Health Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada
Drugs and Health Products

Monograph: 3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM)

Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.

This monograph is intended to serve as a guide to industry for the preparation of Product Licence Applications (PLAs) and labels for natural health product market authorization. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the medicinal ingredient.

Notes

  • Text in parentheses is additional optional information which can be included on the PLA and product label at the applicant's discretion.
  • The solidus (/) indicates that the terms and/or the statements are synonymous. Either term or statement may be selected by the applicant.

Date

December 8, 2015

Proper Name(s)

  • 3,3'-Diindolylmethane (NIH 2014)
  • 3,3'-Methylenebis-1H-indole (NIH 2014)

Common Name(s)

  • 3,3'-Diindolylmethane (NIH 2014)
  • DIM (NIH 2014)

Source Material(s)

  • Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (Cauliflower) - whole plant
  • Brassica oleracea var. capitata (Cabbage) - whole plant
  • Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera (Brussels Sprouts) - whole plant
  • Brassica oleracea var. italica (Broccoli, Heading Broccoli, Sprouting Broccoli) - whole plant (Jongen 1996; Kwon et al. 1994; Bradfield and Bjeldanes 1991)
  • Synthetic (Pradhan et al. 2005)

Route(s) of Administration

Oral

Dosage Form(s)

  • The acceptable pharmaceutical dosage forms include, but are not limited, to capsules, chewables (e.g. gummies, tablets), liquids, powders, strips or tablets.
  • This monograph is not intended to include foods or food-like dosage forms, such as bars, chewing gums or beverages.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Statement(s) to the effect of
  • Source of antioxidants/Provides antioxidants (Fowke et al. 2006; Reed et al. 2005; Herraiz et al. 2004).
  • Source of antioxidants/Provides antioxidants that help fight/protect (cell) against/reduce (the oxidative effects of/the oxidative damage caused by/cell damage caused by) free radicals (Fowke et al. 2006; Reed et al. 2005; Herraiz et al. 2004).
  • Helps to support/promote healthy estrogen metabolism/balance (Reed et al. 2005; Bell et al. 2000; Wong et al. 1997; Bradlow et al. 1994).
  • Helps reduce the severity and duration of symptoms associated with recurrent breast pain (cyclical mastalgia) (Reed et al. 2005; Zeligs et al. 2005).

Dose

Statement(s) to the effect of

Sub population

Adults (≥ 18 years)

Quantities

Antioxidant

Up to 200 mg DIM per day (Laidlaw et al. 2010; Reed et al. 2008; Naik et al. 2006; Reed et al. 2005; McAlindon et al. 2001; Bell et al. 2000; Wong et al. 1997; Bradlow et al. 1994).

Healthy estrogen metabolism

60 — 200 mg DIM per day (Laidlaw et al. 2010; Reed et al. 2008; Naik et al. 2006; Reed et al. 2005; Zeligs et al. 2005; McAlindon et al. 2001; Bell et al. 2000; Wong et al. 1997; Bradlow et al. 1994).

Recurrent breast pain

60 — 200 mg DIM per day (Laidlaw et al. 2010; Reed et al. 2008; Naik et al. 2006; Reed et al. 2005; Zeligs et al. 2005; McAlindon et al. 2001; Bell et al. 2000; Wong et al. 1997; Bradlow et al. 1994).

Duration of Use

No statement required

Risk Information

Statement(s) to the effect of

Caution(s) and Warning(s)

