Supplements can help with my Hormone Balance.. Who Knew?! How I3C and DIM can be impactful for women’s health. We are very excited to have our health experts at Integrity Compound Pharmacy update us on the newest information on Women’s health. Before taking anything please consult with your doctor first.
Written by Alison Hall, PharmD. Director of Patient Services at Integrity Compounding Pharmacy
Have you ever wondered what supplements you need to be taking? Your doctor or pharmacist has probably mentioned the importance of taking a multivitamin or calcium supplement, but many women can also benefit from a supplement that promotes a healthy estrogen balance.
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. It is important for a variety of body processes, including cholesterol metabolism and bone health, but it is primarily involved with maintaining sexual health in women. Low levels of estrogen are associated with many undesirable symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes, and painful intercourse. Estrogen levels can drop for a variety of reasons. Most often this is due to the natural aging process. In these cases, hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and/or progesterone can be helpful to increase estrogen levels and reduce unwanted symptoms.
Along with low estrogen levels, increased estrogen levels can also be associated with undesirable side effects such as difficulty sleeping, mood changes, benign breast lumps, and in some cases breast or ovarian cancer. Keeping estrogens at the optimum level is a balancing act aimed to avoid side effects on either end of the spectrum. In addition to the monitoring by your physician, there are also supplements you can take to encourage a healthy estrogen balance and metabolism. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is a naturally occurring compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage that helps promote the breakdown of estrogens into a beneficial metabolite. Another ingredient you may come across is di-indolylmethane (DIM). DIM is an active breakdown product that occurs when I3C is exposed to acid in our digestive system. It is thought to be more potent than I3C in the body, so some products may only include DIM as the active ingredient. Both I3C and DIM are added to supplements to encourage the body to metabolize any estrogen, either natural or supplemented, in the healthiest way possible. Studies have suggested that some estrogen metabolites promoted tissue proliferation, which when unchecked could put the patient at risk for developing cancer. Supplementing with I3C or DIM encourages the body to avoid this pathway as estrogens are naturally metabolized.
DIM and I3C can be found in a variety of supplements either as the main component or in combination with other supplements known to aid in overall women’s health. Unfortunately, there are some products that contain questionable ingredients, so obtaining supplements from a reputable source is always ideal. The pharmacists at Integrity Compounding Pharmacy are available to assist you in choosing the proper supplements for you. We utilize Fullscript https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/integrityto provide you with access to high-quality products. Finally, always remember when adding a supplement to your daily regimen to check with your health care provider regarding your individual needs first.
Hall, D. C. (2001). Nutritional Influences on Estrogen Metabolism. Applied Nutritional Science Reports, MET451 1/01, 1-8.
Thomson, Cynthia A et al. “Chemopreventive properties of 3,3′-diindolylmethane in breast cancer: evidence from experimental and human studies.” Nutrition reviews vol. 74,7 (2016): 432-43. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuw010
Lee, T. S. (n.d.). DIM (DIINDOLY METHAN) FOR NATURAL PROTECTION FROM ESTROGEN’S EFFECT. Retrieved March 12, 2021, from https://annarborholistichealth.com/2015-4-21-dim-diindoly-methan-for-natural-protection-from-estrogens-effect/
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