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Here is some nutritional advice we’ve all heard before: Eat healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables — particularly cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, kale, cabbage or Brussels sprouts.
We’ve accepted this wisdom, though we may not always have practiced it. As kids, we knew broccoli must have been really good for us, because it tasted, well, like broccoli. Now that our taste buds have matured, it’s easier for most of us to embrace these vegetables in our diets, but why should we?
The short answer is that cruciferous vegetables keep us strong and healthy. It’s the answer parents have used for generations, but only recently have scientists begun unraveling exactly which components in vegetables and other plant foods are so beneficial.
Cruciferous vegetables have a lot going for them. First, they’re dense with nutrients: carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium. On top of that, they are a rich source of fiber. But even more importantly, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain phytonutrients, compounds that support good health. Phytonutrients are often, but not always, antioxidants believed to protect against heart disease, cancer and other conditions. One phytonutrient in particular, from cruciferous vegetables, is showing remarkable health benefits: DIM.
DIM’s A Doozy
Also known by the mouthful “3, 3’-diindolylmethane,” DIM is created when cruciferous vegetables are metabolized in the body. Once inside the body, DIM mitigates the actions of a number of key proteins associated with inflammation, immunity, cellular health and hormone metabolism.
DIM also interacts with proteins that influence angiogenesis, the process that creates blood vessels to feed tumors. The compound also impacts proteins that affect apoptosis, the process behind programmed cell death and the cell life cycle. These are important mechanisms in cancer growth: Angiogenesis brings more nutrients to hungry tumors, while dysfunction in the apoptosis cycle prevents cancer cells from dying, allowing them to multiply instead. For these and other reasons, researchers at the National Cancer Institute and other organizations are conducting clinical trials on DIM.
In addition, DIM boosts the immune system, a prime defense against cancer, flu, HIV, hepatitis and many other conditions. According to a study from UC Berkeley, one way DIM strengthens immunity is by helping the body produce more interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), which directly stimulates the immune response.
Fighting Bad Estrogens
Perhaps most interesting is DIM’s effect on estrogen metabolism. When estrogens get broken down, they can turn into either beneficial estrogen metabolites, acting as antioxidants, or problematic estrogen metabolites associated with cancer and other chronic health conditions. In all cases, we would like more of the former and less of the latter.
This relationship with estrogen also makes DIM a potent detoxifier. Many of these destructive estrogen metabolites enter the body as estrogen-mimicking compounds found in industrial chemicals and man-made pollutants. These “everywhere chemicals,” also known as endocrine disruptors, are commonly found in plastics, body care products and numerous other everyday sources.
The estrogen-like nature of these compounds allows them to attach to estrogen and other hormone receptor sites in the body and prevent natural estrogens from being properly metabolized and used. Chronic exposure to these chemicals can wreak havoc throughout the body, disrupting cell signaling and interfering with critical hormonal and biological processes. DIM helps to detoxify the body of these harmful estrogen-like compounds and supports healthy hormone balance in both men and women.
The research community has been studying DIM’s ability to modulate estrogen metabolism and how that might impact hormone-related cancers in the breast and prostate. Some research indicates that men with diets rich in cruciferous vegetables have a lower incidence of prostate cancer. Trials are ongoing to confirm these findings and provide more details.
DIM may also be helpful in moderating premenstrual syndrome in women, as well as controlling estrogen levels in older men.
Because DIM has become so closely associated with immunity, hormone balance and cellular health, it is a key component in two supplements I frequently rely on in my clinical practice: a breast health formula and a prostate health formula. These two formulas are designed to promote hormone balance, support immunity, provide critical antioxidant protection and support against hormone-related cancers.
Research on the breast formula and research on the prostate formula demonstrate that both formulas boost immunity and fight aggressive cancer cells in animal in vivo models. Specifically, they have both been shown to moderate cancer aggression, including metastasis, the factor that often makes cancers so deadly.
In addition to DIM, the breast formula contains a number of immune-enhancing botanicals, such as the advanced, bio-available curcumin, BCM-95® — a patented form of turmeric root extract that acts as a potent antioxidant. The formula also includes a variety of herbal-enhanced medicinal mushrooms and plant extracts to promote breast cellular health.
The prostate formula also contains DIM, bio-available curcumin, herbal-enhanced medicinal mushrooms, quercetin, saw palmetto berry, pomegranate extract, pygeum extract, lycopene, resveratrol, green tea extract and a synergistic blend of botanical and nutritional ingredients researched for their abilities to promote prostate health.
The Power Of Broccoli Multiplied
The advantage of DIM supplements is that they are designed for increased absorption into the bloodstream. This allows the body to take in higher quantities of DIM. In comparison, you’d have to eat more than a pound of cruciferous vegetables each day to realize the same benefits of DIM supplementation.
Now that we have a better understanding of what makes vegetables so good for us, it only makes sense to maximize those benefits with targeted supplementation and a supportive, healthy lifestyle.
For more information, visit http://www.dreliaz.org/.
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!