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DIM Vs Indole 3 Carbinol 

DIM Vs Indole 3 Carbinol 

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment. 

When we talk about DIM vs indole 3 carbinol - we often emphasize the relatively higher stability of DIM because it can progress beyond the stomach as an active molecule in the body. But when it comes to overall naturally occurring phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables, indole 3 carbinol offers not only DIM but also a variety of other oligomers broken down by the stomach acid along with DIM.  

In this article, we’ll go through a detailed discussion on DIM vs indole 3 carbinol along with their health benefits supported by research evidence. So, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about DIM vs indole 3 carbinol. 

Table of contents 

  • What is DIM? 
  • What is indole 3 carbinol? 
  • DIM vs indole 3 carbinol 
  • Final words 

What is DIM? 

DIM refers to diindolylmethane which is a compound produced spontaneously in the natural breakdown of indole 3 carbinol. Hence, this substance can be considered a metabolic byproduct of indole 3 carbinol. DIM can be found at relatively high amounts in various cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.  

What is indole 3 carbinol? 

Indole 3 carbinol, also referred to as I3C, is a naturally occurring plant compound produced in the breakdown of glucosinolate glucobrassicin. Broccoli is packed with huge amounts of glucosinolates. Other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and brussels sprouts also contain this plant substance. 

The glucosinolates go through a large series of reactions in the stomach when eaten and is metabolized to three major components - indole 3 carbinol, sulforaphane, and  DIM. 

DIM vs indole 3 carbinol 

You might be wondering which one is better when it comes to choosing only one of them - DIM vs indole 3 carbinol? Both DIM and indole 3 carbinol come from the same source and most part of indole 3 carbinol is transformed into DIM, which is why shortly after supplementing indole 3 carbinol, mainly DIM could be detectable in the blood.


A 2006 clinical trial published in the publication of the American Association for Cancer Research,  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found that after supplementing indole 3 carbinol daily for four weeks in different doses, only plasma DIM was detected in the blood of the participants, but not indole 3 carbinol. This result provides clear evidence that the majority of indole 3 carbinol molecules convert into a more potent form of phytochemical called DIM after getting ingested.

But DIM and indole 3 carbinol both are different molecules and each has its own different, although similar, molecular structure. Since the majority of indole 3 carbinol transforms to DIM, in terms of health benefits, the effects of indole 3 carbinol and DIM are quite similar. But there are certain conditions where DIM affects the body differently, likely because the combination of other phytochemicals of indole 3 carbinol works together differently on the body than any single component of indole 3 carbinol like DIM.  

In a 1994 study published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, researchers proposed that multiple inducers found in cruciferous vegetables may show androgenic metabolic effects very different from those that are shown by individual compounds isolated from them. 

One of the key differences between DIM and indole 3 carbinol remains in their molecular stability. DIM shows relatively higher stability in comparison to indole 3 carbinol because when indole 3 carbinol molecules reach the stomach, they rapidly convert to DIM. DIM has an ability to progress further beyond the stomach in the body as an active molecule no matter whether it is directly taken as a supplement or converted from indole 3 carbinol. 

DIM can move through the stomach and get absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and eventually transferred to the liver where it promotes hormone detoxification functions, including balancing a good ratio between healthy 2-hydroxyestrone metabolites and unhealthy 16-hydroxyestrone metabolites in the body. This process plays an essential role in preventing certain types of cancer such as breast cancer. 

DIM can also help maintain a healthy ratio between testosterone and estrogen levels by promoting testosterone levels in the body. DIM can produce its hormone-balancing effects in both men as well as women directly as an active molecule where indole 3 carbinol produces DIM after going through some conversion steps. This is the main reason why taking DIM supplements is often preferred over indole 3 carbinol for the treatment of hormonal imbalances in males and females.

On the other hand, apart from DIM, indole 3 carbinol produces a number of other phytochemicals that have significant anti-cancer properties. For this reason, a person who consumes indole 3 carbinol can get DIM along with a number of other beneficial phytochemicals that can improve his or her health in many ways. 

Studies suggest that indole 3 carbinol not only helps with modulating estrogen hormones but also several other hormones such as androsterone, testosterone, and androstenedione and may hugely help with uterine-related cancers, especially in people who are taking hormone replacement therapy.   

Final words

Since both come from the same sources of cruciferous vegetables, the health benefits of DIM and indole 3 carbinol are quite similar. Though DIM is a byproduct of indole 3 carbinol, it shows better stability and has been shown to have more efficient actions in estrogen metabolism in the body when used alone. 

But DIM can also work synergistically with various other beneficial phytochemicals that indole 3 carbinol forms in addition to DIM. Therefore, indole 3 carbinol works well in improving cancer-fighting properties and promoting overall health. It’s important to consult with a natural medicine practitioner to determine whether DIM or indole 3 carbinol is right for your specific health conditions.

Here you see Vorst’s natural and pure DIM 200 Vegan Capsules 

Here you see Vorst’s natural and pure Indole 3 Carbinol I3C 400 mg Vegan Capsules

Important resources: 

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17164373/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7981131/
  3. https://www.differencebetween.com/what-is-the-difference-between-dim-and-indole-3-carbinol/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428467/
  5. https://www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/what-is-dim-is-it-the-same-as-i3c#:~:text=I3C%20is%20relatively%20unstable%20%E2%80%93%20meaning,active%20molecule%20in%20your%20body.
  6. https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2002/1/report_i3c
  7. https://renuerx.com/womens-health/dim-vs-i3c-natural-ways-to-boost-your-estrogen-metabolism
  8. https://edu.emersonecologics.com/2019/02/11/indole-3-carbinol-i3c-and-dim/