Articles on Health
What's New in the Joint?
What's New in the Joint?
What’s new in the joint?
MSM"We have MSM!" scream health-food store
windows. Inside the store, salesclerks and further advertising
tout the benefits of this new dietary supplement:
Are these statements
true, or just marketing
You hear, "MSM helps osteoarthritis."
"MSM results in less muscle ache after a workout."
are told, "MSM reduces wrinkles."
MSM—methylsulfonylmethane—is naturally present in
foods and the human body. It is a biologically active form of
the mineral sulfur, which is the fourth most plentiful mineral
in the body and is found in every cell of the body. Sulfur
plays a particularly important role in tissue
The formation of MSM begins when marine
algae release sulfur compounds that are transformed in ocean
water into a substance known as dimethyl sulfide (DMS). DMS
rises into the atmosphere where it is transformed into
dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and MSM. These compounds are
returned to the earth via rainwater, where they are absorbed
Osteoarthritis and pain reliefMSM does appear to give
relief to those suffering from osteoarthritis and other types
of joint and muscular pain. Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., and Ronald
M. Lawrence, M.D., in their book The Miracle of MSM, recount
that many of their patients found relief with MSM. They
believe that MSM helps osteoarthritis by reducing pain and
possibly slowing cartilage degeneration.
They note that
MSM may provide pain relief because 1) it inhibits pain
impulses along a major nervous system network known as C
fibers. These fibers carry pain messages from the site of the
pain to the brain; 2) it reduces inflammation, which puts
pressure on nerves and other tissues and causes pain; 3) it
promotes blood flow, which helps in healing; and 4) it reduces
muscle spasms, which are often found in painful
Although Jacob and Lawrence give no reason
for how sulfur in MSM is used by the body to combat cartilage
degeneration, they believe that it may contribute to the
maintenance of cartilage and joints. Their own clinical
observations may indicate this. They found that adding MSM to
glucosamine, which is frequently used for osteoarthritis and
does help maintain cartilage, results in even less pain and a
greater feeling of well-being.
nutritionist, Earl Mindell, Ph.D., has a different idea on
this. In his book, The MSM Miracle, he notes
that MSM may relieve pain by making cells more flexible and
permeable. These qualities help equalize a pressure
differential involved in pain. He notes that when pressure
outside the cell drops, cells inflate and become inflamed.
Nerves then register the inflammation and we feel pain. MSM
has been shown to add flexibility to cell walls while allowing
toxins to exit and nutrients to enter the cell. This softens
the tissue and helps to equalize pressure buildup that results
in inflammation and pain.
Jacobs and Lawrence, although
agreeing with Mindell on the benefits of MSM, are not yet
ready to champion the role of MSM in increased cell
permeability. They note that although cell permeability is a
function of DMSO, and that MSM is a derivative of DSMO, there
is no evidence that MSM has this function.
mechanism, people who have studied MSM and others who have
used MSM all agree that there is no doubt that MSM helps
relieve joint pain.
MSM and sore musclesAnother benefit noted by Jacobs
and Lawrence as well as Mindell is that MSM helps with muscle
aches after exercise. Jacobs and Lawrence give several
examples of athletes and those involved in fitness using MSM
to eliminate muscle soreness after a workout or to decrease
the length of time muscles are sore. Although Jacobs and
Lawrence do not say why this might happen, Mindell once again
puts forth his idea of cell permeability. Again, those who
have used MSM in their sport and recreational activities have
no doubt that it does indeed provide benefits.
MSM and wrinklesThe world would love to believe that
MSM can reduce wrinkles. However, this is not quite
One definite benefit of MSM is its effect on the
skin—it makes the skin softer—and this may soften wrinkle
lines. This softening effect is probably due to the sulfur
content of MSM. Sulfur is necessary for collagen, the primary
constituent of cartilage and connective tissue. According to
Mindell, MSM is responsible for flexible bonds between cells,
including those in skin. It also acts to block something
called “cross-linking,” which is associated with tough, aging
skin. With sufficient MSM, skin becomes softer, smoother, and
Boswellin extractUnlike MSM, boswellin extract has
not yet entered the nutrition radar screen. You don’t see it
being hyped in health-food stores, and most probably don’t
know what it is. But being unknown does not mean being
ineffective, and boswellin extract actually has a longer
history of use than MSM.
Boswellia serrata (Indian
frankincense) has been used for centuries in the Indian
Ayurvedic system of medicine to maintain healthy joints.
Boswellic acids improve blood supply to the joints and
maintain the integrity of blood vessels. At least one study
has indicated that they may open up collateral blood
circulation to provide adequate blood supply to the
Boswellic acids have been known to reduce joint
swelling, maintain blood supply to inflamed joints, maintain
mobility, and reduce pain and stiffness in joints. They also
have no side effects.
Boswellic acids appear to have
anti-inflammatory effects because they inhibit an enzyme that
is responsible for the manufacture of leukotrienes.
Leukotrienes increase blood vessel permeability, which in turn
results in the swelling and tenderness that characterizes
According to Muhammed Majeed, et. al, in
Boswellin, the Anti-inflammatory Phytonutrient, boswellic
acids have been tested in both animal trials and human trials
with positive results. In animal studies, they have been shown
to reduce the number of glycosaminoglycans, which are integral
in building tissue that supports joints.
according to Majeed, there have been a number of studies using
boswellic acids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In
three studies noted, the boswellic acid provided relief from
morning stiffness in one, and lowered the arthritic score by
about 50 percent in the other two.
MSM and boswellin
extract sound good, don’t they? What do you suppose happens
when these two new kids are combined with glucosamine?
AIM Product Suggestion:
AIM Frame Essentials
Combines a glucosamine complex with boswellin extract and MSM, helps maintain healthy joints.
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