Circumstantial evidence and more, connect the dots:
Sulfur is the distinctive element in physiologically active H2S, sulfur containing amino acids such as NAC, the primary liver protective agent for treating acetaminophen toxicity, PSGAGs (polysulfonatedglucoseaminoglycans in joints), alpha lipoic (thioctic) acid, and glutathione, the body’s endogenous master antioxidant. Could availability of sulfur in the right form at the right time be a limiting factor in health and recuperation?
DMSO and MSM are natural substances, more natural than hydrogenated peanut butter and vegetable oils, more natural than hypoxygenated Algyval. Both are commonly available (in USA and Canada) for purchase in animal feed stores, the DMSO in roll-on applicators, the MSM by kg quantity in tubs for horse dietary supplement purposes. The two molecules differ only by an oxygen atom. The practical precautions for DMSO are related to the fact that it readily enters the blood through the skin and can carry potential toxins with it if the skin is not clean, that it stinks worse than garlic, so some people feel, and that it may irritate the skin if applied too liberally and often. Otherwise DMSO is an excellent remedy for swelling and inflammation that can be used topically directly on the site of the injury with none of the adverse consequences of systemic anti-inflammatory drugs… A veterinarian friend as far back as the 1970s routinely splashed DMSO into and onto surgical incisions before closing things up because he said it reduced swelling, allowed better circulation surrounding the wound and accelerated healing.
After the 1974 Iditarod when a snowmobile crashed into the back of my legs, I could not put on my boots for 5 days until Dick Mackey reminded me I had a bottle of DMSO for use on the dogs. Overnight the swelling disappeared.
Dermatological studies with DMSO in humans have been scarce. The reason is not entirely clear because its application is not dangerous, rarely causing occasional side effects, such as itching, skin irritation, tingling or burning, and garlic odor from the breath. The most definitive role in dermatology for DMSO lies in its ability to act as an effective vehicle. It greatly enhances percutaneous penetration when used in combination with other substances. DMSO facilitates diffusion through the stratum corneum, triggers the formation of deposits in the dermis, and promotes transport into the local blood vessels, as demonstrated with increased penetration of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the treatment of superficial malignancies and warts. Topical application of DMSO with 5-FU demonstrated superior absorption when compared to DMSO alone or 5-FU alone in cream bases.13 This unique penetrating ability may lend itself to numerous applications for other future products in dermatology. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3460663/)
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is currently used as an alternative treatment for various inflammatory conditions as well as for cancer. Despite its widespread use, there is a paucity of data regarding its safety and efficacy as well as its mechanism of action in human cells. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816398/)
The Multi-Purpose Compound MSM
(methyl-sulfonyl-methane), also known as dimethyl sulfone, is a naturally occurring sulfur compound, found in human diets and those of virtually all other vertebrates. In its purified form, it is an odorless, slightly bitter tasting, water soluble, white, crystalline powder containing 34% elemental sulfur. Its chemical formula is (CH3)2SO2.
Some atmospheric chemists have suggested that MSM and its related compounds, DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), and DMS (dimethylsulfide) provide the source for 85% of sulfur compounds in all living organisms. These naturally occurring compounds begin in the ocean where phytoplankton convert inorganic sulfur present in the sea water to terniary dimethyl sulfonium salts. These salts are later broken down, by enzymatic action, into the volatile compound called dimethylsulfide (DMS), which escapes the ocean as a gas, rises into the upper atmosphere to be oxidized there in the presence of ozone and ultraviolet light to its chemical cousins, DMSO and MSM. Unlike DMS, both DMSO and MSM are water soluble and are returned to the earth in rain. Plants rapidly absorb the two compounds, concentrating them up to a hundred-fold. Animals eat the plants and the distribution of these sulfur compounds is then complete. MSM has been found in the blood and adrenal glands of cows. Cows’ milk contains between two and six parts per million MSM.
MSM occurs naturally in the human body as a result of the food we eat. It is a normal component of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat. It has also been found in tea, coffee and chocolate. It has been detected in normal human urine. The amount of MSM present in the circulatory system of an adult human male is about 0.2 parts per million. Normal adult humans excrete from four to eleven milligrams of MSM per day in their urine. In vertebrates, the concentration of MSM decreases with age. Some research suggests that there is a minimum concentration of MSM that must be maintained in the body to preserve normal function and structure.
Experiments using MSM that contains radiolabled sulfur (35S) have shown that after ingestion, MSM gives up its sulfur to the essential amino acids methionine, cysteine and other serum proteins, eventually finding its way into the collagen of skin, joints and blood vessels. It is also incorporated into the keratin of hair and nails.
MSM is rated as one of the least toxic substances in biology. It is so inert and nontoxic that aqueous solutions can even be used as a blood diluent. In mice, no clinical changes were observed at oral doses of 2000 mg per kilogram of body weight. The lethal dose (LD50) of MSM for mice is over 20 grams per kilogram of body weight. Hundreds of patients have been treated at the Oregon Health Sciences University with oral MSM at levels above two grams daily for many years without serious toxicity.
Scientists don’t yet know all the functions of MSM in the human body, but at the Oregon Health Sciences University the following conditions have responded well to supplemental MSM:
- Allergy Response to pollens and foods is sharply curtailed. Medication may be reduced or eliminated.
- Control of hyperacidity. Patients who have used antacids and histamine-receptor antagonists to control hyperacidity can employ MSM with excellent results.
- Relief from constipation. Patients with chronic constipation have had prompt and continuing relief with a daily supplement of MSM.
Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University studied a strain of mice that were prone to spontaneous development of joint lesions similar to those in rheumatoid arthritis. They found that animals fed a diet that included a 3% solution of MSM, in drinking water from the age of two months until the age of five months, suffered no degeneration of articular cartilage. In the control group of mice receiving only tap water, 50% of the animals were found to have focal degeneration of articular cartilage.
Finally, recent human research at the UCLA School of Medicine found an 82% reduction in pain after six weeks of oral MSM use in a double blind study on degenerative arthritis. The study spanned four months and involved sixteen patients: ten patients on MSM and six on placebo. After only six weeks, those patients using the MSM experienced better than 80% control of their pain, while those on the placebo experienced on average an 18% improvement at six weeks.
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