MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) is a naturally occurring sulphur compound that is found in all vertebrates (including humans) and is highly effective in not only improving joint health and hair health but also in reducing pain relief significantly. It does this predominantly by reducing inflammation within the body.
How sulphur is absorbed into the diet is very interesting. MSM gets into the diet through the sulphur cycle. Plankton from the ocean will release sulphur compounds into the ozone and the ultra violet light will proceed to make MSM and its precursor DMSO.
These nutrients will then be returned to the earth’s surface in the form of rain. When we eat the plants or the animals that have absorbed the MSM, the benefits begin to unfold.
MSM is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reliever) which has been most known for its effect on joint health, pain management, hair health and skin health.
As most conditions are caused from inflammation, MSM is highly effective at putting a stop to and/or helping to treat these common issues.
A deficiency in MSM has been shown to result in the following:
- Low Energy;
- Chronic Pain;
- Low resistance to Stress;
- Tissue and Organ Malfunction;
- Unhealthy Hair and Skin;
- Low Immunity.
A deficiency has also been shown to contribute to many conditions (see chapter 2 for further information on each of them), some of which include:
- Diabetes; and
As with any nutrient, it is always preferable to get it from naturally occurring food sources before taking supplementation. Unfortunately this is not so easy when it comes to sulphur.
The foods richest in sulphur are those which we tend to not consume very much of in today’s society, such as collagen or keratin.
However, Paleo is possibly one plan that would promote enough sulphur in the diet, as long as it is a paleo diet that emphasises the quality of the foods as opposed to just the type of food.
If you ever sat in the kitchen while your grandmother was making homemade chicken soup (as I did) or you remember your mum coming in with a nice pot of homemade chicken soup when you were sick (which I also did) then you would have been exposed to bone broth at some point in your life.
Bone broth is basically as the name implies. It is the boiling down of bones until all of the collagen and minerals seep into the water and then you drink it. It is absolutely delicious and so good for you.
One of the best sources of sulphur in our diet would be from the connective tissues in the bones of grass fed and free range animals and therefore boiling down some bones into a bone broth and drinking the broth regularly could provide you with almost enough sulphur to promote optimal health.
The sulphur in the bones, as well as the amino acids proline and glycine are some of the components that make bone broth so great… So to get you started with implementing MSM into your diet, how about I give you a bone broth recipe that you can get started using today…
Bone Broth Recipe
1 kg or more of beef bones from grass fed cows;
2 chicken feet if possible (just gives that extra bit of gelatin);
3 stalks of celery and any celery leaves you have;
2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar;
1 tbsp. Celtic Sea Salt;
Any herbs of choice.
- Roast the beef bones in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
- Place the bones in a large stock pot and pour filtered water over the bones and add the vinegar.
- Let this solution sit for about 30 minutes or so as the acid from the vinegar will help to make the nutrients more available.
- Roughly chop and add the vegetables to the pot and add any herbs and spices you are going to use.
- Bring this broth to a boil. Once it has come to a vigorous boil bring it back down to a simmer. To simmer beef broth leave it for 48 hours and for chicken broth leave it for 24 hours.
- Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- With a metal strainer, strain out all of the bones and vegetables.
- When cool enough, store in a large glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze until needed.
MSM is in virtually all raw foods and is found in decent quantities in green leafy vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and kale. It is also found in garlic, onions and asparagus.
However, although vegetables can contain a significant amount of MSM, it should not be your primary source due to the poor amounts of sulphur in the soil that these vegetables are grown in.
Eggs, Meat, Poultry, Fish and Milk are all a much more reliable source of MSM than Raw Foods.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, as mentioned above, the richest source of sulphur is found in collagen and keratin and in modern society we seem to not consume too much of these. However, thanks to more real food advocates they are becoming much better known, especially in the form of bone broths.
Secondly, MSM is lost significantly when the food is processed. Cooking, drying and steaming food depletes the MSM content, as does washing our food and storing it for a long period of time.
So, as you can see it is very difficult to get a sufficient quantity of MSM into your diet without a little additional supplementation, especially if you are wanting to receive therapeutic doses.
MSM is able to be found in capsules, crystals, flakes, powders, tablets, lotions and gels. I prefer to use the crystals or flakes when I take it internally as it gets absorbed a lot quicker than tablets and capsules. I use lotions and gels when I require it to be absorbed through the skin (as is the case with muscle pains). If you would like to learn how to make your own lotions and gels you can go to the recipes section at the back of the book.
Vitamin C (Overall Health, Cell Regeneration)
The number one nutrient that has been shown to work extremely well alongside MSM is that of Vitamin C. In fact by combining MSM and Vitamin C together, they work synergistically to provide the benefits listed in the upcoming chapters.
