[ Everything you need to know about body sulfur ]
Date: June 22, 2015. Updated September 04, 2015. Disclaimer The information presented here is for informative and educational purposes only and is not intended as curative or prescriptive advice. The statements of this web-site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nothing stated here should be considered as medical advice for dealing with a given problem, or to diagnose / treat / prevent / cure any disease.
[ Menu Topics: Quick scroll --- To go directly to next topic, click on: ]
"Sick soils mean sick plants, sick animals and sick people."
Sulfur [ also sulphur ] is vital to life! It is a nonmetallic element that is expressed as organic sulfur [OS], and most recently as [MSM], short for methylsulfonylmethane or DMSO2, a derivative of DMSO or Dimethyl Sulfoxide. DMSO is derived from basic cellulose or tree lignan. The lignan from the pine tree is distilled to form DMSO, a plant derivative.
DMSO, a waste by-product of the pulp and paper industry, was first introduced as a therapy to the scientific community in 1963 by a research team headed by Stanley W. Jacob, MD. 29
Sulfur is an essential element in the life processes of all living things, including microorganisms, higher plants, animals and man. It is an important part of the proteins [ amino acids ] needed to sustain life in all biological organisms. However, only green plants and algae can make and store the sulfur they need, while living animals and people cannot. We must consume sufficient quantities of organic sulfur from plants on a daily basis, as unused sulfur is excreted every 12 hours. Back to top
What is MSM?MSM is a white, odorless, slightly bitter tasting crystalline substance; it is readily soluble in water and is a ligand or chemical binder. FDA notice that Bergstrom Nutrition MSM is GRAS MSM is an organic form of the element sulfur that can be easily absorbed and utilized by the body.
There is controversy in the MSM industry about the question of whether methylsulfonylmethane [ also known as dimethyl sulfone or MSM ] is a "natural" or "synthetic" product. In some ingredient directories, MSM is listed as either natural or synthetic. 33 This is explained in the summary below:
“In summary, nature does make MSM. However, the amount of MSM found in nature in cells as a source is on a scale so small that the only way to produce commercial quantities for human or veterinarian use is to rely on the manufacturing methods developed by chemical engineers. The process nature uses to produce MSM is rather similar to how humans produce it commercially. But MSM is not "natural," rather it is a synthetic product. The confusion in qualifying the source of MSM as "natural" or "synthetic" comes from the fact that MSM is identical in structure whether it comes from the factory or is found in nature.“ 32
Although MSM can be made commercially from fossil oil or from plants, it is plant made MSM that is more bioavailable and useful to humans than the synthetic fossil oil form.
Most commercially produced MSM isn’t made by phytoplankton; instead, it’s the product of chemical industries and manufactured from petroleum waste and/or methane gas.
The MSM source for MSM supplements is often lignin from pine trees. Lignan is a molecule in plants that is part of a plant's cell wall. The pine tree lignan is an ideal source for a good MSM product. Back to top
So .... where is sulfur found?: The ultimate source of sulfur is volcanic rock, mainly basalt, spewed up from the earth’s core during volcanic eruptions. [ Diagram on right illustrates many sources of sulfur or the sulfur cycle. ] Sulfur in soil exists in inorganic and organic form. Plants convert sulfur in the soil into a useable form and store it. The form of sulfur taken up by plants is sulfate. Sulfur from all sources must either be in the sulfate form or be converted to the sulfate form before it can be used by plants. 30 For information on how nature makes sulfur go to: nature makes sulfur
Ocean plankton releases sulfur compounds which rise into the ozone [air] where ultra-violet light makes MSM and DMSO. DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide, is a precursor to MSM. MSM returns to the surface of the earth in rain. Plants concentrate MSM and return it to the earth and the sea. Evaporation into the air results in their return to the earth.
Sulfur is found in all plants and living things, including all cells of the human body. Plants can synthesize organic sulfur from sulfur in the soil but humans cannot.
We get our sulfur needs from plants. MSM is extremely rare in most modern western diets. Organic sulfur [Methylsulfonylmethane] is present in meat, fish, eggs, various fresh fruits and vegetables [garlic, inions] but rapidly deteriorates from almost any type of food processing, including cooking, in a very short time. Even plants harvested immediately begin to lose their sulfur [MSM] content and much is lost by the time the meats, vegetables and fruits get to the grocery counters. Such sulfur loss makes most of us deficient in sulfur. 34
MSM is an important organic sulfur and hot new dietary supplement. Sulfur is a vital element to life and current research points to methylsulfonylmethane as the most important source of organic sulfur for the body. Fortunately, organic sulfur is found naturally in all plant foods that are grown on soils although depleted soils provide less sulfur.1 Sulfur content is at its highest when food is fresh; but it is driven out of all foods, even with moderate processing. MSM is present in most green plant food stuffs and certain algae, meats, fish, a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains in small amounts. Back to top
Why is sulfur a critical human need?Because sulfur has been recognized by scientists as essential to life! Organic sulfur is an essential ingredient in igniting the functions of many body processes! Essential means that every cell in your body needs sulfur and you cannot live without it. It is just as important as the air we breath and the water we drink. Sulfur is a nutrient essential in maintaining the body, much like vitamin D is essential to prevent rickets and vitamin C is essential to prevent scurvy. We need to ingest it every day.
