MSM is not a medicine, drug or a food additive.
It is found in all foods, milk, fruits, meats and vegetables. MSM is a natural form of organic sulfur found in all living organisms. Sulfur is the 3rd most prevalent element found in your body. Your body is made up of water, salt and MSM.
The body uses MSM to regenerate healthy cells. Vitamins and amino acids work with MSM during this process. Without proper levels of sulfur, our bodies are unable to build good healthy cells, and this leads to illness. Our cells are reproducing 24 hours a day.
If your body doesn't receive the proper nutrition and building materials it needs, it will produce bad, dysfunctional cells not healthy cell. If we want our cellular tissue regenerate instead of degenerate we need to supplement our diets with MSM.
Although MSM is found in all foods, due to its unstable nature, MSM is quickly lost from food when it is processed, cooked or stored. The second you pick a fruit or vegetable from the tree or vine, it begins rapidly losing its MSM. In meats MSM is not as abundant as it used to be. Today animals are fed with dried, stored grasses, hay and grains, deficient in MSM.
When your body uses an MSM molecule to produce a new cell, that MSM is spent. We need to continuously replenish the body’s MSM bank to produce new, good healthy cells. A conventional diet does not supply the needed levels of MSM. It is absent in synthetic food additives, dietary mineral compositions, food substitutes and most fillers used to dilute or modify foods. With today's diet of cooked and processed foods, most diets of civilized cultures are deficient in this critically important ingredient.
MSM is as safe as drinking pure water. Because of its inert nature, MSM is non-allergenic, non-pyretic, and has no interfering or undesirable pharmacological effects. It can even be used as a safe blood diluent. You cannot overdose with MSM.
The body will use what it needs will flush any excess amounts out of the body.
Because it is a free radical and foreign protein scavenger, MSM cleans the blood stream, so allergies to food and pollens are eliminated in about 3 or 4 days. Because of its short lived nature MSM should be taken in the morning and the evening.
MSM is a safe and natural, assimilable food derived from the ocean. Dr. Stanley Jacob of the Oregon Health Sciences University discovered that, when heated, DSMO would crystallize and isolate 99.9 percent of the beneficial component MSM.
While they are chemically similar, you cannot compare DMSO with the derivative. Each is unique. MSM is a pure, natural, stable, white crystalline powder without the unpleasant smell or taste of DMSO. MSM is odorless and does not produce intestinal gas or body odor, which may occur with other forms of sulfur. MSM is a dietary element derived from many raw foods. DMSO is not.
MSM is neither a medicine nor a drug. It is a member of the sulfur family but should never be confused with sulfa drugs, to which some people are allergic. MSM has been used as a dietary supplement for several years, with no reports of intolerance in allergic reaction. Acute, intermediate, and long-term studies indicate that MSM exhibits very low toxicity no matter how it is administered.
Within limits, you cannot overdose with MSM because the body will take and use whatever it needs. Sulfur is highly important. Approximately half of the total body sulfur is concentrated in the muscles, skin and bones. It is present in keratin, the tough substance in the skin, nails and hair. Sulfur is necessary for making collagen, the primary constituent of cartilage and connective tissue.
It is responsible for the conformation of body proteins through the formation of disulfide bonds, which hold connective tissue together. There are 1.2 milligrams of inorganic sulfur in every 1110 milliliters of blood. In conjunction with vitamins and amino acids, MSM provides the body with the necessary raw materials to create cellular tissue. Optimal health is dependent on maintaining the process for producing healthy and flexible cells.
It's a 24-hour-a-day job because the body never stops producing new cells. Without proper nutrition, the body can run short of the materials it needs. Lacking sufficient MSM, the body is a compromised system, deficient in its ability to repair or replace damaged tissue and organs. The inability of the body to do its work causes it to produce dysfunctional cells, which can lead to illness and disease.
The nerves that sense pain are located mainly in the soft tissues of our bodies. Many types of pain can be attributed to pressure differential involving the cells that make up tissue. When outside pressure drops, cells inflate and become inflamed.
Nerves register the inflammation and we experience pain symptoms. Did you ever hear of anyone predicting weather changes because of pain they feel in their joints? Often, what contributes to the pain is the lack of flexibility and permeability in the fibrous tissue cells. Use of MSM has been shown to add flexibility to cell walls while allowing fluids to pass through the tissue more easily.
This softens the tissue and helps to equalize pressure thereby reducing if not totally eliminating the cause of the pain. This extraordinary property of MSM can help treat a wide variety of conditions that afflict millions of people every day. It is important to recall that a great deal of MSM is lost in the normal preparation of food and as a result may be denying our bodies of a critical nutritional tool it needs.