Products providing ≥ 6 mg DIM per day
  • If you are taking medications or natural health products, consult a health care practitioner prior to use (Brinker 2010; Linus Pauling Institute 2008; Reed et al. 2005; Bradlow et al. 1994).
  • If you are attempting to conceive, consult a health care practitioner prior to use (Bennetts et al. 2008; Michnovicz et al. 1997).
  • If you have a liver disorder or symptoms of low estrogen (such as joint pain, mood changes, changes in libido, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness or irregular menstruations), consult a healthcare practitioner prior to use (Reed et al. 2005; Dalessandri et al. 2004; Bell et al. 2000; Michnovicz et al. 1997; Wong et al. 1997; Bradlow et al. 1994).
  • If you develop liver-related symptoms (e.g. yellowing of the eyes and/or skin, dark urine, abdominal pain, jaundice) or symptoms of low estrogen, discontinue use and consult a health care practitioner (Reed et al.. 2005; Dalessandri et al. 2004; Bell et al. 2000; Michnovicz et al. 1997; Wong et al. 1997; Bradlow et al. 1994).

Note: Specific symptoms of low estrogen are not always applicable and should be chosen based on intended subpopulation. As an example, for a male subpopulation, symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and irregular menstruations are not applicable.

Products making healthy estrogen balance/metabolism claim

To exclude the diagnosis of a serious cause of hormonal imbalance, consult a health care practitioner prior to use (UpToDate 2014).

Recurrent breast pain

If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a health care practitioner.

Contraindication(s)

All products

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use this product (Reed et al. 2006; Michnovicz et al. 1997).

Known Adverse Reaction(s)

No statement required

Non Medicinal Ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate Natural Health Products Ingredients Database (NHPID) and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.

Storage Condition(s)

Keep in a cool, dry place protected from light (Zeligs 2001).

Specifications

  • The finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements described in the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate Quality of Natural Health Products Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements outlined in the NHPID.

References Cited

Bell MC, Crowley-Nowick P, Bradlow HL, Sepkovic DW, Schmidt-Grimminger D, Howell P, Mayeaux EJ, Tucker A, Turbat-Herrea EA, Mathis JM. Placebo-Controlled Trial of Indole-3-Carbinol in the Treatment of CIN. Gynecological Oncology 2000;78:123-9.

Bennetts LE, De Iuliis GN, Nixon B, Kime M, Zelski K, McVicar CM, Lewis SE, Aitken RJ. Impact of estrogenic compounds on DNA integrity in human spermatozoa: evidence for cross-linking and redox cycling activities. Mutation Research 2008;641(1-2):1-11.

Bradfield CA, Bjeldanes LF. Modification of carcinogen metabolism by indolylic autolysis products of Brassica oleraceae. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 1991;289:153-163.

Bradlow HL, Michnovicz JJ, Halper M, Miller DG, Wong GY, Osborne MP. Long-term responses of women to indole-3-carbinol or a high fiber diet. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 1994;3(7):591-5.

Brinker F. Next link will take you to another Web site Final Updates and Additions for Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. [Internet]. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications. [Last update 2010 July 13; Accessed 2012 March 12].

Dalessandri KM, Firestone GL, Fitch MD, Bradlow HL, Bjeldanes LF. Pilot study: effect of 3,3'- diindolylmethane supplements on urinary hormone metabolites in postmenopausal women with a history of early-stage breast cancer. Nutrition and Cancer 2004;50:161-7.

Fowke JH, Morrow JD, Motley S, Bostick RM, Ness RM. Brassica vegetable consumption reduces urinary F2-isoprostane levels independent of micronutrient intake. Carcinogenesis 2006;27(10):2096-2102.

Herraiz T, Galisteo J. Endogenous and dietary indoles: a class of antioxidants and radical scavengers in the ABTS assay. Free Radical Research 2004;38(3):323-331.

Jongen, WMF. Glucosinates in Brassica: Occurrence and significance as cancer-modulating agents. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 1996;55(1B):433-446.

Kwon, C.S., Grose, K.R., Riby, J., Chen, Y.H. & Bjeldanes, L.F. In vivo production and enzyme inducing activity of indolo[3,2-b]carbazole. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 1994;42(11):2536-2540.

Laidlaw M, Cockerline CA, Sepkovic DW. Effects of a breast-health herbal formula supplement on estrogen metabolism in pre- and post-menopausal women not taking hormonal contraceptives or supplements: a randomized controlled trial. Breast Cancer 2010;4:85-95.

