[Editor’s note] This post was originally published in August 2015 It has been updated and republished in April 2019.
Mainstream medicine’s message for decades has been that you cannot change the destiny of your genes.
The profession as a whole has neglected to recognize the role of dietary changes in disease prevention, including cancer. Still, to this day, most conventional doctors will only say to patients, “you have to watch what you eat,” (if anything at all), which basically says nothing to the patient. If you are a regular subscriber of our weekly digest, or have watched our Eastern Medicine: Journey Through ASIA documentary, then you know that the food you eat matters!
Every time you eat broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, your body converts a key nutrient found in these tasty foods into another one that science has been aggressively researching for its anti-cancer potential.
This converted nutrient, known as 3,3′-Diindolylmethane, or DIM, has shown incredible promise in the fight against cancer, demonstrating powerful chemo-protective action that may help in the prevention, suppression, and even reversal of cancer.
The precursor to indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which itself is generated following the enzymatic hydrolysis, or breakdown, of glucobrassicin, an indole glucosinolate present in cruciferous vegetables, DIM has been shown in both animal and human studies to inhibit the development of cancer. One of several bioactive components of I3C, DIM, like its counterpart sulforaphane, is an epigenetic modulator, meaning it has the capacity to alter certain enzymatic pathways to inhibit the formation and spread of cancer.
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (OSU) has focused considerable attention on DIM’s precursor, I3C, noting that the action of stomach acid is what converts I3C into biologically active compounds such as DIM. Following its conversion, DIM is capable of exerting its own wide range of pleiotropic, anti-tumor activity.
How DIM Destroys Tumors
Scientists have struggled to pinpoint exactly how DIM works to fight tumors and cancer cells because it acts in a variety of unique ways to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, as well as inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells throughout the body.
But it is clear from scientific research that DIM selectively targets tumor cells from multiplying and spreading, and it also causes these damaging cells to essentially commit suicide.
Tests have revealed that breast, prostate, cervical, ovarian, uterine, and colon cancer cells are all targeted by DIM, and in a way that doesn’t harm healthy cells. DIM also appears to differentiate between enzymatic pathways, leaving alone those that don’t involve malignant cancer cells trying to take hold and spread.
Regarding prostate cancer, a 2014 study published in the journal PLoS One concluded that DIM is a promising chemo-protective agent that alongside sulforaphane, aids the body in activating the proper genes that it already possesses to fight off cancer cells. Here’s what the authors of this study had to say about the effects of these two anti-cancer compounds:
Both SFN (sulforaphane) and DIM treatment decreased DNA methyltransferase expression in normal prostate epithelial cells (PrEC), and androgen-dependent (LnCAP) and androgen-independent (PC3) prostate cancer cells … Overall, our data suggested that both SFN and DIM are epigenetic modulators that have broad and complex effects on DNA methylation profiles in both normal and cancerous prostate epithelial cells.”
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have also found that DIM activates certain cellular stress response pathways in cervical, prostate, and breast cancer cells that makes them more susceptible to elimination. In other words, this active compound, alongside I3C, acts as a soldier of sorts by invading enemy territory and helping the body to rid itself of damaging cancer cells.