What Is MSM?
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a safe and natural assimilate derived from the Southern Lousiana Pine. It is organic sulfur--the kind your body can absorb and use. Sulfur is the fourth most plentiful mineral in the body. And, it is found in every cell of every animal and plant. Sulfur is found in food; it is most abundant in eggs and red peppers, but can also be found in significant quantities in grains, legumes, animal proteins, onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. HOWEVER, most of the volatile MSM is lost in washing, cooking, or steaming. Modern food processing, packaging and preparation has robbed our food of the sulfur we need.
At the Oregon Health and Sciences University, Dr. Stanley Jacob discovered that heating dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), caused it to crystallize, isolating 99.9% of the beneficial compound MSM. MSM is a pure, natural, stable, white, odorless crystalline powder without the unpleasant taste or odor of DMSO. It does not produce intestinal gas or body odor that may occur with other forms of sulfur. MSM is not a drug or medicine, and is unrelated to sulfa drugs, to which some people have an allergy.
For What Is MSM Used?
MSM is used as a dietary supplement to provide our bodies with needed sulfur. The following discussion will focus on the role of sulfur in our health.
SULFUR AND ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is the inflammation of joints,
characterized by pain, stiffness, swelling, and a restricted range of movement. All joints are similar in that they are comprised of two (or more) adjoining movable bones, whose adjacent surfaces are covered with a layer of cartilage, and are surrounded by a fluid-filled capsule encasing ligaments. More that 55 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and related conditions.
One of the most significant applications of organic sulfur is its ability to alleviate pain associated with systemic inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis. People with arthritis report substantial and long-lasting relief while supplementing MSM in their diet in daily amounts ranging from 100 to 5,000mg. This is admittedly a very large range, but individual results vary dramatically. The beneficial effect is due in part to the ability of MSM to sustain cell flow-through, allowing harmful substances to flow out while permitting nutrients to flow in, and thereby preventing pressure buildup in cells that causes inflammation in the joints and elsewhere, and translates to pain.
SULFUR AND MUSCLE SORENESS AND CRAMPS
The nerves which sense pain are mainly located in the soft tissue of our bodies such as the muscles. Many types of pain can be attributed to pressure differential involving the cells that make up tissue. When outside pressure drops, cells
swell and become inflamed. Nerves register the inflammation and we experience pain symptoms. Often what's contributing to the pain is rigid fibrous tissue cells which lack flexibility and permeability. Use of MSM has been shown to restore flexibility to the protein layer of cell walls, allowing fluids to pass through the tissue more easily. This softens the tissue and helps to equalize pressure thereby reducing if not totally eliminating the cause of the pain. MSM, by equalizing cell pressure, treats the cause of inflammation, unlike an aspirin which would treat the symptom by shutting off the nerve.
MSM has demonstrated the remarkable ability to reduce the incidence of or eliminate entirely muscle soreness, and leg and back cramps, particularly in geriatric patients who have such cramps during the night or after long periods of inactivity, and in athletes after high physical stress.
Marathon runners and other athletes who compete or exercise vigorously can learn from trainers of million-dollar racehorses. Trainers will administer MSM to their prize horses both before a race to prevent muscle soreness and afterward to lessen the risk of cramping. Post-athletic fatigue syndrome, which generally follows intense athletic activity and usually persists for eight to ten days, was gone in two to three days in individuals who had taken 1-2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) of MSM per day in split dosages for the preceding six months.
SULFUR AND HEART DISEASE
Sulfur is necessary for making collagen which is needed to repair and replace damaged tissue. Collagen
provides the structural support for your blood vessels. Cholesterol, the substance of which atherosclerotic plaques are made, is not by itself dangerous (it is, in fact, what your brain is made up of). It is the presence of cholesterol on the arterial walls that is dangerous, because as it builds up on the walls of the arteries, the diameter of the vessel wall is constricted, placing greater and greater strain on the heart in its effort to pump blood through the shrinking tube that is your blood vessel.
Your body puts cholesterol on your blood vessel wall as a repair mechanism--it is your body's attempt to seal a crack or weak spot that has resulted from an inability of your body to produce the strengthening collagen, which in turn is the result of sulfur and/or Vitamin C deficiency. Again, cholesterol deposits are a repair mechanism and a symptom, ultimately, of a sulfur or Vitamin C deficiency!
