Our body is composed of substances that, however trace in amount, are needed for normal functioning. Sulfur is one of the major substances that make up hormones, proteins, and enzymes. It is also involved in the detoxification of the liver.
Methylsulfomylmethane or MSM is a compound occurring in nature which is a transport molecule for sulfur. It is produced by the body but can also be found in meat, vegetables, and fruits. However, it is easily lost even in mild preparations so it is only acquired when the food is fresh. Heat and dehydration destroys MSM, therefore people who eat their vegetables and fish raw are able to get MSM from the food unlike those who do not.
Although the biochemical effects of MSM is still under further study and poorly understood; there are supplements available in the market containing this substance. Aside from being a good source of sulfur, which is a very important chemical in the body, there is little understanding to its pharmacology and effects in the system. Yet, it has been used to treat a wide range of illnesses.
MSM is commonly found to be in combination with chondroitin and glucosamine. These are popularly used to treat osteoarthritis and other joint problems. Some claim that MSM have anti-inflammatory effects thus its use on osteoarthritis. It is also said to relieve pain, constipation, eye inflammation, poor circulation, liver problems, headaches and a long list of other disorders. Parasitic infections such as Trichomonas vaginalis and Giardia, and yeast infections are said to be alleviated after being treated with MSM. When used as mouthwash, it can also reduce inflammation due to gingivitis. Topical applications are said to lessen scarring and scleroderma or hardening of the skin.
As a supplement, it is generally safe to use MSM as long as you follow the dosage guidelines. Though it may come in different dosage forms, the recommended dosage range is 2 to 8 grams daily. Results can be observed only after 2 to 21 days of intake. Higher dosages may have side effects such as mild headaches and upset stomach and this may require a lowering of the dose. There have been no reported effects on pregnant women and fetal development to date.
It may be quite a “miracle” substance because of the wide range of diseases that it can cure, but we should bear in mind to seek medical advice about any dietary supplement we are taking. There might be some possible interactions or side effects.