That sulfur is an essential nutrient is overlooked and ignored by almost everyone. Try explaining the importance of sulfur to the man on the street and you get a blank look! Sulfur? What are you talking about? I have never heard of this before. It is as though the mention of sulfur paralyzes the uninformed.
Organic sulfur is essential because humans cannot make it and cannot store it. Sulfur is a critical human need because the long time evolutionary supply came from eating plants that absorbed sulfur from the soil, stored it and then used it. Unfortunately, in the process of evolution, animals and humans could not make sulfur and had to eat plants and animals to get organic sulfur.
Modern farming practices destroy the ability of crop plants to absorb sulfur from the soil. Today plants can absorb only trace amounts of sulfur from the soil. Hence, all plant crops, grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables have only small traces of organic sulfur.
Another important feature about sulfur is that plants [including vegetables] begin losing their organic sulfur immediately when harvested, stored, cooked or processed. Thus, we need to get ample amounts of organic sulfur from good supplements. Now the rest of the information about sulfur should begin to make more sense. Back to top
Reported Benefits for organic sulfur [MSM]: The body produces hundreds of compounds that help body functions. Here are just a few of the ways organic sulfur can help us. [incomplete] 2, 9, 10, 11, 15, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 36, 40, 42, 43
Sulfur deficiency is now linked to many illnesses, disorders and diseases for which medical science has no answers. Unfortunately researchers look in the wrong places except sulfur to fix health problems. 7
It was Stanley Jacob and Robert Herschler 13 who brought attention to sulfur being an essential nutrient for all animals and humans. They studied over 18,000 patients over 20 years, treating them with organic sulfur. They reported how MSM was found to significantly decrease the discomfort associated with arthritis, back pain, headaches, athletic injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and a myriad of autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, lupus and fibromyalgia. 29 Back to top
Link between sulfur in soil and chronic diseases: There is a link between using petro-chemical fertilizers, the sulfur content in the soil and today’s epidemic of diseases.
There is a strong link between sulfur depleted soils and chronic diseases in the United States and other countries. In the United States, Oregon and Hawaii, two states with significant volcanic activity [soils rich in sulfur], have among the lowest obesity rates in the country. By contrast, the highest obesity rates are found in the midwest and in southern farm country: the epicenter of the modern agricultural practices (mega-farms) that lead to sulfur depletion in the soil. How did this happen?
It began when Petro-chemical fertilizers were created in the 1900's to replace manure as fertilizer and to create a cash “crop” for the petro-chemical industry. But these fossil fertilizers were not applied extensively until 1954, when fossil fertilizers were MANDATED by the US Government. [ USDA graph on the left illustrates this nicely ] Since 1954 when the use of chemical fertilizers apparently broke the Sulfur cycle 21, the rate of diseases and disorders in the US has increased by approximately 4,000% [percent] with a resultant decline in health, mental acuity and quality of life.
The graph on the right illustrates the link between the decline of trace minerals and diseases on the rise. Graph on the right, projected by Joseph Mercola and August Dunning, show the prevalence of chronic diseases from 1900 to 2020 being linked to use of fossil oil fertilizer, Monsanto's pesticide Roundup that contains glyphosate and GMO seed use. 47 Diseases that never seemed to exist in our Grandparents time now accelerate at an unprecedented rate and the quality of our food has greatly diminished. Chemical fertilizers disabled the sulfur from being absorbed by crop plants.
Another country with link between sulfur and health is Iceland. Icelanders’ good health lies in the string of volcanoes that make up the backbone of the island, which sits atop the mid-Atlantic ridge crest. Food is grown on sulfur rich soil. 33
Finland did do something about chemical fertilizers depleting crop soil. When, in 1985, Finland became alarmed over the increasing obscene disease rate of its population, they banned all use of chemical fertilizers fearing the levels of cadmium, yet totally unaware of the sulfur connection. Since doing so, they have become the leading supplier of organically grown foods in Europe. They have also seen their disease rates drop to one tenth of their 1985 levels. Interestingly enough, in 1985, the U.S. was at the same disease level as Finland. 21 Back to top
Biology of Sulfur [MSM]: ORGANIC SULFUR [MSM] is unstable and bonds with other substances, including moisture. It is therefore carried away when dehydration occurs. Sulfur as a sulfate is found in proteins and cofactors.