MSM; Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (CH3)2 SO2 is a white, odorless crystalline solid. Very soluble in water at 37o C. It has a molecular weight of 94 of which 34% is elemental sulfur. MSM is also known as dimethyl sulfone and is a direct metabolite of DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide). It is probably responsible for many of the biological effects of DMSO, and possesses certain additional biomedical properties without any toxicity or odor.
NUTRITION AND METABOLISM
Sulfur is a vital, though often overlooked, major nutrient in human metabolism. Through the formation of disulfide bonds, sulfur is fundamental for the proper conformation of extra cellular body proteins, thereby holding connective tissue together as well as maintaining the three dimensional structure of hormones.
It is present in large amounts in hair and nails. Intracellular sulfhydryl groups are vital for the catalytic function of large number of enzymes. . About 2% of the dry weight of most animals is sulfur. It is mostly in the form of the nonessential amino acid cysteine and lesser amounts of the essential amino acid methionine.
Cysteine sulfur can be used for the biosynthesis of other sulfur-containing biomolecules, such as taurine, coenzyme A and glutathione. MSM can serve as a dietary source of sulfur. Remember that MSM is a natural form of organic sulfur found in all living organisms and present in low concentrations in bodily fluids and tissues. It is found in a variety of fresh foods including most fruits and vegetables, milk, and some grains.
Although present in most unprocessed foods, MSM is readily lost due to its unstable nature. Unless the diet is composed of primarily raw foods, it is unlikely that sufficient MSM will be ingested to significantly contribute to the nutritional sulfur requirement. MSM supplementation can serve as a normal dietary source of sulfur. MSM has a vitamin like moderating or normalizing influence on body functions.
There appears to be a relationship between abnormal physiological symptoms and low MSM blood levels in human beings. A low concentration of MSM is being associated with adverse stress, both psychological and physical, organ and tissue malfunction, fatigue and susceptibility to disease.
MSM has been found to normalize certain body functions in patients displaying physiological symptoms of stress, specifically gastrointestinal upset, inflammation of mucous membranes, allergic reactions, drug hypersensitivity, inflammatory disorder including arthritis, muscle cramps, and infectious parasites.
Most effective dosage regimens suggest periodic administration throughout the day. The recommended maintenance dose is 250-500 mg/day. One to ten grams per day have been used for relief of symptoms. Single dosages are usually not effective.
MSM appears to be inert in tissues and body fluids, except for its beneficial, inhibitory effect on cross-linking of collagen and proteins thereby reducing hardening of skin and connective tissue. Because of its inert nature, MS M is nonallergenic, nonpyretic, and has no interfering or undesirable pharmacological effects. In animal studies, extremely high doses produced no adverse effects.
Methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) is a naturally occurring dietary derivative of DMSO that serves as an important source of bioavailable dietary sulfur. When administered orally, it is effective in ameliorating symptoms of physiological response to stress including gastrointestinal upset, inflammation of' the mucous membranes, pain associated with muscular skeletal system disorders, and infectant allergens.
MSM appears to augment immunological competence through a natural, vitamin like moderating or normalizing activity for various body functions and is noted for its exceptionally non-toxic nature. MSM has proved useful as a dietary supplement for both children and adults, including geriatric patients.
Methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) is a naturally occurring, sulfur containing compound with multiple functions in the body. At higher levels it functions as a pharmaceutically active agent which can be used safely and effectively for a variety of purposes.
The development of MSM as a dietary supplement stemmed from research on DMSO as a stable, odorless dietary metabolite of DMSO. MSM possesses certain biomedical properties similar to DMSO together with additional biological activity not possessed by DMSO. MSM, unlike DMSO, is a dietary factor and is free of the unpleasant odor found with the use of DMSO.
Nutritional implications of MSM
Unless the diet consists largely of raw, unprocessed foods, it unlikely that sufficient MSM will be ingested to contribute significantly to the daily nutritional sulfur requirement thus furthering the high incidence of sulfur deficient diets which exist globally.
Sulfur plays an indispensable role in human nutrition which is often overlooked. It is responsible for the conformation of body proteins through the formation of disulfide bonds. Thereby holding connective tissue together. Thiol groups are vital for the catalytic function of several body enzymes.
To perform these roles, constant intake of assimilable sulfur is needed by the body. Although MSM has not yet been established to be a vitamin. It does have a vitamin like moderating or normalizing activity for various body functions. There appears to be a high correlation between abnormal physiological symptoms and low MSM blood levels in human beings.
Although MSM is found as a natural constituent of foodstuffs, like vitamin D, the principle supply is believed to be synthesized by the body using one of its natively occurring precursor compounds. Also, excretion data show that MSM occurs in lower concentrations with increasing age. Too low a body concentration of MSM may potentially result in adverse physical and psychological stress, tissue and organ malfunction, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to disease.
