Sulfur is the third most important nutrient in the human body – after calcium and phosphorus – to maintain its vibrancy, longevity and energy. It is needed for several vital body functions each day, and is needed to form other chemicals in the body, such as amino acids, hormones, enzymes, insulin and antibodies. While sulfur is found is many natural foods, most of its nutrition value is lost when transported, cooked, heated and frozen. This is where MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) supplements come into play.
What are MSM Supplements
MSM, also commonly known as methylsulfonylmethane, is an organic, naturally-derived sulfur compound which has gained popularity over the recent years for its anti-aging and longevity properties. For a long time, this essential mineral has been overlooked, but science is quickly catching up to what MSM can do for the human body. It has been called the “Miracle Drug” as it provides numerous health benefits, such as strengthening the immune system functions, reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy tissues. It can be taken in by mouth or applied to the skin.
MSM is made up of 34% sulfur, which makes it the richest source of organic sulfur available in the world today. Even the richest natural sources of MSM have tiny amounts, so our bodies don’t receive its daily MSM requirement from food products alone. One would need to consume a whole pound of garlic to get what is equivalent to a single teaspoon of MSM supplement.
12 Health Benefits of MSM Supplement
MSM has numerous benefits for the human body. Read on to discover them.
Treats Chronic Pain
Its property as a highly effective painkiller is perhaps the most notable benefit of MSM. The usefulness of MSM as a painkiller was vastly studied by Dr. Jacob and Dr. Lawrence who have 20 years of experience combined with treating pain with MSM. They wrote the book “The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain.” From their research, they found that that out of 18,000 patients suffering from chronic pain, over two-thirds (around 70%) were successfully treated with MSM, with the pain either fading or disappearing completely.
The following are the various types of pain effectively treated with MSM:
- Muscle pains
- Headaches and migraines
- Personal injuries from accidents and burns
- Scars from burns and other accidents
- Osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis
- Back pain
- Sports injuries, e.g. tennis elbows
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Repetitive Strain Injury
Acts as a Powerful Antioxidant
MSM, having strong antioxidant properties, has the ability to constrain and neutralize the movement of free radicals. While the existence of radicals is important for the body as they are needed for cellular energy production, the overproduction of these radicals is harmful. In order to deactivate the free radicals, the body uses various antioxidant enzymes which also include sulfuric amino acids. MSM provides these amino acids with the sulfur they need, thus arming them to combat the free radicals.
Aids Nutrient Absorbency
MSM acts as an enhancer for other nutrients and vitamins, like Vitamin A, Vitamin B-complex, Vitamins C, D and E, as well as amino acids, calcium, magnesium and selenium, among others. MSM works hand in hand with these minerals by enhancing their cellular uptake and lengthens their lives. This way, the body is able to make better use of the nutrients, so the intake of dietary supplements becomes more efficient. In fact, the body would not require as many dietary supplements due to its improved absorbency of nutrients and minerals.
Supports Detoxification Processes
Since MSM enhances the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, it also helps with the elimination of waste products from the body. In other words, MSM significantly improves the capability of cells to eliminate toxic waste products. Some health practitioners and nutritionists swear by it, claiming it to be the most powerful detoxifying agent they have come across.
Treats Neurological Diseases
The brain is susceptible to damage from toxic materials, such as metals and organic compounds. Such compounds can build up in the nerve cells and cause severe oxidative damage leading up to neurological problems. MSM is one antioxidant which can go through to the brain. It has the ability to prevent and repair oxidative injury and restores the flexibility and absorbency of cell membranes. This helps nerve cells eliminate toxic waste products, and thus treat several neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
MSM can relieve symptoms of various allergies ranging from food allergies, contact allergies, and respiratory allergies, to name a few. MSM has an anti-allergic property which blocks interactions between hosts and allergens. MSM can also cure allergies by detoxification, increasing cell absorbency and the removal of free radicals.
Has Anti-Parasitic Properties
Parasites are a dangerous source of poison whose effects can spread throughout the body and attack its immune system. MSM has been scientifically proven to combat intestinal parasites such as roundworms, nematodes, Giardia and Enterobius, and more. The anti-parasitic property of MSM is largely based on its ability to bind the mucosa, which creates a natural barrier between hosts and parasites. Apparently, MSM coats the mucosa, which makes it impossible for parasites to grip on or penetrate. With nothing to cling to, the parasites are eventually flushed out of the body.
