MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a nutrient that is found in all life form diets. It is a by-product of DMSO or dimethyl sulfoxide. This sulfur compound is a natural substance present in many of the foods we eat today like milk, eggs, and raw vegetables. However, these days all of our food is processed, heated, steamed and cooked until there are only trace amounts of MSM left. Therein lies the importance of a MSM dietary supplement.
DMS derives from the plankton on the ocean floor. It escapes in a gas form into the atmosphere and transforms into DMSO and MSM. The MSM then becomes a part of the plant cycle via being distributed through the rain. The plants take in the MSM and pass it to the fruits and vegetables that we eat.
In 1961, while DMSO was being tested in the cryogenic preservations of organs, it was discovered that this common industrial compound had other beneficial properties. It was discovered that DMSO was a powerful pain reliever and natural anti-inflammatory substance. In 1978 the FDA approved DMSO for the prescription of certain treatments. However, one small setback for DMSO was the one side effect that could not be overlooked. DMSO left a strong, sulfurous smell and taste with the patient. It was then that a doctor began to dissect DMSO to determine what active ingredients, if any, could be separated and used without the distasteful side effects.
Sulfur is probably one of the least researched nutrients. It is ironic for the simple fact that sulfur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. MSM and its related components also provide 85% of sulfur found in living organisms. It is a component of amino acids, hormones, antioxidants, etc. Nonetheless, sulfur-rich compounds, like MSM, have not been researched to the extent that would give us a complete breakdown as to how they work in the body.
Let us focus on what we do know about MSM and how it effects the body. Some of the essential functions that sulfur has in our bodies is to maintain the structure of proteins, aid in the production of immunoglobulin, help change food into energy and help in the formation of keratin. All of these functions work together to help maintain stability in one’s body. When there is a deficiency in one area, all other systems are deprived as well which makes the body out of balance. It makes sense that a person who is constantly out of energy will have a weakened immune system.
There have only been about two dozen scientific studies on MSM. However, coupled with the 5,000 studies on DMSO, we have learned an enormous amount about what sulfur can do to improve one’s health. Dr. Stanley W. Jacob is Gerlinger professor in the Department of Surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. He is often referred to as “the father of MSM”. He has devoted more than twenty years to the study and development of MSM. To this day he is still using MSM to treat an array of illnesses that plague his patients. Jacobs says that DMSO and MSM are very similar except for one important factor. MSM does not create the sulfurous odor or taste like DMSO. This makes MSM the best choice for a sulfur dietary supplement.
Dr. Jacobs and his research partners are responsible for the most important studies done on MSM. A clinical study at Ohio State University showed that rats who were injected with a cancer-chemical compound equivalent to breast cancer and then fed a high dose of MSM orally had a remarkable reaction. Although the cancer eventually began to appear, it was not until a substantial amount of time had passed. Thus, the life span of the rats was prolonged. The same result was given in a study of colon cancer. Doctors estimated the expanded time frame for a human to be at least ten years.