MSM has a broad and profound beneficial effect in ameliorating diverse allergic responses. MSM ameliorates allergic reactions to inhalant, ingestant, contact, and infectant allergens. Subjects find a direct correlation between the concentration of MSM used and resistance to allergens.
Individuals with chronic to severe allergies to environmental materials such as house dust pollen, wool, animal hair, feathers, and other diverse allergens report substantial to complete relief of their allergy symptoms after successive daily doses of MSM varying from 50 to 100 mg. per day.
Allergy symptoms ranged from respiratory congestion to inflammation, itching, mucoid discharges, and general discomfort. Although MSM alone may not totally eliminate allergic responses, the majority of subjects report a significant reduction in concurrent anti-allergy medication required to keep their allergic symptoms to a minimum.
Individuals with allergic asthma or hay fever typically report equivalent or better control of symptoms with one-quarter or 1ess of the prior required level of medication. Individuals who manifest an allergic response to drugs, such as aspirin, non-steroid anti-arthritic agents and oral antibiotics, as well as those who are mildly to severely allergic to various foods, such as cereals, shrimp and other seafood, milk, etc., report either a lessened intolerance or a complete tolerance to these substances when ingesting 100 to 1000mg of MSM.
Thus, a major application of MSM may be as a safeguard against allergic responses to orally ingested drugs, foods, or beverages which are allergens or irritants to individuals sensitive to these substances.
MSM is effective in ameliorating gastrointestinal upset such as that produced by the ingestion of aspirin and other pharmaceuticals or parasitic infections. Individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, chronic constipation, nausea hyperacidity or epigastric pain, or inflammation of mucous membranes experience dramatic relief through the oral administration of 500-1500 mg, of MSM daily.
PAIN ASSOCIATED WITH SYSTEMIC INFLAMATORY DISORDERS
Individuals presenting signs and symptoms of pain and inflammation associated with various muscular skeletal system disorders, including arthritis, reported substantial and long-lasting relief while including from 100 to 5000 mg. of MSM in their daily diet. Most, trying first MSM alone, then a combination with ascorbic acid, reported greater benefit with the combination.
The use of MSM with ascorbic acid is particularly useful in correlating night leg cramps, MSM is capable of reducing the incidence of or entirely eliminating leg cramps, muscle spasms, and general soreness, particularly in geriatric patients who experience cramps at night or after long periods of inactivity.
It is also effective for athletes who experience severe leg cramps during their sports activity. Migraine suffers have also obtained substantial relief at oral doses of 50 to500 mg. MSM per day while arthritic patients report relief from pain and stiffness as well as reduced swel1ing and inflammation.
In vitro and in vivo tests suggest that MSM has ameliorating or curative activity against a variety of medically important parasitic, microbial, and fungal problems of the intestinal and urogenital tracts.
MSM is active against, Giardia lamblia known as traveler's diarrhea, Trichomonas, vaginalis, Nematodes, Enterobius and other intestinal worms, systemic infections by Histoplasma capsulation, Coccidioides, Toxoplasm and other in vitro susceptible organisms. Effective doses have been in the range of 500-1000 mg. per day.
MSM may affect such infections by competing for binding or receptor sites at the mucous membrane surface presenting a blocking interface between host and parasite. MSM appears to augment immunological competence, which may also partly explain its effectiveness in treating parasitic infections.
Dosage and Administration Considerations
A single dose of MSM is usually not effective in ameliorating symptoms. Thus, MSM is usually administered periodically throughout the day or on successive days, or both. Noticeable results are usually, seen within 2 to 21 days. The amount of MSM in each dose is not critical.
The usual individual dose is about 100-1000 mg. preferably 250-500 mg. per day. The effective dosage depends to some extent on the nature and severity of symptoms manifested, the cause of those symptoms, and the MSM blood level. Healthy persons appear to have MSM blood levels of least 1 ppm, while unhealthy patients often have depressed MSM blood levels.
Blood sampling for MSM, however, is not ordinarily required because oral ingestion of amounts of MSM in excess of that required to elevate MSM blood levels is not harmful because of the non-toxic nature of MSM.
Purified MSM can be administered orally in any convenient manner, such as ingesting crystalline MSM or its aqueous solution. Preferably, MSM is given in unit dosage form such as tablets or capsules, each containing 100 to 500 mg. MSM.
MSM is of exceedingly low toxicity to all forms of plant and animal life. Except for its beneficial, inhibitory effect on cross-linking of collagen and proteins whereby it reduces hardening of skin and connective tissue, MSM appears to be inert in tissues and body fluids.
Because of its inertness, MSM is nonallergenic, nonpyretic, and has no interfering or undesirable pharmacological effects. In fact, MSM is especially suitable as a stable blood diluent because subjects do not react allergically to MSM as they do when dextran is used. It can also be employed as a stable, neutral vehicle for pharmaceutical substances to deliver the pharmaceutical while simultaneously improving the condition of the patient's connective tissue.
