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MSM - help with pain, inflammation, and allergy

Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane, also called MSM, is becoming increasingly popular with health professionals and the general public as it can relieve pain and increase general wellbeing. Many doctors find that a patient’s need for pain medication can be greatly reduced if organic sulfur is taken at the same time as MSM capsules or MSM powder. MSM has enabled many people to live pain-free for the first time in years. MSM research and its analgesic properties are still in their early stages. The good news, however, is that MSM is a very safe, natural substance that can also be taken in combination with pain relievers.

What can MSM do for you?

Due to its various positive properties, MSM is recommended by doctors for health and vitality as well as to support the healing processes. These include:

General effects of MSM on the body

  • reduces pain
  • reduces inflammation
  • increases blood circulation

MSM for joints and cartilage

  • promotes cartilage building
  • helps with rheumatic polyarthritis
  • relieves back pain
  • helps with joint pain
  • reduces gout symptoms

MSM for the nervous system

  • relieves migraines
  • helps with nerve pain

MSM for the stomach, intestines, and bladder

  • strengthens the mucous membrane in the intestinal tract
  • helps with chronic constipation
  • strengthens the mucous membrane of the urinary tract

MSM for the immune system

  • lowers the autoimmune reaction
  • alleviates allergies
  • prevents colds

MSM for connective tissue and anti-aging

  • strengthens the connective tissue
  • improves the elasticity of the skin
  • reduces wrinkles
  • slows down the aging process
  • helps with acne and dry skin
  • speeds up wound healing
  • promotes hair growth
  • strengthens the nails

MSM for sports & fitness

  • helps with tennis elbow
  • helps with bursitis
  • helps with tendonitis
  • relieves strains and sprains
  • relaxes tense muscles

MSM effect on pain and inflammation

One of the most important application areas of MSM as a dietary supplement is its proven ability to relieve pain and inflammation. These almost always occur together. The reason for this is that the tissue swelling caused by the inflammation presses on the surrounding nerves and triggers pain.

MSM has shown that it optimizes the permeability of the cell membrane for the body's own pain-relieving hormones, such as e.g. cortisone, to the affected tissue and as a result, improves the effect of it.

Furthermore, MSM has a decongestant effect through the removal of tissue fluid and promotes blood circulation and nutrient supply to the diseased tissue. MSM relaxes the muscles, which can also lead to pain.

Clinical studies also show that MSM relieves pain by suppressing pain along the nerve fibers. However, it should be noted that MSM is not a medication that works right away.

With MSM, however, it often only takes a few days to feel an improvement. Another advantage is that MSM has absolutely no side effects and you can take it for an unlimited period of time. Therefore, MSM is a natural way to successfully and permanently fight inflammation and pain.

When rigid fibrous connective tissue cells swell and become inflamed, then this can lead to pressure and pain. Because MSM cell walls can give back their flexibility and permeability, fluid can get through tissue more easily. This helps balance the pressure and reduce or eliminate the cause of the pain.

Harmful substances such as lactic acid and toxins can be removed while nutrients can get in. This prevents cells from building up pressure, which causes inflammation.

MSM has the extraordinary ability to reduce or eliminate muscle pain and cramps for older patients and athletes. Racehorses are even administered MSM before the race to prevent sore muscles; after the race, it works against cramps.

People with arthritis reported significant and long-lasting relief through MSM supplements. When taken with glucosamine, a key ingredient in new cartilage formation, MSM can relieve pain and help replace worn or damaged cartilage in joints, tendons, and ligaments with healthy, flexible, new cells.

Safety is an important issue in pain relief as many pain relievers have side effects. NSAID pain relievers alone are responsible for over 20,000 deaths and over 100,000 hospitalizations in the United States.

In contrast, MSM is completely safe, even if it is taken in larger amounts. The reason for this is that MSM is a naturally occurring substance, which can also be found in small amounts in fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat, milk, and seafood.

MSM deficiency

Since sulfur is found in every cell of every living organism, one might think that we can absorb sufficient amounts of this essential mineral from food and therefore no nutritional supplements are necessary - but this is not the case.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are the main sources of sulfur, but we were advised to cut or reduce many of these foods from our diet.