SULFUR AND ALLERGIES
Over 40 million people are affected by allergies with reactions ranging from
somewhat bothersome to potentially fatal. An allergic response occurs when the body's immune system reacts to otherwise harmless substances we call allergens. Your body produces antibodies to fight the allergens. These antibodies then attach themselves to special cells in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts where they eventually explode, releasing chemicals including histamine, a powerful compound that actually causes allergic symptoms. Once our immune system decides that a particular type of pollen is a hostile invader, it becomes "sensitized" to it, and can react with allergy symptoms for years, and perhaps a lifetime.
Allergy drugs only suppress symptoms rather than treating the cause of the allergy and often result in unpleasant side effects. Antihistamines, for example, such as Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine) and Benadryl
(diphenhydramine) suppress histamines but also cause drowsiness. Newer, nonsedating antihistamines such as Hismanal (astemizole) and Allegra (fexofenidine) also function to suppress histamines but they have a long list of other possible side effects, including potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms.
Pollen, dust, mold or animal dander in the air result in sneezing, runny nose, tearing eyes, sore throat, ear infection, stomach cramps, itchy skin or hives, headaches, urinary frequency, stuffiness, fatigue, diarrhea, and possibly asthma--a chronic and sometimes life-threatening respiratory problem that is close to kin allergy. Allergy symptoms are your body's reaction to something foreign in your system. Symptoms are caused by an antibody called immunoglobulin E, or IgE, a protein that the body produces to fight the foreign substance. When there is sufficient MSM in your system, your cells become more permeable, enabling your body to quickly flush out any undesirable foreign particles. If you body is sulfur deficient, the cell walls become hard and stiff, hindering the flow
of fluid through the cell walls. MSM softens the cell walls, allowing allergens, foreign proteins, and any free-radicals to be
moved out of your system.
Dr. Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., recommends allergy sufferers begin taking at least 6,000mg of MSM per day for three weeks and reduce to 3,000mg per day thereafter. Additionally, he recommends people drink more water and increase their intake of Vitamin C to lower
ADDITIONAL ROLES OF SULFUR
- Tests indicate that MSM may present a blocking interface
between parasites and host (YOU!) by competing for binding,
or receptor, sites at the mucous membrane surfaces. One study
demonstrated MSM's effectiveness in knocking out Giardia.
- Added flexibility and permeability to the gastrointestinal
tract can result in reduced diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and
- Individuals who experience an allergic response to certain
foods (food allergies -- for example, milk, citrus, wheat,
cereals, shrimp) have reported an improved, or complete, tolerance
to these substances. MSM again coats the mucous membranes,
occupying the binding sites that the food allergens would occupy.
This facilitates normal digestion and allows the body to extract
the maximum nutritional value from foods.
- MSM has been shown to reduce cataracts by allowing
proper levels of fluids to flow through optical tissues, removing
- MSM strengthens hair and nails, and aides in wound healing.
Are There Any Side Effects with MSM?
MSM has been used as a dietary supplement for many years with no
reports of intolerance or allergic reactions. Long-term studies
indicate that MSM exhibits very low toxicity no matter how it is
administered. Its toxicity profile is similar to water's! Your body
flushes excess MSM after about a 12-hour period. It uses what is
needed and the rest is discarded.
How Should MSM Be Used?
Results vary. According to Dr. Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.,
"Due to its positive wide-spectrum effect, particularly in
maintaining healthy cell formation, dietary nutritional
supplementation of MSM is recommended at a daily rate of 2,000 to
6,000mg. The optimum effective dosage would depend on body size,
age, the MSM blood level prior to administration, and the nature and
severity of the condition you are treating. This means you can
experiment with different doses to find out what works best for
you." Sometimes, it takes up to 3 weeks for effects to be noticed.
900 grams is approximatily a four to five month supply
16 oz. (1 lb.)
32 oz. (2 lb.)
80 oz. (5 lb.)
160 oz. (10lb.)
REFERENCES and FURTHER READING
For further reading, including much of the above material, we recommend:
- Mindell, E. L., The MSM Miracle: Enhance your health with
organic sulfur. Keats Publishing, New Canaan, CT,
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