MSM for Joint Health – What You Need to Know
More and more people are turning to natural supplements to address their joint and muscle pains. The reason for this is clear; pharmaceutical companies offer a plethora of drugs designed to dull pain, but none that actually gets at fixing the underlying problems that cause your joints to ache. Moreover, many pharmaceutical drugs have unpleasant, if not dangerous side effects. People suffering from arthritis are, as a result, left with the hopeless message that there’s nothing they can do that will treat the underlying disease giving them discomfort. But is that actually the case? Perhaps not–thousands of people have reported reducing and even eliminating their pain by taking MSM, and there is real science out there to back up their claims. MSM does not cure arthritis, but may be a safe and effective approach to dealing with it. For background on where MSM comes from, please read our previous blog post.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis isn’t actually a single disorder. It’s an umbrella term that is used for informally referring to any one of over a hundred different diseases that cause pain in your joints. Some of these diseases are the result of mechanical damage to the joint itself, perhaps resulting from surgery or an accident. Some types of arthritis result from wear and tear on joints over a lifetime of use, and commonly strike aging athletes or people who have spent decades working with their hands for a living. While most types of arthritis begin in people once they approach middle age and grow gradually more severe over decades, some types of arthritis can strike with severity at a young age, usually as a result of a hereditary or biological abnormality, or due to extreme joint usage associated with some types of high impact sports.
Despite the great variety in causes of arthritis, most doctors use a one-size-fits-all approach to treating joint pain by prescribing pharmaceutical painkillers and NSAIDs. While these generally work to numb pain receptors in the short term or temporarily reduce inflammation, they do nothing for long term cartilage recovery. However, for most forms of arthritis, there may be other options.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative form of arthritis which results when cartilage between the bones wears away, causing the bones to painfully rub against each other. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Cartilage is a firm, whitish connective tissue that cushions and lubricates between bones. Your outer ears are formed by elastic cartilage, but the type of cartilage between your bones is actually more similar to the piece of firm, only slightly flexible cartilage that separates your two nostrils, known as hyaline cartilage. When hyaline cartilage separates two bones at a joint, it is referred to as articular cartilage. There are actually two pieces of articular cartilage in each joint, one attached to each bone. Between these two pieces of cartilage is a white, viscous substance called synovial fluid, which has a consistency similar to egg whites and plays a role not unlike bearing grease in a wheel, moving in and out of the joint as it flexes, all while lubricating the whole system. Finishing out the structure is the synovial membrane, which acts like an inner tube to seal the synovial fluid in place around the joint. The synovial fluid, in addition to its mechanical role in joint lubrication, also plays an important role in nourishing cartilage. Cartilage is unlike other tissues in the body in that it does not have its own blood supply. Instead, the synovial fluid delivers nutrients to the articular cartilage and keeps it clean and healthy.
Supplements that boost synovial fluid health also benefit cartilage protection and regeneration. One such supplement is methylsulfonylmethane, commonly known as MSM or “organic sulfur”. Sulfur is a core chemical element necessary for biochemical functioning and an elemental macronutrient for all organisms. It is a vital building block of amino acids and the connective tissue in joints and cartilage. MSM also provides methyl groups, which support many essential metabolic processes in the body. Taking MSM boosts synovial fluid health, and also magnifies the efficacy of glucosamine when the two are taken together since it ensures that glucosamine is effectively transported into the articular cartilage. Glucosamine is a natural supplement that triggers the production of hyaluronic acid in synovial fluid and may actually help regrow damaged cartilage. Producing cartilage requires lots of sulfur, so MSM is also a crucial supplement for cartilage growth. There are dozens of double-blind, placebo controlled scientific studies that demonstrate measurable improvements in the joints of people and animals who take MSM. This science backs up the claims of the thousands of people who have successfully used MSM to treat their debilitating arthritis or watched MSM breathe new life into their aging pets. To browse a selection of these studies, go here. Just as importantly, each of these studies has also demonstrated that MSM is entirely safe. Unlike many of the drugs commonly prescribed for joint pain, MSM has no harmful side effects and will cause no lasting damage. The only unintended consequences you’re likely to notice when you start taking MSM are healthier skin and nails and a stronger immune system, since MSM has shown significant benefits to these body systems as well.
Now that you know about the potential benefits of MSM, and about the lack of harmful side effects, you’re likely eager to go ahead and give it a try. Before you go online and start comparing prices, however, you should be aware that with MSM, you get what you pay for. Read more on Good vs. Bad MSM. The difference in quality between MSM distilled and packaged in the United States vs. MSM made overseas (frequently in China) is considerable. If you take a generic brand MSM, you risk inadvertently absorbing heavy metals and other pollutants, and could even do yourself more harm than good. Though many Chinese made MSM products will say that they are “100% pure,” it’s important, as with any supplement, to always do your research and make sure that what you’re taking is what it says it is, and to buy from brands with a reputation for quality, like Kala Health. Kala Health sells OptiMSM, which is, without exception, the highest quality MSM supplement available for sale.
The Kala Health Pledge for Quality
Here at Kala Health, we make it our business to offer the purest and best supplements available. There will always be cheaper, lower quality products on the market, but our customers keep coming back to us because they know that quality costs. For over twenty years, we have carefully cultivated our reputation for delivering only the highest quality dietary supplements made from the finest ingredients. Our entire business model rests on this reputation. That’s why all of our MSM products contain ingredients made by Bergstrom Nutrition. OptiMSM and its animal equivalent, PurforMSM, are the purest and only GRAS-certified MSM products in the world, and they are made exclusively in the USA. When it comes to choosing a supplement for your health, we at Kala know that there are no shortcuts. We wouldn’t give a lesser MSM supplement to our families, and neither would we sell a lesser supplement to you.