A Biologically Active Form of Sulfur
Nutritional Significance and
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally
occurring, sulfur-containing compound with multiple functions in the
body. MSM is naturally present in body fluids and tissues and
is found in milk and a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains in
small amounts. At low levels of ingestion, it functions as a
normal dietary ingredient and assimilable source of essential
dietary sulfur. At higher levels, it functions as a
pharmaceutically active agent which can be used safely and
effectively for a variety of purposes.
The development of MSM as a dietary supplement
stemmed from research on DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide). As a
stable, odorless dietary metabolite of DMSO, MSM possesses certain
biomedical properties similar to DMSO together with additional
biological activity not possessed by DMSO.
MSM, unlike DMSO, is a dietary factor and is free of
the unpleasant odor found with the use of DMSO. MSM, like
DMSO, enhances urinary taurine secretion produced by aromatic
hydrocarbons in man and neutralizes the toxicity of
anticholinesterases, thereby providing protection against
insecticide exposure or ingestion.
MSM has a broad and profound beneficial effect in
ameliorating diverse allergic responses. MSM ameliorates
allergic reactions to inhalant, ingestant, contact, and infectant
allergens. Subjects find a direct correlation between
concentration of MSM used and resistance to allergens.
Environmental Allergies: Subjects with
chronic to severe allergies to environmental materials such as house
dust, pollen, wool, animal hair, feathers, and other diverse
allergens report substantial to complete relief of their varying
from 50 to 1000 mg. per day. Allergy symptoms ranged from
respiratory congestion to inflammation, itching, mucoid discharges,
and general discomfort. Although MSM alone may not totally
eliminate allergic responses, the majority of subjects report a
significant reduction in concurrent anti-allergy medication required
to keep their allergic symptoms to a minimum. Individuals with
asthma or hay fever typically report equivalent or better control of
symptoms with one-quarter or less of the prior required level of
Food and Drug Allergies: Individuals who
manifest an allergic reaction to drugs such as aspirin,
non-steroidal anti-arthritic agents (Indocin, Motrin) and oral
antibiotics, as well as those who are mildly to severely allergic to
various foods such as cereals, shrimp, and other seafood, milk,
etc., report either a lessened intolerance or a complete tolerance
to these substances when ingesting 100 to 1000 mg. of MSM
concurrently. Thus, a major application of MSM may be as a
safeguard against allergic response to orally ingested drugs, foods,
or beverages which are allergens or irritants to individuals
sensitive to these substances.
Nutritional implications of MSM
MSM and many precursor compounds which are readily
converted to MSM in the body are found in most natural, unprocessed
foods. However, because of its volatility, it is readily lost
when fresh food is processed and/or stored. Unless the diet
consists largely of raw, unprocessed foods, it is unlikely that
sufficient MSM will be ingested to contribute significantly to the
daily nutritional sulfur requirement, thus furthering the high
incidence of sulfur-deficient diets which exist globally.
Sulfur plays an indispensable role in human
nutrition which is often overlooked. It is responsible for the
conformation of body proteins through the formation of disulfide
bonds, thereby holding connective tissue together. Thiol
(sulfhydryl) groups are vital for the catalytic function of several
body enzymes. To perform these roles, constant intake of
assimilable sulfur is needed by the body.
Although MSM has not yet been established to be a
vitamin, it does have vitamin-like moderating or normalizing
activity for various body functions, as there appears to be a high
correlation between abnormal physiological symptoms and low MSM
blood levels in human beings. Although MSM is found as a
natural constituent of foodstuffs like vitamin D, the principal
supply is believed to be synthesized by the body using one of its
naturally occurring precursor compounds.
Also, excretion data show that MSM occurs in lower
concentrations with increasing age. Too low a body
concentration of MSM may potentially result in adverse physical and
psychological stress, tissue and organ malfunction, fatigue, and
increased susceptibility to disease.
MSM is effective in ameliorating gastrointestinal
upset such as that produced by the ingestion of aspirin and other
pharmaceuticals or parasitic infections. Individuals with
gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, chronic constipation,
nausea, hyperacidity and/or epigastric pain, or inflammation of
mucous membranes experience dramatic relief through the oral
administration of 500-1500 mg. of MSM daily.
Pain Associated with Systemic Inflammatory Disorders
Individuals presenting signs and symptoms of pain
and inflammation associated with various musculoskeletal system
disorders, including arthritis, reported substantial and
long-lasting relief while including from 100 to 5000 mg. of MSM in
their daily diet. Most, trying first MSM alone, then in
combination with ascorbic acid, reported greater benefit with the
The use of MSM with ascorbic acid is particularly
useful in correcting night leg cramps. MSM is capable of
reducing in incidence of or entirely eliminating leg and back
cramps, muscle spasms, and general soreness, particularly in
geriatric patients who experience cramps at night or after long
periods of inactivity. It is also effective for athletes who
experience severe leg cramps during their sports activity.
