As a calcium phosphate dissolver, MSM helps to break up unhealthy calcium deposits in the body that are considered to be the root causes of degenerative diseases including arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It has been suggested to improve joint flexibility, reduce pain and swelling, reduce stiffness, improve circulation and improve cell vitality. These benefits of MSM could all be down to its sulphur content.
MSM is a natural form of organic sulphur and its sulphur content is incredibly high. Sulphur is one of the most important nutrients required by our bodies, as it is present in the amino acids that are the basic building blocks of protein. As sulphur is also an essential element to healthy joints, MSM is thought to be effective for maintaining healthy joints as well as fighting against osteoarthritis and other joint pains.
The role of sulphur in joint pain
As a major component of MSM, sulphur plays an important role in the production of collagen and glucosamine, which are both vital for healthy bones and joints. In weight, MSM contains around 34% of sulphur, which is delivered to the body in a useable way. Sulphur can help to maintain the structure and strengthening of connective tissue that make up the joints by forming cross-linkages through disulphide bonds.
Cartilage integrity is also sulphur dependent, making sulphur a critical element to good joint health. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are fundamental parts to joint cartilage and they are linked together in chains by disulphide bonds, which are placed between 2 sulphur atoms. These disulphide bridges reduce the conformational flexibility of GAG chains, meaning that cartilage is kept firm and resilient. MSM can therefore help to prevent the breakdown of cartilage, which is a great benefit to those suffering from joint damage.
MSM has long been used as a treatment for pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and athletic sprains, due to the fact that MSM inhibits pain impulses along the C fibres of the nervous system that are used for relaying pain messages to the brain.
It is suggested that MSM has the ability to increase the effect of cortisol, which is the body’s natural anti-inflammatory hormone. It can also help to remove fluid out of swollen tissue, which can lead to a reduction of swelling, redness, heat and any pain associated with inflammation. MSM therefore has often been recommended as a natural alternative to steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as it can provide the same benefits without any serious side effects.