Gastrointestinal absorption of sulfate can occur in the stomach, small intestine, and colon Sulfate that is not absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract passes to the large intestine and colon, where it is either excreted in the feces, reabsorbed, or reduced by anaerobic bacteria to metabolites, such as hydrogen sulfide.
Here is the technical aspect of sulfur in the human body:
"Almost all of the sulfur containing compounds of the body are formed from the sulfur atom of methionine." 48
Sulfate is produced in the body from the transsulfuration of methionine to cysteine, followed by the oxidation of cysteine to pyruvate and inorganic sulfate. These processes occur as a result of protein turnover, as well as from degradation of excess protein-derived methionine or cysteine. Inorganic sulfate also results from the metabolism of several organic and inorganic sulfur compounds present in food and water. Glutathione, an important antioxidant compound, is one of the more studied non-protein organic sources of sulfate in the diet. 44
There are hundreds of sulfur-containing compounds in the human body, and the body synthesizes all of them, with the exception of the vitamins thiamin and biotin. Precursors include sulfate obtained from dietary intake and ingestion of the indispensable amino acids methionine and cysteine. One of the important roles for sulfate is in the biosynthesis of 3′- phosphoadenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (PAPS). Inorganic sulfate is required along with adenosine triphosphate. PAPS, also known as active sulfate, is used in the biosynthesis of many essential body compounds, some of which are not absorbed intact when present in foods. Examples of sulfate compounds biosynthesized using 3′-Phosphoadenosine-5′-Phosphosulfate include: • Chondroitin sulfate, • Dermatan sulfate, • Keratan sulfate, • Heparan sulfate, • Cerebroside sulfate, • Tyrosine-o-sulfate, • Taurolithocholate sulfate (bile salt) and • Estrone 3-sulfate. 44
And here is the lighter aspect of sulfur working in the body:
Sulfur has a unique action on body tissues. It decreases the pressure inside the cell. In removing fluids and toxins, sulfur affects the cell membrane. Sulfur is present in all cells and forms sulfate compounds with sodium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. Organic sulfur, in addition to eliminating heavy metals, regenerates, repairs and rebuilds all the cells in the body. 35
The sulfur in MSM makes cell walls permeable, allowing water and nutrients to freely flow into cells and allowing wastes and toxins to properly flow out. The body uses sulfur [MSM] along with Vitamin C to create new, healthy cells. Sulfur so provides the flexible bond between the cells as well as bonding with vitamins, minerals and amino acids to form essential metabolic enzymes.
Sulfur has a vital relationship with protein, since sulfur is found in the amino acids methionine, cystine, and cysteine. Thus, these amino acids are known as the sulfur bearing amino acids which are considered the building blocks of protein. The sulfur-bearing amino acid methionine is absolutely essential to health! This means it must be supplied by live food, or the food supplement MSM. A lack of proper protein in our diet, therefore means a lack of the vital organic sulfur necessary for good health. Proteins contain sulfur, while carbohydrates and fats do not.
Sulfur bonds with vitamin C and other co-factors to synthesize collagen. This is the glue connecting tissues and bones. Sulfur operates as a synthesizer and activator with the B vitamins, thiamin, Vitamin C, biotin, and pantothenic acid, all of which are needed for metabolism and healthy nerves. Sulfur plays an important part in tissue breathing, the process whereby oxygen and other substances are used to build cells and release energy. Sulfur also helps to maintain overall body balance between acidity and alkalinity, and works importantly with the liver to excrete bile. 25
Organic sulfur crystals are important because sulfur enables the transport of oxygen across cell membranes, and oxygen is necessary for healthy cellular regeneration for humans. This means that since our bodies lack sulfur…our cells are not regenerating the way they should be. When our bodies have enough sulfur and the transport of oxygen is taking place fully it allows us to feel our best because our cells are regenerating efficiently. This process is a primary function of organic sulfur.
If your cells cannot regenerate to the best of their ability it weakens our immune system and puts our health at risk. You can also see the difference in your skin as aging attributes will be visible such as wrinkling and sagging of the skin. Sulfur deficiency can be reversed and cells will repair and be in good health.6
The body forms over 150 large compounds with sulfur. Although sulfur has many silent functions, it's most important role is working with vitamin C to form collagen, the protein found in connective tissue in our bodies [ vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy ]. Since sulfur deficiency does not cause any recognizable link problems, it is has been assumed as not essential and overlooked. But this thinking is now being questioned! New research finds sulfur links to many health problems.