Vegetarians, especially those who do not eat eggs, are particularly at risk of a sulfur deficiency. Plant cells contain sulfur, but not in large quantities. In addition, the existing MSM in processed food is lost through washing, cooking or steaming.

And of course, the sulfur content in the body drops greatly with age. So the older you get, the more important it is to provide the body with sufficient amounts of sulfur.

MSM dosage and intake

MSM should be taken on a daily basis. It is best to start with 1500mg of MSM in the first week to prevent the body from detoxifying too quickly, which can sometimes happen if you start with too much MSM.

After the first week, the dose can be increased to 3 to 10 grams per day (3000 to 10000 mg). This dose can be taken as long as necessary.

If you are taking a larger dose, powdered MSM is more convenient and cheaper. To improve the taste of the MSM powder, dissolve it in water and add some fruit juice.

Taking MSM along with other supplements is also a good idea because MSM works synergistically with all nutrients. For best results, you should distribute the MSM dose evenly throughout the day. Since vitamin C provides a positive synergy, it should be taken together with MSM.

MSM is safe, even in higher doses. To date, no interactions with other drugs have been found. Many people also reported that MSM powder in bath water has an analgesic and detoxifying effect.

For a detailed discussion of the benefits of MSM, see the book The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain (Putnam Press, 1999) by Stanley Jacob, M.D., Ronald Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D. and Martin Zucker.

Stanley Jacob, M.D. is described as one of the pioneers in the clinical application of MSM. In his book, he discusses many case studies in which he used MSM to relieve pain, inflammation, asthma, osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, sinusitis, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) to treat craniomandibular dysfunction, back pain, allergies, and other diseases.

MSM side effects

Due to its positive effects, 2000 to 6000 mg of MSM in the form of MSM capsules or MSM powder are recommended as food supplements per day, taken in 2 to 3 servings.

MSM is extremely safe when used at the recommended dose. It has practically no side effects and is often said to be as safe as water.

In some cases, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea, and in very rare cases fatigue, difficulty concentrating, allergies, rashes and headache can occur.

When MSM is taken as a dietary supplement, it reaches the body where it is needed in no time. Excess amounts are excreted after around 12 hours.

MSM, which belongs to the sulfur family, should not be confused with sulfonamide drugs which some people are allergic to. In any case, MSM cannot trigger allergies.

Of course, the optimal daily dose of MSM depends on your height, age and the type and severity of any symptoms of deficiency.

MSM absorption in the body

As a nutrient, MSM has always been part of our diet and is a natural component of our plasma. Unfortunately, heat during preparation greatly reduces the MSM content of food, which means that many people consume a suboptimal amount of this important nutrient.

The main advantage of MSM is that it supplies the body with sulfur, which is responsible for the health-promoting and analgesic properties of MSM.

Around half of the sulfur in the body is found in the muscles, skin, and bones. Sulfur is necessary for the production of collagen, the primary building block of cartilage, skin and connective tissue.

When taken orally, MSM is absorbed very quickly in the intestine, very well distributed in the body and efficiently excreted in the urine.

Studies show that MSM releases its sulfur content after ingestion so that the body can produce collagen and keratin. The amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as serum proteins, are also produced from it.

In contrast to DSMO, MSM is not completely absorbed through the skin and it does not help that other substances are absorbed through the skin into the blood. When DSMO is taken orally or applied to the skin, about 15% is converted to MSM.

MSM is also absorbed into the brain without causing neurological damage.

MSM application areas:

  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle pain and cramps
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Bursitis
  • Rheumatism
  • Acne
  • Heartburn
  • Candida fungal infections
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive problems
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Parasites
  • Skin damage and aging
  • Accumulations of toxins
  • Deriving mercury
  • Ulceration

MSM and allergies

MSM has a strong anti-inflammatory effect in the body, which can effectively help reduce inflammation that is common with allergic reactions.

Both environmental and food allergies can be reduced by MSM. People suffering from asthma and hay fever have seen significant improvements through MSM.

