MSM is well-known for its joint health benefits, and there may be several other reasons to use MSM as well. The official name is Methyl-sulfonyl-methane, and it's a sulfur-containing compound. Sulfur must be continually replenished for optimal nutrition and health, and plays a critical role in detoxification and inflammatory conditions. For detoxification, sulfur is part of one of the most important antioxidants your body produces: glutathione. Without sulfur, glutathione can’t work. Glutathione fights free radical damage within cells, and has the ability to revive the activity of previously "used up" antioxidants.
In nature, MSM is found in pine bark, pine needles, wild grasses, pine nuts, aloe vera, wild fruits and veggies, and rain water. If you grow a garden, collect rain water to feed your garden is an effective way to get MSM in your diet.
Joint and Connective Tissue Support
MSM provides sulfur needed for the structural integrity of joint cartilage and connective tissue such as skin, hair and nails. Joints affected by osteoarthritis may have lower sulfur content than normal tissues. It repairs connective tissue and essential for making collagen. MSM is commonly found in combination with Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint support.
Sore Muscles, Achy Joints and Pains
MSM can reduce inflammation and may assist recovery of sore muscles or other inflammatory problems. Taking MSM by mouth seems to slightly reduce some symptoms of arthritis of the knee, such as pain and joint movement. Note: the changes seem to be small, and it might not reduce other symptoms such as stiffness.
Liver Detoxification Support
One of the most important detoxification pathways relies on sulfur. In the liver, various sulfur compounds and antioxidants bind with toxins through a process called conjugation, allowing them to be safely excreted. MSM can assist detoxification by donating sulfur groups needed for formation of important sulfur detoxifying agents.
MSM helps keep your skin healthy and is often found in lotions and creams. Applying a cream containing MSM and silymarin seems to improve skin color and other symptoms of rosacea.
Stress Brought on by Exercise
Taking MSM by mouth before running seems to reduce muscle damage and other markers of stress caused by exercise.
If considering a MSM supplement, there are two ways to take it -- MSM powder or capsules form. These are small molecules and can feed directly and quickly into your cells, and less chance of sensitivity to it. If MSM can’t get into the cell it can become toxic.
What’s your experience using MSM? I would love to hear about it!
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods