What is MSM?
MSM is an organic sulfur-containing nutrient, a naturally-occurring compound in the environment and in the human body. Sulfur is necessary for the structure of every cell in the body. Hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and antioxidants all depend on it. And because the body utilizes and expends it on a daily basis, sulfur must be continually replenished for optimal nutrition and health.
Where Does MSM Come From?
MSM originates in the oceans where microscopic plankton release sulfur compounds into seawater, which is quickly converted to DMS, a volatile sulfur compound that escapes into the atmosphere. In this suspended, gaseous state, the DMS reacts with ozone and ultraviolet sunlight to create DMSO and DMSO2, known as MSM. MSM then falls to the earth with the rain, where it is collected and concentrated in plants. Although MSM is abundant in nature, even the richest natural sources only provide MSM in the level of several parts per million. Commercial extraction of MSM from trees is not possible. MSM is produced by oxidizing DMSO. This process parallels the natural oxidation of DMSO to MSM that occurs in the marine atmosphere and produces MSM that is chemically identical to that found in nature.
What does MSM do for the body?
Primarily recognized to benefit joint health, MSM provides sulfur, which is needed for the structural integrity of joint cartilage and connective tissue such as skin, hair and nails. MSM has been shown in animal research to inhibit inflammation by decreasing influx of certain white blood cells. Reduced inflammation increases circulation to aid recovery of sore muscles. In addition, MSM supplies methyl groups, which help lower homocysteine levels, an important factor in heart health. MSM--heart-healthy joint support.
Are there any food sources of MSM?
Yes. MSM occurs naturally in the environment, is present in rainwater, and is absorbed by plants. So, small amounts of MSM are available in fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and even unpasteurized milk. But, because it does not occur in effective amounts in food, the most reliable dietary source for adequate MSM intake is through supplementation.
Who should take MSM?
Because organic sulfur is a basic component for overall human wellness, most people can benefit from supplementing their diets with MSM. Please consult your physician before using MSM if you are pregnant, while nursing or for children under 2 years of age.
Has MSM been scientifically researched?
Yes. Dr. Stanley Jacob and his associates have been working with DMSO and MSM for more than 30 years. During their research, they discovered that a portion of the DMSO was converted to MSM in the body. MSM turned out to be a more stable metabolite of DMSO with similar properties. There were an estimated 50,000 articles published on DMSO, but only a handful have ever been repeated with MSM. Physicians and other health care providers have relied primarily on previous DMSO studies, lower animal studies with MSM, as well as MSM case studies and anecdotal reports.
Is MSM safe?
Very safe. MSM is non-toxic and non-allergenic. However, taking amounts greater than your body's ability to absorb it may result in loose stools. MSM is non-allergenic. In the many years MSM has been researched, no significant allergic reactions have been reported. We recommend informing your doctor you are supplementing with MSM. MSM has no known contraindications with pharmaceutical drugs or over-the-counter medications. However, Dr. Jacob does recommend that it not be used by pregnant or lactating mothers, or by children under the age of two. Dr. Jacob recommends that persons taking blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) consult their doctor before using MSM.
Is sulfur the same as sulfa drugs and sulfites?
Do not get confused between the two. MSM provides organic sulfur and is a nutrient. Sulfa-based drugs, also known as sulfonamides, do not occur naturally and are used as antibiotics. The sulfa molecule is much larger and can cause severe reactions in some individuals. While many people are allergic to sulfa drugs, no similar reactions have ever been reported with MSM. A third sulfur-containing compound, known as sulfites, is a form of preservative that can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. MSM does not contain sulfites, and should not cause a reaction in sulfite-sensitive individuals.