Linus Pauling Institute. [Internet]. Next link will take you to another Web site Oregon State University. 2008. [Accessed: 2012 March 12].

McAlindon TE, Gulin J, Chen T, Klug T, Lahita R, Nuite M. Indole-3-carbinol in women with SLEL: effect on estrogen metabolism and disease activity. Lupus 2001;10(11):779-83.

Michnovicz JJ, Adlercreutz H, Bradlow JL.1997. Changes in Levels of Urinary Estrogen Metabolites After Oral Indole-3-Carbinol Treatment in Humans. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1997;89(10):718-723.

Naik R, Nixon S, Lopes A, Godfrey K, Hatem MH, Monaghan JM. A randomized phase II trials of indole-3-carbinol in the treatment of vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia. International Journal of Gynecological Cancer 2006;16(2):786-90.

NIH 2014: Next link will take you to another Web site National Institute of Health. [Internet]. [Accessed: 2014 July 25].

Pradhan PK, Dey S, Giri VS, Jaisankar P. InCl3-HMTA as a Methylene Donor: One-Pot Synthesis of Diindolylmethane (DIM) and Its Derivatives. Synthesis 2005 (11): 1179-1782.

Reed GA, Arneson DW, Putnam WC, Smith HJ, Gray JC, Sullivan DK, Mayo MS, Crowell JA, Hurwitz A. Single-dose and multiple-dose administration of indole-3-carbinol to women: pharmacokinetics based on 3,3'-diindolylmethane. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2006;15(12):2477-81.

Reed GA, Peterson KS, Smith HJ, Gray JC, Sullivan DK, Mayo MS, Crowell JA, Hurwitz A. A phase I study of indole-3-carbinol in women: tolerability and effects. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2005;14(8):1953-60.

Reed GA, Sunega JM, Sullivan DK, Gray JC, Mayo MS, Crowell JA, Hurwitz A. Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Tolerability of Absorption-Enhanced 3,3'-Diindolylmethane in Healthy Subjects. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2008;17(10):2619-24.

UpToDate 2014. Next link will take you to another Web site Diagnostic evaluation of polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescents. [Internet] [Accessed 2014 September 30].

Wong GY, Bradlow L, Sepkovic D, Mehl S, Mailman J, Osborne M. Dose-ranging study of indole-3-carbinol for breast cancer prevention. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry Supplement 1997;28-29:111-6.

Zeligs MA. 2001. Next link will take you to another Web site The Cruciferous Choice: Diindolylmethane or I3C?. [Internet]. Phytonutrient Supplements for Cancer Prevention and Health Promotion. [Accessed 2012 March 12].

Zeligs MA, Brownstone PK, Sharp ME, Westerlind K,Wilsom SM, Johs S. Managing cyclical mastalgia with absorbable diindolylmethane: A randomized, placebo controlled trials. Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (JANA) 2005;8(1):10-20.

References Reviewed

Aggarwal BB, Ichikawa H. Molecular targets and anticancer potential of indole-3-carbinol and its derivatives. Cell Cycle 2005;4:1201-1215.

Aggarwal BB, Shishodia S. Molecular targets of dietary agents for prevention and therapy of cancer. Biochemical Pharmacology 2006;71:1397-1421.

Anderton MJ, Manson MM, Verschoyle R, Gescher A, Steward WP, Williams ML, Mager DE. Physiological modeling of formulated and crystalline 3,3'-diindolylmethane pharmacokinetics following oral administration in mice. Drug Metabolism and Disposition 2004;32(6):632-38.

Bradlow HL. Indole-3-carbinol as a chemoprotective agent in breast and prostate cancer. In vivo 2008;22:441-6.