Seneff points out that elemental organic sulfur is essential in the creation of two very essential amino acids – methionine and cysteine. This is critically important information because these two amino acids are precursor links to the production and synthesis of 10 all important hormones and chemicals such as adenisone triphosphate (ATP) – which in turn regulates the overall health and well being [ homeostasis ] of the human body.33
Skeletal muscle cells and fat cells break down glucose in the presence of oxygen in their mitochondria, and in the process they produce ATP, the basic energy of all cells. A glucose transporter called GLUT4 is present in the cytoplasm of muscle cells, and it migrates to the cell membrane upon stimulation by insulin. GLUT4 essentially acts as a key that unlocks the door, letting glucose into the cell, but, like a key, it only works when it’s inserted in the membrane [by sulfur]. 33
Sulfur deficiency causes the liver to shift from producing cholesterol sulfate to producing arginine [ and subsequently nitric oxide ]. This leaves the intestines and muscle cells vulnerable to oxidation damage, which can explain both the intestinal inflammation and the muscle wasting associated with Crohn’s disease. 33
Sulfur reacts with radioactive mineral isotopes, turning them into harmless sulfates. This reaction occurs naturally because of the electrons that are available in sulfur's atomic structure. 18, 43
Two key concepts about how the body functions:
The body uses what sulfur it needs, and after 12 hours, will flush out any excess amounts.
Examples of how sulfur is involved in body processes:
Vitamin D: Upon exposure to the sun, the skin synthesizes vitamin D 3 sulfate, a form of vitamin D that, unlike unsulfated vitamin D 3, is water soluble. As a consequence, it can travel freely in the blood stream rather than encapsulated inside LDL [ the so-called “bad” cholesterol ] for transport. The form of vitamin D that is present in both human milk and raw cow’s milk is vitamin D3 sulfate [ pasteurization destroys it in cow’s milk ]. 33
Cholesterol: Cholesterol sulfate is also synthesized in the skin, where it forms a crucial part of the barrier that keeps out harmful bacteria and other microorganisms such as fungi. Cholesterol sulfate regulates the gene for a protein called profilaggrin, by interacting like a hormone with the nuclear receptor ROR-alpha. Profilaggrin is the precursor to filaggrin, which protects the skin from invasive organisms. A deficiency in filaggrin is associated with asthma and arthritis. Therefore, cholesterol sulfate plays an important role in protecting us from asthma and arthritis. 33
Blood cells: Red blood cells are strong producers of cholesterol sulfate, as well as major carriers of oxygen. This makes them a prime candidate for using eNOS to convert oxygen to sulfate [taking advantage of sunlight as a catalyst], and then shipping it to the tissues via the carrier molecule cholesterol sulfate. This action would both protect the red blood cell from oxidative damage and reduce the risk of damage due to oxygen exposure in other cells, as the oxygen supply contained in the sulfate constitutes safe transport of oxygen to these cells. 33
Insulin: Sulfur is also a component of insulin, the hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. Insufficient sulfur may result in decreased insulin production and diabetes. It is also possible that a lack of bioavailable sulfur would make the cells so rigid and impermeable that they become unable to absorb sugar from the blood efficiently, leaving blood sugar levels elevated. Studies indicate that regular organic sulfur supplements which cause the cell to become permeable, could help balance blood sugar and allow the overworked pancreas to return to normal. 33 Back to top
How is sulfur depleted or destroyed in foods?: The food grown on our farms is depleted in numerous ways. This is exemplified by Dr. August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, in his example of how apples have lost iron content from 1950 to 1998. [ refer to illustration on right side. ] The average apple in 1950 contained 4.3mg of iron. By 1998, that number dropped to just 0.18mg of iron per apple. This means that in 1998, you would need to eat 24 apples to get the same amount of iron you would get from just one apple in 1950! 47 Ofcourse, mineral depletion in farm soil has gotten much worse since 1998 with fossil fertilizers, pesticides and GMO seed crops.
The key to understanding how organic sulfur content in plants is lost is to be aware that sulfur is very unstable. It can almost instantly combine with water and oxygen.
Plants grown today on fossil fertilized farms are depleted of most of the sulfur. This can also happen in organic farming as well. Plants can only absorb the sulfur from the soil these are grown in. Vegetables begin to lose their sulfur content instantly when harvested. By the time the vegetables are displayed in the grocery store, four days later, they have lost more sulfur. Days later when you bring the veggies home there is very, very, very little sulfur content left.
Organic sulfur is also destroyed when we process our foods with heat, drying or storage over time.
Best to eat raw vegetables, raw nuts, fruit raw; vegetables uncooked, unprocessed and do not store food for a long time if you want to preserve sulfur in foods. Back to top
When to expect benefits?:It takes time for organic sulfur supplement to kick in and bring about healing.6, 10 The time can vary from several days to 6 months or longer, depending on the health status of the person. Pilot clinical trials suggest that a realistic time frame for response to MSM therapy is four to six weeks. For instance, in a small arthritis trial conducted at UCLA by R. M. Lawrence, pain scores exhibited a 60 percent improvement at four weeks and an 82 percent improvement at six weeks compared with placebo, which exhibited improvements of 20 and 18 percent respectively. Similarly, in a pilot trial on hair and nail health, 3 grams of MSM ingested daily led to significant improvements within six weeks.6
UpDATE: Best Way to Take Organic Sulfur:There are now two ways to ingest sulfur. The best way is to take organic sulfur with a special vitamin C and the second is by itself.