Heals Muscle Pain and Cramps
MSM has a proven ability to decrease or even remove instances of muscle soreness, as well as back and leg cramps. It is especially useful for people who get sudden onsets of cramps during their sleep or after a long duration of inactivity. Those suffering from stiff muscles and joints have had success with a regular use of MSM. MSM has also been known to cure effects of muscle problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Atheletes use MSM to endure and sustain during long competitive sports, as it helps with physical fatigue following the vigorous activities. MSM has also proven useful for animals. For example, trainers would administer MSM to racehorses before a race to minimize muscle soreness and potential injury, and to speed up physical recovery.
Cures Constipation and Stomach Acidity
Research has indicated that MSM is oftentimes more effective than prescribed medicines in relieving symptoms of stomach acidity and chronic constipation. Regular and continued use of MSM has been proven to provide relief from such digestive issues, among many other benefits.
Improves Oxygen Intake
MSM significantly improves the body’s ability to take in oxygen by
- increasing flexibility and permeability of lung cells, allowing more air into the body and for oxygen to go into the bloodstream
- preventing clotting of red blood cells for the blood to be able to absorb more oxygen.
Since MSM helps with improving permeability of cell membranes, cells, therefore, absorb more oxygen and can produce higher amounts of energy for the body. Those suffering from lung problems can cure them with regular use and administration of MSM.
MSM may also relieve stress and increase endurance in strength in people. Research involving 14 people consuming MSM for 7 months and above showed that none of them fell ill during that period of time. Research on a wider scale is needed in order to determine the validity of this claim.
Improves Skin and Hair Heath
Sulfur is known to provide many health benefits to our skin and hair. This mineral is essential for the formation of collagen and keratin, nutrients vital for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Skin problems like eczema, acne, dermatitis, diaper rash, scars and some fungal infections can be treated by MSM. Hair conditions such as dandruff can also benefit from intake of MSM.
Common Uses of MSM Supplement
MSM supplements are either consumed orally or applied as a gel or lotion on the skin to reduce inflammation. There are three main uses MSM is commonly taken for:
- To provide relief from pain and swelling occurring due to:
- Osteoarthritis / rheumatoid arthritis
- Muscle cramping
- Eye inflammation
- Inflammation of the mucous membranes
- Bursitis / tendinitis / tenosynovitis
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (aka TMJ)
- To heal skin-related problems such as:
- Stretch marks or scar tissue
- Wounds and cuts
- To treat gastrointestinal issues, like:
- Bowel diseases
There are various other reasons people take MSM supplements, which include liver problems, asthma and other lung issues, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, high blood pressure, weight loss, liver problems, and cancer. However, not much scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of MSM on treating these conditions. Evidence does exist to support that MSM helps slightly to relieve swelling and pain associated with osteoarthritis, as well as muscle recovery after exercise.
MSM works in the following ways:
- MSM is a natural analgesic. It works by preventing pain impulses from traveling through nerve fibers.
- MSM enhances the body’s natural defense mechanisms by controlling metabolism. It also works to regulate the production of antibodies and immune compounds.
- MSM can hinder inflammation and processes which cause it by increasing the activity of cortisol (the body’s natural anti-inflammatory hormone).
- It enhances cells’ absorbency, which in turn improves the body’s intake of nutrients and vitamins. This also helps improve the removal of waste and excess fluid from the body.
- MSM also causes blood vessels to expand, thus improving blood circulation. This property of MSM also contributes to waste elimination, and promotes healing.
- It also hinders and repairs cross-linking in skin collagen. This is a natural scar formation process, often leading to tough and painful scar tissues, especially in the case of burn scars. MSM helps to heal scar tissues and makes them more supple. This is why MSM ointments are an excellent option for treating burn scars, as scars almost fade completely and the pains associated with the scars disappear.
- MSM is considered a natural muscle relaxant and is a great supplement for athletes to take after intense workout sessions.
Side Effects & Concerns
MSM is well-tolerated by most people when consumed orally (by mouth) for up to three months, and for up to 20 days when applied to the skin in combination with medication containing certain ingredients, such as tea tree oil and hyaluronic acid.
