MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane: is also called dimethyl sulfone, DMS02, and methyl sulfone. It is a compound found in many grains, vegetables and fruits as well as diary products and meat. As a supplement, it is a supplement made primarily from edible, biologically active, organic sulfur. The body uses it to make amino acids methionine and cysteine (22). The supplement MSM is water soluble, odorless, slightly bitter tasting, white supplement. It contains 34% elemental sulfur (22).
It can help treat inflammation, immune problems and restore health to skin, muscle and bodily tissue. The body uses sulfur in an abundance of functions, many critical, and is the bodies fourth most abundant mineral (1). Sulfur is very important to the body. It helps form and hold strands of tissue together, it is essential to the activity of many enzymes necessary for health and well being, and it may regulate the shape of diverse biomolecules. Ideally, we get sulfur from fresh meat and fish, as well as plant based foods. We need to consume more sulfur from food sources than we usually get with the modern, western diet of. Cooking or heating food, as well as processing it, eliminates the sulfur in food (18).
MSM is fairly inexpensive, holds few risks, and does not have a sulfuric odder. Oral supplements of MSM easily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) and becomes evenly distributed throughout the brain (12). If applied to the skin, MSM can remain in the body for up to three weeks, and if taken as a supplement, for one week (18). It is recommended that animals, of which we are one, get between 0.5 and 1.o milligram/kg of body weight per day (18).
MSM is used for as a beauty and health aid, as well as to treat several conditions. This is a short list of some of them: muscle recovery, including cramps/ problems/recovery, tendonitis, bursitis and to lesson scar tissue build up on muscles (11); also hemorrhoids, osteoarthritis (11), hair, nail, and skin health (sun burn, healing in general), stretch marks, gum disease, and general dental problems; also joint related autoimmune disorders including osteoporosis, Inflammation (arthritis, rheumatoid and osteo); health problems including obesity, gastro intestinal problems ( indigestion, upset stomach, constipations, ulcers, and leaky gut syndrome), yeast infections, pre-menstrual syndrome (headaches, cramps, indigestion and water retention), cancer, and bronchial problems like allergies and asthma (12); also eye problems, atherosclerotic issues like thickened or hardened arteries, improved circulation, lower blood pressure, increase energy, and MSM it helps remove free radicals from the body, so it decreases oxidative stress.
Regarding safety, it is considered to be safe and well-tolerated at doses under 4845.6 mg/day (12).
MSM helps the immune system to work better and helps cells work normally. Cells use sulfur in the release of extra fluids and byproducts that otherwise build up and result in tenderness and swelling (2).
MSM protects against cancer: on its own or combined with other things, has been shown to lesson tumor development and too have anti-cancerous properties in (12;18). This is true for the following cancers: breast, esophagus, stomach, liver, colon, bladder, and skin. MSM is cytotoxic, or toxic, to cancer cells. MSM prevents cell viability by arresting, or stopping, the cell from dividing and reproducing itself twice, called the cell cycle. And, by killing cells, either through killing all of the cells, called necrosis, or by assisting in the normal die off of cells, called apoptosis (12). In animal studies, when cancer-cells are transplanted into an animal treated with MSM, tumor growth, including breast cancer, is suppressed (12;18) and cancer of the lymph nodes or lymphomas (18).
MSM helps cells that are potentially cancerous return to a state closer to a non-cancerous cell. It lessens the likelihood of cancer cells metastasizing or moving to other, healthy, cells/areas, and it makes cancer cells age (12). In animal studies MSM protected against the harmful effects associated with X-ray exposure (18).
MSM for skin appearance and problems (allergies, rosacea and wounds): MSM can improve the appearance of skin by lessoning redness, improving skin tone overall and lessoning skin’s sensitivity (1; 12). MSM is needed to build keratin (12) and collagen. MSM mixed with EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) in a lotion was shown to significantly improve edema (swelling due to injury or inflammation) related pitting after only wo weeks of use (12). It is non-irritating to sensitive skin (12). Skin’s condition and appearance are significantly improved after two or more weeks of MSM treatment (both by users and experts). MSM mixed with pyruvic acid, made from a type of sugar, and used once a week for two weeks improves elasticity, wrinkling, and melisma. Rosacea can be helped with MSM mixed with silymarin (12).
The sulfur in MSM is needed to make keratin and collagen within the body. These substances help keep skin elastic and healthy. These nutrients This is why it is thought that MSM helps to keep skin looking young by lessoning scars, dark spots/sun damage and preventing wrinkles (1). MSM is even more powerful in rebuilding new and healthy skin when mixed with the following: vitamins A, C, and E, and antioxidants (1). It is also a natural treatment for eczema (24).
MSM may help bones: in animal studies, supplements corrected epiphysitis, called Sever’s disease in humans. This disease involves an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous leading to pain and inflammation as the bone develops. It is most often seen in children aged 8 to 14 (19).
