What is MSM?
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), also known as dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2) and methyl sulfone, is an organic sulfur-containing compound. One of the first products ever sourced and an honorary tonic herb in its own right, MSM has earned its place within the SuperFeast range and forms part of the mineral approach of SuperFeast's health philosophy.
In this article we will cover some of the key health benefits of MSM including:
- Liver health and detoxification
- Cell permeability
- Immune health
- Joint health
- Healthy hair, skin and nails
MSM, Liver & Detoxification
MSM is a safe detoxifier that can be used daily to support natural Liver detox pathways and remove calcification in the tissues. Our body’s hormone function, antibodies, antioxidants, enzymes all rely on having sufficient MSM present to function optimally, as well as the cell’s ability to stay permeable to nutrients and to release toxins.
Through a western lens, the Liver is a vital organ responsible for detoxifying the body, producing bile to aid in digestion, and storing essential nutrients. MSM’s role in Liver detoxification is understood to be due to its ability to enhance the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in the elimination of toxins from the body.
Liver health and optimal detoxification is critical to the health of the body and its many organ systems including the immune system, the health of our hair, skin and nails, gut and hormonal health and more.
If you want to diver a little deeper into detoxification, read our article ‘Detoxification Guide - A Look At The Body’s Detox Pathways’
MSM & Cell permeability
Research has shown that MSM can improve the permeability and fluidity of cell membranes, which can enhance the ability of cells to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste products. This may also improve the cell's ability to communicate with other cells and maintain proper function.
Cell membranes are made up of a double layer of phospholipids that provide a barrier around the cell, protecting it from the external environment. Sulfur is a key component of the phospholipids that make up cell membranes, and MSM as we know is a sulfur containing compound. Cell membrane permeability and fluidity can benefit the entire body.
MSM & Joint Health
MSM may have a positive effect on joint health by reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling in individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. Research has shown that MSM exerts an anti-inflammatory effect through the reduction in cytokine expression.
A quick science lesson - cytokines are small proteins that act as signaling molecules in the immune system, coordinating the body's immune response, stimulating the proliferation and differentiation of immune cells, regulating inflammation, and promoting tissue repair. Dysregulation of cytokine expression can lead to autoimmune diseases, allergies, and inflammatory disorders such as arthritic conditions.
Sulfur is also necessary for the formation of collagen, cartilage, and other connective tissues that play a critical role in joint health. As a sulfur containing compound, MSM may support joint health and prevent degradation as well as improve Blood circulation, lower inflammation levels, and boost the immune system to promote overall joint health.
MSM can also help to reduce pro-inflammatory markers and increase anti-inflammatory markers to inhibit excessive inflammation caused by physical exertion and is a great muscle relaxant and can assist those who have post-workout or chronic muscle tension or pain.
MSM & Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails
Known as the ‘beauty mineral’, MSM is considered an essential building block for the hair, skin, and nails. Every day toxic exposure, UV rays, depleting lifestyle habits are all common stressors that can affect the health of our skin and increase the physical signs of ageing. Oh and ageing of course, which is viewed differently by so many (we’re all about gracefully ageing and rejecting westernised beauty standards, but want to equally promote inner radiance and health). Read our article ‘Healthy Skin From Within’ if you want to dive deeper into that topic.
MSM can actually inhibit the breakdown of dermal collagen and elastin structure leading to wrinkle formation and fragile skin. MSM stimulates the expression of specific genes responsible for the maintenance of healthy skin connectivity and can support the maintenance of healthy collagen and firmer skin. By maintaining healthy collagen, cross-linking or “hardening” of the tissue is inhibited allowing for healthy dermal functioning.
MSM also regulates the gene expression required for skin barrier maintenance, ensuring cells remain permeable which improves the absorption of nutrients and regulates the distribution of water through the epidermis (which is the outermost layer of the skin).
Sulfur is also necessary for the production of keratin, another essential components of healthy hair and nails, alongside collagen. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of MSM in promoting hair growth and supporting the health of hair follicles, especially when used in combination with other nutrients such as biotin, vitamin C, and zinc. As an anti-inflammatory, MSM may help to reduce systemic inflammation which can also contribute to hair loss. In terms of nails health, in supporting the production of keratin and collagen, MSM can help to reduce nail brittleness and splitting, and promote nail growth.
MSM & Immune Support
MSM modulates the immune response through the crosstalk between oxidative stress and inflammation. We spoke about Glutatione earlier when speaking to Liver detoxification, however this antioxidant also plays a crucial role in stimulating natural killer cells and white blood cells.
It also helps regenerate other antioxidants to inhibit oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which can damage cells and weaken the immune system. As an anti-inflammatory, MSM may also help support the body's ability to fight off infections and diseases.