What is MSM and where does it come from?

Methylsulfonylmethane, better known by its abbreviation MSM, is an organic sulphur-containing compound with the an elemental composition of (CH3)2 SO2. It is also known as DMSO,  methyl sulfone and dimethyl sulfone. It occurs naturally in some whole food plants and small amounts are found in many foods and beverages and it is essential for good health. As a matter of fact, it is even available on the market as a nutritional supplement due to its vast health benefits.

Sulphur is produced in big amounts by algae and plankton and is distributed all over the planet when it rains. During this process, the rising sulphur reacts with the ozone in the air and DMSO and MSM are formed when sunlight is added.

MSM is therefore a real product of Mother Nature – dependent on the ingenious precipitation system in combination with the magic of sunlight. This explains why MSM is barely present or completely lacking in foods that have been grown in greenhouses and then have to be heated as well. MSM is formed under very specific circumstances that only occur in nature. As soon as man in various ways tries to interfere in the natural growth and production process, this extraordinary component disappears. In fact, MSM also occurs only in raw foods and is immediately destroyed when the food source that contains it, is heated for cooking.

The fact that almost all Western nations cook their food, means that we have a lack of sulphur in our daily diet, says biochemist Robert Herschler, who in 1982 patented MSM as a food supplement.

There appears to be no recommended daily dose of sulphur as an official guideline was never requested. This seems like an oversight considering the clear evidence for sulphur’s benefits for the body – and without it, we would develop a range of medical diseases and conditions. In the next part of this blog, we will expand on the significance of sulphur and what MSM can do for us.

What does MSM do?

MSM as a nutritional supplement is a product that has become known for its benefits for the skin, hair, nails and joints. MSM also stimulates the production of collagen – a protein that is an important part holding together tissue, organs and muscles in people and animals. There are over 20 different kinds of collagen, but the one called I t/m IV is the most important.

Collagen is the main element in loose connective tissue, which is found in our skin. Here it forms an extracellular matrix, which contributes to the elasticity and firmness of our skin. When we are young, large amounts of collagen are produced to keep the skin youthful-looking, firm and supple. But as we age (from about 25 years) the amount of collagen begins to drop, starting the ageing process of our skin and the emergence of wrinkles, skin becoming loose and sagging as outside elements (like the weather) have a bigger effect on our skin than before. Our bones, tendons, cartilage and teeth also consist mainly of collagen and suffer when collagen levels drop.

MSM prevents this depletion and offers and an excellent remedy against physical issues and age-related conditions. It is, for instance, an ideal food supplement for people with various joint afflictions and really helps those who do intensive training or exercise or sports involving stretching and toning, like yoga, gymnastics, athletics, acrobatics, kung fu, karate, taekwondo and other martial arts. It not only helps to produce collagen but supports and prevents damage to tendons and joints, ensuring a firm, elastic skin, shiny hair and strong nails.  

In addition, MSM sees to it that our bodily tissues absorb nutrients and detoxify more easily. All of this is due to the increase of healthy and organic sulphur, of which large amounts are present in MSM. Sulphur is essential for the body and allows oxygen to be taken to our cells. Sulphur is also vital for the amino acids that are responsible for cleansing and maintaining the body’s systems.

The combination of sulphur with amino acids ensures that large amounts of toxic substances are released and contributes to heightened flexibility. This is why MSM is such a fantastic nutritional supplement and has also become known as a popular detoxification agent. One of the remarkable things about MSM is that it has a strong neutralising effect on particularly unhealthy proteins in the body, that in worst-case scenarios can actually cause damage to our organs and bodies. Allergens, toxins and undigested foods are examples of such “unhealthy proteins”.

This reveals the strong anti-inflammatory characteristics of MSM, which is able to provide a strong buffer against all kinds of infections while stimulating and boosting the immune system.  

Research shows that MSM has a positive outcome for those suffering from arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of the joints. Arthritis develops when cartilage around the bones is damaged and not repaired by the body. This may be due to age or poor nutrition. This causes the cartilage to weaken and sometimes it can disappear completely. The fluid sacs that keep the joints supple are not filled sufficiently by the body, which contributes to pain and discomfort.