Methyl sulfonyl methane, MSM, a dietary derivative of DMSO, provides a rich nutritional source of bioavailable sulfur (approximately 34% by weight). MSM has proven useful as a dietary supplement in the normalization of body functions in a variety of conditions resulting from the effects of physiological stress.
Its major discovered uses include the amelioration of gastrointestinal upset, moderation of allergic responses, control of gut and urogenital infections, and alleviation of chronic pain. As a naturally occurring dietary constituent, MSM has important nutritional and medical implications for the maintenance of optimum health.
According to the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences limited studies suggest that the systemic concentration of MSM drops in mammals with increasing age. This may be due to dietary habits where one ingests foods with lower MSM potential with maturity or possibly there is a change in the renal threshold.
Healthy juvenile rabbits maintain a level at or above 1 ppm body weight, with milk being the dominant food and source. Cow's milk normally contains between 2 and 6 ppm MSM dependent on the source and freshness. In an adult man the circulating concentration varies but may average about 0.2-0.25 ppm.
There is no estimate of total body concentration as yet but researchers suspect that MSM is banked in some of the organs, other than the adrenals. Daily output of urine contains several milligrams of MSM. This possibly is not the dominant excretory route. Some additional abnormal conditions seen in clinics have responded to oral ingestion MSM generally administered at dosage levels of 250-750 mg/day.
In the control of hyperacidity, subjects seen to be chronic users of various antacids and antihistamines prefer MSM by reason of relief obtained coupled with freedom from serious, untoward effects. Subjects demonstrating hypersensitivity to drugs such as aspirin, nonsteroid antiarthritic agents like Naprosyn, Indocin, Motrin, and oral antibiotics, were drug tolerant when MSM was given within an hour before or concurrent with the sensitizing drug.
MSM is often used to control constipation. In the older population chronic constipation can be a medical problem of concern. Those suffering from chronic constipation have gained prompt and continuing relief by supplementing the diet with 100 to 500 mg of MSM per day.
There also have been some individuals with severely restricted lung function. Of these few have been evaluated in vital function assessment but were tested in endurance measurements. Limited objective and strong subjective evidence suggests the MSM is a useful dietary supplement to reduce lung dysfunction.
One fascinating aspect of this work is the observation that with presented function and structure normalcy, MSM appears to be inactive pharmacologically. Only where abnormality occurs has MSM been observed to influence a return towards normalcy, defined as being within measurable parameters of good health.
It is intriguing that MSM is a constant factor in all normal diets of vertebrates and yet nearly impossible for adults to attain a desirable blood concentration level from that available through a diet presumed as normal. It is not possible to directly compare DMSO and MSM, though they are of the same chemical family. Each is unique unto itself. MSM is a dietary factor derivable from most natural foods.
It is conveniently taken alone, or in foods. Taken by mouth, there is no after breath. DMSO has certain unpleasant attributes not possessed by MSM. While MSM is a dietary factor, DMSO is not. DMSO readily penetrates the dermis and less complicated membrane systems while MSM does not. Each contributes to the well being of mankind, but in differing ways. Both have important implications.
When Dr. Chancy Leak summarized the first New York Academy of Sciences Symposium on DMSO stating that "rarely had a new drug came to the attention of the scientific community with so much verifiable information from so many parts of the world." Those remarks were true in 1965. They remain true today.
Maintaining good health and preventing disease through adequate mineral intake should be a natural result of eating the proper foods. Up until the industrial expansion of the 19th century, the cycle of minerals was mainly undisturbed, as vegetables, meat, fish and dairy foods remained reliable sources of most minerals.
Today, however, increasing air and water pollution, intensive farming, deforestation, the refined and highly processed foods we eat, along with the use of prescription drugs, have had the cumulative effect of depleting the natural availability of dietary minerals.
Mineral depletion is so evident in today's soils is reflected in the depleted state of health of people all over the world. No one should be fooled by those nutrition tables on labels listing the amount of vitamins and minerals in foods. They don't reveal if produce was grown in a mineral balanced soil or comes from over farmed or polluted soil. Nor can they give any indication of naturally occurring variations in soils from different geographic areas. What's more some nutrition tables haven't been updated in over twenty years.
As long as practices exist which continue to rob the soil of mineral content, even one year can make a difference to food values. For this reason, food that might have been nutritious at some point in the past may well prove to be devoid of any food value by the time you eat it. The sulfur our bodies need is available in animal protein foods such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs and milk.
Grains, legumes and fresh, unprocessed vegetables like onions, garlic, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli contribute lesser amounts of this important mineral. Consequently, vegetarians and other people who may have inadequate intake of protein or those with a higher protein need, growing children for example, may also lack sufficient sulfur to meet the body's needs.