When MSM is taken alongside Vitamin C you will notice particular benefits:
o helps the body to build new cells;
o helps reduce scar tissue and wrinkles, and helps keep the skin more elastic.
o helps the hair and nails grow stronger and faster.
Glutamine (Athletic Performance, Antioxidant Capabilities)
When used alongside MSM this nutrient is a great recovery workout combination. L-Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid found in skeletal muscle tissue and blood and may significantly aid in muscle recuperation as well as overall immune function.
Just like MSM, Glutamine (when taken orally or intravenously) has been shown to raise the body’s natural antioxidant glutathione.
Glucosamine (Arthritis and Joint Health)
When taken with MSM, this supplement has been shown to provide double the joint comfort relief than either of them alone. Previously you would find most arthritis supplements would contain Glucosamine and Chondroitin alone. However, since MSM has now been recognised as essential for joint health they have started adding that too.
Because of the fact that Chondroitin is so expensive studies have actually been done to test Glucosamine and MSM alone and have found some amazing results. This makes the supplement a lot cheaper for the user. To read up on this study, check out the section on “Arthritis”.
As MSM is not stored in the body, a fresh supply is needed to prevent any further deficiencies developing. As you age your MSM concentrations also decrease so your requirement for it will be a lot higher.
It is important to start off slowly when taking MSM and gradually increase your dosage, so as to minimise any digestive complaints that might appear. So as to minimise the chance of heartburn, take MSM with your meals.
A single dose of MSM will not be a cure all but taken over time on a daily basis you will be able to start experiencing the amazing benefits of this nutrient.
A good way of increasing your supplementation is by incorporating the following tiers – although everybody is different so you will just have to experiment yourself.
Start off by taking 500mg per day and take this dosage for a week.
Increase the dosage to 1000mg (1g) per day and take this dosage for a week.
Every day add on another 500mg per day until you reach 10000mg (10g).
Once you have been taking 10g per day for a couple of weeks and have made up for the years of deficiency then start to reduce it to a maintenance level.
For most people the maintenance level will be about 4-8g per day.
Note: Make sure you drink plenty of water when starting on MSM and/or when increasing your dosage of MSM. Also ensure that you do not use tap water with the MSM as the chlorine in it can cancel the effectiveness of the MSM.
MSM has been found to be safe with minimal reported adverse effects, even at very large doses. The only effects that have been reported (on minimal occasions) are loose stools, stomach upset or skin rashes, which could indicate a slight allergy to the product but these symptoms will disappear once you have stopped taking the MSM.
In fact there have been numerous studies done showing that MSM is Non Toxic even at very large doses.
Research (1) – Non Toxic for Pregnant Females even at extremely high amounts of 1000mg/kg/day (Animal Study)
This study split the pregnant rats into 4 separate groups and were administered a variety of different dosages. There was no evidence of maternal toxicity and no significant differences in the litter viability, litter size or litter body weight upon testing. There were no foetal abnormalities seen in the MSM treated group or in any of the foetuses. Therefore the non-observed adverse effect level for both maternal and developmental toxicity was 1000mg/day.
Please note that this study was done in rats and although the animal studies are generally very accurate and MSM is seen as extremely non-toxic for both the pregnant female and the foetus, it is still wise to either administer it at reasonably low doses (1-3g per day) and/or do it under the supervision of a practitioner.
Research (2) – MSM has very low toxicity (Animal Study)
In this study they split the mice up into separate groups. One group was given a single dose of 2.5g per kg body weight, one group was given a single dose of 5.0g per kg body weight and the other group was given up to 10g/kg body weight over a period of 90 days. They found that with these numbers there was no toxic effects.
When you first start taking MSM you may experience some detox symptoms which may make you want to stop taking it. But that could be a big mistake. The symptoms you experience can range from mild flu-like symptoms to more severe symptoms.
If the symptoms are not too severe try to tough it out for a few days and make sure you drink plenty of water. However, if you find the symptoms are too severe, try tiering the dosage down and take some hot baths to make you sweat more and therefore make the detoxification process go a lot quicker. Soaking in some Epsom salts is also a good idea.
More information on how MSM can help with detoxification can be found here…
MSM is extremely safe for most individuals and is actually about as toxic as water. However if you have kidney issues or kidney disease it may be an idea to check with your practitioner prior to taking this supplementation.
If you are taking high doses of aspirin or blood thinning medications such as heparin or dicumarol it is advisable to check with your physician prior to taking MSM. This is because it has been observed in some clinical settings that it may have a blood thinning aspirin like effect on platelet aggregation.
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