Diindolylmethane, also known as DIM, is a glucosinolate produced by breaking down a bioactive compound called indole-3-carbinol present in cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc. [1][2]. The chewing of cruciferous vegetables causes hydrolysis of the glucosinolate glucobrassicin into indole-3-carbinol, catalyzed by enzyme myrosinase[1]. Due to the low pH environment inside the stomach, indole-3-carbinol breakdown into numerous bioactive condensation products, out of which most prominent are 3,3ʹdiindolylmethane (DIM) and indole(3,2-b)carbazole[1].

Because of the scarcity of evidence, the health effects of Diindolylmethane have been relatively limited to date[3][4]. But some preceding research has observed that Diindolylmethane can modulate estrogen metabolism in the body[1][4].

Metabolism of estrogen may help defend against some hormone-dependent cancers such as ovary cancer and breast cancer and help fight tumor growth[4]. DIM is the most studied of all indole-3-carbinol metabolites and is considered superior to indole-3-carbinol as a chemoprotective compound for prostate cancer and breast cancer[3]. It also promotes detoxification and weight loss[4]. DIM prevents the metastasis of the cancerous cells, thereby preventing the spreading of cancer in the body’s healthy cells [4].

DIM is an essential indole phytonutrient that is also available as a dietary supplement[5].


After hydrolysis of indole-3-carbinol, the body has a potent anticancer substance at its disposal known as DIM[6].

One of DIM’s primary effects includes the hormone estrogen[6]. Estrogen is very much essential for our body. Men and women both need it. Too much estrogen in the body can lead to various cancer like breast cancer in females, prostate cancer in males, etc.[6]

Estrogen metabolization occurs in two ways inside the body. One pathway leads to the formation of 2-hydroxy estrone (2-OHE1), and the other path leads to the formation of 16 alpha-hydroxy estrone (16 alpha-OHE1)[6]. The ratio of these two is critical because excess of the 16 alpha-hydroxy estrone has been shown to boost the risk of the cancers stated above[6].

(A) BREAST CANCER- Many in-vitro studies suggest that 3,3ʹ-diindolylmethane (DIM) can regulate the endogenous estrogen hormone playing a role in preventing and restraining estrogen-dependent breast cancer growth, including endometrial cancer and cervical cancer[1]. The human estrogen receptor displays a critical target of chemopreventive and therapeutic strategies to control the estrogen-dependent proliferation of breast cancers[1]. Therefore, 3,3ʹ-diindolylmethane agonist to the human estrogen receptor has been associated with advantageous effects on managing menopausal complaints, halting bone loss, improving sexual problems, etc.[1].

Studies have shown that DIM favors the metabolism of the estrogen hormone by building the beneficial estrogen metabolite, i.e. 2-hydroxy estrone (good estrogen), over the unfavorable 16-alpha-hydroxy estrone(bad estrogen), which has solid estrogenic properties and highly associated with promoting the proliferation of estrogenic dependent breast cancer[1][6].

(B) PROSTATE CANCER- Some studies have shown that 3,3ʹ-diindolylmethane exhibits anti-androgenic properties mediated by the human androgen receptor, providing essential benefits in deterring and lessening the proliferation of androgen-based prostate cancer cells[1]. The antagonist properties of DIM to androgen hormone at the receptor level have beneficial chemopreventive attributes for prostate cancer[1]. It works by inducing apoptosis through Akt activation, NF-KB DNA binding, and androgen receptor phosphorylation[3]. Also, some studies supported the role of 3,3ʹ-diindolylmethane in prostate tumor growth suppression through non-receptor pathways[1].

Few epidemiological studies claim the relationship between cruciferous vegetables and prostate cancer, but determination on this topic is yet to be ascertained[1].


(A) PANCREATIC CANCER-Prostate apoptosis response-4, also known as Par-4, is a unique pro-apoptotic protein that selectively provokes apoptosis in prostate cancer cells[7]. The induction of Par-4 is indirectly related to increased sensitivity and cell death through apoptosis[7].DIM works by inducing Par-4 to do apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells[3].

When given in concomitant with DIM, the Erlotinib drug used to prevent pancreatic cancer becomes a much more effective antitumor agent compared to either agent alone[8].

(B) OVARIAN CANCER- The exact mechanism by which DIM inhibits the growth of ovarian cancer cells is not known, but as claimed that DIM induces apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells by blocking the activation of STAT3, which is a transcription factor that is positively associated with the growth and survival of cells[9]. When given simultaneously with DIM, Cisplatin induces apoptosis and inhibits angiogenesis and metastasis more effectively than the anticancer agent alone[9].


DIM doesn’t just have anti-cancer properties; it also outshines at:

  • Stabilizing hormones[5]
  • Providing antioxidants to stop the damage from free radicals in the body[5]
  • Improving memory[5]
  • Heightening your mood[5]
  • Maintaining strong bones[5]
  • Replenish the loss of energy[5]
  • Lessening PMS symptoms[5]
  • Enhancing energy[5]
  • Helping to stabilize estrogen dominance[5]
  • Developing cardiovascular health[5]
  • Increasing healthful muscle development[5]
  • Improving prostate health in man[5]


Constant consumption of Diindolylmethane supplements could intensify hormonal conditions, including hormone-dependent cancers, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids.

According to a health magazine report, continuous use of DIM for straight two months, an otherwise healthy woman reported central serous chorioretinopathy, leading to visual impairment[3-4]. Her symptoms resolved after eight weeks after discontinuation of DIM[3-4]. Severe effects may lead to chemotherapy and radiotherapy[4].

The most usual side effects include headache, nausea, vomiting, gas, diarrhea, darkening of the urine, and an increase in bowel movement [10][11]


Scientific evidence lacks defining a safe or effective dosage of Diindolylmethane or its supplements[4]. Health specialists advise consumers that natural supplements are not always safe, and dosage can significantly influence health[4]. It would be best to take personalized advice from your healthcare provider for the dosage of Diindolylmethaneor its supplements[4].


Pregnant or Lactating women: DIM is likely safe when consumed in the tiny amounts found in foods[10]. Due to a lack of information, it is difficult to say whether substantial amounts are innocuous to use when pregnant or lactating[10].

Children: DIM is likely safe when consumed in small quantities found in foods[10].

One should be cautious while consuming DIM in breast cancer, uterus cancer, ovarian cancer, and other hormone-sensitive conditions: DIM can make hormone-sensitive conditions worse by acting like estrogen[10]. However, studies claim that DIM may work against estrogen and can protect from hormone-dependent cancers[10]. But remain on the safe side[10]. Unless more is known, don’t use DIM if you have a hormone-sensitive condition[10]


Some medicines like luvox, Clozaril, Talwin, zyflo, etc are changed and broken down by the liver[10]. DIM interferes with the breakdown of such medicines and decreases their effectiveness[10]. So, before taking DIM talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver[10].

KEYWORDS:- ovary cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, anticancer agent, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy, uterus cancer, angiogenesis, metastasis.