As the sciences of biochemistry, physics and geology continue to discover and define the role minerals play, like the recent revelation of organic sulfur, we can all look forward to developing even better ways of fine tuning our bodies for healthier and longer lives.
Meanwhile, since it appears virtually impossible to compensate for mineral deficiencies with food, the need grows daily for supplements to assure an adequate mineral supply for anyone interested in maintaining optimal health.
SULFUR AN UNAPPRECIATED NUTRIENT
It's referred to in the Book of Genesis as brimstone and, reminiscent of hellfire, it also appears in the vicinity of volcanoes and hot springs. Greeks used it as it occurs in garlic to treat arthritis and even psychosis. Our forefathers knew it as a component of black gunpowder.
Later it proved useful in the vulcanization of natural rubber. Farmers and growers are aware of its value as a fungicide and as a phosphoric fertilizer. In springtime, Grandma and Grandpa may have downed a little with some molasses for the combined tonic effect. It's widely distributed in nature in iron pyrites, galena, sphalerite, cinnabar, gypsum, Epsom salts, celestite and barite. It's even found on the Moon.
It’s that pale yellow, brittle, nonmetallic mineral sulfur. While it is the fourth most plentiful mineral in the body and so essential to life that it is found in every cell of every animal and plant, sulfur has not received the nutritional attention it deserves.
Sulfur has been overlooked probably because it occurs not as the smelly, inorganic form we're all familiar with, but is usually referred to in the context of its presence in certain amino acids that form part of the proteins we ingest. As a result, despite the vital roles that sulfur itself plays in the body, its value as a critical nutrient has gone under appreciated.
It is time to turn the spotlight on sulfur, more specifically organic sulfur, the kind your body can absorb and use. This form of sulfur is called methyl sulfonyl methane, for simplicity usually shortened to MSM.
Long before the first living thing ever set foot or fin on land, algae and phytoplankton were living in the surface layer of Earth's ancient seas. Scientists explain that these very simple forms of marine life assimilate and convert inorganic sulfur into organic molecules which then release a volatile substance called dimethyl sulfide, eventually to lodge in the upper reaches of the atmosphere in the ozone layer.
There the dimethyl sulfide, catalyzed by ultra- violet light, is oxidized into DMSO (diethyl sulfide) and into MSM. Both these compounds dissolve in atmospheric moisture, are caught up in clouds which move over land surfaces, and return to earth dissolved in rain.
When it rains, plant roots attract and voraciously absorb sulfur rich MSM. When researchers added MSM to soil around plants at five parts per million in water, in only a few hours the root concentration reached levels exceeding 100 parts per million.
Little wonder that it's possible to obtain the sulfur our bodies require from the fresh plants we consume as food. It's hard to imagine that some of the sulfur that is now a part of your body may have originated from algae growing in some warm, far-off tropical sea that was eventually absorbed by plants and used to build amino acids and other organosulfur compounds.
Yet it is this miraculous, never-ending chemical process that occurs thousands of feet above us and returns as raindrops that supplies the sulfur needed for all living things. As noted earlier, animal protein foods have a comparatively high content of sulfur and grains, legumes and such vegetables as onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli have significant but not abundant quantities.
About the only foods with enough sulfur content to even darken a silver spoon are eggs and red peppers. Unfortunately, most of the volatile MSM present in unprocessed foods is lost in the washing, cooking or steaming that is involved in the modern preparation of these plant foods for consumption.
SKIN AND COLLAGEN PROTEIN
MSM is responsible for the flexible bond between cells, including those that make up the skin. It acts to block undesirable chemical and physical cross-linking or bonding of collagen which is associated with tough, aging skin. Consequently, MSM enhances tissue pliability and encourages the repair of damaged skin.
Tests conducted among laboratory animals indicated that wound healing occurred faster with a group receiving MSM, but the fastest healing was among a group receiving MSM plus vitamin C. If there is insufficient MSM in our body when new cells are being manufactured, the new cells become rigid.
This rigidity can contribute to cracking, wrinkles, and scar tissue. When sufficient MSM is present, it surfaces to make the skin softer, smoother and more flexible, allowing it to stretch easily with movement. Scars are overgrowths of collagenous tissue that appear on skin as the cut or wound heals. Normally, the wound heals flat and firm leaving little sign of the injury.
However, when the body is deficient in MSM and vitamin C, the new tissue will be elevated leaving an unattractive, raised scar. With adequate MSM along with vitamin C, these unsightly scars have been observed to disappear over time. Some plastic surgeons and dermatologists will recommend collagen injections for minimizing wrinkles and scars. Injected collagen, however, will be broken down by enzymes in about two years.
