You have talked about the benefits of MSM for my arthritis and joint pain. When I looked into it I realized that it is a sulfur based product. I’m allergic to sulfites and also can’t take sulfa drugs. Can you recommend something else I can take for joint pain? We talked about how Glucosamine is not doing the trick.
Thank you! L.M.
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) is one of my favourite things. It benefits a wide range of health problems, both internal and external. The good news is that your sulfite allergy shouldn’t prevent you from taking it and it’s really your best non-pharmaceutical option for joint pain.
MSM is not a sulfite or a sulfa drug. It is a nutrient and a naturally occurring compound in the environment and in the human body. Sulfur is necessary for the structure of every cell in the body. Hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and antioxidants all depend on it. And, because the body utilizes and expends it on a daily basis, sulfur must be continually replenished for optimal nutrition and health.
Sulfa-based drugs, also known as sulfonamides, do not occur naturally and are used as antibiotics. The sulfa molecule is much larger and can cause severe reactions in some individuals. An estimated one million people are sulfite sensitive, in the North America. Most often, they are asthmatic adults and predominantly women. While many people are allergic to sulfa drugs, no similar reactions have ever been reported with MSM. A third sulfur-containing compound, known as sulfites, is a form of preservative that can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. The human body produces sulfites in its normal metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids. Sulfur compounds have been used for more than three hundred years and are generally considered safe.
MSM does not contain sulfites and should not cause a reaction in sulfite-sensitive individuals.
Where It Comes From MSM originates in the ocean and reaches the human food chain through rainfall. It is the prime source of bio-available sulfur, which is lost from our food by processing, drying, cooking and preserving.
Pure forms will dissolve quickly in water, when used in the powder form. If it doesn’t, your MSM is probably cut with some form of filler such as cornstarch, rice flour, sugar, or herbals. If you mix the MSM clear, with no sediment on the bottom of the glass, no particles floating at the top and no cloudy look to the water itself. Any filler added to the MSM reduces the overall dosage and therefore its effectiveness.
Why It’s Important:
MSM is an important nutrient (not a drug or medicine) and is a component of over 150 compounds. It is needed by the body for healthy connective tissues and joint function, proper enzyme activity and hormone balance, along with the proper function of the immune system.
MSM is non-allergenic, non-pyretic, and has no interfering or undesirable pharmacological effects. Because it is also a free radical and foreign protein scavenger, MSM cleans the blood stream, so allergies to foods or pollens can be eliminated, sometimes in just a few days.
Research suggests that you cannot overdose with MSM - the body will use what it needs and flush out the rest without harm.
Here are some additional benefits that MSM provides:
Speeds Healing Clinical research studies show that MSM speeds healing of musculoskeletal injuries and inflammation, broken bones and reduces post workout muscle pain.
Chronic Heartburn and Ulcers MSM will allow patients with peptic ulcers and chronic heartburn to experience fewer symptoms.
Cancer Research studies done on laboratory rats, at the Oregon Health Science University and Ohio State University, have shown that MSM slows the development of mammary and colon tumors. It had also shown to delay the onset of the cancerous tumors.
Joint Inflammation For conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, fibromyagia that promote joint pain and inflammation, MSM is a non pharmaceutical supplement prescribed to significantly reduce symptoms.
Stress When taking MSM people have reported to feel less depressed, as well as diminished symptoms of S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), mostly due to the boost in energy it provides. MSM reduces the stress from chronic pain as it provides pain relief.
Pain Relief MSM taken orally can relieve pain and inflammation, causing less soreness in the injured tissues. Using MSM also as a topical will give even more pain relief as the MSM is absorbed directly into the injured area.
Allergy Relief MSM gives fast relief for pollen allergies commonly known as "hay fever". MSM may be as effective as any anti-histamine on the market.
Periodontal Conditions MSM can lessen the inflammation caused by plaque activity. You can make your own mouth wash rinse by adding 1 teaspoon of msm powder to a cup of water (room temperature) and holding it in your mouth for a minute or so. This will help to relieve the pain and inflammation of the infected area. You can also brush with it to whiten your teeth.
