Also known by these names
DIM, a glucosinolate, is produced in the stomach when digesting cruciferous vegetables that contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C):
- Brussels sprouts
DIM is also available as a nutritional supplement. Raymond Chang, MD, FACP, advises taking a supplement with a light meal to enhance absorption.1
Treating the Cancer
Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action
In patients taking tamoxifen for breast cancer, daily DIM promoted favorable changes in estrogen metabolism and circulating levels of sex hormone-binding globulin. However, use was associated with decreases in tamoxifen metabolites, including endoxifen. DIM's impact on the clinical benefit of tamoxifen is unknown.2
Lab and Animal Evidence
Reducing the risk of developing cancer or the risk of recurrence
Lab and Animal Evidence
Lab and animal studies suggest that DIM might help reduce the risk of various types of cancer, especially breast,,8 cervical, prostate and uterine. DIM has complex interactions with estrogen, which may explain some of its benefit in cancer. It also inhibits testosterone and androgen-receptor activity.
Although DIM is considered relatively nontoxic, comprehensive safety studies have not been completed. DIM can cause side effects and drug interactions. Consult with your pharmacist for interactions, and discuss using DIM with your doctor.
Preliminary evidence indicates that DIM may attenuate the clinical benefit of tamoxifen; precaution guides that it should not be used during tamoxifen treatment..9
DIM is widely available in food sources and in supplements.
BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated. Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.
No optimal DIM dose in cancer prevention or treatment has been established. Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:
- Solutions 4 Health:
- Natural Medicines Database (requires purchase)
- See also the protocols listed below.
Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems
|For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.|
- Programs and protocols
Non-cancer Uses of DIM
BCCT has not reviewed the effectiveness of this therapy for non-cancer uses.
Written by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS, and reviewed by Nancy Hepp, MS; most recent update September 4, 2020. Note: BCCT has not conducted an independent review of research of DIM. This summary draws primarily from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs and The Lonestar Medical Group Health Library websites.
- Moss Reports (purchase required): Select from the list of cancers down the left side of the page for a report describing uses of conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies related to that cancer. Ralph Moss is among the most knowledgeable and balanced researchers of integrative cancer therapies. The cost of his Moss Reports is not negligible, but many patients find them of considerable value. Moss is also available for consultations.
- TRC Natural Medicines: Diindolylmethane (subscription required): in-depth information, ratings of effectiveness and safety and evaluation of specific resveratrol products
- Gurdev Parmar and Tina Kaczor: Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology
- Dawn Lemanne and Victoria Maizes: Advising Women Undergoing Treatment for Breast Cancer
- BCCT, KNOW Oncology and Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre: Patient Education Brochures
- Dwight McKee, MD, editor: Clinical Pearls
- Raymond Chang, MD: Beyond the Magic Bullet: The Anti-Cancer Cocktail
- Neil McKinney, BSc, ND: Naturopathic Oncology, 3rd Edition
- Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella: The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition
- Keith I. Block, MD: Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: About Herbs, Botanicals and Other Products
- National Cancer Institute: Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Lone Star Medical Group: Natural Alternative Treatments
- Cell Nutritionals: Cell Nutritionals: Pomi-T Study