I have long been an advocate of the supplement DIM, you will find many articles about it on this website. DIM is short for di-indolyl-methane and it is made from plant indoles, natural phytonutrients found aplenty in cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach, and my favorite, broccoli. Indoles help to manage out-of-control estrogen and estriol levels in both men and women. Today I’m sharing some information about one of the possible side effects of DIM supplementation. Your urine might change color when taking DIM. It can be a surprise if you’re not expecting it, and even slightly worrisome.
While I was on the subject I took a look at all of the newest (and exciting) research on DIM and have included that information in this article as well.
About That Urine Color Change with DIM…
I have taken DIM myself on many occasions. Recently, however, I changed my DIM product to a stronger formulation and began to notice something rather odd. My urine was a dark orange, almost a bronzey red color. I have NEVER seen my urine that color before and I began to worry that I had a bladder infection or a UTI.
I almost went in for a urinalysis, but then did a quick Internet search and connected the two. DOH! These are common symptoms when taking DIM. So I stopped taking it for a day or two and the dark urine color changed back to normal. I wondered why it hadn’t happened to me before because as I say, I have taken DIM before. But then I recalled that I was taking a stronger and better formulation.
So Why Does Your Urine Change Color When You Take DIM?
Because DIM is doing great things for you! It can be a sign that it is assisting your liver to detox your body of excess estrogen metabolites and other environmental estrogens (known as xenoestrogens). For that reason, it’s a good idea to also take some sort of liver support while taking DIM supplements. The herb milk thistle is extremely good for this. Also drinking lots of green tea is helpful for liver support. Please also ensure you drink lots of filtered water when you’re taking DIM because your body is trying to excrete toxic substances and you need to help it flush them out of your body. Add a slice of lemon and get some vitamin C too!
There are times when a change of urine color should be checked out by your doctor – see Other Causes for Concern for Dark Urine, below.
New Research on DIM
I’m excited to share some new research on DIM, just released.
But firstly, an older study on mice reported in 2008 by American researchers found that DIM had anti-viral properties and immunomodulatory function – this means that when the immune system is too low, DIM will boost it, and when it is over-reacting, DIM will help to quiet it down. 
Research published in October 2016 by Korean researchers examining the effect of DIM on mice with colitis found that DIM has anti-inflammatory properties (always a good thing for your anti-cancer arsenal). It also suppresses the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, a growth factor associated with a tumor’s ability to create new blood vessels to feed itself, a process called angiogenesis. 
Chinese research published in September 2016 investigating the effects of DIM on mice undergoing total body radiation found that DIM has radioprotective properties . This is great news. These researchers also found that DIM helps to offset the injury that occurs to hematopoiesis, our ability to create new blood cells. This is one of the reasons people can have alarming decreases in various blood cell types when undergoing radiation.
Joint USA/Chinese research reported in September 2016 (again on mice) found that DIM reduces prostate tumor growth by suppressing a gene known as PCGEM1, while promoting apoptosis. 
A joint USA/Indian study on animals released in August 2016 found that two compounds in DIM (DIM-10 and DIM-14) possessed strong anti-cancer effects, and were responsible for a significant reduction in tumor size in triple negative breast cancer cells.  These are cells that are not affected by hormones or HER2 status. An older 2002 study also found that DIM could induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor status. 
A July 2016 Korean study indicated DIM could also be useful for gastrointestinal cancers. 
A 2014 Canadian study investigated the ability of DIM to upregulate BRCA1 expression. Upregulating this breast cancer suppressor gene translates to a reduced breast cancer risk. Although a small study, the women receiving 300 mg per day (150 mg twice per day) of DIM experienced a 34% increase in BRCA1 expression.  Very encouraging for those carrying the BRCA1 mutation.
For those of you whose breast tumors are/were HER2 positive, DIM can help here too. A 2013 study found that DIM enhanced the anti-tumor activity of Herceptin, a targeted drug designed specifically for those whose breast cancer tumors overexpress the HER2 oncogene HER2. 
One other interesting thing. When taking DIM, oxygen levels in tumor cells increase. This is a really great thing because oxygen is hated by cancer cells. They thrive in anaerobic conditions (meaning without oxygen) so something natural that increases cellular oxygen levels is beneficial. The study was done at the University of California at Berkeley in 2008 and it was the first to demonstrate that DIM works by decreasing the accumulation and activity a key factor involved in angiogenesis called HIF-1alpha in hypoxic cancer cells. 
Other Causes for Concern for Dark Urine
If your urine turns dark when taking DIM, do not be alarmed. There are times, however, when you do need to be concerned and watchful for other symptoms. If your liver is diseased, you may have symptoms such as yellowing of eyes and skin, abdominal pain, pale or red stool, itchy skin, nausea and loss of appetite. Kidney disease symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, problems sleeping, muscles cramping and twitching, and decreased urine output.
 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Stimulates Murine Immune Function In Vitro and In Vivo – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2387240/
 Effect of Oral Administration of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane on Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Acute Colitis in Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27700072
 3,3′-diindolylmethane Mitigates Total Body Irradiation-induced Hematopoietic Injury in Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27609226
 Regulation of PCGEM1 by P54/NRB in Prostate Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5041109/
 Novel Diindolylmethane Derivatives Based NLC Formulations to Improve the Oral Bioavailability and Anticancer Effects in Triple Negative Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27586082
 Bcl-2 Family-mediated Apoptotic Effects of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) in Human Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11931841
 Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane in Gastrointestinal Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964527/
 BRCA1 mRNA Levels Following a 4–6-week Intervention with Oral 3,3′-diindolylmethane –
 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Reduces Levels of HIF-1a and HIF-1 Activity in Hypoxic Cultured Human Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2387239/
 3, 3′-diindolylmethane Enhances the Effectiveness of Herceptin against HER-2/Neu-Expressing Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3551844/
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