This information was written for people but it applies to dogs as well. I have used MSM for my older dogs for years. I was first introduced to MSM for inflammation in the mid 1990's. What if I told you there was a so-called “miracle supplement” that could lower inflammation, fight the effects of stress and pain, raise immunity, and increase energy levels? Would you be interested? Then you need to know about the MSM supplement.
MSM is used to help treat literally dozens of illnesses, painful symptoms and diseases — and, yes, it’s been called a “miracle supplement” for all it does. (1, 2) So what is an MSM supplement exactly, and do you need to take one? Let’s find out.
This information comes from an article from Dr. Josh Axe.
What is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)? It’s an organic sulfur -containing compound that’s used to help improve immune function, lower inflammation and help restore healthy bodily tissue. The reason so many benefits are attributed to the MSM supplement is because MSM provides biologically active sulfur, which is the fourth most plentiful mineral in the body and needed for many different critical bodily functions every single day.
Commonly used topically on the skin and also taken by mouth, MSM is especially popular as part of an arthritis diet and supplementation plan to treat arthritis or osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease since it helps form connective tissue and repair joints, tendons and ligaments.
Of course, that is just one of many MSM supplement benefits. It also does the following:
1. Help treats Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
A well-researched benefit of MSM is that it helps decrease joint inflammation, improves flexibility and restores collagen production. Research shows that many patients with arthritis, joint pain, stiffness, knee/back problems and a limited range of motion experience a reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life when taking an MSM supplement.
MSM supplements are beneficial for helping the body form new joint and muscle tissue while lowering inflammatory responses that contribute to swelling and stiffness. An MSM supplement is a natural and effective anti-inflammatory because of how sulfur impacts the immune system and facilitates normal cellular activity. Sulfur needs to be present for our cells to release many byproducts and excess fluids that can accumulate and cause swelling/tenderness.
A clinical trial testing the effects of MSM on joint pain in 118 patients with osteoarthritis found that compared to a placebo, MSM supplements taken over 12 weeks resulted in more improvements in pain, swelling and joint mobility. MSM supplements were given in 500-milligram doses three times daily along with glucosamine (also taken in 500-milligram doses three times daily). Together they both seem to safely reduce inflammation and pain intensity without causing side effects for the majority of people. (3)
That makes MSM — especially when combined with glucosamine — excellent for arthritis.
2. Help improves Digestive Problems Like Leaky Gut Syndrome
MSM can help rebuild the lining of the digestive tract and lower inflammation/allergic reactions to certain foods. It’s also useful for healing leaky gut syndrome since it can help stop particles from leaching out the gut through small junction openings, where they can enter the bloodstream and ignite an inflammatory response. This is due in part to the sulfur in an MSM supplement, which is important for digestion. (4)
Additionally, MSM supplements seem to help hemorrhoids. Applying a gel containing MSM along with tea tree oil can reduce pain and swelling caused by hemorrhoids (swollen blood vessels of the rectum that make it hard to go to the bathroom without pain or bleeding). (5)
3. Help repairs Skin and Treats Skin Problems Including Rosacea, Allergies, Wounds
Some research shows that applying topical cream containing MSM and silymarin helps lower inflammation contributing to skin discoloration, allergies or slow wound healing. MSM can help improve skin’s tone, reducing redness, easing sensitivity and treating other symptoms associated with rosacea. (6)
While it hasn’t been proven in many studies, people also use MSM to hold on to a youthful appearance, since it seems to help prevent wrinkles, scar formation, dark spots and sun damage. How’s this possible? MSM is necessary for collagen production, and collagen is what helps keep skin from become saggy, wrinkled, cracked and dry.
Using an MSM supplement helps us hold on to precious collagen and keratin because sulfur is required for the production of these “youthful” compounds. We lose collagen and healthy tissue as we get older, which is exactly why our skin tone and elasticity suffer. You can get even more results using MSM on your skin when you combine it with other antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, which all help build new, healthy skin cells.
4. Helps Lowers Muscle Pain and Muscle Spasms
Good news if you’re someone who’s regularly active but suffers from muscle pain: Research suggests that MSM can act like a natural analgesic, helping prevent and treat muscle aches and pains, throbbing and swelling while improving range of motion and mobility. (7) It’s been shown to help muscle recovery after exercise, injuries and even surgeries — and it seems to be especially beneficial when used in conjunction with other anti-inflammatories.
How does MSM stop muscle pain? It comes back to the role of sulfur in the body, which is largely stored inside tissues that make up our muscles and joints. MSM helps repair the rigid fibrous tissue cells in our muscles that become broken down during exercise, therefore helping prevent them from swelling for prolong periods of time.
