If you are a female, chances are you are at one of four stages in your life – either not worrying about menopause, dreading menopause, going through menopause, or happy that menopause, or as it is otherwise known “the change of life,” is over and done with. Many women report dire and uncomfortable symptoms when it comes to menopause. They often complain of hot flashes, heart palpitations, mood changes, and sexual side effects, among other symptoms of this natural change. The one that that all of those side effects have in common is that they have to do with the hormone estrogen. Recently, doctors and medical scientist have made several new breakthroughs in the study of estrogen and other hormones, nutrients and chemicals involved in menopause. One of those nutrients is a natural phytonutrient called diindolylmethane, or DIM for short.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a nutrient found in vegetables. It is thanks in part of the study of diindolylmethane that doctors and medical scientists have realized that it’s not estrogen alone that causes complications in menopause, but it is actually an imbalance in the amount of estrogen in a woman’s body that causes these side effects.
It should not come as a surprise that a substance used to alleviate the symptoms of menopause would be found in a plant. For thousands of years our ancestors used plants, herbs and other substances found in the natural world to cure the ills of the members of their tribes, villages, cities and societies. Diindolylmethane is one such nutrient. Diindolylmethane is found in leafy green vegetables and tuberous vegetables including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rutabagas and turnips, among many others.
Scientist first realized that DIM might be efficient in helping with menopause symptoms when they studied DIM and realized that this phytonutrient (i.e. plant nutrient) shares characteristics similar to estrogen, the main hormone associated with femininity and menopause. Both estrogen and diindolylmethane are difficult to dissolve in water and must instead be integrated into the body by a special type of enzyme. This connection between estrogen and diindolylmethane was rare enough that scientists and medical researchers thought it warranted further study.
The way diindolylmethane helps with menopause has to do with the phytonutrient’s relationship with estrogen. Much like a digestive aid, diindolylmethane (DIM), when ingested, helps estrogen metabolize inside the body. Part of the inconvenient and painful symptoms from menopause result from the body’s inability to metabolize (i.e. absorb) enough estrogen during the time of menopause. Diindolylmethane works as a supplement to help the body absorb and metabolize estrogen and thus maintain a proper healthy balance of estrogen within the body.
This process is further complicated by the fact that, like with cholesterol, there is “good” and “bad” estrogen in the female body. Fortunately, taking supplements of diindolylmethane can assist the body with producing the good estrogen while preventing the body from producing and metabolizing the bad estrogen.
While eating more leafy and tuberous vegetables (kale, kohlrabi, etc.) is good for your health at all times, scientists and medical researchers have pointed out that, in order to get the same amount of diindolylmethane that you would from a supplement, you would have to eat about two pounds of those types of vegetables per day. If you are experiencing adverse effects from an estrogen imbalance due to menopause, speak with your primary care physician or gynecologist. After evaluating your health and medical history, he or she may be able to recommend DIM supplements in order to get your health back on track and alleviate your negative symptoms.
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