If you’re on top of your health and wellness trends, you probably know all about black seed oil, plant-based omega-3s, and apple cider vinegar gummies. But there’s a new trend emerging that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet: DIM.
“DIM is short for diindolylmethane, a bioactive phytonutrient metabolite found in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Bok choy, arugula, radishes, and more,” says Brenda Braslow, R.D.N., a dietitian with MyNetDiary.
You can also find DIM in supplement form (because not every day is a Bok choy and Brussels sprouts kind of day).
Here’s what to know about this plant-derived super-supplement—and whether it’s right for you.
The Benefits of DIM
So what can DIM do for you? If you’re female, potentially a lot.
“DIM is studied for its role in estrogen metabolism and sex hormone homeostasis,” says Tori Jensen, R.D., R.N., dietitian at ah.mi. Basically, it’s believed to help keep women’s reproductive hormones balanced.
And why does having balanced hormones matter? For starters, it can help you maintain a clear, healthy complexion, says Silvia Carli, R.D., C.S.C.S., a dietitian at 1AND1 LIFE. It’s also helpful for those dealing with period issues or going through menopause.
Other symptoms of hormonal imbalance include hot flashes, weight gain, and PMS, says Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, D.O., a functional medicine physician in New York City.
Getting more DIM may be beneficial for women dealing with any of these symptoms.
What To Know If You Want To Try DIM
Women interested in trying it should seek medical guidance before adding it to their routine. Though the extract can support women’s hormonal health, it impacts the balance of three types of estrogen in the body. For this reason, it could interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.
Women who are pregnant, nursing, or undergoing certain medical treatments (like hormonal replacements or cancer therapies) should also avoid DIM, says Lyon.
As long as you’ve gotten clearance from your doctor, though, DIM supplements are regarded as safe.
“200 milligram doses of diindolylmethane are well tolerated,” says Jensen. “Side effects are noted more at doses greater than this and include dark urine, headaches, and mild nausea or vomiting. (The Vitamin Shoppe brand DIM contains 200 milligrams.)
The best way to avoid DIM’s potential side effects: Take it with food. “DIM is best taken with a meal, but always follow the advice of your health care provider,” says Lyon.
In terms of adding more DIM to your diet: “I would suggest eating three to five servings of vegetables per day, with a focus on cruciferous vegetables,” says Braslow. In addition to the options listed above, you can also focus on putting more kale, cabbage, turnips, and kohlrabi on your plate.
“Clinical studies have shown that populations that consume high amounts of cruciferous vegetables have lower cancer incidences,” Jensen says. “So stock your fridge with these delicious winter vegetables when they’re in season!”