Money that people spend on cosmetic products with collagen as an ingredient is equally wasted, since skin cannot absorb the protein. Nutritional support of our body's own collagen, including MSM supplementation, is a much better idea.
MSM can stimulate the production of healthy collagen while bringing elasticity back to the skin. The minerals that nourish healthy skin, including nutritional sulfur or MSM, and copper can be obtained from eating raw, dark, leafy vegetables, shellfish and whole grains, or via convenient supplements.
Iron is another nutritional mineral important to skin. It is found in poultry, fish and parsley. Vitamin C, required for the production of collagen, is abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables. A good multiple vitamin and mineral supplement will provide most of your daily requirements, but MSM is not included and must be obtained separately. As a daily dietary supplement 750 mg of MSM is a must.
By keeping cells and tissue soft and permeable, MSM allows the skin to serve as an auxiliary kidney. Millions of sweat glands excrete substances that are toxic to the body. With vigorous exercise or at high temperatures our sweat output increases from an average of about a pint a day to several quarts.
There are two types of sweat glands. Eccrine glands eliminate mostly water and excess mineral salts, including sodium chloride, which is why sweat tastes salty. These sweat glands work hardest with exercise, high temperatures or under stress.
Apocrine sweat glands are found in the genital region and the armpits. They excrete nitrogen containing wastes, as well as water and salts through the pores of our skin. Apocrine glands are the ones to blame for body odor. The sweat from these glands creates body odor when mixed with bacteria and is produced at times of stress.
Acne involves overproduction of sebum and consequently breaks out in the most dense locations of sebaceous glands. Male sex hormones such as testosterone stimulate production of keratin and sebum, enlarging the sebaceous glands.
Hormone levels increase at puberty in both boys and girls, but are higher in males, which are the reasons why acne afflicts mainly teenagers and is most common in males. Teenagers will be heartened to learn that studies have been conducted which indicate that acne, including the severe acne rosacea, responds favorably to a diet supplemented with MSM.
Good nutrition helps the skin carry out its detoxification role and keeps down the levels of toxins it has to manage. Poor diet can be a contributory factor to pores and sweat glands getting clogged.
The only side effect of MSM, if you want to call it that, is that it will make your hair and nails stronger. That's because the sulfur amino acid cysteine, one of the building blocks of protein, is present in keratin, the main protein found in large amounts in your hair, fingernails and toenails.
While all the B vitamins are important to healthy hair and nails, sulfur-bearing biotin is especially important. Look at the ingredients of many shampoo brands and you’ll see biotin listed. Be aware, however, that it will do you more good on the inside than the outside.
Although a biotin deficiency is rare, it can cause hair loss and fragile nails. Like plants in pots, hair grows from tiny sacs called follicles located just below the surface of the skin. On average, a healthy head will number 100,000 hairs. The root of the hair is surrounded by a bulb that feeds each strand the tough, fibrous protein keratin. Just above the bulb and below the skin are sebaceous glands which produce an oily substance called sebum that lubricates and protects the hair.
Every follicle has its own blood supply, which is why good circulation is important for healthy hair. The size of the opening in the follicle determines the thickness of the hair. Attached to each follicle are tiny muscles called erector pili muscles.
When you're cold or scared, they contract. When you're frightened, it's what makes hair stand on end and when you're cold, they'll give you Goosebumps. The shaft of hair is made of three layers, the center core or medulla, the thicker middle layer called the cortex, and the tough outer layer called the cuticle.
Relative to its circumference, hair is very strong, stronger than a copper wire of the same thickness. Hair is straight, curly or wavy depending on the shape of the hair shaft. Straight hair has a round shaft, curly hair has a kidney shape and wavy hair has a slightly curved shaft.
NAILS AND KERATIN
The nails are 98 percent composed of a tough protein with a high sulfur content called keratin, produced by the cells under the nail. Fingernails and toenails grow from near the bone about a quarter of an inch past the base of the nail. This area is called the nail root.
Forming a protective barrier between the nail and the skin is a small flap of tissue called the cuticle. Under the nails is the nail bed, which is rich with blood vessels and very sensitive. The pink color of the nails is caused by blood vessels close to the surface.
Fingernails grow about an eighth of an inch per month, and toenails grow about a sixteenth of an inch per month. Once we believed that eating gelatin would create strong nails, but this is not so. Both hair and nails are composed primarily of protein, antigelatin is far from being a total protein. Neither will calcium build stronger nails, because the amount of calcium in nails is minimal.
Actually, there is very little you can do to create hard nails from outside the body. Good nutrition and genetics will determine your nail strength. Nonetheless, if you have brittle or soft nails, it is important to make sure you're getting plenty of MSM and B vitamins not just from dietary sources, but also in supplement form.