Migraine sufferers have also obtained substantial
relief at oral doses of 50-500 mg. MSM per day. Arthritic
patients report relief from pain and stiffness as well as reduced
swelling and inflammation.
Effects of oral administration of MSM dietary supplements
Oral preparations of MSM have been found useful in
the normalization of body functions in patients displaying
physiological symptoms of stress, particularly those sources of
stress which cause gastrointestinal upset, inflammation of mucous
membranes, and allergic reactions. MSM ameliorates these
symptoms thereby permitting more rapid recovery.
Conditions which have favorably responded to oral
MSM include the following:
In vitro and in vivo tests suggest
that MSM has ameliorating or curing activity against a variety of
medically important parasitic, microbial, and fungal problems of the
intestinal and urogenital tracts. MSM is active against
Giardia lambia (traveler’s diarrhea), Trichomonas vaginalis,
Nematodes, Enterobius and other intestinal worms, systemic
infections by Histoplasma capsulation, Coccidiodes toxoplasm, and
other in vitro susceptible organisms.
Effective doses have been in the range of 750-1500
mg. per day. MSM may affect such infections by competing for
binding or receptor sites at the mucous membrane surface presenting
a blocking interface between host and parasite. MSM appears to
augment immunological competence, which may also partly explain its
effectiveness in treating parasitic infections.
Dosage and Administration Considerations
A single dose of MSM is usually not effective in
ameliorating symptoms. Thus, MSM is usually administered
periodically throughout the day or on successive days, or both.
Noticeable results are usually seen within 2 to 21 days.
The amount of MSM in each dose is not critical.
The usual individual dose is about 100-1000 mg., preferably 250-500
mg. Total daily dosages of 100-5000 mg., preferably 250-2000
mg., are usually employed.
The effective dosage depends to some extent on the
nature and severity of symptoms manifested, the cause of those
symptoms, and the MSM blood level of the patient prior to
administration. Healthy persons appear to have MSM blood
levels of at least 1 ppm, while patients displaying the
above-mentioned symptoms often have depressed MSM blood levels.
Blood sampling for MSM, however, is not ordinarily required, because
oral ingestion of amounts of MSM in excess of that required to
elevate MSM blood levels is not harmful due to the non-toxic nature
Purified MSM can be administered orally in any
convenient manner, such as ingesting crystalline MSM or its aqueous
solution. Preferably, MSM is given in unit dosage form such as
tablets or capsules, each containing 100 to 500 mg. MSM.
MSM is of exceedingly low toxicity to all forms of
plant and animal life. Except for its beneficial, inhibitory
effect on cross-linking of collagen and proteins whereby it reduces
the hardening of skin and connective tissue, MSM appears to be inert
in tissues and body fluids. Because of its inertness, MSM is
nonallergenic, nonpyretic, and has no interfering or undesirable
In fact, MSM is especially suitable as a safe blood
diluent because subjects do not react allergically to MSM as they do
when dextrose is used. It can also be employed as a stable,
neutral vehicle for pharmaceutical substances to deliver the
pharmaceutical while simultaneously improving the condition of the
patient's connective tissue.
Methylsulfonylmethane, MSM, a dietary derivative of
DMSO, provides a rich nutritional source of bioavailable sulfur
(approximately 34% by weight). MSM has proven useful as a
dietary supplement in the normalization of body functions in a
variety of conditions resulting from the effects of physiological
stress. Its major discovered uses include the amelioration of
gastrointestinal upset, moderation of allergic responses, control of
gut and urogenital infections, and alleviation of chronic pain.
As a naturally occurring dietary constituent, MSM has important
nutritional and medical implications for the maintenance of optimum
This product is a formula containing MSM, but the
use of MSM alone in larger amounts would be helpful in acute stages
of allergic reaction:
EDTA Oral Chelation Powder
Note: MSM is a patented
substance, protected by a number of U.S. patents. The above
material has been excerpted largely from these patents. These
are referenced below, along with other relevant documentation.
Baker, DH: Utilization of isomers and
analogs of amino acids and other sulfur-containing compounds.
Progress Food Nutri Sci 1986; 10:133-178.
Herschler, RJ: Methylsulfonylmethane and
methods of use. United States Patent 4,296,130; October 20,
Herschler, RJ: Dietary and pharmaceutical
uses of methylsulfonylmethane and compositions comprising it.
United States Patent 4,514,421; April 30, 1985.
Herschler, RJ: Methylsulfonylmethane in
dietary products. United States Patent 4,616,039; October 7,
Jacob, SW and Herschler, RJ: Introductory
remarks: dimethylsulfoxide after twenty years. Ann NY Acad
Sci 1983: 411 xiii-xvii.
Pearson TW, Dawson, HJ, and Lackey, HB:
Naturally occurring levels of dimethylsulfoxide in selected
fruits, vegetables, grains, and beverages. Am Chemical Soc.
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