9. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

BreastDefend™ prevents breast-to-lung cancer metastases in an orthotopic animal model of triple-negative human breast cancer, Jiang J, Thyagarajan-Sahu A, Loganathan J, Eliaz I, Terry C, Sandusky GE, Sliva D, Oncol Rep. 2012 Oct;28(4):1139-45. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1936. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

BreastDefend™ is a product that is readily available in the USA but I’m not aware of it being available in Australia or the UK yet.

Dr Schor advises us: “So don’t throw out the DIM, throw out the reasons why people thought it was good.  It’s not tamoxifen.  It’s not an aromatase inhibitor.  It’s something else.”

Dr Schor’s qualifications are Naturopathic Doctor, Fellow American Board of Naturopathic Oncology, Associate Editor, The Natural Medicine Journal, Board Member and President, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians ( and Board Member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

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36 thoughts on “Clarification On DIM And Its Uses For Breast Cancer

  1. I was very interested to read your article and as I have just been coping with DCIS for the second time in 5 years am looking for other alternitive ways to deal with this problem. Your article makes a lot of sense and anything that is natural and doesn’t harm my body is very welcome. You are doing a wonderful service with your writing please keep it up there are many of us out there who you are giving lots of hope.
    Carla De Groot

    1. Hi Carla,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Are you subscribing to my newsletters? If not, you might want to sign up for them as I share lots of good healing tips within them, you won’t want to miss out! I appreciate your kind words and send you cyber (((hugs))) today, my dear. Keep fighting.
      Warmest regards,

  2. Those readings were hard work for my poor menopausal brain. Tell me if I have got this wrong but DIM is not the natural tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor we were hoping for BUT it still has its merits in the breast cancer prevention/treatment war.
    I think that I will instead of buying the DIM, I will just drink my home made organic sauerkraut juice and let my body convert it to DIM. This will be a great way to get my probiotics in too. Thanks for the info much appreciated. I am so glad I have signed up for your newsletters. x

    1. Dear Leoni,
      Well I’m much impressed that you put your “poor menopausal brain” to the task of reading the articles on DIM. No, DIM does not work like Tamoxifen like some have claimed. It DOES still have huge benefits for breast health, the experts just haven’t figured out exactly how it works. I have a couple of products that are even better than DIM, so when you’re ready for that info, just give me a shout. The sauerkraut juice is also a good plan – some struggle with getting it down though! Thanks for your comments.
      Warmest regards,

  3. This is very interesting even if being my personal choice of taking the DIM supplement as a replacement of Tamoxifen leaves me with a bit of uncertainty on what I should do next.
    Do you have any other suggestions with regard to the subject?
    If it’s not DIM the answer and if Tamoxifen is not the answer for me is there a real alternative out there?
    I hope you can give some advise.

    1. Francesca,
      I have sent you a private email to answer your questions and hopefully help with the uncertainty. Thanks for contacting me and I hope I have been of assistance to you.

      1. Hi Francesca and marnie, I too have decided against tamoxifen as I couldn’t bear the thought of the side effects. I’ve been taking DIM for about four to five weeks and have made major lifestyle and dietary changes. There is still that fear and uncertainty for me too. I’d love to know your thoughts. I feel really alone in my journey in terms of knowing any other women choosing DIM over tamoxifen which is also unsettling.

        1. Hi Suzanne,
          Thanks for your message. I can definitely understand you feeling alone in your journey, but please don’t feel like you ARE alone, because you are most definitely not. I have sent you an email with some additional information and would just like to encourage you to contact me when you are feeling like you need clarification on anything breast cancer related. I have oodles of information and research and I’d be glad to help you.
          Warmest wishes,

        1. Hi Josefa,
          I’m sorry for the late response to your message. I’ve been getting so much email I can’t answer it all in a timely manner. But I do answer each and every message. The best way to share with you my methods for getting healthy again (and staying that way) is through my newsletters (all free). I have taken the liberty of starting a newsletter subscription for you using this email address. You will just need to confirm the subscription in the separate confirmation email (should be close to this one). If you don’t see it, look in your spam folder as it sometimes ends up there. If you’re not interested, no worries, just delete the email asking you to confirm. I assure you it is good information, all backed up with research and your privacy is respected.
          Warmest regards,
          Marnie Clark

  4. Please e-mail me too! I have decided to go off Tamoxifen after 6 weeks, and would love to hear what the best alternatives seem to be!

    1. Hi Christa,
      I have taken the liberty of starting a newsletter subscription for you using this email address. You will just need to confirm the subscription in the separate confirmation email (should be close to this one). If you don’t see it, look in your spam folder as it sometimes ends up there. If you’re not interested, no worries, just delete the email asking you to confirm.
      Warmest regards,
      Marnie Clark

  5. I am on anastrozole. breast ca in both breast stage 1. I had lumpectomy’s.
    the anastrozole was hard on my body I felt like an old cripple .feel better now but my breast hurt all the time. i don’t feel that’s right? my sister who is 2 years younger 62
    was just diagnosed with breast ca .right breast, she is having a mastectomy because
    she had 3 tumors n it . stage 1 mri showed on involvement in right breast.
    I have been reading on dim so i ‘m going to try it i’m not sure how it will work with the
    anastrozole . I take probiotics ,turmeric, vit d3. any ideas would be great glad I found your sight. I have 2 other sisters 50 and 55 so I hope I can help them to avoid the whole thing. terry

