encyclopedia

MSM

Natural Sources:
Milk, coffee, tea and green vegetables.

Forms:
Standardized MSM supplements including powders, capsules and tablets.

Therapeutic Uses:
– AIDS

– Allergies

– Anti-inflammatory

– Arthritic Pain Relief

– Athletic Injuries

– Bladder Health Maintenance

– Bone and Joint Pain

– Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

– Cellular Regeneration

– Hair Health

– Headaches (chronic)

– Fibromyalgia

– Heartburn

– Lower Back Pain

– Mood Disorders

– Muscle Pain

– Nail Health

– Pain

– Rheumatism

– Sugar Control

– Tendinitis

– Vascular Disorders

Overview:
MSM, methylsulfonylmethane, is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in our bodies, as well as in many common beverages and foods, including milk, coffee, tea and green vegetables. MSM products are nutritional supplements used to supply the body with biologically-active sulfur and are considered a safe, non-toxic way to help ease the pain of arthritis. MSM is reported by doctors to be so effective for pain relief that they are able to lower the dosage of other pain medications they prescribe for patients and sometimes they are even able to discontinue regular medications. Based on a double-blind study of patients with proven degenerative joint disease, it was shown that those who took 2250 milligrams of Lignisul MSM daily for six weeks reported an 82 percent average improvement in pain relief, compared to an 18 percent improvement reported by patients receiving the placebo treatment. Those taking MSM for arthritic pain relief often also notice improvement in the health of their hair and nails. In two recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot trials, oral supplementation with Lignisul MSM significantly improved hair and nail growth within a short term of six weeks. Based on peer-reviewed research, MSM may also be effective for the treatment of allergy, pain syndromes, athletic injuries, and bladder disorders. It is thought that MSM is therapeutic due to the essential nature of sulfur in the diet. Sulfur is the sixth most abundant macro-mineral in breast milk and the third most abundant mineral based on percentage of total body weight. MSM’s parent compound, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), has been shown to have clinical applications in the treatment of pain, head trauma, scleroderma, interstitial cystitis, rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, retransformation of cancer cells and Alzheimer’s disease. MSM’s relatives, glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate and reduced glutathione have also demonstrated therapeutic activity for treating many other degenerative diseases.

Chemistry:
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a volatile component in the sulfur cycle, is a source of sulfur found in the human diet. Sulfur-containing amino acids (SAAs) found within the human body are methionine, cysteine, cystine, homocysteine, homocystine, and taurine. Increases in serum sulfate may explain some of the therapeutic effects of MSM and glucosamine sulfate.

Suggested Amount:
The recommended dosage of MSM is between 2 to 3 grams (2,000 to 3,000 milligrams) daily. For general maintenance of good health, a dosage of around 2 grams is usually recommended. Higher dosages are typically necessary for therapeutic treatment of allergies (3 grams daily) or severe, deep-seated conditions. MSM may be indicated for vegan athletes, children, or patients with HIV, because of an increased risk for a deficiency in sulfur-containing amino acids in these groups. New Canadian government regulations indicate that MSM should not be taken with a daily dosage of greater than 3000mg (3 grams daily) and the suggested duration of use should not be greater than 30 days.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
None known.

Side Effects:

Studies show that MSM supplementation of 2,600 mg/day for 30 days produced few side effects. MSM, however, may trigger allergic reaction. In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was used to detect and quantify MSM in the brains of four patients with memory loss and in three normal volunteers all of who had ingested MSM at the recommended doses of 1-3 g daily. MSM was detected in all subjects at concentrations of 0.42-3.40 mmole/kg brain and was equally distributed between gray and white matter. MSM was undetectable in drug-naive normal subjects (N=25), patients screened for ‘toxic exposure’ (N=50) or patients examined with 1H MRS for the diagnosis of probable Alzheimer Disease (N=520) between 1991 and 2001. No adverse clinical or neurochemical effects were observed. Appearance of MSM in significant concentrations in the human brain indicates ready transfer across the intact blood-brain barrier.

References:

Barrager E, Veltmann JR Jr, Schauss AG, Schiller RN. 2002. A multicentered, open-label trial on the safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr; 8(2): 167-73.

Jacob, S.W., M.D., R. M. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D. and M. Zucker 1999. The Miracle of MSM, The Natural Solution for Pain. Publ. By G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publishers since 838 a member of Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. Pp. 1-245.

Lin A, Nguy CH, Shic F, Ross BD. 2001. Accumulation of methylsulfonylmethane in the human brain: identification by multinuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Toxicol Lett. 2001 Sep 15; 123(2-3): 169-77.

Parcell, S. 2002. Sulfur in human nutrition and applications in medicine. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Feb; 7(1): 22-44. Review.

Rogovin JL. 2002. Accumulation of methylsulfonylmethane in the human brain: identification by multinuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Toxicol Lett. 2002 Mar 28; 129(3): 263; discussion 265.

Additional Information:

Positive Clinical Results for Treating Allergies:

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) affects more than 23 million Americans annually, and current epidemiologic studies indicate that its prevalence within the United States is increasing. Numerous clinical observations and case studies have led researchers to hypothesize that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) may help ameliorate the symptoms associated with SAR. OBJECTIVE: The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of MSM in the reduction of SAR-associated symptoms. This study also examined possible adverse reactions associated with methylsulfonylmethane supplementation. Finally, this study attempted to elucidate the method of action by which MSM elicits its effect on allergy symptoms. DESIGN: Fifty-five (55) subjects were recruited for the study. All met the criteria for participation in the study. 50 subjects completed the study. Those subjects completing the study consumed 2,600 mg of MSM orally per day for 30 days. Clinical respiratory symptoms and energy levels were evaluated by a Seasonal Allergy Symptom Questionnaire (SASQ) at baseline and on days 7, 14, 21, and 30. Immune and inflammatory reactions were measured by plasma immunoglobulin E (IgE) and C-reactive protein at baseline and on day 30. An additional inflammatory biomarker, plasma histamine, was measured in a subset of subjects (n = 5). RESULTS: Day 7 upper and total respiratory symptoms were reduced significantly from baseline (p < 0.01 and p < 0.005, respectively). Lower respiratory symptoms were significantly improved from baseline by week 3 (p < 0.001). All respiratory improvements were maintained through the 30-day visit. Energy levels increased significantly by day 14 (p < 0.0001); this increase continued through day 30. No significant changes were observed in plasma IgE or histamine levels. The results of this study are promising. It would be worthwhile to conduct a larger, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to establish further if MSM would be a useful agent in the treatment of symptoms associated with SAR. CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that MSM supplementation of 2,600 mg/day for 30 days may be efficacious in the reduction of symptoms associated with SAR. Furthermore, few side effects are associated with the use of this compound. Recent acute and subacute chronic toxicologic data on the same source of MSM as used in this study, further validate the safety of this product.