DIM – A Misunderstood Natural Supplement
A chance message from one of the members at a breast cancer forum of which I am also a member (breastcancer.org) had me scurrying around yesterday, in an attempt to discover some information about a favorite supplement of mine named DIM, also known as di-indolyl-methane, hence the easier moniker DIM.
She had heard that taking DIM might raise progesterone levels and since her tumor was progesterone receptor positive (as was mine), this was a concern. So she asked me about it and I referred the question to the naturopath whose opinion I most highly respect, Dr Jacob Schor, my mother’s naturopath in Denver, who is the President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Oncology and also Associate Editor of The Natural Medicine Journal (and, among other things, a very learned man and someone I trust).
Too Good to be True?
DIM is a supplement I had been taking myself for about 4 years – it was recommended to me by a naturopath in Australia because it supposedly promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism and healthy hormonal balance and was supposed to be especially helpful for managing estrogen dominant conditions. Even though my tumor was not fueled by estrogen, he felt it would still have benefits for me. Some articles I found on the Internet even said it was better than Tamoxifen, a well-known breast cancer drug.
DIM and Estrogen Metabolites
Apparently the longer view, taken from more current and exhaustive research, however, is that DIM is not in any way a replacement for Tamoxifen, nor does it work in the manner initially thought.
Dr Schor shared with me a soon-to-be-released article he’d written on the subject of estrogen metabolite ratios for The Townsend Letter, an alternative medicine journal, but asked me merely to ingest its contents and not forward it on as it had not been released yet.
The contents of the article had my head spinning. After reviewing decades of research on estrogen metabolites, Dr Schor feels that we have been going on a theory that just has not proven to be fact, no matter how much we might wish it to be true. He told me in an email yesterday, “there is certainly little reason to think that DIM was a substitute for Tamoxifen, there was nothing about the proposed mechanism of action that was similar. One could argue that at least flax seed or soy genestein was kind of similar in action. Sorry to be the party pooper.”
He did say that DIM has some great health benefits and he still recommends it. It just doesn’t work the way we thought it did.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: 31 October 2013 – Rather than delete this page, because a few other websites and articles link to it, in an effort to keep you updated with all the relevant studies and thinking on the issue of DIM, here are links to two more of my articles on this subject, which will definitely help you to realize that DIM does have some very good healing properties, and that you SHOULD be using it for breast health, just not for the reasons we initially thought.
More Information On DIM, Estrogen Metabolite Ratios– this article contains within it a link to the article written by Dr Schor for the Townsend Letter
And here is a link to another relevant website, Life Over Cancer, on the subject of DIM written by Dr Keith Block: DIM and Breast Cancer
My own thoughts and feelings are that the best thing we can do for ourselves to keep ourselves disease free are relatively simple. Follow the recommendations in my page Diet and Cancer, exercise at least 30 minutes per day, keep stress levels down, keep toxic chemicals and xenoestrogens to a minimum and a few other important things I recommend in my free e-book “21 Crucial Things To Do When You Have A Breast Cancer Diagnosis” – you can receive a free copy when you sign up for my newsletters on the right-hand side of this page.