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MSM not just for joint health

By Denise Elliot

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulphur compound that is naturally present in our body’s system. Predominantly MSM is used for its anti-inflammatory action on joints.

Traditionally, it has been used both topically and orally. There have been many claims about its use, including the following:

Ageing well

It may slow down the cross linking of collagen and other proteins important to our skin appearance.

Benefiting the immune and digestive system

It may inhibit some problematic gut parasites and detrimental protozoa such as Giardia lamblia which causes Giardiasis.

Improving the nervous system

It may increase alertness and alleviate anxiety.

Assisting the Brain

It may help migraines and improve concentration and mood (especially in the higher dose range).

The musculo-skeletal system is the area where it appears to be most utilised. It has been shown to alleviate muscle pain (may aid fibromyalgia), and support osteo-arthritis as it may improve the integrity of cartilage and joints. It does this by slowing the degradation of cartilage in some arthritic situations. It may also ease the pain associated with a simple back ache, and the pain/inflammation with bursitis.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa (the fluid filled sac that surrounds some joints). Bursitis is the most common hip pain in the elderly, tennis elbow is another form of bursitis. Regardless of where the bursa is, if inflamed it can be extremely painful.

The sulphur content in MSM is approximately 34% and this works with other nutrients in the body. It contributes its sulphur content to the amino acid Methionine, which is a main liver detoxifier. It also contributes its sulphur to Chondroitin-sulphate which maintains the cartilage structure. The action of MSM in the body may be enhanced and complemented by Vitamin C.

MSM is found in raw fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage). It is also present in seafood, meats and milk, but it is easily susceptible to damage due to cooking and food processing.

MSM from food

You would need to eat a diet high in raw foods to obtain a decent amount of MSM through diet alone. Supplementation may be required, especially as we age.

You may not notice the positive therapeutic benefits from MSM until you have used it on a daily basis for several days and in some cases for several weeks. Its safety is well documented, making it a worthwhile addition to an anti-inflammatory wellness regime. MSM enters almost all the tissues of the body within 24 hours of ingestion. Any excretion is mainly through urine and perspiration.

MSM is believed to be the active component of DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide), but DMSO should only be taken under the guidance of a health practitioner. MSM is far safer to use, no allergic reactions have ever been documented and there are no known contraindications to MSM. It is odourless, tasteless and stable.