A study with 55 test persons showed that 2600mg/day for 30 days could effectively reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. These were symptoms such as a runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing, as well as respiratory symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.

MSM is believed to reduce allergies through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects by binding to the mucous membrane, thereby blocking contact between the allergen and the host.

MSM supplies sulfur - the beauty mineral

Healthy skin and beautiful hair and nails have a very high sulfur content. This is crucial for the formation of keratin, the building block that makes hair thicker and nails harder.

Sulfur also makes the skin more elastic and firmer by promoting the build-up of collagen and elastin in the connective tissue. This is how MSM counteracts the formation of wrinkles and makes us look younger.

MSM joint pain and arthritis

Scientists have discovered that inflamed joints have a lower sulfur concentration than healthy ones. That is why MSM has primarily become known as a joint nutrient.

MSM relieves joint pain by supplying the joint with biologically active sulfur and thus relieving pain and inflammation. At the same time, it reduces cartilage breakdown, increases blood circulation and relaxes hardened muscles.

MSM has excellent potential in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Therefore, MSM can be an effective pain reliever in osteoarthritis, without the side effects that often occur with the medication.

In a study with osteoarthritis patients, they received 1125 mg MSM three times a day for 12 weeks.[11] Pain levels and inflammation decreased, while physical function improved. The pain was reduced by 33% based on an osteoarthritis patient rating scale.

Although these improvements were rather small, it is not yet clear whether this is clinically significant, as there are no long-term studies with MSM for osteoarthritis. However, the experience of users in practice shows that MSM can very well relieve joint pain.

MSM has also been shown to be helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

MSM and diabetes

Sulfur is also a component of insulin, the hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. Insufficient amounts of sulfur can lead to reduced insulin production.

It is also possible that the lack of bioavailable sulfur makes the cells so rigid and impervious that they can no longer efficiently absorb sugar from the blood, which leads to increased blood sugar levels.

Studies show that regular intake of MSM capsules or MSM powder as a dietary supplement can cause the cells to become more permeable. This is how MSM helps regulate blood sugar, which allows the overworked pancreas to return to normal.

MSM for interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis/cystitis (IC) is a chronic bacterial cystitis, associated with bladder pain and frequent urge to urinate.

Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) has been shown in clinical studies to reduce cystitis. It has also been endorsed by the FDA as a treatment for interstitial cystitis.

MSM, which is made from DMSO, has also been advocated as an effective treatment for interstitial cystitis without the unpleasant side effects of DMSO.

MSM improves muscle recovery

Creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) are usually elevated after intense muscle exertion. MSM promotes the repair of muscle cells and the excretion of lactic acid, which is responsible for the muscles burning after training.

MSM also repairs rigid fibrous tissue cells in the muscles that develop during muscle strain. As a result, MSM reduces muscle pain, promotes muscle recovery and increases energy levels.

In a double-blind study with 18 healthy men over the duration of 10 days, half of the test subjects received 50 mg MSM per kg body weight in 200 ml water daily, while the second half received a placebo. Then the participants completed a 14 km run. Blood samples were taken before and immediately after training, as well as after 30 minutes, 2 hours, 24 and 48 hours.

CK and bilirubin were significantly increased in the placebo group after 24 hours compared to the MSM group. The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was significantly increased in the MSM group after 2 and 24 hours.

This study shows that the 10-day intake of MSM reduced muscle damage due to the antioxidant capacity of MSM.

MSM for stomach and intestinal problems

MSM can help rebuild the lining of the digestive system. This can improve symptoms in patients with leaky gut syndrome.

In a study of rats suffering from colitis, taking MSM showed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which MSM used to prevent damage to the intestine. Further studies are needed to determine whether MSM could also help with inflammatory bowel diseases in humans.

MSM for heartburn

Pilot studies have shown that MSM can extremely, effectively and quickly reduce symptoms caused by excess acids. In contrast to prescription antacids or acid blockers, this happens without any side effects.

MSM can be taken every day without disturbing normal body functions, including the acid-base balance.