MSM offers a wonderful solution for various joint disorders thanks to its collagen production qualities. It gives people the opportunity to become mobile again, even after years of illness and allows many patients to regain a healthy, functioning body and a chance to lead a full and rewarding life.  

Several unofficial studies have shown that the majority of patients with ordinary arthritis and osteoarthritis who took regular doses (over a period 6 week) of MSM saw a drop in pain as well as a clear indication that the MSM nutritional supplement offered relief from symptoms. These studies were not officially recognised as unknown research centres in India conducted them. It was, however, clear to the researchers as well as the patients, that there was a relation between taking MSM and a drop in reported pain experienced by patients. While MSM can relieve arthritis symptoms, it does not, however, offer any guarantee of curing the conditions. For this medication and/or other supplements are necessary.

Apart from these specific benefits, which have raised the profile of MSM as a nutritional supplement, it is also a product that can be used to clear up urinary tract issues. Some studies have also shown that MSM helps against hayfever and all kinds of allergies. Research is currently under way to determine if MSM has a solution for excessive snoring.

It appears that MSM also helps people suffering from bursitis, which is an inflammation of the fluid sacs in the joints. These sacs cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near the joints. When one of these sacs becomes inflamed, bursitis – a painful condition – develops.

Finally, MSM also regulates acidity in the stomach and forms a protective layer in the intestinal tract. This prevents parasites from invading the wall of the intestines. This results in the body more easily producing insulin, boosting our carbohydrate metabolism and improving the healing of wounds and inflammation. This will be music to the ears of those suffering from Type 2 diabetes with related decreases in the production of insulin and a sluggish carbohydrate metabolism, which wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels. While it definitely helps with certain diabetic symptoms, it must be stated that MSM is no cure for the condition.

In conclusion, we have drawn up a list to summarise the most important health benefits of MSM on the human body:  

– MSM promotes greater flexibility in muscles, tendons and connective tissue

– MSM prevents and repairs inflammation in the muscle tissue, tendons and connective tissue and speeds up healing in these organs

– MSM improves blood circulation and increases oxygen delivery to cells

– MSM decreases the risk of cancer and other forms of cell mutation by heightening and improving oxygen to cells in the body  

– MSM boosts the production of enzymes in the glands, thereby improving our resistance to all kinds of diseases  

– MSM encourages the growth of healthy, shiny hair, and healthy, elastic skin and strong nails

– MSM combats the signs of ageing, like wrinkles, and damaged and sagging skin

– MSM has a regenerative effect on conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s  

– MSM also improves symptoms of arthritis, arthrosis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis

– MSM stimulates and regulates the production of insulin  

– MSM supports the colon by forming a protective layer to prevent parasites (like polyps) from taking hold  

– MSM also appears to improve symptoms related to hayfever and other allergies  

How do I take MSM?

Superfoodies.com supplies MSM in two different formats. The first is the MSM powder, which is easily added to all kinds of lassies, shakes, smoothies and other kinds of cold drinks. The taste may take some getting use to and that is why MSM capsules – which are tasteless - are easier to use by consumers. When combined with a strong dose of vitamin C, the potency of MSM is increased vastly. Vitamin C stirs the MSM into action and therefore it is strongly recommended to combine the two supplements.

Remember to select a vitamin C product from an organic source. You may also try to combine MSM first with a teaspoon camu camu powder. Camu camu berries contain the highest concentration of vitamin C of all the fruit and are therefore a great supplement for MSM for optimising all of the positive effects. The combination of vitamin C rich food sources with MSM produces a wonderful healing synergy that would be foolish to ignore – especially as it has a profound healing effect on the body and does not merely deal with symptoms superficially.

Another tip is to take MSM in combination with a healthy protein powder as protein in combination with MSM supports detoxification processes and may even speed it up. The combination of these two nutritional supplements also work together much more productively and effectively than when taking them separately.

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