What is it?
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) found in cruciferous vegetables.
These include cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, and turnip. These plants have been cultivated for thousands of years and were initially used for their medicinal benefits.
It can also be formed in the body under acidic conditions (like the stomach) from a precursor substance also found in cruciferous veggies called Indole 3-Carbinol (I3C).
Estroblock is a popular DIM supplement – and is the one I recommend because it has been tested by many individuals and found to be the highest quality, the most absorbable and the most effective.
How does it work?
DIM helps promote healthier estrogen metabolism.
When estrogen is metabolized, it turns out that the liver can metabolize estrogen through 2 different pathways. A healthy liver with efficient estrogen metabolization will mostly convert the estrogen into beneficial estrogen metabolites.
These good metabolites are intentionally released back into the blood, and account for many of the benefits of estrogen, including the prevention of heart disease and strong, healthy bones. They also have the power to get rid of damaged or cancerous cells throughout the body.
However, the second metabolic pathway, creates bad estrogen metabolites that result in estrogen dominance and are linked to many health problems, most notably oxidation, DNA damage, cancer, and as we know, hormonal acne.
DIM is not an estrogen or a hormone but like estrogen, DIM can be metabolized only by a special class of enzymes. It turns out that DIM, when consumed in food or in absorbable formulations, stimulates its own metabolism. This special metabolic pathway for DIM, and the enzymes involved, precisely overlap with the pathway needed for healthy estrogen metabolism.
Put another way, having DIM in your system increases healthy estrogen metabolism because it activates the enzymes and opens up the metabolic pathway necessary for estrogen to be converted into the good metabolites.
Stated even more simply, supplementing the diet with DIM specifically promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism and helps restore a healthy hormonal balance.
If estrogen is not getting metabolized properly, it can lead to estrogen excess, which unbalances the hormones. If the levels of estrogen get unnaturally high in the body, then all of our other hormones will try to compensate to bring the proper hormone ratios about again.
This means androgens go up. And androgens are what cause all of the mayhem on our skin that leads to acne, like sebum overproduction, sticky sebum, sticky dead skin cells, and increased inflammation.
So if we get our estrogen levels down, androgen levels go down, and acne goes down!
Who will benefit from it?
Most female hormonal acne is due to estrogen dominance, and if you are an adult woman suffering from classic hormonal acne, then this might be the magic bullet for you. It was for me. DIM is also safe to use for men.
If you are on ANY form of hormonal therapy, including hormonal birth control, it is a very good idea to take a DIM supplement. It will not make the birth control less effective, but it may help with the negative side effects.
How can you tell if you have hormonal acne?
• You have other hormonal symptoms along with the acne.
• Typical hormonal symptoms can include but are not limited to:
• Painful periods
• Irregular periods
• Sore breasts
• Depression and anxiety
• Weight gain or loss; stubborn fat
• Loss of libido
• Digestive symptoms
• Hair loss
• Cystic ovaries
• Headaches; aches and pains
• The acne is around the mouth, chin, and jawline. Hormonal acne almost always appears first and foremost around this area. As it gets worse it can spread to the rest of the face and other locations on the body.
• It comes and goes (or lessens and worsens) throughout your cycle. Popular times for breakouts are during ovulation and before menstruation, although some women find it’s the reverse. As long as there is a noticeable pattern of any sort that correlates with your cycle, then check yes here. Caveat: if you have a severe imbalance, the acne can persist all time.
• The acne is cystic. This is definitely not a necessity, but itʼs something highly correlated with hormonal acne. Cysts and nodules are the big, hard acne bumps that take forever to go away. Hormonal acne can definitely be less severe though, and present itself as papules, pustules, clogged pores, and also uneven, blotchy skin tone.
• It’s really stubborn! By stubborn I mean that it is the least likely to completely respond to common acne treatments, like lifestyle changes and external skin care. It can also take longer than other blemishes to heal and go away.
DIM also helps to detox the liver, helps you lose stubborn weight that may be hanging on due to a hormonal imbalance, and because bad estrogen metabolites have been linked to cancer, DIM may help prevent breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
DIM is also recommended for women who have adult onset acne as a result of childbirth, menopause, or perimenopause.
Finally, if you have high exposure to xenoestrogens (chemicals that fool our bodies into treating them like estrogens) in your diet or life, DIM is a really good idea. Xenoestrogens can be found in many plastics, including bottled water.
Parabens and sulfates (present in basically every conventional skincare, hair care or soap/hygiene product) also act as xenoestrogens, which is why it is important to switch not only your skincare to natural but EVERYTHING else as well….at least do your best. And if you cannot, then take Estroblock! 🙂
Finally, the worst offenders are pesticides, so it is incredibly important to try to eat organic.
What is the best form to take?
Some forms of DIM are better absorbed by the body than others. There is one brand in particular that I can vouch for, it is the brand I use myself, and it is called Estroblock. It uses a patented form of DIM called Bio-Response DIM (BR DIM) which has at least 150% better bioavailability than normal DIM.
While it’s true that BR DIM has better bioavailability it doesn’t mean that other DIM supplements would be useless. You may just have to take more of them to get a dosage that is adequate.
If you do go with another brand, be careful if you see any creative terms like DIM “blend,” which most likely means a diluted DIM product.
Make sure that the formula also includes vitamin E or BioPerine or other ingredients that help the body absorb DIM.
How to find your dosage
It depends on what form you are taking of DIM – some forms are better absorbed by the body than others.
If you are taking the name brand Estroblock (which is made from a special form of DIM that is very well absorbed by the body), which is what I recommend, it comes in 2 options – regular or triple strength. Now, before you go reaching for the triple strength, more is not better at all. In fact, too much DIM may cause your acne to worsen and may stress your liver.
Start with taking 2 regular strength a day, spaced 12 hours apart. Give it six weeks. If nothing has changed, you can go up to 3 regular, or 1 triple strength. Give it six more weeks. You can keep increasing dosage like this up to 2 triple strength or 6 regular per day.
If you go up to the max dosage, ONLY stay on it for 1-2 months, then you can go down to 1-3 regular. 1-2 months is all you need to detox an especially high level of bad estrogen out of the body, and after it is out, you do NOT need such a high dose any longer. Not to mention, Estroblock is a rather expensive supplement.
If you are a male or an athlete, start with 3 regular strength per day.
If you are taking any other DIM supplement, start with 200 mg of DIM 2x per day. You can incrementally adjust every 6 weeks up to 1,600 mg per day.
If you are taking too much DIM, your body will tell you with traditional detox symptoms like nausea, lethargy, headaches and worsening of acne. Immediately decrease dosage, take the necessary precautions to support your liver discussed below, or discontinue use.
Based on some research, it seems as though Estroblock is safe to use while pregnant, although it is best to keep the dosage very low. I would try coming off DIM altogether and only reintroducing it if necessary. Definitely double check with your doc.
Liver Detox Support:
Estroblock helps with the initial stage of liver detox. There are 3 stages. If the initial stage all of a sudden gets more efficient, then Stage 2 or Stage 3 may be caught off guard or not have the resources (proper nutrition and health) to keep up. So stage 2 or stage 3 liver overwhelm issues may occur, and are fairly common amongst those who:
• begin taking Estroblock at too high a dose
• have a diet high in alcohol, processed foods, sugar, carbs, unhealthy fats
• do not have good elimination (ie, go #2 less than once a day)
• do not get enough high quality protein
• eat large meals
• eat late night meals
If you take Estroblock, and especially if you begin to experience traditional detox symptoms like nausea, lethargy, headaches and worsening of acne, it is a really good idea to take other measures to support the liver, namely:
• take a liver support herb or blend of herbs (see supplement Reishi)
• get enough high quality protein (contains necessary compounds for liver health). Quinoa is great for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
• make sure you are eliminating at least once a day. Some things that will help in this area are:
• lots of roughage and naturally fiber rich foods
• a fiber dietary supplement
• increasing water intake (by a lot)
• increasing healthy fat intake
• making sure your gut is healthy
• getting more exercise
• decreasing and managing stress levels (this actually has a HUGE effect on bowel
• oleation therapy (taking castor oil at night to help bowels move)
When in doubt, start with a small dose.
When will you see results?
While this varies from individual to individual, you may start seeing a calming in acne after 4 weeks. 2-3 months will definitely show improvement, best results may be around 4-5 months after use, and after 6-7 months you can play with decreasing your dose.
If you are not seeing results or if your acne is getting worse, you have some options:
• If you are not experiencing detox symptoms, try to increase the dose
• If it has only been a month, give it another month, and add in liver support measures
• If it has been 3 months, with no results, consult an experienced naturopath to help with dosage AND PLEASTE NOTE this may not be the right supplement for you. No big deal, there are others.
Guidelines for finding products
There are 3 places I get Estroblock. Firstly, I look on Amazon. If they’re out, then I look on the Delgado Protocol. Finally, there is the Estroblock website.
Here is another DIM supplement that seems fine: Source Naturals
Tips and tricks
Find the proper dosage
The biggest tip here is that dosage is going to be a large factor in getting the most out of your DIM supplement. While all my other supplements, I take at a consistent dose, I vary my DIM triple strength from one tablet every other day to one tablet twice a day.
Decrease your dose if you feel detox symptoms.
Increase your dose if your acne starts coming back after the DIM has worked and made it go away or decrease.
Decrease your dose if the supplement is working, your acne is gone BUT you’ve been on the same dose for 6 months or more. You may be able to go down or even stop taking DIM altogether.
Support the liver
The second biggest tip is you will get the best results out of your DIM supplement if you ALSO take measures to ensure your liver is healthy. These include:
• Cutting foods that are bad for the liver: sugar, coffee, alcohol, processed foods, preservatives/chemicals, large meals
• Taking a liver support herb like Reishi or Milk Thistle
• Making sure you have healthy bowls and are pooping at least once a day (drinking plenty of water, eating more fiber, and eating more healthy fats are all advantageous to do)
Start small and take your time
Finally, many people start really slow and work up to a proper dose. Some people start with just taking 1 dose every 3 days. This is up to you and your body, but please listen, and be honest about what you hear – you may need to be more patient and go more slowly than your mind is happy with, but there is no fighting your body.
Like I said, this was my magic bullet and was the one thing that most significantly decreased my acne after using moss skincare. At present, I am only using moss skincare and am no longer on Estroblock.
Is this a replacement for fixing up your diet and your life? No. Does it give you a little wiggle room to fail and be a real person who is not perfect all the time? It does for me, but I do have my limits. Too much sugar, and not even Estroblock can help. So please use this like a supplement, and not like a cure. 🙂 Good luck!