1. Organic sulfur with lipsomal encapsulated vitamin C. Vitamin C should always be taken 1/2 hour AFTER MSM. This allows the MSM 1/2 hour to open the ports of the somatic or cancer cells for Vitamin C to enter in. For information on how this combination works, go to LivOn: Bioavailability
2. Organic Sulfur by itself: Organic sulfur stays within the body for 12 hours, thereafter excess sulfur is excreted. That’s why it’s best to take a sulfur supplement throughout the day in your filtered water once in the morning and once in the evening. You can mix 1 gram of flake crystal MSM in a glass of water or juice and at same time also ingest 300 mgs of vitamin C with or after a meal.
But here is the catch. There is some controversy as to whether you can drink chlorinated water with organic sulfur. Some sources state that chlorine in water blocks uptake of organic sulfur; stating that one needs to drink chlorine free water when ingesting organic sulfur [MSM]: Regular tap water you drink has been chlorinated and the chlorine may interfere with optimal absorption of organic sulfur. On the other hand, Bergstrum Nutrition backs their observation with 20 years of research stating that chlorinated water does not interfere with dissolved optimSM being absorbed into the body. Sorochan prefers to maximizing the organic sulfur being absorbed optimally by mixing organic sulfur with de-chlorinated water or fruit juice.
Keep in mind that chlorine is a very unstable gas and evaporates quickly from water. You need to give chlorine a chance to do so before drinking it. There are several ways to get rid of the chlorine in the drinking water:
1. Use hot tap water, let it cool. [Hot water in water heater drives off chlorine.]
2. You can get the chlorine out of the tap water by putting a slice of lime or lemon, stir it and wait about 10 minutes for the lime juice [Vitamin C] to neutralize the chlorine.
3. Or you can boil the tap water for about five minutes and then let it cool, or
4. let the tap water sit in a jar for 10 or more hours and the chlorine will evaporate.
Now you have good drinking water and can proceed to mix the organic sulfur with water.
Ofcourse you can decide how you want to ingest organic sulfur. Back to top
Who should take MSM supplement?: It should be obvious by now that a conventional diet does not supply the minimum requirement of sulfur. It is absent in synthetic food additives, dietary mineral compositions, food substitutes, and most fillers used to dilute or modify foods. 7
Most persons and especially vegetarians, are deficient in sulfur but do not know it. Organic sulfur levels decline noticeably with age. So, the older you get, the more important it becomes to maintain adequate sulfur levels in the body. 7
Sulfur deficiency is now linked to many illnesses, disorders and diseases for which medical science has no answers. Unfortunately researchers look in the wrong places except sulfur to fix health problems. We need to supplement our diets with organic sulfur to bolster the body to heal and maintain itself. 7 Back to top
Best MSM buy:
About 90% of the MSM supplements being marketed today are from China, are mixed with other products, cheap binders, fillers and other agents and sold as cheap tablets, or powders. These formats reduce the amount of pure MSM that you absorb. Also, tablets and cheaper powders don’t absorb well in the body4, 5, 21; hence, many people absorb only a fraction of the MSM into the blood stream. Pure flake, crystal organic sulfur is readily absorbed into the body.4, 5
It is the opinion of this researcher that the purest and safest quality of MSM large crystals made in the world is by Bergstrom Nutrition plant in Vancouver, Washington. This manufacturing plant is dedicated to making only one product and no other; thereby ensuring no additives or contaminants in their original product. The trademark wholesale product logo, optiMSM, is pure large crystal made from a distillation process. It is sold to distributors who often repackage the original Bergstrom Nutrition product into various forms as powder, fine crystals, tablets and capsules. Many distributors often add binders, additives, silica and other impurities.
Researcher Sorochan contacted numerous Bergstrom Nutrition retail distributors of optiMSM. The retailer responses were most disappointing, as they failed to clarify what their descriptive terms really meant [ crystal, crystal flake, flake and so on ]. In spite of these shortcomings, it is Sorochan's belief that two marketers of optiMSM selling pure flake crystal are:
1. KALA Health, Inc., Falmouth, MA., MSM Bulk Flake; Phone Orders: (800) 998-8813
2. MSM Health Solutions, Inc., Anderson, Ca..  MSM Bulk Flake; Phone: Orders Only 800-404-7299
3. Canadian buyers: Natural Health Organic Sulfur Products Ltd; White Rock BC, Local: 604-542-9310 / Toll Free North America 1-855-875-9311. Marketer claims unsubstantialed!