MSM for skin problems

Another study showed that MSM can improve symptoms in erythematous-telangiectatic rosacea. It reduces the reddening of the skin, the formation of the papules, itching, and dryness and causes the skin to return to its normal color.

However, MSM has not been able to reduce the burning sensation that some rosacea sufferers experience. It could reduce the intensity and length of the stinging symptoms.

MSM and cancer prevention

Studies on animals have shown that oral MSM intake can protect against breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma. In both breast cancer and colorectal cancer studies, MSM has significantly extended the development of both types of tumors and cancer.

MSM is ideal for sports injuries

Because of its decongestant, cartilage-building, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, MSM is ideal for sports injuries. It is recommended for sprains, strains, torn ligaments, bruises and pain in the muscles and joints in order to accelerate the healing process.

Frequently asked Questions

What happens if I take MSM?

The sulfur in MSM helps absorb certain chemicals and make them water-soluble. This ensures that these are excreted through the kidneys.

Part of the sulfur is used to make cysteine, which in turn is used to make glutathione, which removes toxic metals, protects cells from oxidation, and performs other important health-promoting activities.

MSM also finds injured cells and reduces inflammation, which increases the flow of nutrients to this area and promotes wound healing. It can also help prevent scarring. If you have an allergy, it helps to control the histamine response. MSM has also been found to increase energy.

If I am allergic to sulfonamides, am I also allergic to MSM?

Doctors usually answer this question with a YES. Allergies against sulfur from food are very rare. Most people who are allergic to sulfonamides tolerate MSM very well.

However, if you are concerned about sulfur sensitivity, start with a small amount of MSM and slowly increase your intake under the supervision of your doctor. Taking 100 mcg of molybdenum with MSM helps you metabolize MSM more effectively.

After I started taking MSM, I got a headache. Is it because of MSM?

This is not very common, but it can happen. First, the sulfur in MSM accelerates detoxification, the process by which the body rejects cellular waste and metabolic end products.

This "spring cleaning", which is started by MSM, is a health-promoting process. However, if you release toxins too quickly, headaches can occur.

The solution? Stop taking MSM for a few days and then start taking MSM in reduced doses so that your body cleanses more slowly. That way you can detoxify without getting a headache.

Should I take other nutrients with MSM?

Taking a multivitamin with 100 mcg or more molybdenum daily helps to process MSM more effectively. It is also recommended to take a high-quality multivitamin that also contains powerful, natural antioxidants to maximize the benefits of MSM.

How does MSM fight pain?

MSM has many of the effects of DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide). In a 1993 study conducted at Southern Illinois University, researchers found that the transmission of pain impulses was slowed down by low DMSO concentrations.

DMSO inhibits pain impulses in the main nervous system, the C-fibers. C fibers carry pain messages from the damaged tissue to the brain. Other studies have shown that DMSO can even block the central pain response in the brain where the pain is received.

How does MSM fight constipation?

MSM dilates blood vessels to increase blood flow. MSM also appears to be a cholinesterase inhibitor that prevents the excessive flow of nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another. It can restore peristalsis and stop muscle spasms in the gut.

How does MSM fight inflammation?

MSM increases the effectiveness of the naturally occurring, anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol. MSM also prevents the spread of fibroblasts. Excessive amounts of fibroblasts are produced when swelling and lead to scar tissue.

MSM also binds fluid in swollen tissues and helps remove them.

How can MSM help against allergies and respiratory diseases?

MSM blocks histamine receptors. It acts as a bodyguard, which decides outside the cell membrane how much histamine can cause inflammation, swelling and fluid retention.

Why can't I just eat more high sulfur foods instead of taking MSM?

The increased consumption of these foods provides the body with more sulfur, but it does not have the same effect as pure MSM. MSM has many effects that only arise if direct MSM intake is optimized.

MSM caused a rash for me. Should I stop taking it?

The MSM is likely to help you get rid of toxic heavy metals, such as mercury. These metals can cause rashes. You do not have to stop taking MSM. It is helpful to take vitamin C to accelerate the process and minimize the symptoms. You could also reduce the MSM dosage and detoxify more slowly.