What is MSM?
MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is an organic compound containing sulfur, which has been used for improving the functions of the immune system, lowering inflammation caused in the body, and restoring healthy tissue.
MSM has biologically-active sulfur, which is the fourth most plentiful mineral present in the body and required for carrying out various critical functions in the body every day. MSM is called a miracle supplement for all the things it does to the body.
How does it work?
MSM supplements are useful in supplying extra sulfur to the body. This assists in the creation of methionine, which is helpful in various body processes such as the formation of connective tissue, absorption of nutrients, and metabolizing of food. MSM is itself a byproduct of dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO. The medicinal properties are also very much similar to those of DMSO.
Basically, DMSO gets converted in the body into MSM. MSM stays in the body for a longer period of time than DMSO, which allows for MSM to have a longer-lasting impact on various bodily functions. Our ancestors had a diet that automatically provided them with sulfur in higher amounts. Sulfur is known to be found in vegetables, various types of fruits, and animal parts, but today, people do not always include fresh fruits and a variety of vegetables in their diets, thus leading to low amounts of sulfur in the body.
A certain amount of sulfur is naturally present in the human body. However, this level starts to deplete as one grows older, when one has a low-nutrient diet, and and when there is an increase in stress levels. There are a variety of whole foods that are rich sources of sulfur, such as the cruciferous vegetables cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts among the others. But the natural form of sulfur in these gets destroyed when they are processed or cooked at high temperatures.
When it comes to MSM in the human body, it has been found in the adrenal cortex, which can be described as a part of the hormonal system that is known to regulate stress response. Apart from the adrenal cortex, MSM is also stored in the cerebrospinal fluid, which is known to maintain normal connective tissue structure.
Among the most common benefits attributed to MSM supplements are that they help in speeding up healing and in detoxifying the body. It does these by improving how chemicals enter as well as leave cells. Cells become more porous due to MSM, thus leading to the release of any build-up of minerals, toxins, and waste that could lead to problems.
MSM supplement use is linked to a healthier immune system, pain reduction, and the counteracting of certain byproducts that could lead to the body feeling sore, stiff, and lacking in flexibility. This is one of the reasons why many athletes or sportspersons go for MSM supplementation, as it helps them stay active, improves their recovery time, and helps them maintain healthy muscles and joints. Also, due to its role in the production of glutathione, MSM is considered a master antioxidant.
Benefits of MSM Supplements
MSM is most commonly used topically, that is, applied on the skin, but the compound can also be taken orally. MSM is a popular addition to anti-arthritis diets and in the treatment of osteoarthritis. It is used in degenerative joint disease because of its help in forming connective tissue, and also in repairing the joints, ligaments, and tendons.
Below is a detailed list of the benefits provided by MSM supplements:
Provides relief from leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues:
MSM helps rebuild the lining of the digestive tract and also helps ease allergic reactions or inflammation caused by certain types of food. It has also been largely used for treating leaky gut syndrome, because it helps stop unwanted particles from moving out of the gut through a small junction opening through which they enter the bloodstream and cause an inflammatory response.
The presence of sulfur in MSM makes it an important aid to digestion. Also, MSM supplements are known to help in the treatment of hemorrhoids. If there is any swelling due to hemorrhoids, one can apply a gel containing MSM, along with few drops of tea tree oil. This will help reduce the swelling of blood vessels of the rectum, which makes it hard for one to go to the bathroom and also causes a lot of pain and bleeding.
Helps in treating joint pain and osteoarthritis:
Studies have shown that MSM has proved helpful in reducing pain in the joints due to inflammation. MSM is necessary for collagen production, and improved collagen production helps improve flexibility. Patients who had been suffering from joint pain, arthritis, back problems, stiffness, and knee-related issues along with a limited range of motion confirmed that after starting MSM supplementation, they started to notice a reduction of their symptoms, leading to a great improvement in their quality of life.