Regarding skin problems: when MSM is mixed with silymarin can reduce inflammation that increases the time it takes for wounds to heal, causes rosacea (especially subtype 1 called erythemato-telangiectatic phase), allergic reactions and general discoloration of skin (5; (12).
MSM and Hair: because MSM improves the production of collagen and keratin, needed for the body to make new hair, skin cells and nails, it helps stop or revers hair loss (6).
Muscles (Pain and spasms): MSM can improve post work out and surgical recovery. It can lesson cramping, sourness and general discomfort. The body stores the sulfur, found in MSM, in joints and tissues. Sulfur helps maintain and repair the tissue cells in joints and muscles, which are often fibrous and rigid and which are broken down when muscles are exerted. Similar to its effect on joints, MSM helps bring back permeability and flexibility to the walls of cells that make up muscle tissue (1; 12; 18). This allows the nutrients that are necessary for tissue health to pass into the cell with greater ease. These nutrients help remove lactic acid, responsible for muscle stiffness or burning. The nutrients also enable repairs to the cells overall. If you take MSM before exercise, it is even more beneficial.
MSM not only helps treat muscle problems (aches, pain and spasms), but it can prevent them. This is as MSM acts like a natural pain reliever or analgesic. It can improve mobility and range of motion as well as reduce swelling and throbbing associated with over use of muscles (from surgery, injury and exercise). MSM works even better when mixed with other anti-inflammatories.
MSM for joints and osteoarthritis: MSM is considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory. It a micronutrient that can penetrate the cell wall with ease. Inflammation, pain and other health problems may be the result of proteins released by cells, called cytokines (13). MSM reduces cytokine expression. It also helps the body to make collagen it can help make new tissue (joint and muscle). It increases joint flexibility (including range of motion), and diminishes inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain (2;12;53). MSM protects cartilage by suppressing the effects of cytokines that are known to destroy cartilage and by helping to normalize cartilage cells that are operating in an unhealthy manner (12). MSM when mixed with the following is even more powerful: Vitamin D., guava leaf extract, boswellic acid, arginine, hydrolyzed type I collagen, bromelain and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (12;53).
MSM is reported to improve life quality by those participating in a study on arthritis (after taking 500 ml 3 times per day, in combination with glucosamine, for 12 weeks).
MSM for gout: inflammation is involved in gout, so getting inflammation down, which MSM (3 000 mg 2 times per day) is helpful for, is a good treatment (14;15). Sulfur is necessary to keep joints and connective tissue healthy, so MSM is a way to assist the body in making/repairing collagen and other proteins needed for joints to function (14).
MSM for digestion/gut health: MSM can help with leaky gut syndrome and general digestion. Leaky gut is described as food particles leaching out of the gut and into the bloodstream, where they cause inflammation. MSM (and its sulfur) helps build up the gut’s lining and stop particles from escaping. MSM also lessens inflammation, which is associated with food allergies (3). Inflammation, pain and other health problems may be the result of proteins released by cells, called cytokines (13). MSM reduces cytokine expression regarding colitis. MSM helps four out of six people suffering from pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvic floor, called interstitial cystitis (12). MSM can inhibit Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia or e-coli in animal studies week (18), so it can help treat food related issues. MSM in human trials has also shown to inhibit the growth of parasites (18).
MSM for bowels: regarding constipation, MSM helps to normalize bowel function (24).
MSM for urinary tract problems: MSM is a treatment for interstitial cystisis, of which most sufferers (up to 90 percent) are female aged 40 to 60. This condition involves feelings of pressure or pain in the bladder (urethral) syndrome (24). MSM takes longer to work, up to several months, but in 80% of cases improvement is reported.
The condition involves lower urinary tract symptoms (burning, pain, frequency, urgency) lasting for six or more weeks, but without a clear cause or obvious infection. The symptoms can be constant or intermittent, mild or severe, depending on the person. Women with this problem can have pain with sexual intercourse (and painful vulva or vulvodynia), and it can be co-morbid with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other pain problems, including chronic fatigue (25;26).
Interstitial cyctisis or IC which may be the result of illness/infection related damage to the bladder’s inner lining (glycosaminoglycan, or GAG). It may also be due to an overgrowth of yeast (26).
Oral/dental problems: taken by mouth, or used as a mouth wash, MSM can relieve gingivitis related inflammation (24).
MSM for hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids can be incredibly painful and embarrassing. This condition is described as blood vessels in the rectum swelling to the point where going to the bathroom is difficult, and results in bleeding and pain. A preparation of MSM and tea tree oil decreases swelling and pain associated with hemorrhoids (4).
MSM for body temperature: in animal studies taking this supplement has shown to lower body temperature week (18).
MSM for stress management: MSM has been shown to improve energy levels and mood. It supports general immune functioning and it can lesson fatigue in the face of exertion and lesson feelings of stress, even when injured. If possible, it should be taken before a stressful even is addressed (8;9).