Vitamins A and E are key nutrients for healthy skin and hair and nails. One of the signs of vitamin A deficiency is hair loss and soft or brittle nails. If you're eating a balanced diet of yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables, chances are good that you're getting sufficient vitamin A.
In supplement form, you should be taking 10,000 to 15,000 International Units of beta carotene in your daily vitamins, which the body will convert to vitamin A as needed. Food sources of vitamin E are olive oil, whole grains, avocados and nuts. As a daily supplement, take 400 IU of vitamin E.
Glucosamine is the building block for ligaments, tendons, fluid in the joints, digestive and respiratory tract membranes, heart valves, eyes, nails, skin and bone. It is manufactured in the body when the simple sugar glucose combines through enzyme action with glutamine.
The result of this action is then sulfated by other enzymes to form glucosamine. In this form it gives cartilage its strength, structure and resiliency. Sulfur bonds are required as essential structural components of all connective tissue. While we don't often think about it, the fact is that our connective tissue system is literally what holds us together.
This tissue runs from head to toe, supporting and connecting our internal organs, forms the walls of blood vessels, and attaches muscles to bones. One component of connective tissue is collagen, which holds water and gives connective tissue its flexibility. Proteoglycans are another component of connective tissue, and they are the basic substance of joint cartilage.
GLUTATHIONE & THE ANTIOXIDANT CYCLE
This amino acid is a tripeptide made from the sulfur bearing amino acid cysteine plus glycine and glutamic acid. Glutathione is produced mainly in the liver. It is found in the cells of nearly all living organisms on Earth, and its principal function is waste disposal.
When there are free radicals threatening to start an oxidation reaction, Glutathione neutralizes them and often transfers them to another antioxidant such as vitamin E. In the liver, glutathione attaches to toxic substances and binds to them in a form the liver can excrete without being damaged. Glutathione also prevents red blood cells from being damaged by neutralizing unstable forms of oxygen.
This remarkable antioxidant also plays a role in cellular repair after a stroke, fighting cancer, stabilizing blood sugar and preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol which damages the arteries. It's also crucial in protecting the lymphatic and digestive systems from unstable fats and oils. When glutathione levels drop, the burden of toxic stress goes up.
A study done in England in a community of elderly people showed that low glutathione levels were associated with a 24 percent higher rate of illness and death, higher cholesterol and higher body weight. Glutathione is known to promote good eye health and low levels accompany almost every type of eye disease. Our level of glutathione drops as we get older.
Levels can also be depleted by excessive intake of polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, overexposure to toxic substances such as pesticides, and by pharmaceutical drugs that stress the liver. Since glutathione often passes off its neutralized waste products to antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, a deficiency of these vitamins can diminish its full function.
According to The Experts Optimal Health Journal, as antioxidant researchers, over the past 38 years have grown increasingly aware of these substances vital role in maintaining health and preventing diseases. The most commonly studied antioxidants are vitamins C and E, selenium, the bioflavonoids and nutrients containing sulfur.
One nutrient that is a particular favorite of famed antioxidant researcher Dr. Passwater, is glutathione pronounced (gloo-ta- thigh-on). This powerful antioxidant is a sulfur containing tripeptide formed in the body from three amino acids, cysteine, glutamnic acid and glycine.
Glutathione helps to both prevent numerous diseases and slow the aging process. In his book, "The GSH (Glutathione) Phenomenon: Nature's most powerful antioxidant and healing agent." Dr. Pressman describes how glutathione "helps in preventing and battling weight gain, hyperactivity, alcohol, sugar and caffeine addictions, allergies, arthritis, cataracts, and lung, skin, prostate and bladder cancers."
He points out that "increasing your glutathione level not only helps combat the aforementioned ailments, but also provides other health benefits including increased energy levels, enhanced brain power and boosted immunity." In the book's preface written by Dr. Passwater, he describes glutathione as foot soldiers in the battle against free radicals and toxins.
Vitamin C is the major blood antioxidant, vitamin E is the vital antioxidant in cell membranes and lipoproteins, and selenium, as an essential component of the antioxidant enzymes called glutathione peroxides, is the principal antioxidant protecting the cell membrane's outer surface.
Although articles in popular books and magazines rarely mention glutathione, it is critical to health in many ways. It assists in keeping the immune system healthy, terminates intracellular free radicals, and detoxifies many harmful chemicals. Glutathione serves as a substrate for several enzymes, such as the selenium-containing glutathione peroxidases, that mitigate or prevent harmful free-radical reactions.
The antioxidant cycle is a chain interaction in which some antioxidants regenerate and spare other antioxidants. Although they appear to be on different teams, they actually work together in sequence. When antioxidant A is exhausted, antioxidant B regenerates antioxidant A. Antioxidant C then enters the game to regenerate B, and so on. Glutathione plays a key position.