Side Effects associated with MSM include: nausea, irritation, headaches, digestive issues (diarrhea and/or bloating), insomnia, or pronounced allergy symptoms.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Not much research has been done on the safety and effects of MSM consumption for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is best to avoid use of MSM if you are either.
Circulatory Issues: For those with varicose veins and other circulatory problems such as chronic venous insufficiency, or for those taking blood thinning medication, it is best to avoid using MSM lotions as it may increase pain and swelling in the affected areas.
Interactions: Thus far, there appears to be no interactions between MSM and other drugs, supplements, foods or herbs.
MSM supplements are available in powder form, crystals, capsules or tablets, or as lotions. It is taken either by mouth, or as a lotion or gel applied directly on the skin. In general, dosage is based on the nature and intensity of symptoms
The following is the general dosage information derived from scientific research:
- By mouth:
- For muscle pains and damage due to exercise: Mix 50 mg/kg of MSM supplement in 1 cup of water. Take once a day, for 10 days.
- For osteoarthritis:
- Daily, 1.5-6g of MSM, divided into doses 1-3 times a day, for up to 3 months.
- Daily, 5g of MSM with 7 mg of boswellic acid, for up to 2 months.
- Daily, 1.5g of MSM along with 1.5g of glucosamine, divided into 3 doses daily for 2 weeks.
- Daily, collagen type 2 in combination with MSM, vitamin C, turmeric, cetylmyristoleate, lipase and bromelain, consumed for up to 3 months.
- For general health: 3-6g daily, divided into 3 doses throughout the day.
- As skin lotion:
- For hemorrhoids: Skin gel containing the ingredients hyaluronic acid, tea tree oil and MSM, to be applied on the skin 1-2 times daily for 2 weeks.
For optimal results, it is best to take MSM on an empty stomach, with a glass of water to enjoy its full benefits. If taken with food, its effect may decrease due to the combined digestion.
Where to Buy MSM Powder or Supplements
MSM Supplements are readily available online or at your local pharmacies and drug stores, in many countries. They can be found online on popular websites such as Amazon and eBay, and numerous online herbal and medicine providers.
Consuming MSM Naturally
It is possible to consume MSM from natural food sources, such as raw milk, tea, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, tomatoes and corn. MSM is also found in rainwater and seawater. However, the amount of MSM in these foods are so small, they are not enough to cover our daily MSM requirement. They contain just a partial amount of MSM as compared with the supplements.
It is important to note that MSM is significantly deteriorated when food is cooked or frozen for a long period of time. The process of milk pasteurization also creates a loss of MSM. The modern food industry has a great deal of processes such as heating, freezing, irradiating and cooking which leads to MSM deterioration. Therefore, many people living in urban areas suffer from MSM deficiency.
Key Takeaways (Conclusion)
- Sulfur is a vital nutrient in the body (third after calcium and phosphorus) needed for its proper functioning. Since sulfur is found in small amounts even in the richest of sulfur-containing foods, it may not be possible to get all the sulfur we need from food alone. Therefore, MSM supplements are a good option for maintaining the body’s vitality and endurance.
- MSM has several benefits, summarized as follows:
- Treats chronic pain
- Acts as a powerful antioxidant
- Aids nutrient absorbency
- Supports detoxification processes
- Treats neurological diseases
- Cures allergies
- Has anti-parasitic properties
- Heals muscle pain and cramps
- Cures constipation and stomach acidity
- Improves oxygen intake
- Releases stress
- Improves skin and hair health
- MSM supplements are commonly used to:
- provide relief from pain and swelling from various conditions, e.g. osteoarthritis, migraines, eye inflammation, osteoporosis, etc.
- heal skin-related problems such as wounds and cuts, stretch marks and sunburn.
- treat gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation.
- cure respiratory issues
- treat other problems may also be treated with MSM, such as weight loss, cancer, liver problems, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Side effects from MSM usage include headaches, nausea, insomnia, increased allergy symptoms and digestive issues like diarrhea
This article is for informational purposes only and does not replace a visit to the doctor. Please consult your local doctor before deciding to take an MSM supplement.
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