Methylsulfonylmethane - Say What? (MSM) for Hair and Skin Health

Methylsulfonylmethane (aka MSM)

What is MSM?

Though the name sounds challenging, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is basically sulfur and it remains in our bodies, and in some plants. It is composed of sulfur, oxygen and methyl. In the existence of ozone and ultraviolet light, MSM (along with dimethyl sulfoxide) is formed from dimethyl sulfide, taken up into the environment during evaporation, and then dropped back to the earth in rains, and taken into the root systems of plants. As such, MSM can be discovered in small quantities in a range of foods.

Sulfur represents about 0.25 percent of our total body weight, just like potassium.

How did MSM get to be touted as a wonder treatment?

All of it started with a book called The Wonder of MSM: The Natural Service for Pain.  A bandwagon emerged and lots of companies climbed aboard, promoting life-altering supplements.

WebMD lists a multitude of disorders that MSM is stated to assist, from snoring to AIDs, and after that puts the kibosh on all these claims by saying there is no proof, or scant research.

Wikipedia isn't much more reassuring, keeping in mind that placebos fared just as well in treating osteoporosis.

Contrary to what the sellers of MSM supplements say, there is no suggested dietary allowance (RDA) for MSM or sulfur. Sulfur deficiency has actually not been explained in medical literature.

Are there any claims that do stand up to examination?

MSM has actually been reported to increase antioxidant defense (glutathione), along with decreasing the real production of reactive oxygen types.

What can MSM provide for skin?

MSM is sometimes referred to as "nature's appeal mineral".  The idea is that MSM has the capability to boost collagen bundles and keratin, the essential things in our skin, hair and nails.

Now if you connect some dots, there is something to this. Keratin, present in the skin, hair, and nails, is especially high in the amino acid cystine, which is found in sulfur. Apparently, it is the sulfur bond in keratin that provides it greater strength.

Sulfur is also present in 2 B vitamins, thiamine and biotin. Surprisingly, thiamine is important to skin and biotin to hair. Sulfur is very important to cellular respiration, as it is needed in the oxidation-reduction responses that help the cells use oxygen.

And, yes, you'll be happy to know there is some research along these lines which show benefits of MSM. According the University of Maryland, Methylsulfonylmethane helps form connective tissue in skin.

According to these studies, even WebMD concedes that MSM may assist rosacea, keeping in mind that a cream containing MSM and silymarin seems to enhance skin color and other symptoms of rosacea. Undoubtedly, sulfur is widely used to treat acne and other skin conditions.

Skin brightening

Sulfur also acts as a skin brightener. It is declared (mainly in patent applications) that MSM may increase the production of pheomelanin, the melanin that is discovered in fair-skinned individuals, relative to eumelanin. MSM is a naturally occuring type of sulfur and its application is supposed to increase intracellular sulfur levels, which triggers dopaquinone to be diverted to pheomelanin production.

Absorption enhancer

MSM may assist other active ingredients penetrate the skin. It is stated that because MSM makes the cells more permeable, it therefore enhances the absorption of nutrients.

MSM and hair

I was specifically thrilled to find that there is a trustworthy connection in between MSM and hair growth. One research study looked at the result of Methylsulfonylmethane on hair development. The scientists combined MAP (a type of vitamin C) at 7.5% and MSM at 10% and concluded that results were "equivalent to or better than the result in the group treated with minoxidil 5%".

Though it wouldn't make a lot of sense to intake a lot of sulfurs alone, a quality supplement with MSM and other complimentary ingredients could be very beneficial for hair, skin, and nail health.

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