Before buying a brand, ask the marketer questions about the following:
Purity: Pure large white crystal MSM should be without any additives. Broken up crystals look like powder and are reputed to be less bioavailable [ less absorbed and used by the body ]; many brands have additives that float at the top of the water when the powder crystals are mixed with water; some may have impurities floating on top or bottom of the water.
Source: MSM can be synthetically processed from fossil oil or from natural organic plants. The MSM found in most health food stores doesn't work as well as the organic crystals from high-lignin pine trees. This is because the mostly Asian manufacturers heat the MSM to 486 degrees F. and physically crush the sulfur crystals to a powder, solely for manufacturing convenience. This renders the resulting MSM far less bioavailable for healing.
Manufacturing processes: There are two methods currently used in commercial production of MSM as a dietary supplement: crystallization and distillation. The comparative advantages and disadvantages of these methods can be stated as follows: Distillation produces a product of superior purity, but it is more expensive and therefore fewer manufacturers invest in it; crystallization yields product with varying degrees of purity, but it is a more cost-effective method of production and is thus preferred by manufacturers making cheaper MSM. 38 MSM needs to be the only product made in a processing plant in order for MSM to be pure. The initial product by distillation should be large sulfur crystals. These crystals are often broken down into smaller crystals and these, in turn, can be pulverized into powder..
Form of MSM: MSM can be packaged in crystal or powder form. Organic Sulfur in MSM precipitated from DMSO into a coarse crystal flake and not processed any further does not have anti caking or flow agents added. When MSM is packaged in pills or capsules, additives such as anti-caking substances and silica are usually added so the powder dissolves rapidly in water. Additives in packaging can block or neutralize the bio availability of the sulfur contained in the MSM. Also, if the MSM mixture contains silicon dioxide as an additive, it indicates that the sulfur has been deactivated and rendered almost useless. Most encapsulated MSM and powders are made up of this deactivated, non-lignan containing form of sulfur.
Additives: There are several important considerations for deciding which MSM to take. In many of the powdered forms there are silica additives which are harmful to your health. Currently, the recommendation is that the most health-effective form is organic sulfur in it's naturally occurring large flake crystal form.
There are a lot of MSM web-sites marketers making claims that their brand of organic sulfur, Glucosamine + MSM, relieves many illnesses and joint pain conditions and is the same as organic sulfur. MSM has been used in many commercial products touting to alleviate joint and back pains and inflammation. But many persons suffering from joint pain and who have tried these MSM products have found out that they do not work! Researcher John Hammell, chapter leader for Weston A. Price Foundation in Point Roberts, Washington, has investigated the MSM sold in health food stores and on the web and why it doesn't work well. The reason is that it's only 39% sulfur, the rest is methyl cellulose and an anti caking ingredient called silicon dioxide that ruins the uptake of sulfur to the cells. It will work, sort of, but you have to take about 5x as much! 9 Back to top
Safety: MSM is considered a safe dietary supplement, and is listed as such on the Guide to Alternative Therapies for Osteoarthritis by The Arthritis Foundation. It is a non-toxic supplement which means you cannot overdose on it. 6, 7,13, 28
Higher amounts appear to be safe, although some people do experience loose stool or abdominal discomfort when too much is taken at once. 38
According to Dr. Jacob, for more than two decades, thousands of people came to the DMSO Clinic at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and received upwards of 100 grams per day of MSM without serious side effects. In total, Dr. Jacob claims to have treated some 18,000 patients with MSM. 12
In March 1999, Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., and Ronald M. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., published “The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain”. Their book was based on their experience as medical doctors and MSM researchers. Combined, they have over 20 years of experience with fighting pain with MSM. They concluded that of more than 18,000 patients that suffered from chronic pain, about 70% experienced benefits from the use of MSM, finding that pain either diminished or disappeared altogether. 14
"MSM is rapidly absorbed, with a half-life of approximately 12 hours as calculated from published rat studies. Published studies have shown that MSM and its metabolites are excreted mainly via urine and, there is no accumulation of MSM by the body." 49 FDA: notice Bergstrom Nutrition MSM is GRAS Back to top
Dosage: There is some discrepancy as to the best dosage. The Recommended Daily Allowance [RDA] committee recommends a combined Sulfur-containing Amino Acids [SAA] intake of at least 13 mg/kg per day. This is equivalent to approximately 910 mg/day for a 70 kg adult. Other authorities believe this figure to be too low and recommend an intake of 25 mg/kg/day of SAA for adults. A rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein should contain at least 17 mg of SAAs (e.g., gluten (wheat protein) or zein (corn protein)). 29
There is no direct Recommended Daily Allowance [RDA] for MSM. This is recommend daily intake of about 800-900 milligrams or 1 gram of sulfur per day. MSM supplement manufacturers typically suggest doses for use as a dietary supplement ranging from 2 to 10 grams per day.