  6. 100% estrogen receptive Invasive breast cancer in 1997 resulted in chemo, radiation and a lumpectomy. Tamoxifen made me want to commit suicide so I took nothing. In 2013 2 invasive tumors, a 2.5 cm that never appeared on recent mammograms & 4.5 cm that didn’t even appear on an ultrasound or MRI, resulted in mastectomy and more chemo. Since I cannot tolerate Tamoxifen I tried 2 different aromatase inhibitors, only to have bone pain and stiffness so badly that I had to come off of those as well and just could not bring myself to try a 3rd. I began taking DIM after reading it will convert ‘bad’ estrogen to ‘good’ estrogen’. My oncologist had not heard of it but advised it should not harm me. Any clarification that you can provide for me regarding this will be greatly appreciated. I also have taken myself through 2 rounds of Protocel 23 and am about to begin a 3rd. I learned of this in the book “Outsmart Your Cancer”. Thoughts? I would also appreciate being added to your newsletter. Thanks very much!

  7. Hello,
    Can you send me an email with your thoughts on taking dim instead if tamoxifen? I have been on tamoxifen fir 1.5 yrs and ammuserable from the side effects. I really want to stop taking it, but am afraid of ca coming back. What about taking i3C or i3C and dim? Thank you!

  8. Hello from the Netherlands. I have the dreaded Tamoxifen appointment in two weeks time, almost finished chemo, one to go! Herceptin until March 2018. I am er 100% ens pr 60% her2 +++ I am looking for natural Tamoxifen alternatives. Reading about Dim and ic3, everything is getting so muddled in my head, big cry for help here😩😩!

  9. Hello,
    I also feel the same way as Francesca “This is very interesting even if being my personal choice of taking the DIM supplement as a replacement of Tamoxifen leaves me with a bit of uncertainty on what I should do next.
    Do you have any other suggestions with regard to the subject?
    If it’s not DIM the answer and if Tamoxifen is not the answer for me is there a real alternative out there?”
    Except I was put on letrozole and suffered horrific, debilitating side effects. I stopped taking it and now my Oncologist wants me to try Exemestane. I’m scared to death to even try it even though my Onc says “he is extremely worried about me”. I would much rather go a more natural path as I am than to put any poison in my body. I have purchased the “DIM”, but have not started taking it yet. My current treatment for Stage 3, Her2 positive, 6.5cm tumor in right breast is mastectomy, Herceptin alone (as I refused the standard treatment of chemo/radiation), and supplements.
    I would welcome any thoughts/suggestions on alternatives to estrogen blockers.
    Thank you,

  10. Good morning Marnie,
    I am also very interested in the other supplements that you suggest are better than dim. I recently finished follow up treatment for lumpectomy( 4 weeks of rads, reluctantly), refused hormones, and chose to take dim along with myomin, and waiting for a supplement called Oncoples Es. In addition, several thyroid nodules, one being solid were detected just recently. Another worry. My concern is whether the dim, myomin and other similar supplements will have a negative effect now on my thyroid and if thyroid and breast cancer are closely related?

    I find your website very informative and helpful as I am feeling very uncertain, confused and overwhelmed and want to say thank you for being such an excellent source of information and for your uplifting blog.

  11. I too would like any information on estrogen blockers other than prescribed ones. I have tried two and can not take either because of severe side effects. I came down with shingles in the right side of my face in the 4th week of Taxole. After 4 months, I still have nerve pain and unstable walk due to shingles. I’m one week past a mastectomy on the right breast. My cancer was 100% estrogen positive. My sister is scheduled for surgery to remove a lump in her breast. They do not think hers is cancer at this stage.

    1. Sandra,
      Since this post was written, the supplements I was referring to have changed formulation and I’m no longer recommending them. 🙁 However, I do have a good program for you to follow, and am sending info your way today.
      Warmest regards,

  12. Hi Marine,Iwas diodnosed last year with twin primary tumours, one in my breast and one in my lung, they were unrelated, I had the lung removed, meanwhile however my breast cancer spread to my spine and my remaining lung, I have just started taking DIM after being on letrozole for 14 months, the letrozole is no longer working, I could use some advice

  13. Hi Marnie

    I have been on Tamoxifen for 4 1/2 years, 20mg daily until April this year then reduced it to 10mg due to joint pain and stomach issues. I have taken DIM for about 6 months as well as Tamoxifen then stopped as the oncologist said it was oestrogenic! Just more recently an holistic dr I have been seeing about another issue said it was ok to take it and it would help and maybe I should consider the DUTCH test? Bit worried now that I should not take both Tamoxifen and DIM at the same time. I was ER+ & PR+ and HER2 positive. Many thanks PS I can come off Tamoxifen next year (5 years) as he said my risk will decrease to 1% so not much benefit staying on for 10 years.

    1. Sally,
      DIM actually works to suppress estrogen-responsive cancers. Research:
      Regarding the taking of DIM with Tamoxifen, studies have not been carried out to ascertain whether or not it reduces the effectiveness of Tamoxifen although that question has certainly been raised. There has been one clinical trial, just recently reported, following women taking Tamoxifen and DIM together for one year. They found that for the women taking DIM, this promoted favorable changes in estrogen metabolism. Here’s that study:
      To my knowledge, it is safe and advantageous to take DIM while you are on Tamoxifen but perhaps take the two of them at opposite ends of the day just in case there is an interaction. By the way, I took DIM instead of Tamoxifen!
      Warmest regards,
      Marnie Clark

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