It can regenerate most of the other antioxidants that have been spent deactivating free radicals. Dr. Passwater discovered the biological synergism of the antioxidant nutrients in 1963. More recently, Dr. Lester Packer of the University of California at Berkeley has elucidated the mechanism responsible for a large part of the antioxidant cycle.
A free radical is a molecule or molecular fragment that contains one or more lone or unpaired electrons. Since its more natural and lower-energy state is to have all electrons grouped in pairs, the molecule becomes very reactive as it strives to gain the missing electron. The free radicals quest can damage body components and lead to between 60 and 80 known diseases.
When a molecule of vitamin E comes in contact with a free radical, the vitamin E molecule gives up one of its electrons. The free radical becomes normalized, and is no longer a danger to body components. Having donated an electron, the vitamin E molecule is left with an unpaired electron and is itself now unstable and technically a very weak free radical.
This lone electron condition in an antioxidant such as vitamin E does not contain enough energy to be harmful, and will eventually decompose and be eliminated from the body. If the vitamin E molecule decomposes, the degradation products are eliminated from the body. Although one free radical has been eliminated by the vitamin E, the body has also lost one molecule of vitamin E. Unfortunately, there are many more free radicals than there are molecules of vitamin E in the body. In North America people usually consume less than 10 to 15 milligrams of vitamin E daily.
However, a molecule of vitamin C can regenerate a molecule of vitamin E that has donated its electron to terminate the free radical. As mentioned above, this molecule of vitamin E is technically a very weak free radical because it has an unpaired electron.
The molecule of vitamin C can restore the vitamin E radical to normal vitamin E by donating an electron to it. This restores the molecule of vitamin E, but, since it now lacks an electron, makes the molecule of vitamin C a very weak free radical in the process.
The vitamin C radical is harmless to the body, and will decompose and be lost. Fortunately, there are more molecules of vitamin C in the average diet, typically 30 to 75 milligrams, than vitamin E. The net effect is that vitamin C acts to spare the less present vitamin E.
This cycle continues as long as other antioxidants such as lipoid acid, CoQ10, or carotenoids are available to regenerate the vitamin C. In turn, glutathione can regenerate any of the aforementioned antioxidants. But, as the last dietary nutrient in the chain glutathione will not always be regenerated.
NADH and glutathione reductase can regenerate glutathione, but several grams of glutathione will be sacrificed each day in the battle against fee radicals. Thus, we like to call glutathione the foot soldier in the anti oxidant chain. It is the hard working unsung hero of the antioxidant defense network.
Glutathione is the most plentiful antioxidant found inside your cells. It is critical to keep the immune system functioning at peak efficiency. For example, HIV infected cells lose the ability to produce glutathione and will not accept any from the blood.
As glutathione levels decrease, so does the infected persons immune function. Programs in which HIV positive patients maintain or improve glutathione levels show the progression towards clinical AIDS is either slowed or halted, and overall HIV viral load is reduced.
Not only does glutathione function as a major antioxidant, quenching several free radicals including the very destructive hydroxyl radical. It also plays a key role in several enzyme detoxification pathways. Certain enzyme systems work together in various ways to detoxify potentially harmful compounds.
Glutathione can be utilized by enzymes to make some carcinogens more soluble and thus more easily removed from the body. It can also help eliminate heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium, by binding with them. Glutathione also plays a critical role in stabilizing structural proteins and enzymes, essential to both the structure and function of all body cells.
When teamed with selenium containing glutathione peroxidases, glutathione also protects the proteins in cell membranes that serve as "gates" for the entrance and exit of substances within cells. Thus, a shortage of it can mean cells could either starve for critical nutrients or drown in their own waste products.
Long-term epidemiological studies have associated low levels of glutathione with increased incidence of several diseases. Looking at 33 people over the age of 60, researchers led by Dr. Mona Julius of the University of Michigan noted that those with the highest blood levels of glutathione had fewer illnesses, lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressures and healthier weights than those with low levels.
The researchers also noted that people with the highest levels of glutathione in their blood also reported feeling great, whereas those with the lowest levels of glutathione did not feel as well. The latter group also had more heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Your body must generate large quantities of glutathione from food. If you're healthy and eat plenty of sulfur rich foods, it is possible your system will make enough glutathione to stay healthy. Eating several grams of sulfur containing foods every day will enable you to make sufficient amounts of glutathione to regenerate the small amounts of vitamin E, vitamin C and carotenoids you eat and to regenerate the lipoid acid and Coenzyme Q-10 that you consume or make in your body.
Glutathione levels can be increased with several nutritional supplements including selenium, cysteine, methyl sulfonyl methane or MSM and, to a lesser extent, glutathione itself. Glutathione supplements are not absorbed intact but are broken down by the digestive process into its components, which are absorbed by the body to increase the production of glutathione.