MSM – more than just a beauty mineral
For MSM supplements, we hear the praise itself – how it improves skin texture, hair grows faster, nails are harder. Where do these effects come from? MSM is thought to act as a sulfur donor to keratin. Keratin is a building block of our hair and nails and is made up mostly of sulfur.
MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a newer dietary supplement that, in addition to its beauty effects, also has anti-inflammatory effects. MSM is a safe dietary supplement that is well tolerated by test subjects in many studies, even at doses up to 4000 mg / day. Collagen shot contains 1500 mg in combination with collagen and vitamin C and appears to have effects on hair, skin, nails, joints and digestion.
MSM – organic sulfur in food
The MSM molecule contains about 33% sulfur in organic form, which means that 100 mg of MSM contains 33 mg of sulfur. Sulfur is an essential mineral. It is found in some food products in the form of MSM, so we can talk about the content of MSM in food. Foods rich in MSM include:
- protein foods (meat, dairy products, cow’s milk, eggs, seeds, nuts …)
- fresh vegetables (onions and garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, radishes, …)
It is important to know, however, that the content of MSM in food is very low. A liter of cow’s milk e.g. contains only about 3 mg of MSM. This means that for the intake of 1.5 g of MSM, you would have to consume 500 L of milk.
An easy way to increase the intake of organic sulfur in the body is to consume dietary supplements with MSM.
The importance of sulfur in the body
Sulfur is, after calcium and phosphorus, the third most abundant mineral present in our bodies. Sulfur can be taken into the body through a protein-rich diet. The human body contains 20 amino acids, and only 2 amino acids that make up the proteins in our body contain sulfur. These are:
- methionine – an essential amino acid (the body cannot synthesize it on its own)
- cysteine – a non-essential amino acid (the body can synthesize it, but it needs sulfur from food for synthesis)
Half of all sulfur in the body is found in the skin, muscles and bones. Sulfur is also a necessary mineral in the production of collagen, the main component of cartilage and connective tissue.
How does sulfur deficiency manifest itself in the body?
About half of the sulfur is lost in processed, baked, cooked, dried and fried foods. This is the reason that sulfur is rapidly deficient in our diet. Many studies confirm that most people have a sulfur deficiency in their body. With age, however, the deficit only increases. Sulfur deficiency is associated with skin and joint problems, as well as modern-day illnesses such as depression and psychophysical fatigue.
Numerous scientific studies confirm that the sulfur contained in MSM:
- It can help with skin problems (psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, acne, dermatitis). When applied topically to wounds, it can help wounds heal faster.
- Increases collagen and keratin production.
- Increases joint mobility , helps reduce swelling and inflammation, which are common in rheumatism, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
- Relieves inflammation and dilates blood vessels and reduces the occurrence of muscle cramps.
- It acts as a cleanser of the digestive tract, helps with liver function and eliminates heavy metals from the body .
Why are beauty and healing effects attributed to MSM?
MSM is mostly mentioned as a beauty dietary supplement, but in reality it is much more than that. In the US, MSM has been studied for many years. As early as 1981, Dr. Heschler patented MSM as a means of softening and smoothing the skin, firming nails and as a means of thinning the blood. In 2007, MSM was granted GRAS status (generally recognized as a safe food) in the United States . In Europe, however, despite the fact that a lot of scientific research has been done on it, it is not yet allowed to make any claims for MSM.
In fact, sulfur is an essential mineral and as such is essential for life.
MSM in cosmetics
MSM is also great for use in cosmetics. It is used for oily and problematic skin , it also works great on sensitive and atopic and aging skin ( anti-age care ). MSM is also widely used in products designed for faster regeneration after physical activity, and it is also found in products to reduce stretch marks.
For dietary supplements with MSM, we hear the praise itself, how it improves the texture of the skin, hair grows faster, nails are harder . Where do these effects come from? It is believed that because MSM acts as a sulfur donor to keratin. Keratin is a protein that builds our hair and nails and is made up mostly of sulfur. Sulfur, which is involved in keratin synthesis, provides shine and strength to the hair.
Keratin is also added to many hair cosmetics, but it has not yet been scientifically proven that topical application of keratin to hair has an effect.
Protects against oxidative stress
Our skin also ages due to oxidative stress – such aging is called photoaging. Oxidative stress also has a detrimental effect on organs and cells. They prove antioxidant activity in MSM. This means it hunts down free radicals in the body. MSM prevents the production of superoxide radicals. It works by increasing the amount of glutathione (the body’s own antioxidant) and reducing the production of free oxygen radicals.
It has an anti-inflammatory effect
Due to its anti-inflammatory action, it is becoming increasingly interesting for alternative medicine in the treatment of arthritis. MSM works by reducing the number of cytokines that are responsible for inflammatory responses in the body. MSM is a micronutrient with very good penetration properties, so it is often used in combination with active ingredients to treat arthritis. The use of MSM in arthritis has been shown in scientific studies to reduce pain and swelling.
This micronutrient is well received abroad for the prevention of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, and also has a good effect on physical fitness.
As already mentioned, MSM can be ingested with food, but its amount in foods is small. In addition, sulfur from MSM is lost in food processing. Therefore, especially for major problems with the skin, hair, nails and joints, it is recommended to consume MSM in dietary supplements.
The methyl sulfonyl methane content in nature is too low for MSM to be made from plants. Therefore, the claims on some dietary supplements that it is a natural MSM are most likely not true. The formation of the molecule is quite clear, so exactly the same MSM compound as found in nature is made in laboratories. The manufacturing process involves the production of the compound, but also requires repeated cleaning. Cleaning removes any harmful substances (heavy metals and other impurities). Only in this way can they ensure the purity of the product.
The perfect combination? MSM + vitamin C + collagen
When we formulated the recipe for Collagen shot, I had 3 requirements. The product must contain fish collagen with a wide range of peptide molecule sizes, MSM and vitamin C. Why? Because the combination of these three active ingredients perfectly improves the action of each individual active ingredient.
Why is the combination of collagen and MSM so effective for nails, hair and skin and why is collagen alone not enough for visible effects?
By ingesting collagen, the body definitely provides the building blocks for the formation of its own collagen. However, collagen is not a complete protein food, which means it does not contain all the amino acids (source 4).
At this point, let’s remember what keratin is. Keratin is a protein that is the main building block of nails and hair, but it is also a component of the skin. One of the most important amino acids for the formation of keratin, which is extremely low in collagen, is cysteine. Cysteine is not an essential amino acid, which means that our body is able to produce it on its own. This is where MSM comes into play. Cysteine is characterized by the fact that it contains sulfur in its structure, and MSM is a source of this sulfur. So cysteine is needed to form keratin, which builds nails, skin and hair, and sulfur, which we get from MSM, is needed to form cysteine.
The action of MSM and collagen is supplemented by vitamin C. We have already written about the role of vitamin C in the formation of collagen , let’s just remember what role it plays in our body in connection with the formation of collagen:
- plays a role in the formation of collagen for normal vascular function
- plays a role in the formation of collagen for normal bone function
- plays a role in the formation of collagen for the normal functioning of cartilage
- plays a role in the formation of collagen for the normal functioning of the gums
- plays a role in the formation of collagen for the normal functioning of the skin
- plays a role in the formation of collagen for normal tooth function
Sources: the content of the article is summarized by studies:
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372953/ (MSM in general)
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16681660 (keratin)
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16309928 (MSM in arthritis)
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31096622 (collagen peptides, cysteine)