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Holistic Health Notebook

By Staff | Jun 10, 2010

For the past few years, I have had the pleasure/privilege of working closely with a local holistic doctor who specializes in auto accidents but also treats conditions relating to the endocrine system. We talk about nutrition all the time. He flatters me by saying I have taught him a lot about nutrition but that isn’t really true. He has taught me, showing me special nutrients that I only skated over in nutrition school. I’m the richer for it.

One of these nutrients is MSM, also known as methylsulfonylmethane. He prescribed 10 grams/day for me, and the benefits have been enormous. What is MSM? How does the body use it? I am going to borrow freely from the synopsis of a scientific journal because it states, more clearly than I could, the benefits of this essential mineral, sulfur.

We associate sulfur with a bad smell. Cooking eggs, for example. Or overcooked cabbage. My dad used to tell me that back in “the days,” college students used a sulfur compound for some type of skin condition that escapes me now, and fellow students laughed., because they could always tell who had the condition by the aroma that traveled with them.

Bad smell or no, sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in the human body, following closely after calcium and phosphorus. It doubles the body’s production of glutathione, an important antioxidant peptide. High levels of liver glutathione reduces liver damage from exposure to toxic chemicals like acetaminophen and alcohol.

Low body stores of MSM are linked to fatigue and depression, sensitivity to stress, and certain degenerative conditions. MSM readily releases its sulfur to form collagen and keratin. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and a major component of connective tissue. Collagen works with elastin to give skin elasticity, and cartilage to improve structure and flexibility.

The concentration of MSM in the body diminishes with age, consistent with changes characteristic of aging like stiffening of muscles and joints, wrinkling of the skin, and decreased elasticity of lung tissue and arterial blood vessels.

It helps reduce chronic inflammation and the pain of arthritis, bursities, and tendonitis. It may help reduce the discomfort of tension and migraine headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and recurrent cramps. It may help relieve airborne and food allergies, asthma, and other mucosal inflammatory conditions. It supports healthy liver function and may help reduce gastrointestinal stress including hyperaciddity, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

I started taking MSM when I was suffering from a bad knee and within just a few weeks, virtually all the pain in my knee was gone. It is still a little swollen but it doesn’t hurt anymore. MSM saved me from surgery.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499 or online at www.carolsimontacchionline.com.