Multiple Sclerosis MSM does not have a whole lot of effect on MS, but it will reduce the amount of pain in the joints and muscle tissue. It will also make sufferers feel less tired by giving a bump in energy level.
Natural Detox MSM has been known to pull mercury out of cells and is recommended for those who eat fish more than once a week. It reduces the occurrence of “fish brain”, a new condition developed from increased mercury ingestion. It helps restore healthy cell function after any type of bacterial infection and draws parasites out of the intestines.
Due to its ability to regulate body temperature and improve cell function, MSM is recommended is used in small doses to improve symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances.
Candida/Yeast This organism belongs in the large intestine, where it co-exists with acidophilous and prevents the take-over of harmful bacteria. When acidophilous is damaged or eliminated by antibiotic use, Candida can overgrow to the extent that it becomes "systemic", i.e. gets into the blood stream, where it competes for nutrients and emits waste materials that produce myriad symptoms of disease. MSM, by balancing the pH of the blood stream and tissues of the body, prevents Candida from living anywhere outside the intestines, where it belongs.
Ulcers Ulcers can be life threatening. See a physician. Ulcers caused by too much stomach acid can be reversed by MSM supplementation.
Lung Dysfunction Emphysema is not always caused by smoking. Horses and dogs get emphysema, and they don't smoke (at least they’ve never been caught). It is a deficiency of MSM that causes this and supplementation can reverse it.
Wow, is there anything wrong with this stuff?? Apparently not…
Safety There have been over 30 years worth of research studies done at the Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon, as well as numerous other research facilities. The have determined that the LD-50 rating (lethal dose) of MSM is comparable to that of water.
There are no known drug interactions with MSM, however if you are on any medications it’s important to check with your doctor first.
Side Effects MSM will cause your hair and fingernails to grow at a faster rate, reduce eye puffiness, wrinkles, strengthen bones, improve skin tone, reduce photosensitivity and improve circulation. Sign me up!
Recommended Dosages Nutritionists recommend a daily intake of 1 to 20 grams a day, depending on the purpose for use. This is equal to about 1/4 to five level teaspoons. MSM can be taken in higher doses (21 to 40 grams) but only under a doctor's supervision, due to its blood-thinning effects.
Capsules Versus Powder Powder is absorbed more quickly and easily than capsules. There’s no gelatin to breakdown with powder alone and it’s easier to take if you require more of it for a particular condition. Better results are achieved from taking MSM in the powder form rather in the capsule form for more serious conditions listed above, in part because larger doses are required. The powder can be dissolved in water and consumed over a 12 hour period. It’s also the most cost effective. Don’t take it too close to bedtime; it will affect your ability to sleep. Remember it’s an energy booster.
For general health, 1000-3000 mg. a day is the daily recommended dose (unless you cannot take anything with blood thinning properties). If you have a condition that requires more, please consult with a qualified health practitioner about how much is the right amount for you. Your GP may have never heard of it, but any licensed nutritionist, or naturopathic doctor will have more information to offer.
L.M., I think glucosamine is a great product with so many people seeing great results from it, however its benefits will be improved greatly with the addition of MSM. Glucosamine helps with the rebuilding of cartilage, but MSM deals with inflammation and pain management. There is a combined formula that will help with your joint pain, or you can simply supplement your existing glucosamine dose with MSM powder.
I have never taken glucosamine, however I’ve been taking of MSM since 1984, increasing daily doses depending on what I’ve needed. Initially, I started taking it for natural detoxification and to speed recovery between workouts, but soon afterward I discovered its many other benefits. And, as you can see, there are so many.
Thank you for your question, L.M. Below is some additional reference on MSM.
Beth L. Ley, MSM: Our Way Back To Health With Sulfur; B&L Publications- ISBN -1890766003
Earl L. Mindell, Virginia Hopkins, The Power of MSM; McGraw-Hill Companies-ISBN - 0658014