When we check a person’s genetic profile, we are looking for DNA sequences that code for specific proteins. Many of these significant proteins are enzymes that help speed along specific biochemical processes that help ensure your health and well-being.
First, it is helpful to know which enzymes aren’t being produced at a healthy level. Some of the key enzymes we’ll be discussing are active in detox pathways and some are found in HPA axis and endocrine pathways.
In many of the genetic profiles, I see some of the same enzyme deficiencies and some of these can be helped by diindolylmethane or DIM. I will list some of these here and will discuss these in general terms. My goal isn’t to make your eyes glaze over, but to familiarize you with some of these names so you will recognize them more readily when you see them again.
The key enzymes are CYP1A1, CYP1A2, ESR1 and ESR2. The CYP1A2 has two different forms, ESR1 has two forms and ESR2 has three forms.
The CYP enzymes are so named because they are cytochrome P450 enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for a few key functions including: breaking down foreign substances like drugs, poisons (actually every controlled drug is officially classified as a poison), breaking down estrogens and converting DHA and EPA to substances your body can use.
Every day you are exposed to chemicals from the environment. The liver has robust pathways that help alter these chemicals so they can be eliminated from the body. If your body has certain genetic mutations in the CYP group, you will not have optimum function of these enzymes so you won’t be able to breakdown these drugs or other chemicals fast enough to stay ahead of the onslaught. As certain chemicals build up, your physiology will begin to shift and you will be more subject to certain disease processes. DIM can help support these pathways to improve your chemical breakdown abilities in these cases.
You may have heard of estrogen dominance. One cause is environmental estrogen-like compounds. Some examples are BPA-containing plastics, cosmetics, some drugs, detergents, pesticides and others. Some natural products also work in an estrogen–like manner such as caffeine, black cohosh, isoflavanoids and soy.
Not everyone needs external estrogens to be estrogen dominant. Both men and women are subject to shifts in physiology that can lead to too much estrogen. Again cytochrome P450 enzymes are key to our body’s ability to maintain estrogen at a healthy level. If you are deficient in these CYP genes, you might find big help from DIM supplements.
You probably already take fish oil to get your daily dose of EPA and DHA. Countless studies indicate that EPA is cardio protective and DNA is instrumental in brain development and health. The mechanism for this protective action has been a little fuzzy. Some recent evidence suggests that CYP enzymes help convert DHA and EPA to biochemicals that are responsible for this beneficial action. Again, if you have less optimum forms of these enzymes you won’t receive the full benefit. The missing factor could be DIM that will help make this conversion more efficient.
Ideally you will get some genetic testing and find out if DIM will be good for you or not. Less ideally, you can try it and see what happens over time. It is sometimes difficult to separate out the benefit if you are taking several supplements so we do like the testing if at all possible.
So far no negative effects have been notable in doses of 200 mg per day so starting with 100 or 200 mg is a good idea.
In summary, DIM is helpful for the function of CYP enzymes (cytochrome P450 family) especially to help detox pathways, estrogen conversion and activation of EPA and DHA.
Next time we will talk about the ESR enzymes and how DIM supplements can help as well as talking a little more about estrogen, CYP and DIM.
Look for Designs For Health DIM-Evail or Physiologics DIM. The Physiologics brand is being discontinued and does contain some soy products. We have both in stock at OVitaminPro.com. Additionally, you can learn more about your own genetic profile at QOLcast.com.