Did you know that MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) is a natural sulfur compound that can help to decrease inflammation and reduce joint pain?

MSM is a type of sulfur compound found in some fresh fruits and vegetables. It is particularly concentrated in vegetables in the cruciferous family such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. You can smell the sulfur in these vegetables while they’re cooking.

Sulfur is also present in every cell of the human body. Connective tissue, hair, skin and nails contain a lot of sulfur. If you want to have healthy and radiant skin and hair, and strong nails, it is very important to have sufficient sulfur in your diet.

Sulfur has a particular affinity for the joints of your body and some research has shown it can reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis. Your liver also utilises sulfur bearing amino acids in the process of detoxification, therefore a healthy liver is heavily reliant on sulfur.

Sulfur and connective tissue

Sulfur forms a part of some of the amino acids in your body and is involved in protein synthesis, as well as numerous enzyme reactions. Sulfur is required for the production of collagen, which is a substance that forms connective tissues, skin, the digestive tract and artery walls. Sulfur is also a component of keratin, giving strength to hair, skin and nails.

Sulfur and arthritis

Some research has shown that people with arthritis may benefit from taking supplemental MSM. It can be effective for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. You are probably aware that sulfur baths have historically provided relief from painful joint disease in a great number of people. Most of us don’t have access to a sulfur bath and that’s where MSM can be handy.

A clinical trial published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in 2006 showed that 3 grams of MSM taken twice a day for 12 weeks resulted in a substantial decrease in arthritic knee pain. Another study performed in 2004 in India assessed a combination of MSM and glucosamine on 118 patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. The study ran for six months. The results showed a significant improvement in pain and swelling and range of movement of the affected joints. Results were best when the participants took a combination of glucosamine and MSM.

For joint pain I also strongly recommend a diet that is free of gluten, dairy products and sugar, as these foods can significantly raise inflammation in the body. The eating plan in my book Healing Autoimmune Disease: A Plan to Help your Immune System and Reduce Inflammation is free of all those foods and may help reduce inflammation and pain in your body.

Sulfur and detoxification

The amino acids taurine and cysteine are both referred to as sulfur-bearing amino acids because sulfur forms an integral component of their structure. Your liver requires these amino acids for phase 2 detoxification, to help purify your bloodstream of the toxins you are exposed to in everyday living. Taurine is also required for the manufacture of bile, and in this way aids the excretion of cholesterol and excess fats from the body via the gallbladder. This is the reason I have included these amino acids in my liver tonic Livatone Plus.

Sulfur is often an overlooked nutrient, but there are many important roles it plays in your body. If your diet is lacking sulfur rich foods, you may experience significant benefits from a natural sulfur supplement in the form of MSM. The vast majority of people with an allergy to sulfur based drugs can safely tolerate MSM because it is a natural substance, however it is best to be guided by your own doctor.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage; Efficacy of Methylsulfonylmethane in Osteoarthritis Pain of the Knee: Pilot Clinical Trial; L.S. Kim; March 2006

Clinical Drug Investigation"; Randomised, Double-Blind, Parallel, Placebo-Controlled Study of Oral Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and Combination in Osteoarthritis; P.R. Usha and M.U. Naidu; 2004