The history, benefits and science behind methylsulfonylmethane
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic sulphur-containing compound utilised by supplement manufacturers for a variety of applications to enhance a normal diet.
When first introduced, MSM gained instant recognition as a beneficial anti-inflammatory and a leading nutrient for joint health.
Thirty four per cent of MSM is made up of sulphur, the body’s fourth most abundant mineral, which is vital for maintaining healthy joints, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues, and is also needed to support healthy homeostasis levels and certain metabolic processes. Researchers continue to uncover new applications and nutritional benefits for MSM that go far beyond joint health while remaining safe and effective.
Anti-inflammatory: An anti-inflammatory, MSM helps to lessen pro-inflammatory markers to inhibit inflammation in the body.1 Its anti-inflammatory properties support healthy joints and help to minimise wear and tear on the body.
Based on research using OptiMSM, it is an ingredient commonly found in exercise recovery products. It helps to protect the muscles and joints from exercise-induced damage to speed up recovery time and reduce muscle and joint soreness.
Joint Support: Sulphur is a key component of healthy joints and cartilage. MSM provides a concentrated amount of sulphur that is easily assimilated and used by the body to help support joint health.
Through mechanisms to reduce inflammation in the joints, MSM can enhance penetrability properties in combination with other joint support nutrients, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, to formulate a beneficial supplement.2,3
It can also help to protect cartilage by reducing the inflammatory markers that break down cartilage.4
Sports Performance: Sports performance supplements often include OptiMSM because research suggests it can help to alleviate the muscle soreness associated with an active lifestyle and prolonged strenuous exercise.
By reducing various mechanisms associated with the inflammatory response in the muscles and surrounding connective tissue, MSM can reduce muscle soreness following vigorous training.5,6 It can also help to regulate the enzymes that can lead to elevated inflammatory markers.3
Too much training can also deplete critical nutrients and cause cellular processes to fatigue, resulting in low energy levels, poor performance and a weakened immune system.
A recent study using OptiMSM reported immune-modulation after exhaustive exercise. Participants taking OptiMSM showed lower serum levels of inflammatory markers post-exercise compared with a placebo.
However, when exposed to the pathogenic molecule LPS, blood samples of participants reacted differently. The placebo group had a blunted immune response whereas the OptiMSM group responded normally.
This response indicated that OptiMSM conserved a healthy immune system after physical stress. Taking OptiMSM before exhaustive exercise can also help to prevent the intensified stress put on the immune system.7,8
Immune Support: The high sulphur content found in MSM benefits the immune system by supporting the cell regeneration and permeability needed to help the immune response and cells function properly.
Too much training can also deplete critical nutrients and cause cellular processes to fatigue
Sulphur is key to the production of glutathione — a crucial antioxidant for stimulating white blood cells, natural killer cells and other antioxidants working to inhibit oxidative damage. MSM’s concentrated sulphur content can effectively stimulate glutathione vitality to support a healthy immune system.
Skincare: Ageing, environmental toxins and poor lifestyle habits can all aggravate the skin, leading to a breakdown of dermal collagen and elastin structure.
OptiMSM can help to protect the skin from ageing and improve skin texture and elasticity. Clinical studies suggest OptiMSM reduces fine lines, wrinkles and helps to maintain the structural integrity of the skin.9 It can also aid in the maintenance of healthy hair and nails.
A gene array study showed that OptiMSM stimulates specific genes that are responsible for supporting healthy skin connectivity and collagen to maintain firmer skin. It also regulates the gene expression in charge of improving the absorption of nutrients and the distribution of water in the epidermis.
With a wide range of toxicity studies, OptiMSM is shown to be well-tolerated and safe for humans and animals.10–12 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave OptiMSM GRAS notification to signify that it is safe at dosages of up to 4.8 g/day.13
The high standards set by Bergstrom Nutrition will continue to make OptiMSM a recommended and favoured ingredient for joint and muscle health, sports performance, skincare and immunity. As more studies continue to discover the benefits of this sulphur-rich nutrient, even greater applications and efficacy will be determined for supplement manufacturers to include OptiMSM as an excellent addition to enhance dietary formulations.
In keeping with Bergstrom Nutrition’s high standards, more than a decade ago, the company exclusively partnered with Gee Lawson for European distribution. Gee Lawson is a Division of the Hamburg-based LEHVOSS Group with headquarters in London, UK and offices throughout Europe.
Gee Lawson specialises in the sourcing, technical approval, sales and marketing of specialty ingredients for the food supplement, functional foods, animal feed and life sciences industries.
Also, every lot of OptiMSM provided to Gee Lawson is certified by Informed-Sport. The programme certifies that every batch of raw material bearing the Informed-Sport logo was tested for banned substances by LGC’s world-class sports antidoping laboratory. The designation provides branding partners and product formulators with additional assurance that OptiMSM is of the utmost purity and a safe choice for competitive athletes.
1. H. Ahn, et al., “Methylsulfonylmethane Inhibits NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation,” Cytokine 71, 223–231 (2015).
2. B. Kloesch, et al., “Dimethyl Sulphoxide and Dimethyl Sulphone are Potent Inhibitors of IL-6 and IL-8 Expression in the Human Chondrocyte Cell Line C-28/I2,” Life Sci. 89, 473–478 (2011).
3. Y. Kim, et al., “The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Methylsulfonylmethane on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammatory Responses in Murine Macrophages,” Biol. Pharm. Bull. 32, 651–656 (2009).
4. M. Kobayashi, et al., “Role of Interleukin-1 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha in Matrix Degradation of Human Osteoarthritic Cartilage,” Arthritis Rheumatol. 52, 128–135 (2005).
5. D.A. Melcher, et al., “Effects of Methylsulfonylmethane Supplementation on Oxidative Stress, Muscle Soreness, and Performance Variables Following Eccentric Exercise,” Gazz. Med. Ital.-Arch. Sci. Med. 175, 1–13 (2016).
6. Y. Oshima, D. Amiel and J. Theodosakis, “The Effect of Distilled Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) on Human Chondrocytes In Vitro,” Osteoarthr. Cartil. 15(Suppl. C), C123 (2007).
7. M. Van der Merwe and R.J. Bloomer, “The Influence of Methylsulfonylmethane on Inflammation-Associated Cytokine Release Before and Following Strenuous Exercise,” J. Sports Med. (2016): http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7498359.
8. D.S. Kalman, et al., “A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Evaluation of MSM for Exercise Induced Discomfort/Pain,” FASEB J. 27, 1076–1077 (2013).
9. M. Anthonavage, R. Benjamin and E. Withee, “Effects of Oral Supplementation with Methylsulfonylmethane on Skin Health and Wrinkle Reduction,” Nat. Med. J. 7(11), 1–21 (2015).
10. B. Magnuson, et al., “Oral Developmental Toxicity Study of Methylsulfonylmethane in Rats,” Food Chem. Toxicol. 45, 977–984 (2007).
11. K. Horvath, et al., “Toxicity of Methylsulfonylmethane in Rats,” Food Chem. Toxicol. 40, 1459–1462 (2002).
12. S.A. Khan, M.K. McLean and S. Gwaltney-Brant, “Accidental Overdosage of Joint Supplements in Dogs,” J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 236, 509 (2010).
13. J.F. Borzelleca, I.G. Sipes and K.B. Wallace, “Dossier in Support of the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Status of OptiMSM (Methylsulfonylmethane; MSM as a Food Ingredient (US Food and Drug Administration, Vero Beach, Florida, USA, 2007).