The dosage varies with age and health condition: children still developing need more than mature adults. Organic sulfur requirements are lower in old age due to loss of lean tissue. [ SAA requirements are lower than in healthy younger adults. ] This information is based on body requirements needed to maintain nitrogen balance and support adequate lean tissue growth. 29
Certain health conditions, such as arthritis and liver disorders, may be improved by increasing the intake of sulfur to 1,500 milligrams per day in supplemental form [ most commonly as methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM ]. 27, 35 The amount of MSM in each dose is not critical --- but, body weight should always been considered when deciding on a proper dose. The reported minimum individual dose is about 750-1000 mg twice a day. However, total daily dosages of 2500 to 5000 mg have been recommended by some sources. For a maximum benefit, it has also been recommended to use an initial "load" dose of 3000 mg twice a day. This dose is reported to be safe when continued indefinitely for maximum results. Of course, you should work with your medical doctor on proper dosage for your weight.
A single dose of MSM is usually not effective in ameliorating symptoms. Noticeable results are usually seen within 2 to 21 days 10, although there are reports that healing for some disorders or diseases may take anywhere from several months to even years. 17 Back to top
Allergy WARNING: A small percentage of people will get a skin rash if they take MSM internally. The skin rash is harmless, but it does itch and indicates the person cannot use this protocol because of an allergy to MSM
To test for this allergy rash, take ONLY 1 TEAspoon of “MSM Water” [“Organic Sulfur Water”], which is a very small amount of MSM. If you get a skin rash you should not take this protocol.
If you do not get a skin rash within two hours, take 1 TABLEspoon of “MSM Water.” If you do not get a skin rash in two more hours, you can take this protocol.
S-adenosylmethionine [SAMe] is an important methyl donor and metabolite of the sulfur-containing amino acid, methionine. SAMe may worsen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and should be avoided until it is proven safe for these patients.
A concern arises in the use of N-acetylcysteine [NAC] in HIV positive patients because NAC can raise serum glutamine to above normal levels. 29 Back to top
Testing for sulfur in body: Doctors ask a patients whether they are allergic to sulfa drugs, but almost never whether they are allergic to sulfur in foods or drinks. They should!
There are two aspects of ingesting organic sulfur that should be mentioned. The first is whether the sulfur you are taking is really bioavailable …. that is, whether it is absorbed in sufficient quantities to be effective? And secondly, once absorbed into the body, is it helpful in improving your wellbeing?
The answer to the first question is based on excess sulfur being excreted from the body every 12 hours. Sulfur is excreted as sulfate, the urinary excretion of sulfate generally reflects input from either inorganic or amino acid sources. 29
Because the majority of body sulfate is obtained from the ingestion of protein-derived sulfur-containing amino acids (SAAs) methionine, cysteine, cystine, homocysteine, homocystine, and taurine; and because the primary route of sulfate excretion is in the urine, 24-hour urinary sulfate excretion is strongly correlated with 24-hour urinary excretion of urea, the end product of dietary protein metabolism. Urinary sulfate excretion has been suggested as a measure of sulfur amino acid metabolism in humans. 44
Indirect estimates of sulfate intake can be calculated from the intakes of sulfur containing amino acids. As of now, there is no direct single sulfate test to determine the amount of sulfates in the cells, blood or urine. Laboratories do not have any economic incentive to do research on this issue.
In spite of these limitations, ask you doctor to have lab test for both blood and urine markers as a baseline before you begin ingesting organic sulfur; such as lab tests for inflammation, bone degradation, white blood cellcount and immunity, cholesterol, insulin, sulfur amino acids, protein wastes, glyphosate, AMPA, various sulfates and so on. Many of these tests are expensive.
Keep in mind that it may take anywhere from three to six weeks to produce significant changes in regard to the treatment of arthritic disorders and possibly longer for other sulfur effects. Then repeat the lab tests three or more months later and compare the pre and post test results. Did your cholesterol level and other test markers change?
Finding out whether organic sulfur is really healing or helpful can also be evaluated subjectively. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Do you see a change in your skin color or improvement in your condition? And yes, astute persons are aware that your subjective evaluation is not as scientific as the lab tests. But how you feel is your truth body feedback and could be more accurate and relevant than the medical lab tests. Back to top
Organic sulfur is a powerful nutrient that the body uses to make 150 or more body compounds. It has magic healing properties and can no longer be ignored by medical doctors and nutritionists. Sulfur is an essential element for all life and cannot be replaced by medications!
Beware that the organic sulfur in foods is very unstable and in a sense evaporates very rapidly once vegetables, nuts fruits and grains are harvested.
