(Article Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zach Hyde)
Does DIM Boost Testosterone & Lower Estrogen?
Don’t let the title scare you: we’re basically going to be talking about vegetables here.
Specifically, we’re going to be talking about “cruciferous vegetables” like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage.
And whether or not they (and the chemicals they contain) can have an impact on your testosterone levels.
What is Diindolylmethane?
3,3′-diindolylmethane, more commonly known as DIM, is a naturally occurring byproduct of indole-3-carbinol (IC3)…
Along with several other unpronounceable chemical compounds found in cruciferous veggies.
If you spend any time on bodybuilding or male enhancement forums, you’ll see conversations about both IC3 and DIM quite often.
The basic claim is that DIM has the ability to reduce estrogen while simultaneously promoting free-testosterone levels.
It may also have the potential to impact SHBG (commonly called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) levels.
This is a big reason why many bodybuilders are all about some kale, cabbage, and broccoli.
Other guys are getting their DIM via supplements, and claiming that that’s just as good.
Still, what does science have to say about all this?
Testosterone Levels, DIM, and IC3
Testosterone and estrogen have a see-saw relationship inside the male body.
When the former is present in healthy amounts, it can suppress the production of the latter.
Unfortunately, this works both ways.
This is why bodybuilders and other men who rely heavily on elevated T levels to compete have made lowering estrogen a lifelong goal.
Fortunately, there does seem to be some evidence that there are compounds in cruciferous veggies that do just that.
However, it might not be the DIM that’s doing the work.
For instance, one study shows that IC3 can help the liver metabolize estrogen much more efficiently while converting more potent estrogen molecules into the sort that don’t interfere with testosterone generation.
In another study from the early 2000s, a few milligrams of IC3 per day was enough to drastically increase the amount of estrogen passed out of the body via urine.
And since DIM is just one of the byproducts of IC3, it didn’t take long for people to start seeking out supplements of this chemical’s “final form.”
But it might not be so easy.
Does DIM Really Work?
For instance, one animal study from 2002 found that IC3 was indeed adept at blocking estrogen production (albeit through different methods), but DIM alone could not replicate the effects.
While the parent chemical was indeed potent, something was lost when it broke down into a more “supplement worthy” form.
So, what does this all mean?
Well, it means the DIM supplements are less likely to impact one’s estrogen levels than actually consuming cruciferous vegetables the old-fashioned way.
It seems that once IC3 begins to break down into its various byproducts, much of its androgen-blocking abilities are lost.
So, if you’re considering taking a shortcut around eating your veggies, think again.
The only way to get the estrogen-blocking benefits of these veggies is to eat them. Just make sure you cook them well first.
Because high intake of raw cruciferous vegetables can lower thyroid hormone production.
And when thyroid hormones decline, testosterone levels decline right along with them.
So boil your broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage for several minutes before you eat it to avoid thyroid issues.
Does DIM Boost Testosterone & Lower Estrogen Conclusion:
I’ve personally recommended DIM supplements before due to the aforementioned research.
However, this is just another one of those examples that remind us to keep up with the science!
Things do change. Studies take place. New solutions and problems are discovered all the time.
So while DIM isn’t necessarily out as a potential estrogen reducer, it seems that IC3 and the vegetables that contain it are a better way to go.
So, until we learn more, take the time to eat your IC3 rather than try to supplement with a weaker, unproven byproduct.