MSM For Relief of Joint Discomfort
Joint Cream With MSM Was Made A National Sensation By Daily Mail
MSM Is A Novel Substance
Yin Yang still supplies the cream today to a base of devoted users. It is not possible to make claims for the product’s action because this would require evidence from controlled
Dr Stanley Jacob
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) also known as DMSO2 (Dimethyl Sulfone), has been used by health therapists and complementary & alternative medical practitioners since the mid 1970’s, when its potential for benefiting health conditions was first identified in association with the clinical trialling of its parent substance DMSO. Most of this research was carried out in the USA, much of it by Dr Stanley Jacob*. Since then, MSM has been used as a dietary supplement and a topical application, to address a variety of physiological conditions including joint discomfort and skin disorders. The compound has been accumulating strong theoretical support, considerable anecdotal support from users, and some scientific research evidence, in support of its role in relieving the symptoms of various physiological disorders. However for MSM to be accepted by the medical profession for its role in the symptomatic relief of clinical conditions such as
MSM In The Modern Diet
MSM belongs to a family of compounds that are abundant in the food chains of terrestrial and ocean life. It is a naturally occurring sulphur compound and component of the normal diets of humans and almost all other vertebrates. It is present at relatively low levels in a wide range of plant and animal tissues and also in tea, coffee and beer. The highest concentrations can be found in unpasteurised cows’ milk, containing approximately 3.3 parts per million. Because MSM is water soluble and highly volatile, it is easily lost in food processing when heat is applied. The amount of MSM taken in a typical modern diet is therefore likely to be very small – especially as milk today is almost always pasteurised.
The Sulphur Cycle
What is known as the “sulphur cycle” begins in the World’s oceans, where algae and
Importance of Sulphur In The Human Body
Sulphur is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body –after calcium, phosphorous and potassium. A 70kg human body contains approximately 0.8% or some 200 grams of elemental sulphur. Sulphur can be absorbed into the body as inorganic sulphur in food, or in the sulphur bearing amino acids, cysteine and methionine, also occurring in a wide variety of food stuffs. Sulphur is a major component of connective tissue – such as skin and cartilage. It strengthens connective tissue by forming cross-linkages known as disulfide bonds, thus the integrity of the cartilage in our bodies is dependent on the body having an adequate level of sulphur. Sulphur also combines with other enzymes and amino acids such as glutathione, one of the most important intracellular antioxidants in the human body. It is thought that sulphur may play a role in the control of inflammation.
The pharmacology of DMSO (from which MSM is a metabolite) is reasonably well documented, but the known pharmacology of MSM is more limited. DMSO has several pharmacological properties that may also be true for MSM. DMSO has analgesic properties, the ability to increase blood supply, anti-inflammatory action, it softens collagen and lessens scar tissue, and reduces muscle spasm. MSM’s beneficial action in the human body is typically ascribed to its sulphur content, and its potential to contribute this sulphur to areas where it might be needed, like the joints. However, the chemistry of MSM reveals two methyl groups flanking the sulphur atom, and these are also known to be important in human bio-chemistry. Methylation (attachment of the methyl group to a toxin) and sulfation (the disabling of toxins by attachment to sulphur) are both key processes in the removal of unwanted chemicals & toxins in the body.
Topical Use of MSM
MSM is naturally present in human blood at some 0.7–1.1ppm. There is a limited body of scientific evidence for the oral bioavailability of MSM in humans, but very little on topical bioavailability.
The quantities of MSM found in nature are insufficient as a source for commercial extraction. The purest commercial MSM is manufactured by reacting hydrogen peroxide with DMSO and the purifying the product through a process of distillation or crystallization. The resulting MSM molecule produced by distillation is chemically indistinguishable from that found in nature. Distillation yields a pure product, but it is more expensive and energy intensive than crystallisation. Because potential contaminants have unique boiling points that differ from that of MSM, they are all removed by distillation, thus the purity of the distilled MSM is not dependent on water quality, as it is in the case of MSM produced by the crystallisation method. [Yin Yang uses MSM (OptiMSM from Bergstrom Nutrition Inc) manufactured by the distillation method.]
Experience with MSM
We would be interested to receive views from visitors to our blog about their experiences with MSM and from members of the medical and scientific community if they have had experience of the substance.
*For more information regarding the use of MSM in the treatment of human disease see: The Definitive Guide, co-authored by Dr Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Jeremy Appleton, N.D. (Freedom Press 2004). Dr Jacob has treated over 18,000 patients with MSM.
Dr Stanley Jacob
- US surgeon
- Harvard University instructor in Surgery
- Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University Portland Oregon
- Co-author of Structure & Function In Man – one of the major anatomy-physiology texts used in modern medicine.