Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Location: Cleveland, OH
|Posted: Dec Thu 14, 2006 11:29 pm Post subject: MSM - Newest Arthritis Cure
|MSM - Newest Arthritis Cure
The Newest Arthritis Cure, by Jack Challem
If you suffer from pain or inflammation, or a host of other conditions, MSM, and a related substance called DMSO, may help you on the road to recovery.
Bill Rich, a retired mechanic in Portland, Ore., flashes back to 1970 as he tells the horrifying story of being trapped inside a burning car. "The doctors spent six months trying to put me back together," he says. With a patchwork of keloid scars, from the burns and extensive skin grafts, Rich admits, "I made Frankenstein look handsome."
For years he also suffered excruciating pain. After a couple of walks from the repair bay to the parts department at the car dealership where he worked at the time, he'd practically buckle over and cry from the pain in his knees and ankles.
Then, in the early 1980s a veterinarian suggested that he try a supplement routinely used to treat pain in horses and other animals. The compound was methylsulfoaylmethane, also known as dimethylsulfone, or simply MSM.
"In three days, most of my leg pain was gone," Rich says. An inveterate tinkerer, he eventually developed an MSM-containing cream that he regularly rubbed on his skin. Incredibly, his flat, purple scarring-years old-started to vanish, and was replaced by round, pink skin.
Origins of DMSO and MSM. If Bill Rich's story seems too incredible to be true, there are legions of other people who claim that MSM has relieved their joints and muscle pain, inflammation, pollen allergies and other ailments.
Although there's relatively little published research on MSM, it does have a respectable, if derivative, scientific basis. MSM is a nutrient and a normal metabolite, or byproduct, of dimethyl sulfoxide, better known as DMSO. Twenty years ago, DMSO was an alternative "wonder drug," and it still has a strong following.
"It's a tale of two cities," says Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., of Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. Both substances, in a manner of speaking, have historically been joined at the hip. To appreciate MSM, it helps to understand a little about DMSO.
In 1961, when Jacob was head of the university's organ transplant program, he realized that DMSO, a common industrial compound, might help in the cryogenic preservation of organs. It turned out that DMSO had other distinctive properties as well. It's a powerful pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, and it rapidly transports other substances (e.g., nutrients) through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Jacob teamed up with Robert J. Herschler, a biological chemist and inventor, and together they investigated the proper-ties and medicinal uses of DMSO. Although some drug companies showed Interest in DM50 and funded research, the FDA was slow to approve it. It wasn't until 1978, 15 years later-that the FDA approved DMSO as a prescription treatment for severe bladder infections
By that time, DMSO, relatively inexpensive and available over the counter, had gained a huge public following. In 1980, within days of a 60 Minute TV report on DMSO, Jacob's university office had received 100,000 phone calls. Health food stores, drugstores and even gas stations were selling DMSO to an estimated 23 million people. It eased the pain and inflammation of arthritis and other muscle and skeletal disorders --and appeared safe. The only negative aspect of DMSO was its strong, sulfurous smell and the taste it left even when applied to the skin.
Growing Interest in MSM. By 1978, Jacob and Herschler had also become intrigued with MSM, one of the active forms of DMSO in the body. Fifteen percent of DMSO (whether taken orally, intravenously or applied topically) is converted to MSM. Unlike DMSO, MSM is found in many foods, and it is normally present in the bodies of people and animals. Jacob says, "Unpasteurized milk is a particularly rich dietary source of it, and small amounts of MSM are found in fruits, vegetables and grains. Food refining and processing removes MSM much the way they reduce vitamins and minerals.
Jacob believes that MSM, 34 percent sulfur by weight, works in large part by donating the mineral to a broad range of normal biochemical processes in the body. "I think that the whole DMSO complex—DMSO, dimcrthyl sulfid, MSM—provides a good portion of the body's need for sulfur," says Jacob. "Sulfur is an important building block."
That, in fact, is almost an understatement. Sulfur, one of the most abundant minerals in the body, is a component of amino acids (methionine, cystcine, taurine), vitamins (B1, biotin), hormones insulin coenzymes (coenyrne A) and antioxidants (glutathionc. N-acerylcyattine, alpha lipoic acid). Because sulfur is necessary to build "disulfide bonds," which hold together tissue, it forms part of the body's physical structure, including protein, collagen, glucosamine, skin and nails.
Yet, ironically, while sulfur is clearly essential for health, it is not officially regarded as such by the U.S. Acaderny of Sciences, which establishes nutritional recommendations, or the FDA. In addition, sulfur per se, has been one of the least researched nutritional minerals
MSM Benefits Many Varied Conditions. Much of what is known about MSM gets back to Jacob's clinical experience in treating a wide range of conditions, as well as animal experience by other researchers. Although only about two dozen scientific studies have been published on MSM, some people suggest that the 55,000 studies on DMSO are "co-studies" on MSM.
Jacob says that DMSO and MSM have very similar effects. DMSO is the more potent pain reliever and an antioxidant. "But MSM is a pain reliever, and it reduces Inflammation clinically," he adds. One of the biggest advantages of MSM is that if doesn't posse or create a pungent, sulfurous odor. That, Jacob adds, increases its social acceptability.
