Methylsulfonylmethane, commonly abbreviated as MSM, is a dietary supplement that has gained popularity in athletes and bodybuilders due to a considerable number of benefits. Besides increasing athletic performance it’s also credited for several health benefits. MSM has shown to help reduce oxidative stress[1][2], decrease pain and inflammation linked to exercise and enhancing recovery after exercise or heavy workouts.

What is MSM?

MSM is a naturally occurring chemical compound consisting of carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen, which together form chemical compounds called organic sulfur.

MSM or organic sulfur compound is an extremely important supplement for our body. It is an odorless, white powder, very soluble in water. In the human body, sulfur levels fluctuate around 0.3% of total body mass[1].

Sulfur is responsible for maintaining good condition as well as the elasticity of the skin and blood vessels. Providing cell wall permeability to nutrients and the ability to excrete toxins.

What natural products MSM is found in?

In nature, we can find it in fresh fruit, vegetables, tea, fresh cow’s milk as well as in cereal products. MSM is a small molecule that permeates body cells fast. Plants absorb it from the soil, and it’s highly concentrated in animal cells. That’s why you can get a considerable supply of this element from dietary sources such as vegetables, fruits, grains. 

Unfortunately, it’s very delicate and easily “destroyed” by food processing, cooking or pasteurization. MSM is also “destroyed” by irradiation or freezing. The maintenance process destroys MSM almost to zero.

Supplementation allows you to provide your body with higher doses of MSM than what you can get from natural sources.

Natural Sources Of MSM

How important is MSM for the body?

Biological, sulfur ranks as one of the most vital nutrients that help to keep our bodies young and energetic. Actually, Sulfur is among the top three most abundant elements in our bodies. As we age, our bodies change, our cells become rigid, and as a result energy decreases gradually. Thus need for sulfur supplementation. Our dietary intake of sulfur becomes inadequate as we advance in years.

Let’s get a more in-depth look at the benefits of MSM to bodybuilders and athletes:

10 Benefits of MSM for Bodybuilders and Athletes:

1.      Anti-inflammatory

MSM plays a critical role in countering inflammation in the body by assisting in the elimination of metabolic wastes from the cells. It’s essential to note that excess weight on the body qualifies to cause inflammation.

Our body cells become inflamed when byproducts of metabolism accumulate in the cells. The presence of sulfur in these cells is crucial in the removal of toxin and metabolic wastes from the cells. When our body cells eradicate metabolic byproducts, excess fluids are act as buffers are also eradicated from the system; this serves as a natural way of shedding excess weight.

2.      Muscle Recovery

Intense activity leads to an increase in CK and LDH. Animal studies have shown MSM to be effective in decreasing muscle damage by increasing muscle antioxidant capacity. After rigorous body activity, lactic acid accumulates in the muscle resulting in a burning sensation; MSM facilitates the repair of muscles after exercise.

Additionally, MSM assists in the repair of rigid fibrous tissue cells that are damaged during muscle usage. MSM helps to reduce muscle pain, assist in the recovery process, and aids in boosting energy levels after exercise.

3.      Treating Joint Pain

Studies have shown that MSM is critical in improving joint flexibility. These elements also assist in improving flexibility in the muscle tissues and skin. As a result, the overall body flexibility is increased due to an increase in body fluids in these tissues. MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory substance that affects our immune system and cellular activities. Sulfur is required for many cellular activities, including the elimination of metabolic wastes from the cells. Sulfur is critical in maintaining the structure and integrity of the connective tissues via the disulfide bond; in simpler terms, we can say sulfur strengthens joint tissues.

4.      Naturally Increases Energy

MSM aids in the absorption of nutrients, reducing the amount of energy required for digestion since a significant percentage of the energy your body used each day (approximately 70%-80%), is used for digestion. It also helps to increase permeability in body cells, meaning less energy will be used in the elimination of toxins from the cells. In this regard, more energy will be directed to a more meaningful process, such as healing and activity.

5.      Weight Loss

Although no clinical studies support this claim, some MSM users have testified that this supplement has assisted them in weight loss. The rationale behind this is that MSM plays a role in the elimination of metabolic wastes and fluids from body cells. Additionally, MSM plays a critical role in the maintenance of blood sugar, insulin production, carbohydrate metabolism, and energy levels. Since MSM assists in lessening joint problems and pain, it will also help individuals to become more active, thus shed excess weight.

6.      Boosts Immunity

The immune system is a specialized network of cells, tissues, and organs that protect our bodies from diseases and illnesses. This vital body stems can be weakened by a poor diet, stress, illnesses, lack of activity, and inadequate sleep. MSM helps in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that weaken immunity. It assists in lowering the levels of inflammatory compounds such as TNF-ɑ and IL-6. Additionally, it helps in the producing of glutathione, which is one of the most potent antioxidants in the body.

7.      Detoxification

One of the known features of MSM is increasing permeability in cells. This means body cells are able to eliminate metabolic wastes and toxins easier. Additionally, the entry of nutrients and water in the cells is also increased in the presence of MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane can dissolve calcium phosphate; this means it can dissolve the “bad” calcium that leads to degenerative disorders.

8.      Improves Skin, Hair And Nails Health

Keratin is the chief structural component of hair, nails, and skin; it has a high concentration of cysteine, which is a sulfur-containing amino acid. That’s why you get a distinctive sulfurous smell when hair or nails are burned. MSM helps to strengthen keratin; thus, it has a significant role in improving the health of your skin, nails, and hair. Besides, MSM may also assist in preventing premature aging by reducing inflammation that may lead to damaged skin cells and wrinkles. This element may also work wonders in allergic skin conditions such as rosacea that is characterized by inflammation, redness, and skin irritation.

9.      Alleviates Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that results in pain and stiffness in the joints; it also leads to reduced movements in the joints. Since MSM has strong anti-inflammatory action, it can be used as a natural remedy for arthritis-related symptoms. A study in 49 arthritis patients established that 3.4 gems of MSM each day for 12 weeks led to reduced stiffness and pain and improved physical function when compared to a placebo. Besides, MSM supplements may help in enhancing the effectiveness of other supplements used by arthritis patients such a bowellic acid, glucosamine sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate.

10.      Prevention And Treatment Of Ulcers

Stomach ulcers can also be referred to as gastric ulcers are wounds that develop in the stomach lining. Symptoms of gastric ulcers include bleeding, pain in the stomach, vomiting, and weight loss. A research that was done in mice showed MSM supplementing can confer protection to the stomach lining. The mice under MSMS supplementing had increased mucus in the stomach lining. The researchers also believed that the anti-inflammatory effects of MSM help in reducing oxidative stress on the stomach lining.

MSM Dosage

The FDA has not set any guidelines on the appropriate dosage for MSM. But according to studies on the same, 1-3 grams each day taken in 2- 3 doses are proved to be effective and safe. The dosage will depend on the current state of health of the individual. Most of the studies on MSM are mainly directed on its benefits.

How To Use MSM

Pour 100-200ml of water or juice into a glass. MSM is well soluble in liquids, so no need for a shaker. Add 1g MSM and stir. Drink best before a meal.

MSM dosage is an individual matter. Excess is excreted in the urine, so if you use reasonable doses, you should not worry of overdose.

Dosage ranges from 1g-12g of daily intake and can be gradually increased. 

Start with a dose of 1g. If there are no negative symptoms, then you can increase the dose to 3-5 grams per day.

In some cases (serious ailments), you can saturate the body with sulfur. Recommended use is 15 grams per day in 3 doses – 3x 5g (In some cases there is no significant improvement under 20-30g a day). Such a saturation can last up to 4 weeks. Then go down to the maintenance dose of 3-5 grams a day. Long-term dosing should is 1 gram per day.

If unwanted symptoms such as: headache, pain, fatigue, general weakness, rash, nausea and diarrhea appear, then the increase in dose was probably too fast and boosted detoxification. Reduce the dose, wait for the symptoms to disappear, or consult your doctor for advice.

MSM for Bodybuilders And Athletes Usage 

Could be used in combination with vitamin C and B12 to boost performance while training and to speed up regeneration after training.

Possible Side Effects

Although MSM is view an s natural supplement, its use may attract some potential side effects. According to studies on the use of MSM, it’s possible to use the supplement for up to three months via the mouth without any notable adverse effects.

When combined with other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, silymarin, or tea tree oil and use as a topical agent, MSM can be used for up to 20 days without any ill effects. Scanty details are known about the long term effects of MSM use. If you plan to use the supplements for a long duration, it’s wise to consult your doctor.

Additionally, pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid using MSM since the efficacy and safety of the product are unverified. The severity of the adverse effects will vary depending on the dosage and the duration of using the supplements. The following are some of the side effects that may result after taking MSM:

  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Allergic reactions to individuals allergic to shellfish or iodine

MSM Drug Interactions

MSM is known to interact with Glucosamine and Chondroitin i.e., Chondroitin – Glucosamine – Methylsulfonylmethane combination. There are many positive reports of the results of using MSM combined with Cissus Quadrangularis, Glucosamine and Chondroitin in joint pain relief.

MSM glucosamine tablets may interact with other medications resulting in severe interactions. It’s thus essential to consult your doctor if you are in any other medication before taking MSM supplements.

MSM may interact with NSAIDs, anticoagulants, vitamins, and herbal products. You should never take MSM if you are on cancer medicine or blood thinners. The list of possible severe drug interactions is longer, thus consult a licensed and experienced medical professional before taking your MSM supplements.

Whether you’ll get this information from a licensed medical officer or a professional herbal medicine practitioner, you should ensure they have adequate knowledge and experience in the use of MSM. Additionally, you should get appropriated guidelines about dosage and how long you should use the MSM supplements.

Final Words

MSM supplements have significant benefits to bodybuilders and athletes, including pain relief, boosting immunity, treating arthritis, weight loss, reducing inflammation, detoxification, muscle recovery, and improving the health of your hair, skin, and nails among others. When you decide to take MSM supplements, it’s advisable to seek the opinion of your physician to avoid any ill effects, especially if you are on other drugs.

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