Most of us will experience tell tale signs of wear and tear as a result of trying to get the most out of life. You no longer leap out of bed or chair in a sprightly fashion as your joints just don't want to move that fast! You don't seem to have the same energy you once had and aches and pains seem to crop up a bit too often.
You know the knock of Arthur-itis at your door. So is there a way to change this situation and restore some of what's been lost?
Sulphur is one of the basic elements of all life forms and is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body.
Without sufficient sulphur in the body, muscles/tendons start to harden, tissues become less permeable, acid/alkali balance is distorted, biochemical reactions start to break down bringing a decrease in available energy. There is less resistance to allergens, connective tissue/ joints are weakened and inflammation takes hold.
Doctor Stanley Jacobs - professor of surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University - spent 20 years using MSM - MethylSulphonylMethane - as a supplement on his patients and in clinical trials. He documented the findings in his book "the Miracle of MSM" and was able to list many benefits (grouped here as too many to list separately):
- Pain / inflammation relief / fibromyalgia
- Reduces muscle cramping /spasms/TMJ problems
- All issues of tendons, ligaments; carpal tunnel syndrome; joint flexibility
- Wear-and-tear arthritis / osteoarthritis / osteoporosis improvements
- Toxin elimination / energy levels / concentration / cellular health
- Improved skin - acne, rosacea, scar tissue/collagen synthesis/hair & nails
- Gastro-intestinal ailments / digestive disorders / heartburn
- Has normalising effect on some auto-immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis / Lupus / scleroderma
- Precursor to Glutathione so aids detoxing and relief from allergies
MSM occurs naturally in humans, animals, plants and trees. but it seems that todays food chain / eating habits have led to a decline in consumption. Add to that the increased stress levels of this modern age leading inevitably to a disturbance in human equilibrium and we have reduced MSM levels in the body.
What is the supplement MSM made from?
All MSM is made by mixing DMS (DiMethylSulfide) with Nitrogen Tetroxide to form DMSO (DiMethyl Sulfoxide). This in turn gets mixed with Hydrogen Peroxide. All DMSO comes from industrial chemical processes, either hydrocarbon or paper processing, to remove unwanted constituents from wood chips.
This waste from the wood pulping process produces black liquor, which is processed to produce DMS - it's oxidised version is MSM. The resultant MSM is then purified using either
- Crystallisation - a cheap procedure involving water and inevitable contaminants, OR
- Distillation, which tends to be a much purer process.
It is this refining process that determines the viability of the product we buy.
Where can I buy MSM?
Apparently MSM has been widely available as an approved supplement in the US for many years as OptiMSM, but in the UK it's not been so apparent except in the world of race horses. I found a couple of UK places selling pouches of powdered MSM - WholefoodsonlineUK was the first; they have confirmed their product has gone through the crystalisation process.
There were 2 other companies that seem reputable and happy to provide all information - www.indigo-herbs.co.uk, and planetmsm.co.uk - both of these sell a product that has used distillation as the refining process, so it's pure.
Dosage seems key in determining whether one's experiment is successful or not. It's suggested to start with 2 grams per day in water (divided by 3 and taken through the day) for the first week to avoid a stomach reaction. Then work up to 3-6 grams per day, depending upon bodyweight. See weight chart on PlanetMSM.co.uk for more information. Taking the tentative approach of very small doses may not yield significant results.
I've taken MSM in tablet form before and found benefit to joints come quite quickly, but we all have our own unique biochemistry so need to consciously experiment. My recent research has prompted me to explore further so I'll update this article once my own trial with the powder has been furthered.
In answer to your question Melanie, there are reports that vitamin C assists (in reducing oxidative stress) therefore MSM uptake, but unless your grapefruit juice is freshly squeezed, the C content may well be minimal. I have been trialling the Planetmsm powder (1tsp 3 x daily) and have noticed a reduction in joint stiffness and improved skin elasticity in just one week, no additional vitamin C taken other than what is in my diet. The MSM was always taken at meal times, so any raw foods would have supplied the C naturally.