How does he decide which to use in treating patients? In his university clinic, Jacob likes to combine the two, giving patients a little DMSO with MSM. But many people just take MSM.
These are some of the conditions that have benefitted from MSM: Muscle and joint pain. Like DMSO, MSM (taken orally) can relieve pain and inflammation in muscles and joints. Many of the components of joints are made from collagen and glucosamine, both of which are sulfur-dependent. Herschler, in one of his many patents on MSM. describes an 81-year-old arthritic woman who was not helped by conventional drug therapy. After two weeks of taking MSM she had "almost total" pain relief. In an animal study on rheumatoid arthritis-like joint degeneration, DMSO and MSM were about equal in reducing joint inflammation, but MSM completely prevented the breakdown of cartilage. According to Jacobs, MSM can be helpful for most types of musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis. tendinitis and gout.
Interstitial cystitis. No infection is associated with this painful and debilitating bladder Inflammation, and doctors don't know what causes it. Stacy J. Childs, M.D., of the University Alabama, Tuscaloosa, recently described six patients with interstitial cystitis who benefitted from MSM in Urological Clinics of North America. Interstitial Cystitis is the only condition for which the FDA has approved DMSO as a treatment. MSM can also help.
Scleroderma. The initial symptoms of Scleroderma (syscernic sclerosis) are swelling and thickening of the fingertips. It evolves into a chronic disease with scarring of the skin, joints and internal organs. When this scarring affects the esophagus, patients experience difficulty swallowing and chronic heartburn. Jacob, who has served as the medical director for the Scleroderma International Foundation for more than 25 years says that both MSM and DMSO can ease symptoms. Both substances appear to normalize collagen formation.
Allergies. Symptoms of pollen allergies may be reduced with MSM supplements. Jacob admits that he does not understand why MSM relieves allergies, but he suspects that MSM blocks cell-receptor sites for histamine, which triggers allergic symptoms. "It's a real phenomenon," Jacob says of MSM's effect on pollen allergies. It's best taken in the evening, a couple of grains a day, maybe more when the pollen count is high." MSM has been shown helpful clinically, in lupus crythematosus and may be beneficial in other autoimmune (self-allergic) disorders.
Other conditions. Although research is limited, MSM may reduce excess stomach acid and hypersensitivity to some drugs, such as aspirin and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. Laboratory studies have found that it can retard the growth of vascular smooth-muscle tissue, which is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease. MSM may also have some anti-cancer properties, animal studies have found that it slows the growth of breast and colon cancers.
How to Take MSM. For all practical purposes, MSM has vitamin-like effects that promote normal growth and repair mechanisms in the body. "I wouldn't call it a vitamin, but I would call it an important nutritional supplement," qualifies Jacob. "MSM is useful and safe."
The dosage ranges widely, going from 1 or 2 gm daily all the way up to 80 gm daily. "A couple grams a day would be a good general dosage," says Jacob. "I would be very careful in the 80-gm (daily) range - that much is best used under the watchful eyes of a health professional."
Jacob, at 73, would like to see more basic research conducted on MSM and greater use of it in preventing and treating diseases. Unfortunately, there seems to be little pharmaceutical industry interest in conducting extensive research particularly with a substance easily purchased over the counter.
The paucity of scientific research will undoubtedly hinder medical recognition and acceptance of MSM as a therapeutic nutrient. However, based on its growing use and positive anecdotal evidence, MSM will probably develop a strong following as an effective natural over-the-counter remedy. MSM Three Success Stories Gerald Adams, 59, of Cleveland, NC, has suffered from asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease for years. He'd have to stop three times to catch his breath while walking to and from his rural mailbox, a distance of about 150 feet. And, almost like clockwork, he'd be hospitalized every six months with severe breathing problems. Adams started taking MSM in April 1997 and started breathing easier after just four days. When he skipped taking MSM in August, he suffered severe breathing problems, and ended up in the hospital for five weeks. Since then, he has taken MSM religiously and continues to feel better. "It's the MSM that has made such a difference," he says. "Without it, I'm not sure that I'd be talking with you."
Ten years ago, Charlotte Callan, 72, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatic and fibromyalgia, diseases characterized by muscle pain and weakness. Hunched over, she was treated with prednisone, a hormone, but her health failed to get much better. In 1995, she traveled to Portland, OR, where Stanley Jacob, M.D. treated her with MSM, and she has continued to take MSM. "I was pretty close to being an invalid," she says. "Now, I do my washing, ironing, baking and cooking. MSM is a pretty marvelous, wonderful thing."
Father Sam Bungo, 46 of Frenchville, PA, suffers from bursitis and arthritic symptoms in his knees and one shoulder. His knee problems, he say, are probably the result of joint damage from jogging. "A lot of times, I would get up in the morning and have to go down the stairs very slowly, one step at a time," he says. That was before he began using MSM almost a year ago. "Now, I have no trouble with my knees," Father Bungo says. However, the shoulder pain returns if he stops taking MSM for a few days.
Source: Let's Live, May, 1998 pgs 48 - 51
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