MSM supplements are also proving beneficial in the formation of new joint and muscle tissue, along with lowering the joints' and muscles' inflammatory response, which is known to exacerbate existing issues of stiffness and swelling. MSM is considered a safe and natural anti-inflammatory remedy. This is because sulfur is known to impact the immune system and facilitate normal cellular activity. Sulfur is very important for our body since it is required for cells to be able to release many of the byproducts and excess fluids that tend to accumulate and cause tenderness or swelling. When combined with glucosamine, MSM acts as an excellent natural treatment for arthritis.
Assists in skin repair and treating skin problems:
Studies suggest that the application of creams containing MSM and silymarin help in lowering inflammation that usually accompanies skin problems such as allergies, skin discoloration, and rosacea. MSM also helps improve skin tone and texture, ease skin sensitivity, reduces redness and swelling, and treats other symptoms linked to rosacea. It also helps wounds heal faster.
People also use MSM supplements for maintaining their skin's youthful appearance of the skin, since MSM is known to delay the signs of aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. However, a thorough anti-aging study of MSM has yet to be done, but certain studies have proved some of its anti-aging effects. These studies have stated that MSM is necessary for the production of collagen, and collagen is something that prevents the skin from sagging, getting dry and cracked, and forming wrinkles.
MSM is known to preserve the collagen and keratin available in the body, and sulfur from MSM is a must for the production of these two youth-promoting compounds. As we age, our body tends to produce less collagen, which is the main reason why skin tone and elasticity suffer. Furthermore, combining MSM with other antioxidants provides even better results. Antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin C all help build new and healthy skin cells.
Reduces pain and spasms in the muscles:
For individuals who are very active but suffer from muscle pain, taking MSM will help since it acts as a natural analgesic that helps treat as well as prevent muscle pain, improve mobility, and also reduce swelling.
MSM supplements are known to help in muscle recovery after strenuous activities such as exercise. It also works post-injury and post-surgery. The benefits double up when MSM is used in combination with other anti-inflammatory drugs. Sulfur plays a major role in stopping muscle pain. Sulfur is stored in great amounts in the tissue that makes up joints and muscles.
MSM supplements help repair those rigid fibrous tissue cells that are present in muscles and that tend to break down during exercise, thus shortening the duration of any swelling. MSM also restores the permeability as well as flexibility of the cell walls present within the muscles. This means that nutrients can easily pass through the tissue, resulting in faster repair work along with the removal of lactic acid, which is what causes the burning feeling in muscles post-exercise. As a result, one needs less recovery time after exercise. In addition, it also leads to a reduction in cramping and any kind of soreness.
Helps in restoring hair growth:
It is always a feeling of great dismay and discomfort to see one's hair grow thin as one ages or because of stress. There is good news for individuals who are struggling with baldness or hair thinning problems. MSM supplements are known to boost collagen production as well as the levels of keratin in the body. These two important nutrients are essential to the formation of new stands of hair.
Collagen and keratin are often found in various hair products and treatments, since they are the proteins that form and strengthen hair strands and make them look healthy and shiny. Thus, they help in hair loss problems. MSM also helps rebuild skin cells and strengthen the nails.
Makes one's body more adaptive to stress:
MSM works in a similar way to adaptogenic herbs, helping the body deal with stress. MSM helps boost the body’s ability to heal itself and quickly bounce back from exercise, any kind of stressful event, surgery, or injury. Individuals who take MSM supplements prior to exercise complain less about muscle pain and other markers of stress. The supplement is also known to reduce the fatigue experienced after undergoing a stressful event and helps improve mood and boosts one's energy.
Acts as a natural energy booster:
MSM increases the permeability of cells present in the body. Due to the increase in permeability, cells need less energy to fight toxins accumulated in the body. Also, due to the detoxification promoted by MSM, the body can more easily absorb nutrients. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in the amount of energy spent on the digestion of food.
Other benefits of MSM supplements are mentioned below:
- Maintain proper pH levels in the body
- Very useful in certain medical conditions such as asthma
- Reduce the symptoms due to allergies and also tend to keep allergies at bay
- When MSM is diluted in water and drunk, it can reduce snoring issues to a great extent.
- Help in healing carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tend to reduce overall stress
- Maintain blood sugar levels in the body
- Cure certain gastrointestinal problems such as hyperacidity, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea