Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils HTML version

Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Methylsulfonyl Methane (MSM)
General Features
MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound, which first arose from a complex series of reactions in the surface
waters of the ocean, according our present scientific understanding. 1 One of the products of oceanic phytoplankton
production is the compound DMS (dimethylsulfide). DMS is a volatile liquid that easily finds its way into the upper
layers of the atmosphere, where it becomes oxidized (photochemically) to form a variety of sulfur compounds,
including MSM and DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide). 2 Rain of marine origin is the dominant carrier of atmospheric MSM,
which provides much of the sulfur used to make biologically important sulfur –containing nutrients that we derive from
plant and animal foods.
MSM’s hexavalent sulfur atom is abstracted by living organisms and is primarily used for the biochemical synthesis of
many divalent sulfur-containing products. When MSM is broken apart by plants and animals, a portion of the sulfur is
used to synthesize sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cystine) and another portion is used directly to
produce many other biologically important organo-sulfur molecules (e.g., isothiocyanates, allicin, allyl propyl disulfide,
diallyl disulfide). 3 Yet, many foods contain unadulterated MSM in its native form that has been absorbed from the soil
by plants and passed up the food chain. As such, MSM in its native form is a common nutrient found in small amounts
in grains, green vegetables, fish, meat and cow’s milk. 4,5 In this native form MSM is well absorbed and shows up in
human urine with an excretion rate ranging from 4–11mg per day. 6 Maintenance levels of MSM in humans has been
shown to be as low as 0.5–1.0 mg/kg of body weight per day. 7 Thus, a person weighing 70 kg would require 35–70
mg per day of MSM, which primarily acts as a sulfur donor to repair and restore damaged covalent disulfide bonds and
the sulfhydral groups of many enzymes. 8 In this capacity, MSM is considered to be an integral part of maintaining the
structural integrity of connective tissues, cartilage, nails, skin, hair, and certain enzymes, hormones, and
immunoglobulins. 3
From a therapeutic standpoint, MSM supplementation, at levels that exceed those attainable from food alone, is
emerging as a significant intervention in the treatment and prevention of a number of common conditions. Thus, many
holistically minded practitioners are showing a high level of interest in MSM supplementation for use as a preventive
and therapeutic agent. In regards to stability, MSM is very volatile and considerable amounts are destroyed during
modern day food processing.
From a historical perspective it has been argued that MSM is a chemical that has been present on earth for a very
long time. During the development of higher life forms on this planet three nutrients were always present: water,
sodium chloride and MSM. As such, MSM has been shown to be a factor in the diets of our ancestors, which serves to
strengthen the notion that MSM may be an overlooked and vital nutrient that is required for health maintenance. 3
Clinical Application and Mechanism of Action
1. Arthritis and Inflammatory Conditions Of The Musculoskeletal System
For many years the compound DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) has been used as a topical agent in veterinary medicine
due to its well established anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. 9 DMSO has also been used by athletes for
topical treatment of sports-related injuries involving inflammation of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursitis
problems. 10 Unfortunately, toxicity studies using DMSO revealed that it causes damage to the lens of the eye in
animal studies, which was shown to be reversible upon DMSO with drawl. Although this effect has not been
demonstrated in humans, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was reluctant to approve its use as a