Diindolylmethane, or DIM for short, is a component derived from the digestion of indole-3 carbinol, a compound produced when the body’s enzymes breakdown cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale.
Highly praised for its ability to lower hormonal elevations that might be to blame for some cases of acne, DIM has been steadily rising in popularity in the health and beauty industry.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at DIM and investigate the science behind it, whether it truly can make a difference when treating hormonal acne, and how you can get the best results from this supplement if you decide to give it a try.
How Does DIM Work?
DIM is known as an aromatase inhibitor, meaning it blocks the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which is responsible for converting androgen (a male group of hormones) to estrogen (a female hormone.)
Blocking aromatase lowers the amount of estrogen made by the body and helps balance hormones for both men and women.
Additionally, as an aromatase inhibitor, DIM can also decrease levels of xenoestrogens in the body.
Xenoestrogens are synthetic industrial chemicals in various plastics, consumer goods, preservatives, and pesticides.
They can also be found in your everyday skincare and cosmetic products, as well as oral medication such as birth control, morning-after pills, and hormone replacement therapy, and contribute to the buildup of these hormones, leaving you with too much estrogen relative to other hormones.
This imbalance can lead to various health issues, including inflammatory skin conditions like acne, but also painful conditions like endometriosis, and life-threatening conditions like breast and uterine cancer.
Does DIM Help Clear Hormonal Acne?
DIM can, in some cases, help clear hormonal acne due to its ability to balance hormones and reduce the production of excess sebum, which clogs the pores and sets up the perfect environment for the acne-causing bacteria to thrive and multiply.
Additionally, an imbalance in certain hormones, such as high levels of free circulating estrogen in the body, can directly trigger skin conditions like acne due to the pro-inflammatory metabolic changes it causes. One of these being the overwhelming of the body’s natural elimination pathways, which would cause bacteria to remain inside the pores instead of being eliminated by the body.
Therefore, by helping to balance these hormones and lowering the potential of a pro-inflammatory environment, DIM can treat and prevent hormonal acne.
How to Use DIM for Hormonal Acne?
DIM can be taken as a supplement or by including foods that contain this component in your daily diet.
The correct dosage of DIM varies for every person and depends on several factors, including age, weight, health history, and other conditions. This is why talking to a doctor before taking any nutritional supplement is highly recommended.
However, with that said, here are some general guidelines for taking DIM as a supplement:
Incorporate DIM Into Your Diet
For best results, DIM should be combined with a nutritious diet with plenty of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods.
This is because these foods can optimize the supplement’s effects by encouraging enzymes to scavenge away inflammatory free radicals and improve hormonal balance while lowering inflammation in the body.
Additionally, incorporating herbal components like green or chamomile tea can work with anti-inflammatory foods and supplements to lower inflammation associated with hormonal fluctuations and conditions like acne.
Finally, avoiding processed foods, sugary snacks, and dairy products can help optimize the effects of DIM and improve your skin’s health.
For more information on how to change your diet and treat acne, check out GoodGlow’s ebook, which consists of detailed guides that will help you eliminate certain foods and make smart swaps to improve your skin’s health and appearance.
Be Mindful of Lifestyle Habits
Lifestyle habits such as drinking too much alcohol and caffeine, as well as smoking, can elevate certain hormones, like cortisol and DHEA, which are naturally produced in the adrenal gland and can contribute to inflammation and acne.
Additionally, smoking increases the plasma levels of prolactin and growth hormone, which has been linked to the formation of acne due to its pro-inflammatory effects.
Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of these lifestyle habits and avoid them when possible to get optimal results from your DIM intake when using this supplement to balance your hormones.
Use Appropriate Dosage
The recommended dose of DIM supplements is usually between 100-250 mg daily; however, depending on your age, weight, and lifestyle, this dosage may vary.
Therefore, before incorporating DIM into your daily routine, have a thorough discussion with your health provider to figure out the best dosage according to your individual needs.
Limit Use of Potential Endocrine Disruptors
As we already mentioned, endocrine disruptors that can affect your hormonal balance can be found in many beauty and personal care products, as well as plastic containers, canned goods, detergents, and even medication.
Therefore, limiting your exposure to potential endocrine disruptors while taking supplements like DIM can help balance your hormones by relieving the load that makes certain hormones work extra hard and allowing the supplement to deliver optimal results.
Side Effects of Taking DIM Supplement
DIM supplements are relatively safe and don’t generally trigger dangerous or highly uncomfortable side effects.
However, the small number of studies on DIM indicate that darkening of the urine, increased bowel movement, and gas may be a few minor side effects of taking this supplement.
Additionally, and rarely, DIM in higher dosages than up to 250 mg has been associated with an increased risk of headaches and nausea; however, these are not common side effects and can be an indication that the body is having a hard time processing the high dosage; therefore it is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the severity of acne, DIM can take up to thirty days or one skin cycle to start showing results.
However, some users have praised DIM supplements after seeing an improvement in the severity of their hormonal acne after as little as two weeks of incorporating them into their daily routine.
While there aren’t official studies confirming that DIM might help reverse hair loss, some people have experienced positive results and have seen a decrease in their hair loss after taking DIM supplements.
This might be because DIM can balance out hormonal irregularities and inhibit dihydrotestosterone, which is the main cause of a condition called androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.
Dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that comes from testosterone, attacks the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out and stop growing.
Therefore, by balancing out this hormone, DIM supplements can help control acne and reduce hair loss; however, no studies have confirmed this yet.
DIM can be safely combined with other supplements to provide even better results in terms of hormonal balance.
For instance, it is entirely safe to combine DIM with zinc, vitamins B and E, and omega 3, as well as calcium and magnesium, as they can all help in controlling hormones and improving your overall health in many different ways, from reducing inflammation and boosting antioxidant activity in the body to improving sleep and lowering pro-inflammatory hormones like cortisol and estrogen.
However, DIM might not be the best thing to use if you are currently taking certain medications; therefore, make sure to talk to your health provider before trying out any supplement.