MSM - The Sulphur that Keeps You Healthy
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Before Life Appeared on Dry Land, There was MSM...
MSM – A Landmark Nutritional Discovery
Until recently, few people had ever heard of MSM. And yet MSM is everywhere on earth,in the air, the rain, the soil, in plants, and in your own tissues and body fluids. MSM is one of our planet’s most abundant forms of natural organic sulphur.
MSM is now available as a dietary supplement for human use. This is actually somewhat belated. MSM has been used for years in veterinary medicine. Racehorse trainers began giving MSM to the animals under their care after it was found that MSM cured diseased hooves, relieved arthritis and inflammation, and improved circulation in these horses, thus improving their performance. MSM offers many benefits for people, too, as clinical researchers have discovered over the last two decades.
Imagine a dietary substance that could help keep the immune system strong, alleviate allergies, improve the health and function of your joints, reduce inflammation, help your digestive system work better, eliminate intestinal parasites, relieve constipation, and improve the condition of your hair, skin and nails.
Sound too good to be true? This is a just a partial description of the observed benefits of MSM supplementation. MSM is also completely non-toxic. It is as safe and natural to your body as water. Your next question is probably something like, “Why haven’t I heard of MSM before? Or “How come my doctor doesn’t know about MSM?”
This is about to change. MSM is a nutrient whose time has come. We live in an exciting time of new discoveries in the field of nutrition and natural health. MSM may prove to be one of the most important nutritional discoveries of our time.
What Is MSM And Where Does It Come From?
In case you were wondering, the acronym “MSM” stands for “methylsulfonylmethane.” The “sulfonyl” in the middle of this forgettable, twenty-one letter word designates the sulphur component. We won’t strain your eyes by making you read methylsulfonylmethane again; just remember that MSM is natural, organic, friendly-to-your-body sulphur.
MSM has been in the food chain for a very long time. In fact, MSM has been on planet earth since before life appeared on dry land. The same process that replenishes the planetary MSM supply is ongoing today, and will continue until the earth ceases to be a home for cellular organisms.
Plankton, tiny microscopic animals teeming in the oceans, absorb inorganic sulphur from seawater. The plankton then excrete organic sulphur salts. These compounds form a substance called dimethylsulfide, which evaporates and rises into the upper atmosphere. There, ultraviolet light oxidizes the dimethylsulfide, forming MSM, which falls to the earth in rainwater.
Once in the soil, plants absorb MSM. When they die, plants release sulphur into the soil, and the sulphur returns to the ocean. This process is called the “sulphur cycle.” MSM is thus a fundamental source of sulphur for use by all cellular organisms.
MSM is found in many fruits and vegetables, and in raw, unpasteurized milk. Grazing animals such as cows and horses get lots of MSM, especially after a fresh rainfall. Horses, often stiff and lethargic during the winter, become youthful and frisky once they start feasting on fresh spring grass. MSM may be the very “spring tonic” that brings them back to life!
Unfortunately, MSM quickly disappears once food is cooked, processed and stored. (Horses eating nothing but dried hay and alfalfa all winter are deprived of MSM.) If we eat our fruits and vegetables freshly picked, or drink raw milk, we will get some MSM. But practically speaking, we no longer get very much MSM in our diets. We now consume much less MSM than our ancestors did, unless we eat lots of freshly picked and gathered foods.
The Importance Of Dietary Sulfur
MSM is nature’s biologically active sulphur source. Why is sulphur so important? Sulphur is one of the essential structural minerals?minerals like calcium that are needed to keep body structures strong and in sound condition. All protein-rich tissues depend on sulphur for their structural integrity. These proteins are connected together by sulphur bonds. To help visualize this, imagine buildings connected to each other by a complex network of bridges. The structures of your body, especially in connective tissue, which allows cells and tissues to form organs, are held together by sulphur bonds. Without sulphur the body would be reduced to a blob of jelly.
In connective tissues such as joint cartilage, sulphur is a key component of chondroitin sulphate, a complex molecule (mucopolysaccharide) that gives cartilage the elastic, sponge-like quality so essential for joints to act as shock absorbers between bones. Sulphur also forms “sulfolipids” fatty molecules found in the brain, liver and kidneys.
In addition to its importance for maintaining sound body structures, sulphur has a number of functional roles. For example, each cell in your body produces a molecule called “acetyl CoA,” a key player in the energy-producing machinery of the cell. Without acetyl CoA, your body would have no energy to run on. Without sulphur, acetyl CoA cannot be made. Sulphur is needed for other metabolic functions, including enzyme production and hormone synthesis.
Obviously, sulphur is a mineral we cannot do without. Just like calcium and other essential minerals, dietary sulphur is a daily requirement. It is generally assumed that we get enough sulphur from food, but this is being questioned, especially for vegetarians, dieters and those poor digestion.
MSM serves as an easily absorbed source of dietary sulphur, but there is more to MSM than just sulphur. MSM has unique beneficial effects on the body.
The Value Of Supplementing With MSM
The body can produce MSM, provided it has enough sulphur from other sources. But, studies of excretion patterns suggest that as we age, the concentration of MSM in the body drops. Add this to the lack of dietary MSM, and we have a definite potential for MSM deficiency. The scientists who have studied MSM in detail believe that MSM deprivation puts the body under stress, both physical and psychological. The stress caused by MSM deficiency, they say, leads to tissue and organ malfunction, which in turn leaves us more vulnerable to disease.
Patents have been filed for the use of MSM in the modification of a variety of ailments in both humans and animals. These patents are based on clinical observations of people taking MSM as a dietary supplement, as well as its use in veterinary medicine. The findings of this research are remarkable; leaving the impression that MSM is a highly versatile and vitally important nutrient, one with the potential to significantly improve health.
Alters the Allergic Response
It has been found that taking anywhere from 50 to 1000 milligrams of MSM a day relieves allergy-related complaints in people with allergies to a wide range of environmental substances such as pollen, animal hair and house dust. Allergies to foods and even to drugs are also helped.
Individuals with hay fever and asthma benefit from using MSM, as well as those with food intolerances. For the millions bothered by allergies of one form or another, supplementing with MSM may be a breakthrough, especially since it is completely non-toxic and free of side effects.
Supports the Digestive System
One of MSM’s most promising uses may be for improvement of gastrointestinal health. MSM has been found beneficial for people with constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, over-acid stomach and pain. MSM has a soothing, healing influence on the mucous membrane that lines the GI tract. It also appears to eliminate parasites. Given the toxicity of most anti-parasite drugs, this is another exciting possibility for MSM.
Soothes Inflammation, Relieves Muscle Cramps, Aids Wound Healing
In MSM research studies, adding anywhere from 100 to 5,000 milligrams per day has relieved pain in people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems. One individual, an 81 year-old woman with a long history of chronic arthritis, experienced relief after using a mere half-teaspoon of MSM for two weeks. Numerous case reports of pain relief have been recorded.
Other problems helped by MSM include muscle cramps in runners, acne rosacea and other skin conditions, and sunburn. MSM given to animals has been shown to speed wound healing and reduce death rates dues to stress.
How can one substance have such a broad range of effects
Because MSM is a nutrient and not a drug, it has a general fortifying influence on many body structures and functions. MSM appears to be key component of the most fundamental unit of life, the cell. MSM is clearly needed for optimum health of our tissues and organs. The day may not be far off when MSM is recognized as an essential nutrient.
This information is brought to you courtesy of Doctor’s best nutritional supplements.