MSM for allergies: taking 2.6 g a day for 30 days is proven to help relieve both upper and lower respiratory symptoms (12). Regarding inflammation in lung tissue, pain and other problems may be the result of proteins released by cells, called cytokines (13). MSM reduces cytokine expression.
The liver may benefit from MSM as it reduces inflammation in cases of injury to this organ (12).
Oxidative stress is reduced by MSM. Oxidative stress is described as disrupted performance of cells due to the presence of too many oxygen molecules in the cells.
MSM for obesity, type two diabetes and metabolic disorders: in animal studies MSM supplements helped markedly reduce the levels of blood glucose, or sugar, levels in animals that had been made obese through diet. In these same animals, MSM also significantly reduced overall fat in the blood, called triglycerides, as well as cholesterol. In animals bred to have genetic obesity linked metabolic disorders, those with marked impairment of glucose or blood sugar and lipid, or fat, metabolic profiles were helped significantly by MSM. The supplement ameliorated the problems. MSM helped to reverse damage done to animals by over-nutrition in the femur microarchitecture. MSM may help with hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and inflammation (16).
MSM for cognitive health, anxiety and depression: MSM is a cholinesterase inhibitor. Cholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine has many functions. For instance, it regulates muscle contractions (parasympathetic nervous system). Within the brain it helps transmit nerve impulses within the brain and spinal cord, to better facilitate communication between neurons and nerves. Acetylcholine is necessary to encode new memories. Cholinesterase, in small doses, may help people to develop a better memory capability, enhance intelligence and improve on the brain’s plasticity (20). MSM has been shown in studies to stop anticholinesterases (paraoxon, tetraethyl pyrophosphate and octamethyl pyrophosphoramide) which disrupt, or destroy, choline and acetylcholine (18). Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter associated with attention, arousal, motivation and memory, as well as emotional wellbeing and energy as well as what makes muscles function properly (17).
Acetylcholine helps to regulate mood states. So, having a deficiency in acetylcholine may cause symptoms of depression and anxiety. Symptoms of deficiency may be as follows: dry mouth, trouble concentrating, confusion, slow thinking, memory problems, and anxiety, fatigue, and mood swings (21).
Potential side effects of MSM: Kept in mind that for those who have an abundance of acetylcholine, taking MSM may result in anxiety and restless or jittery behavior. Other side effects include: nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain, fatigue, insomnia, problems concentrating, swelling, and headaches (22).
Please note, this blog is for educational and entertainment only. Please seek out a medical professional if you need assistance.
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2 Brien, S., Prescott, P., & Lewtih, G., (2011). Meta-analysis of the related nutritional supplements dimethyl sulfoxide and methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011:528403. DOI: 10.1093/ecam/nep045
3 Lee, H.r., Cho., S.D., Lee, W.K., Kim, G.H., & Shim, S.M., (2014). Digestive recovery of sulfur-methyl-L- methionine and its bioaccessibility in kimchi cabbages using a simulated in vitro digestion model system. Journal of Scientific of Food and Agriculture, 94(4):109-112. DOI:10.1002/jsfa.6205.
4 Joksimovic, N., Spasovski, G., Joksimovic, V., Andreevski, V., Zuccari, C., Omini, & C.F., (2012). Efficacy and tolerability of hyaluronic acid, tea tree oil and methyl-sulfonyl-methane in a new gel medical device for treatment of haemorrhoids in a double-blind, placebo-controlled coninical trial. Updates in Surgery., 64(3):195-201.
5 Berardesca, E., Cameli, N.,Cavallotti, C., Luc Levy, J., E Pierard, G., & Ambrosi, G.D.P, (2008). Combined effects of silymarin and methylsulfonylmethane in the management of rosacea: clinical and instrumental evaluation. Journal of Cosmetic Cosmetology. 7(1):8-14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00355.x
6 Moody, A.G., (2017). Living Strong website. Webpage: MSM supplements and hair growth. Accessed on: Nov 25th, 2017. Acessed at: www.livestrong.com/article/529605-msm-supplements-and-hair-growth/
7 Usha, P.R., & Naidu, M.U., (2004). Randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral glucosamine, mehtylsulfonylmethane nd their combination in osteoarthritis. Clinical Drug Investigation 24 (6): 353-363.
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20 Nootriment website. Webpage: Acetylcholineesterase inhibitors and their effects on memory, cognition & Alzheimer’s disease. Accessed on: Nov 29th, 2017. Accessed at: https://nootriment.com/acetylcholinesterase-inhibitors/
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22 Ogbru, Ol, PharmD. Website: Medicine Net.com. Webpage: MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) dietary supplement. Accessed on: Nov 29th, 2017. Accessed at: https://www.medicinenet.com/methylsulfonylmethane_msm-oral/article.htm
23 Usha, P.R., & Naidu, M.U.R. (2004). Randomised, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and their combinaiton in osteoarthritis. Clinical Drug Investigation, 24, (6), 353-363.
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