If like many people you sneeze, wheeze and dribble your way through the summer months and, although you love the cat dearly, he makes you itch and triggers that asthma – then welcome to the world of seasonal and rhinitis allergies! Maybe you have members of your family that react to an ever increasing list of ingredients and additives we find in our foods that cause itching, rashes, digestive discomfort and even worse – life threatening anaphylactic reactions.
What is MSM?
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is essentially sulphur which, behind calcium and phosphorous, is the third most common mineral in the human body. Nearly half of all sulphur is found in our skin, muscles and bones. Sulphur is found in animal products, eggs, vegetables – especially cruciferous ones (remember the smell of boiling cabbage?) and many fruits. Plants absorb MSM from rainwater and convert it into sulphur. This sulphur contains two amino acids called methionine and cysteine. These amino acids can only be obtained via food and are not manufactured by the body itself. As soon as we cook and pasteurise foods the MSM is lost as it converts to steam very quickly and evaporates, leaving you with just the strong smell. To be able to get enough MSM from your diet, almost all your food would need to be either raw or minimally processed.
Back to the allergies. Allergy symptoms are your body’s reaction to something it regards as foreign in your system. Your body then creates an antibody called immunoglobulin E or IgE, which is a protein to fight off the foreign substance. This antibody causes all the symptoms we are familiar with like running noses, itching, weepy eyes and breathing discomfort.
The research behind MSM and allergies…
According to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary medicine dated July 20021 it was found that patients who took a daily dose of 2600mg of MSM found their allergic respiratory symptoms significantly reduced 2 within seven days. Why? MSM is able to bind to the mucus membranes around each cell to provide a natural, blocking-interface between the cell and the allergen attacking it. MSM and sulphur dramatically improves your body’s ability to detoxify itself too, and helps to produce glutathione – a powerful antioxidant. MSM softens the cell walls, allowing allergens, foreign proteins, free radicals and all the other toxic waste products to be flushed out of your system, which again helps the body naturally manage the severity of your allergic symptoms.
What else can MSM support?
Traditionally MSM has been well known for assisting osteoarthritis, supporting joint comfort and managing skin problems like acne and rosacea. MSM releases its sulphur to form collagen and keratin – both important building blocks of strong healthy hair, skin and nails. In March 1999 Stanley W Jacob M.D and Ronald M Lawrence MD and PhD published an article called “The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain” so it is also taken as a support supplement by people who have chronic pain as it does not produce the same side effects as pharmaceutical pain medication. Athletes too can benefit as it speeds up the physical recovery after hard training sessions. (It has been used in the horse racing industry for years to help horses recover faster after racing).
MSM seems to be well tolerated by the body and it is almost impossible to overdose. Caution should be exercised if you are taking blood thinning medications, and of course if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also thought to be an acid forming compound, so ensure you balance this with a diet high in fresh (raw if possible) vegetables and fruits and lots of water. You will get the best results if you increase your vitamin C too – particularly for sports recovery. As MSM assists your body to detoxify, you may notice some detox symptoms like headaches and nausea, but these should subside after a day or two.
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Do you suffer from any kind of allergies?
Do you have any experience handling allergies with MSM?