Castanon A, Tristram A, Mesher D, Powell N, Beer H, Ashman S, Rieck G, Fielder H, Fiander A, Sasieni P. Effect of diindolylmethane supplementation on low-grade cervical cytology abnormalities: double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. British Journal of Cancer 2012;106: 45-52.

Cavalieri E, Rogan E. Catechol quinones of estrogens in the initiation of breast, prostate, and other human cancers: keynote lecture Estrogens and Cancer. Bradlow HL and Carruba G (eds.). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2006;1089:286-301. Cited In: Bradlow (2008).

Chang YC, Riby J, Chang GH, Peng BC, Firestone G, Bjeldanes LF. Cytostatic and antiestrogenic effectsof 2-(indole-3-ylmethyl)-3,3'-diindolylmethane, a major in vivo product of dietary indole-3-carbinol. Biochemical Pharmacology 1999;58:825-834. [Abstract only]

ChEBI 2012: Next link will take you to another Web site Chemical Entities of Biological Interest. [Internet]. [Accessed: 2012 March 12].

Dashwood RH. 1998. Indole-3-carbinol: anticarcinogen or tumor promoter in brassica vegetables? Chemico-Biological Interactions 110(1-2):1-5. [Abstract only]

HC 2011: Health Canada. Next link will take you to another Web site MedEffect Canada: Adverse Reaction and Medical Device Problem Reporting. [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Health Canada. [Accessed 2012 April 14].

Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, Dashwood RH. Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacological Research 2007; 55(3):224-236.

Next link will take you to another Web site iHerb Natural Products. 2012. [Internet]. [Accessed: 2012 March 12].

Kim YS, Milner JA. Targets for indole-3-carbinol in cancer prevention. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2005;16:65-73.

Komiyama M, Higuchi K, Noguchi H. Selective synthesis using cyclodextrins as catalysts. Preparation of 3-(hydroxymethyl)indole from indole and formaldehyde. Supramolecular Chemistry 1995;4(4):265-269.

Michnovicz JJ. Increased estrogen 2-hydroxylation in obese women using oral indole-3-carbinol. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 1998;22:227-9. [Abstract only]

Minich DM, Bland JS. A Review of the Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Cruciferous Vegetable Phytochemicals Nutrition Reviews 2007;65(6):259-267. [Abstract only]

Next link will take you to another Web site Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 2012. [Internet]. Stockton (CA): Therapeutic Research Faculty. [Accessed 2012 March 12].

NCBI 2012: Next link will take you to another Web site National Center for Biotechnology Information. [Internet]. [Accessed: 2012 March 12].

NIH 2012: Next link will take you to another Web site National Institutes of Health. [Internet]. [Accessed 2012 March 12].

NTP 2012: National Toxicology Program. Next link will take you to another Web site Background Information Indole-3-carbinol (I3C). [Internet]. [Accessed: 2012 March 12].

Rogan EG. The natural chemopreventive compound indole-3-carbinol: state of the science. In Vivo 2006;20:221-228.

Rosen CA, Bryson PC. Indole-3-carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis: long-term results. Journal of Voice 2004;18:248-53.

Rosen CA, Woodson GE, Thompson JW, Hengesteg AP, Bradlow HL. Preliminary results of the use of indole-3-carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 1998;118(6):810-5.

Sarkar FH, Li Y. Indole-3-carbinol and prostate cancer. Journal of Nutrition 2004;134:3493S-3498S.

Verhoeven DT, Verhagen H, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA, van Poppe. G. A review of mechanisms underlying anticarcinogenicity by brassica vegetables. Chemico-Biological Interactions 1997;103(2):79-129. [Abstract only]

WebMD 2012. Next link will take you to another Web site Women's Health: Normal Testosterone and Estrogen Levels in Women. [Internet] [Accessed 2012 March 12].

Yuan Gao-feng, Bo Sun, Jing Yuan, and Qiao-mei Wang. Effects of different cooking methods on health-promoting compounds of broccoli. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B 2009; 10(8):580-588. [Abstract only]