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MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)

[Excerpts from "The MSM Miracle..."]
[MSM study in degenerative arthritis]
[MSM in the treatment of athletic injuries]
[MSM natural sources | MSM dosage | MSM Safety | References]

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound that plays a crucial role in forming muscles, nails, hair and skin as well as building healthy cells. Research shows MSM is necessary for maintaining the health of connective tissue and is also beneficial in maintaining healthy collagen, which bonds tissues together. Collagen is necessary for maintaining the strength of cartilage, tendons and ligaments. MSM has been found to promote joint mobility and when combined with Glucosamine Sulfate, offers a powerful formula for joint health. Recent studies show that MSM offers a natural way to help promote joint comfort.

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) was first discovered in the late 1970's by researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. MSM is a metabolite of DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide). By 1965, more than one thousand five hundred studies had been conducted on DMSO involving about one hundred thousand patients. DMSO is used for a host of problems, primarily musculoskeletal inflammatory conditions.1

Many years of clinical use at Oregon Health Sciences University has demonstrated that MSM provides the following pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits without serious side effects:

  • MSM inhibits pain impulses along nerve fibers (analgesia)
  • MSM lessens inflammation
  • MSM increases blood supply
  • MSM reduces muscle spasm
  • MSM aids in the softening of scar tissue

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Excerpts from the book "The MSM Miracle, Enhance your health with organic sulfur" by Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph.,Phd.

"MSM is a dietary element derived from many raw foods... MSM is neither a medicine nor a drug. MSM is a member of the sulfur family but should never be confused with sulfa drugs, to which some people are allergic. MSM has been used as a dietary supplement for several years. Acute, intermediate and long term studies indicate that MSM exhibits very low toxicity no matter how it is administered. How low? MSMs profile is similar to that of water! Within limits you cannot overdose with MSM because the body will take and use whatever it needs, and after a 12-hour period flush any excess amounts from the body.

"Sulfur is highly important. Approximately half of the total body sulfur is concentrated in the muscles, skin and bones. Sulfur is necessary for making collagen, the primary constituent of cartilage and connective tissue. It is responsible for the formation of body proteins through the formation of disulfide bonds, which hold connective tissue together.

"MSM has been shown to add flexibility to cell walls while allowing fluids to pass through the tissue more easily. MSM enhances tissue pliability and encourages the repair of damaged skin."2

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MSM Study in Degenerative Arthritis
A double blind study of MSMs use in degenerative arthritis by R.M. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D. at the U.C.L.A. School of Medicine was performed in 1997. The study initially evaluated 16 patients suffering from degenerative arthritis as to the effect of using (Liginsul brand) MSM to control their pain. Eight patients, randomly chosen, were treated with 2250 mgms of MSM per day. Six patients received placebo capsules.

Results indicate a better than 80 percent control of pain within six weeks for those patients using MSM, while only two patients showed a minimal improvement (less than 20 percent) on the placebo. Although this was only a simple preliminary MSM study, it appears that a more intensive investigation of MSM is warranted. A larger group of arthritic patients and additional measurement evaluation (such as range of motion, etc.) should be utilized in such a future MSM study. MSM may offer a significant new nutritional substance for the control of arthritic pain as a safe, non-toxic method.3

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MSM in the Treatment of Athletic Injuries

Another MSM study at the UCLA Medical center by R. M. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., D. Sanchez, D.C., C.C.S.P., and Mark Grosman, D.C. evaluated twenty-four subjects (both male and female) seen in a clinical office setting. The subjects suffered from acute injuries (under 30 days) sustained during the course of athletic endeavor. The patient's were selected on a random basis to receive either a placebo or MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) in addition to routine chiropractic manipulation, ultrasound and muscle stimulation at each visit. All patients were treated with similar therapy and all patients received unmarked capsules of either a placebo or MSM. Patients were discharged from care once all their symptoms were resolved.

Of the twelve patients who received placebo, four of the twelve graded their results as excellent or good. While of the twelve patients on MSM, seven of the twelve graded their symptom reduction as excellent or good. This represented a 58.3% symptom reduction on MSM, versus 33.3% on placebo. Of greater significance, however, was the fact that patients on MSM had 3.25 visits on an average, while those on placebo had 5.25 visits. This means that patients on MSM had 40% fewer visits to the office before reaching a recovery phase and their recovery was rated better. This represents sizable economic advantage, as well as less time in pain.4

The MSM study results discuss the chemical nature of MSM, the possible mechanisms involved in treatment of such sports injuries and the implications for future usage of MSM, a phytonutrient for the treatment of short-term athletic injuries.4

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MSM Natural Sources
Methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in the human body as well as in many common beverages and foods, including milk, coffee, tea and green vegetables. In its purified chemical form, MSM is an odorless, essentially tasteless, white, water soluble crystalline solid. MSM is one of the least toxic substances in biology, similar in toxicity to water.

MSM is a relative to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), a unique therapeutic agent used worldwide in the treatment of many painful and inflammatory conditions. MSM has many of DMSO's properties, but without the oyster-like odor and other side effects.

Naturally occurring sulfur, such as that found in MSM, is not similar to inorganic sulfides, sulfites and sulfates to which many people are allergic.

Dietary MSM comes from fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, meats, seafood, and milk. Processing or cooking of these products, however, destroys or greatly reduces actual MSM content. MSM researcher Robert Hershcler says: "MSM is shy, evasive and escape-prone. While present naturally when food is very fresh, it can be driven out of any food by even moderate processing. People, generally speaking, will be sulfur-deficient unless they eat their fish and meat raw and their vegetables unwashed and uncooked." MSM levels in humans decline with age, resulting in symptoms of fatigue, tissue and organ malfunction, and increased susceptibility to disease.5

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MSM Dosage
To be effective therapeutically, MSM should be taken frequently, ideally, every day. Researchers have generally used daily MSM dosages of between 250 mg and 750 mg. In severe cases, up to 5,000 mg. MSM per day have been used without side effects.

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MSM Safety
MSM appears to be non-toxic, non-allergenic, and does not interfere or interact with any other types of pharmaceutical medicines.6

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  1. Jacob, S. W., ed. Biological Actions of Dimethyl Sulfoxide, Volume 243. New York New York Academy of Sciences, 1975.
  2. Mindell EL. The MSM Miracle, Enhance your health with organic sulfur"
  3. Lawrence, R.M. "Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): A double-blind study of its use in Degenerative arthritis." International Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, Summer 1998, I (I);50.
  4. Lawrence, RM, Sanchez D, Grosman M. Lignisul MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) in the treatment of acute athletic injuries. UCLA Medical Archives.
  5. Jacob, Stanley, and Robert Herschler. Pharmacology of DMSO: Crybiology, 1986.
  6. Jacob, S.W. and Herschler, R., Ann NY Acad Sci, Vol. 411, pxii 1983

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