Methylsulfonylmethane is a dietary supplement form of sulfur that is found in our living tissues. MSM supports healthy connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscle. Thus, it is important in conditions such as arthritis, muscle pains, bursitis, etc. MSM should be considered an integral part of any healthcare practice because of its physiological action, indirect importance, and current/future uses.
To understand MSM, some background information is necessary. MSM is a “naturally-occurring nutrient found in normal human diets”. It gets into the diet through the sulfur cycle. Ocean plankton release sulfur compounds which rise into the ozone where ultra-violet light makes MSM and DMSO. DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide, is a precursor to MSM. MSM and DMSO return to the surface of the earth in rain. Plants concentrate MSM and return it to the earth and the sea. Evaporation into the air results in their return to the earth.
MSM has a unique action on body tissues. It decreases the pressure inside the cell. In removing fluids and toxins, sulfur affects the cell membrane. MSM is an organic form of sulfur, whereas sulfites in foodstuffs are inorganic. Sue Williams states “sulfur is present in all cells” and is in the form of “organic compounds throughout the body. However, sulfur can be found in the body in sulfate forms. It forms sulfate compounds with sodium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. MSM has a significance because sulfur compounds are found everywhere throughout the body and in nature.
Sulfur has an indirect importance because sulfur compounds play a role in many body organs and systems. Sulfur is in the hair, skin, and nails. Many amino acids, the building blocks of protein, have sulfur as a component. Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid formed from methionine. Taurine stabilizes cell membranes. Methionine contains sulfur, detoxifies cells, and is involved in pain relief. Carnitine comes from methionine and transports long-chain fatty acids preventing accumulations of lipoproteins. Many B-complex vitamins interact with or contain sulfur. Sulfur is needed for insulin production.
One current use of MSM is for joint problems, as sulfur is found in and near osseous structures. Sulfur supports healthy muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Arthritic conditions have responded to oral MSM. Some researchers note results from MSM when used for post-exercise muscle pain. MSM normalizes pressure inside cells and removes toxins. Oregon Health Sciences University has conducted arthritis studies with mice. The mice which received MSM had “no degeneration of articular cartilage”. The other non-MSM mice had cartilaginous degeneration. The university has used MSM on over 12,000 patents. Researchers make no claim about MSM as a supplement, but osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle soreness and muscle pain respond to oral MSM.
One researcher claims MSM is about as safe as water. One should drink extra water with MSM use. There are other dietary factors to consider.
Avoiding nightshade plants has helped arthritis patients (tomatoes/potatoes / green pepper/eggplant). Biotin and vitamin C help the body assimilate MSM. Biotin and vitamin C are found in fresh fruits. Eating fresh fruits while taking MSM could be helpful.
In addition to arthritis, it may have other future uses. Dr. Stanley Jacob believes,’most people are deficient’ in sulfur. Insulin synthesis depends upon sulfur. Many vitamins require or contain sulfur. Some researchers claim it has many future uses such as in allergies.
A good MSM product is both safe and effective. The MSM source for MSM supplements is often lignin from pine trees. Lignin is a molecule in plants that is part of a plant’s cell wall. Lignin oxidation in oak wine barrels results in the vanilla flavors of wines. The pine tree lignin is an ideal source for a good MSM product.
For those who do not want to take MSM as a supplement, food sources of sulfur are as follows: sunflower seeds, garlic, lentils, soybeans, and yogurt. Persons with kidney problems or recurrent kidney stones may not want to take MSM. Certain renal tubular defects can make a person susceptible to recurrent kidney stones. Other kidney defects include errors of metabolism in which processing of sulfur amino acids is altered. Such persons may wish to avoid MSM.
One thousand to three thousand milligrams per day is a typical dosage range, but some people take well above that amount. This author takes MSM alone.
From the cell walls of pine trees to the cells of the human body, a good MSM supplement can contribute to good health.
Conditions That Have Responded to MSM Supplements…
Candida Yeast Infections
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Fragile Hair & Nails
Muscle Pain & Cramps
Skin Damage & Aging
A body made up of healthy, flexible cells will not only feel better, it will look better too. The body is continuously at work replacing old, worn out cells with new ones. The process goes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without stop. When all the raw materials needed for cell-building are available, it is a very efficient process. When there are deficiencies, the new cells may be weak, rigid or deformed.
One of the most important raw materials for building healthy new cells is a form of organic sulfur known as methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM). This element is so essential to life that it is found in every cell of every plant and every animal. Sulfur makes up 0.25% of human body weight. However, neither plants nor animals can use elemental sulfur directly. Sulfur is not easily available to living organisms in its inorganic form.
MSM is not a medicine, a drug, or a food additive. It is a food. MSM is an organic form of sulfur that can be easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Although DMSO and MSM are chemically similar, each is unique. MSM is a pure, stable, white crystalline powder without the unpleasant smell or taste of DMSO. Also, MSM does not give you a strong body odor like DMSO.
Since sulfur is a component of all cells, it is essential that the body has a plentiful supply of this mineral in its usable form. There is a positive synergistic effect on building healthier cells when MSM is taken in combination with vitamin C.The new cells are more pliable and permeable, allowing fluids to pass through the tissue more easily. Internally this means a more efficient elimination of toxins, a reduction in inflammation and pain – so you feel better. On the outside it shows up as a softer, smoother complexion, stronger hair and nails – so you look better.
MSM for Relief of Pain and Inflammation
Approximately half of the total body sulfur is concentrated in the muscles, skin, and bones. One of the most significant uses of MSM as a supplement is its demonstrated ability to relieve pain and inflammation. When rigid fibrous tissue cells swell and become inflamed, pressure and pain result. Since MSM can restore flexibility and permeability to cell walls, fluids can pass through the tissues more easily. This helps equalize pressure and reduce or eliminate the cause of pain. Harmful substances such as lactic acid and toxins are allowed to flow out, while nutrients are permitted to flow in. This prevents the pressure buildup in cells that cause inflammation.
MSM has shown a remarkable ability to reduce or eliminate muscle soreness and cramps both in geriatric patients and in athletes. It’s even given to racehorses before a race to prevent muscle soreness, and afterward to reduce the risk of cramping. People with arthritis report substantial and long-lasting relief with MSM supplements. Taken along with glucosamine, a key substance in the process of rebuilding cartilage, MSM can relieve pain and help repair worn or damaged cartilage in joints, ligaments, and tendons with healthy, flexible new cells.