From the list I have already given of the beneficial effects of MSM, one might feel that even without any major health problems at all, MSM would be a good dietary supplement to include in your diet. That is very true. However, it's those people with health issues that might be even more tempted to make MSM part of their daily dietary regimen. If you can keep in mind the positive effects of MSM, understanding how it might be beneficial during issues it becomes much easier to understand.
MSM, because it promotes healthy collagen and reduces the swelling of cells has perhaps its greatest advantage in the reduction of arthritis pain. This kind of pain comes from a breakdown of cartilage which is made of collagen as well as from the swollen joint tissues.
Anything that can support collagen and reduce swelling should reduce pain. In fact, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of patients with arthritis, some of the participants were given a sugar pill, another set was given MSM or glucosamine (a collagen precursor) and a final fraction was treated with both MSM and glucosamine.
All of the treated patients had significant improvement in their arthritic pain with the best group being those that got both therapies. Those given MSM had reduction of their arthritic pain when given alone, too. The patients with the sugar pills fared the worst, as you might have guessed. Because it reduces cellular swelling, MSM also has a use in sports medicine.
Swollen muscles, joints and ligaments can be painful after a sports injury. Lactic acid build-up in muscles after intense exercise can also result in pain in the athlete's muscles. Because MSM helps flush out lactic acid and reduces the swelling of the cells, pain from athletic injuries can be prevented or perhaps even controlled.
In my opinion, an athlete who takes the time to take MSM on a prophylactic basis (for prevention), stands a better chance of reducing the pain and inflammation of a sports injury.
MSM the Beauty Nutrient
MSM is sometimes called the "beauty nutrient" because it promotes the healthy synthesis of collagen and makes tissues more elastic, it helps the skin be less dry and wrinkled. The skin is more supple and less prone to cracking. It can improve the look of scars when taken during their formation. In addition, MSM helps augment keratin, a major component of hair and nails. This means that your hair has the potential to grow faster and healthier; your nails are thicker and grow more quickly.
Because MSM binds to receptors on mucosal surfaces, it helps in the prevention of two somewhat different conditions. For example, when MSM binds to receptors on cells in the nasal mucosa, allergens (the agents in the environment that cause allergies) have no place to bind to and the symptoms of allergies are reduced.
Similarly, when the MSM binds to intestinal mucosa, intestinal parasites, bacteria, toxins and fungi cannot bind to those receptors and a potential gastrointestinal infection can be avoided. When I heard that MSM improved blood flow, it didn't make sense at first until I remembered that MSM improves tissue elasticity. If someone has calcium or cholesterol buildup in their arteries, their arteries harden and become less elastic. MSM, by virtue of enhancing elasticity, helps the arteries function better and the blood can squeeze through tight spots more easily because the artery is more flexible.
Besides reducing the pain from arthritis inflammation, MSM has been shown to lessen the pain of interstitial cystitis, an extremely uncomfortable inflammatory condition of the bladder for which there is no known cause. Patients who have it feel like they have a bladder infection but urine cultures are negative. Several studies have shown the beneficial effect of MSM on this condition.
There are several other things that MSM is believed to help but for which the research to support the beliefs is limited. These include:
- Improvement in emphysema
- Control of migraine headaches
- Improves hot flashes and menstrual cramps
- Improves constipation
- Helps relieve asthma symptoms
The real point is that MSM is safe. It is not a medication or a vitamin. It is a mineral-containing food that we should get in our diet but likely do not get enough. Scientific studies are strongest in the area of arthritis and sports injury pain relief but it is likely that MSM has many beneficial effects. The impact of MSM in our environment is likely to get worse as our soil gets depleted due to poor farming techniques. We are going to continue to process, heat and destroy the MSM in our food by our cooking techniques and eating behaviors. Therefore the role of a supportive external source of MSM is increasingly crucial to our health; I think it shows benefit in healthy and in symptomatic people.
MSM Safety Issues
It should be noted again that MSM when looking for an MSM supplement, look for a natural, plant based product. Not all MSM products are the same. Discover why before you buy. Understand the differences in MSM products and why it is important - click here for more information.