Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

What Is Diindolylmethane (DIM)? 6 Benefits & Side Effects

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: March 16, 2022

Many testosterone boosters contain a natural compound known as diindolylmethane or DIM for short.

It’s often added to male supplements because it promotes a healthy hormonal balance that leads to optimal testosterone levels.

I’ve invested hundreds of hours into researching DIM to understand better its mechanism, as well as benefits and potential side effects.

Finally, I’ve compiled and distilled all the data, and here’s everything you need to know about this compound.

Quick Summary

  • Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that your body converts into diindolylmethane (DIM), a known aromatase inhibitor.
  • DIM is important as it provides hormone-balancing effects in men and women.
  • DIM may also contribute to optimal T levels, prevention of certain cancers, improvement of prostate health, bladder control, and weight management

What Is Diindolylmethane (DIM)?

hands filled with pills and DIM

DIM is a compound produced when you digest cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, among others.

Cruciferous vegetables contain two major bioactive compounds: 3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) and indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

When these vegetables are cooked, I3C is converted to DIM, but when consumed either raw or slightly cooked, they activate several plant enzymes, allowing DIM to enter the body. [1]

Several studies we reference later in the article show that DIM supplements have protective effects against certain cancers, prostate enlargement, and acne.

It may also aid in weight management, boost mood, and improve cardiovascular health.

However, DIM’s health benefits can’t be easily obtained from consuming these vegetables. You might need to ingest several servings every day for them to be truly effective.

To address this challenge, companies have developed absorbable forms of pure DIM marketed as dietary supplements.

How Does DIM Affect Testosterone Activity?

man looking at supplement while seated at the gym

DIM benefits testosterone activity by maintaining free or non-protein bound testosterone levels in the blood. [2]

Free testosterone circulates in the blood and isn’t bound by its carrier protein, known as the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

Only free testosterone easily crosses into the muscle cells, fat cells, and brain; therefore, much of the desirable actions of this anabolic hormone are brought about by its free form. However, this constitutes only 2% of the total testosterone in men. [3]

“Once absorbed, DIM is uniquely active in promoting healthy estrogen metabolism and improving symptoms of estrogen-related imbalance in both men and women.” - Michael Zeligs, M.D., Founder and CEO of BioResponse Nutrients

More specifically, DIM supports testosterone activity by increasing your body’s production of “good” estrogen metabolites, which become bound to SHBG in place of testosterone, increasing the levels of free or active testosterone in the body. [4]

When this type of estrogen increases, there is a decrease in “bad” estrogen metabolites known to cause cancer. Estrogen dominance comes with an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen ratios in men, significantly affecting how they perform.

The 2-hydroxy metabolites of estrogen promoted by DIM are the only hormone metabolites known to increase free testosterone levels.

Excess estrogen can also lead to significant health problems, such as prostate enlargement and breast development in men. [5]

The Benefits of DIM Supplements for Men

feet and weighing scale and a man giving thumbs up

Maintains Healthy Testosterone Levels

DIM inhibits the production of an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen [6].

The good estrogen metabolites promoted by DIM are known to displace testosterone from SHBG, setting it free and letting it do its work in your body.

Cancer prevention

Studies have found that a high intake of cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of certain cancers. The exact mechanism is unknown, but indole-3-carbinol is believed to be partly responsible for this effect [7].

Research also suggests that DIM positively affects estrogen metabolism relating to breast cancer risk.

In test-tube and animal studies, the dietary supplement has been shown to help prevent the growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells [8].

Testosterone Boosters Containing DIM We Have Reviewed:

Improves Prostate Health

man in boxers brief giving thumbs up

DIM supplements have been shown to protect against prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

It may help combat prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia PIN, a condition that results in prostate cell growth and is believed to be a precursor to prostate cancer.

In a 12-month study, it was found that men with high-grade PIN who supplemented with 900 mg of DIM per day experienced significant improvements in the health of the prostate gland and PIN [9].

DIM also slows the production of prostate-specific antigen protein (PSA), high levels of which indicate prostate cancer [10].

Reduces Night-Time Urination in Older Men

DIM might also result in fewer trips to the bathroom at night in older men concerning its effects on the prostate.

Supports Weight Loss

An imbalance in estrogen is linked to an increased risk of weight gain in both men and women [11,12].

DIM also stimulates fat breakdown and inhibits the formation of new fat cells [13].

It has been shown to increase “good” estrogen metabolites that support more efficient fat metabolism by promoting the active release of stored fat for improved energy during exercise.

However, more human studies are needed.

What Are the Side Effects of DIM Supplements?

man holding his head in pain and another person using the toilet

Little is known about the side effects of DIM supplements because there is limited research on humans.

However, current research shows that DIM isn’t toxic and doesn’t cause serious side effects.

The most common side effects include [15,16]:

  • Increase in bowel movements
  • Dark urine
  • Gas
  • Headaches

Less common side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash

Individuals with hormone-sensitive cancers or those undergoing hormone therapies should steer clear of DIM supplements because they interact with estrogen levels.

But no matter your medical history or condition, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before taking DIM supplements.

How Much DIM Should You Take?

man drinking meds

Typical doses for DIM range from 108-900 mg per day, as suggested by studies related to cancer and prostate enlargement treatments [17,18,19].

It is best to consult your healthcare provider to determine the proper DIM dosage based on your health, age, and intended use.

Why is DIM Important for Testosterone Boosters?

DIM is important for testosterone boosters because it’s an aromatase inhibitor.

It has been shown to slow down the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and free up testosterone bound to protein, thereby maintaining healthy levels of free testosterone and optimizing its performance in your body.

If your goal is increasing T-levels, you should look into available DIM supplements or some of the best testosterone boosters out there, which are both designed to help you reach healthy levels of this hormone.

However, you should also consume several servings of cruciferous vegetables a day, along with an overall healthy and nutritious diet to naturally support the effects of these supplements and all of your body’s essential functions.


References:

  1. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/diindolylmethane 
  2. https://fortwaynephysicalmedicine.com/blog/the-benefits-of-dim 
  3. https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/test-catalog/overview/83686#Clinical-and-Interpretive 
  4. https://blog.davincilabs.com/blog/how-dim-may-support-testosterone-levels 
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110570418300055 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22075942/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5059820/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25048790/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818865/
  10. https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/psa-fact-sheet
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2889220/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5835337/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28586165/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408989/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22075942/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28560655/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28560655/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15623462/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818865/

Was this article helpful?

About The Author