MSM also restores the flexibility and permeability of cell walls within muscles, which means nutrients can pass through the tissues more easily, facilitating repair work faster and removing lactic acid, which causes that “burning feeling” following exercise. The result is less time needed for recovery, plus reduced pressure, soreness and cramps.
5. Helps Restores Hair Growth
Struggling with thinning hair or balding as you get older? Good news: MSM has been shown to help boost both collagen and keratin levels, two nutrients we absolutely need for forming new hair strands (and also rebuilding strong nails and skin cells). Collagen and keratin are often found in hair products and treatments because they’re what gives hair strength, durability and that “healthy” look — and they can help reverse hair loss. (8)
6. Helps the Body Adapt to Stress
Ever hear of “adaptogen herbs” or supplements that help control how the body deals with stress? MSM works similarly, since it boosts our ability to heal and bounce back from exercise, stressful events, injuries and even surgeries. Taking MSM before exercising, such as running, seems to reduce muscle damage and other markers of stress. It can also reduce fatigue felt after stressful events and support an upbeat mood, energy levels and normal digestion. (9, 10)
MSM Supplement Uses?
Some of the most common uses for MSM include treating: (11)
How MSM Supplements Work
MSM supplements supply the body with extra sulfur for creating methionine, which helps in important bodily processes like making other chemicals, forming connective tissue, synthesizing/metabolizing foods and absorbing nutrients to be used for energy. MSM is a natural byproduct of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and its medicinal properties seem to be similar to DMSO. DMSO is converted in the body to MSM, and then MSM remains in the body for longer than DMSO, allowing it to have more of a long-term impact.
The diets of our ancestors likely provided a high amount of sulfur — since sulfur is found in animal parts, vegetables and many fruits — but today many people lack these foods in their diets and therefore might be low in sulfur. We all have sulfur present in our bodies at all times, but our sulfur levels can drop as we get older, when we’re stressed and if we normally eat a low-nutrient diet.
While many different “whole foods” supply sulfur — foods like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.), eggs and sea vegetables — the catch is that some of their natural sulfur can become destroyed when the foods aren’t very fresh, they’re processed or are cooked at high temperatures. One of the differences between sulfur as we usually think of it (DMSO) and MSM is that MSM is odorless and tasteless (which is why you’re spared the strong smell that can be produced when eggs or veggies are cooked).
In humans (and animals too), MSM is naturally found in the adrenal cortex, which is a part of our hormonal system that helps regulate our response to stressors. It’s also stored in our cerebral spinal fluid and is used to maintain the structure of normal connective tissues.
One of the most notable attributes of MSM supplements is that they help accelerate healing and “detox” the body by improving how chemicals enter and leave our cells. MSM essentially makes cells more permeable, releasing certain built-up minerals that can cause problems (like calcium, for example), heavy metals, waste and toxins, while also helping usher in nutrients and water. This helps keep us hydrated and lowers inflammation, which is the root of most diseases. MSM also stabilizes cell membranes, improves the body’s antioxidant abilities, slows or stops leakage from injured cells, and scavenges hydroxyl free radicals. (13)
Using MSM supplements is tied to better immune function, accelerated healing and reduced pain because it helps counteract certain byproducts (like lactic acid) that contribute to the feeling of soreness, stiffness and inflexibility. This is one reason why some athletes and very active people choose to use an MSM supplement to improve recovery time, performance, and the process of rebuilding new healthy muscle and joint issue. (14) Also importantly, MSM’s sulfur plays an important role in the production of glutathione, considered to be a “master antioxidant” and an important agent for detoxification.
This is another reason MSM is considered to be a “performance enhancer” — because it can raise someone’s energy levels and fight fatigue, since it helps with proper digestion and nutrient absorption, reducing the amount of energy the body needs to use on breaking down nutrients and redirecting these to other efforts.
MSM Dosage, Plus Where to Buy MSM Powder or Supplements
How much MSM do you need or should you use? The FDA doesn’t recognize a recommended dietary allowance for an MSM supplement or for sulfur (which it contains), because there’s no proven symptoms of sulfur deficiency described in medical literature as of now. Therefore the dosage you’ll want to take depends on what you’re using MSM for and your current state of health.
Usually, 500 milligrams of MSM for a 50# animal is the starting dose recommended. You can either buy an MSM supplement in powder form, cream form or capsule/tablet form. It’s available in powder form most often. You can increase the intake as your body gets used to it and you assure you don’t experience any digestive side effects. (15)
If you choose to use MSM powder (which is believe to be the most absorbable kind), try simply adding it to water (usually about 16 ounces for one serving). You’ll get the best results when you use MSM along with vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.
Make sure you buy MSM from a reputable seller, and always check for the correct chemical compound name “MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).” Keep in mind that many MSM supplements contain synthetic byproducts and fillers, so you want to look for an organic brand that sells “100% naturally derived MSM.”
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