MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a chemical found in humans, animals, and plants. People turn to MSM to improve their joint, skin, and digestive health. Its beneficial properties lie within the chemical makeup, which includes sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon atoms.
While the public use of MSM is fairly new, scientists and researchers have known about this compound for over 150 years, as it was first discovered by a scientist by the name of Antoine Balard in the early 19th century. Since then, many studies on the benefits of MSM have been conducted, specifically about joint pain in people with arthritis. In addition, because of the benefits and safety of this natural ingredient, it has become very popular in topical products such as creams and gels.
This article will go into detail about the benefits of MSM, including anti-inflammatory, pain relief, joint health, skin health, and digestive health. We will also talk about dosage and possible side effects, as well as precautions when deciding to use MSM. Let’s dive in.
MSM as an Anti-Inflammatory
Explanation of inflammation
Inflammation is a response from the immune system to pathogens like certain bacteria or injuries such as joint injuries or muscle damage. Inflammation can lead to redness, heat, pain, and loss of function, which is why it is important to find a remedy. These can include ice packs and rest alongside natural ingredients such as MSM to target inflammation-producing hormones.
How MSM helps with inflammation
If you find yourself with inflammation because of a hard workout or joint injury, studies show MSM is a promising anti-inflammatory for recovery. It is believed that MSM inhibits a protein complex called NF-kB, which contributes to inflammation. Another way MSM can reduce inflammation is by reducing the amount of cytokine produced, which are signaling proteins that help regulate inflammation in your body. Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, also increases production when MSM enters the body, further contributing to a reduction in inflammation.
Scientific studies on MSM’s anti-inflammatory effects
A group of 40 healthy men participated in a study where one group took MSM and the other group took a placebo after intense exercise sessions. The group who took the MSM reported a reduction in inflammation compared to the placebo group after blood tests. Another study done on mice with ulcers provided evidence of the anti-inflammatory benefits of MSM. By supplementing with MSM, the mice improved their ulcers because of the reduced protein complex NF-kB and increased glutathione levels.
Comparison of MSM to other anti-inflammatory drugs
There are many reasons why you would want to use MSM as an anti-inflammatory versus a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The main reason being MSMs side effects are little to none compared to NSAIDS’ side effects. Side effects of NSAIDs can be stomach aches, stomach ulcers, headaches, drowsiness, and problems with your liver, kidney, and heart. Because MSM has proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory with little to no side effects, NSAIDs seem to become unattractive due to their many downfalls.
MSM for Pain Relief
Explanation of pain
Acute pain is experienced when you go through a trauma like a broken leg or chronically, such as the stresses of life that may lead to lower back pain. You feel pain because of the abundance of neurons spread throughout your body, which send electrical signals up your spinal cord to the part of your brain called the thalamus. The thalamus takes in all sensory information except the sense of smell and passes it on to the correct area of the cerebral cortex. Growing evidence supports MSM as a way to help relieve this pain.
How MSM helps with pain
This natural ingredient specializes in relieving pain and improving function, specifically in osteoarthritis or joint pain. This is because sulfur is the main building block for joints and is a main component in MSM. Once MSM enters the body, it increases the levels of glutathione, which has proven to be beneficial for relieving joint pain and inflammation. Alongside that, it inhibits the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), which, when too much is present, is linked to chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis and the like. MSM’s ability to reduce NF-kB production makes it an effective pain reliever suitable for most aches and pains, especially in the joints.
Scientific studies on MSM’s pain-relieving effects
In a randomized controlled trial containing 49 subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee, the subjects who had taken 3.4 grams of MSM for 12 weeks had reduced pain and improved function compared to the control group. Another study showed that MSM, in combination with boswellic acids, was more effective in relieving pain in the joint than the previous method of joint relief, glucosamine supplementation. The group receiving the MSM and Boswellic acid treatment showed decreased reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs, further proving the effectiveness of MSM and its ability to be enhanced with other natural ingredients.
Comparison of MSM to other pain-relieving drugs
MSM may be a superior choice compared to other pain-relieving drugs like NSAIDs, Ibuprofen, and prescription drugs like oxycodone. Evidence shows MSM is an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory in the joints and muscles with little to no side effects. On the other hand, you may become reliant on prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs, which can have severe side effects when used for long periods of time.
Other Health Benefits of MSM
MSM for Joint Health
MSM contains sulfur, which is an essential building block for your joints. A study done on rats found that when MSM was taken for 13 weeks, the degeneration of the cartilage at the joint surface of the knee joint was reduced compared to the control group. After many studies, MSM is an excellent option for improving the health of your joints.
MSM for Skin Health
By strengthening the protein keratin, MSM may prove healthy for your skin, hair, and nails. Keratin needs sulfur to create healthy skin, hair, and nails. Applying MSM to the skin could increase your keratin’s strength, resulting in healthier skin. A study done on subjects with rosacea showed the topical application of MSM and silymarin on the affected area showed significant improvements in itching, stinging, erythema, and papules compared to the control group in just one month.
MSM for Athletes
If you exercise a lot, whether lifting or running, you may have to take time off your routine to recover from a minor injury or excessive muscle damage. However, growing evidence is showing MSM may allow you to recover faster post-workout. For example, in a study done on marathon runners, each athlete in the MSM group took MSM every day for 21 days before the race. After the race, those who took the MSM reported a much lower joint and muscle pain level than the control group.
MSM Dosage and Safety
Recommended dosage of MSM
Although the optimal dosage is not yet set, a study showed that taking 3 grams of MSM daily for osteoarthritis was effective. However, starting with a small dose at first, then gradually increasing the dosage as needed, is best. Side effects of using MSM for the long term have not been recorded, but 1000 – 3000 mg a day have been proven safe with minimal to no side effects.
Potential side effects and Precautions of MSM
Side effects of MSM, although rare, may include nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach aches. It’s always recommended to stay clear of things you are unfamiliar with, such as MSM if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough evidence to show that MSM is safe for you and your little one.
Overall, MSM is an awesome natural ingredient that can improve joint health, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation. It is very popular among athletes due to its ability to decrease the recovery time post-workout. MSM may also be beneficial for skin, hair, and nail health by strengthening the protein keratin. MSM appears to be safe and beneficial for athletes and those with joint pain