MSM [organic sulfur] makes cell walls permeable, allowing water and nutrients to freely flow into cells and allowing wastes and toxins to properly flow out. The body uses MSM along with Vitamin C to create new, healthy cells, and MSM provides the flexible bond between the cells. Without proper levels of MSM, our bodies are unable to build good healthy cells, and this leads to problems such as sore back, lost flexibility, scar tissue, wrinkles, varicose veins, hardened arteries, damaged lung tissues, dry cracking skin, digestive disorders, joint problems, and inability to defend against allergic reactions to food, insects, animals and plants.
MSM is an anti-oxidant that helps to clean the blood stream and flush toxins trapped in our cells. It is also a scavenger for foreign proteins and free radicals. In order to maintain good health, we need to supplement our diets with MSM, to enable the body to heal and maintain itself. The body uses what it needs, and after 12 hours will flush out any excess amounts. You can become a new person in just a few months!
Approximately half of the total body sulfur is concentrated in the muscles, skin and bones. One of the most significant uses of MSM as a supplement is its demonstrated ability to relieve pain and inflammation. When rigid fibrous tissue cells swell and become inflamed, pressure and pain result. Since MSM can restore flexibility and permeability to cell walls, fluids can pass through the tissues more easily. This helps equalize pressure and reduce or eliminate the cause of pain. Harmful substances such as lactic acid and toxins are allowed to flow out, while nutrients are permitted to flow in. This prevents the pressure buildup in cells that causes inflammation.
MSM has shown a remarkable ability to reduce or eliminate muscle soreness and cramps both in geriatric patients and in athletes.
Organic sulfur is a powerful nutrient that has magic healing properties and can no longer be ignored by medical doctors and nutritionists. Sulfur is an essential element for all life.
Hypocrisy of the US Federal government: The '2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee' [DGAC] makes dosage recommendation for sulfur on the one hand 29, but failed to officially recognize or endorse organic sulfur [MSM] as an essential body nutrient! 22 Indeed, a review of the 2015 Report by researcher Sorochan found that the report barely alluded to federal food policies, tactfully did not mention that fossil fertilizers disabled natural sulfur availability to plants and refrained from recognizing sulfur as being important to wellbeing.
Although the above hypocrisy would be enough in itself to incriminate the federal government, there is real documented evidence that our own government [congress and senate] knew about the danger of minerals being depleted in farming soils as early as 1936 .... the Congress Record recorded the report and thereafter ignored it up to now!
Congressional Document No. 264 in year June 5,1936: "The alarming fact is that foods - fruits, vegetables and grains - now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us - no matter how much of them we eat! .... We know that rats, guinea pigs, and other animals can be fed into a diseased condition and out again by controlling only the minerals in their food. .... Sick soils mean sick plants, sick animals and sick people." 46
Your feedback is most appreciated: E-mail to: Author Walter Sorochan
To return to:web-site main page
1. Alberta Sulphur Fertilizer Application in Crop Production Alberta Sulphur Fertilizer
2. Challier B, Perarnau JM, Viel JF. "Garlic, onion and cereal fibre as protective factors for breast cancer," European Journal of Epidemiology,1998; 14(8):737–747. [A French case-control study] Garlic prevents cancer
3. Chan JM, Wang F, Holly EA, "Vegetable and fruit intake and pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control study in the San Francisco bay area," Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2005; 14(9):2093–2097. fruit diet prevents cancer
4. Clarke Richard, "Organic Sulphur," West Coast Organic Sulfur Study. Clarke: W Coast study
5. Coast Organic Sulfur Project W Coast Sulfur Project
6. Clouatre Dallas, "MSM The bemefits of organic sulfur," TotalHealth, June 12, 2010. Clouatre Sulfur benefits
7. Donsky Andrea, "20 REASONS TO TRY ORGANIC SULFUR," Naturally Organic Savvy, January 12, 2013. Domsky: reasons try sulfur
8. Haas Elson, "Mineral Sulfur," Healthy Net. Sulfur is essential
9. Hammel John, "The Missing Link to Regenerating Cellular Health, Boosting Immunity and Reducing Pain and inflammation," Hammel: S boost immunity
10. Herschler R.J., "Dietary and pharmaceutical uses of methylsulfonylmethane and compositions comprising it," U.S. Patent 4,514,421. April 30, 1985. Accessed 2011-03-1. Herschler: Patent MSM uses
11. Ip C., and Gantherr HE., “Comparison of selenium and sulfur analogs in cancer prevention,” Carcinogenesis, July Ip: Selenium - Sulfur
12. Jacob Stanley W.,“Current status of Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO),” DMSO Background Literature, March 2002. Jacob: DMSO
13. Jacob Stanley W., and Robert Herschler, “Pharmacology of DMSO,” DMSO Background Literature, Academic Press, Inc., Printed 1985. Stanley DMSO Pharmacology
14. Jacob Stanley W., Lawrence RM, Zucker M., The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: Penguin-Putnam, 1999.
15. Kalman et al.: Influence of methylsulfonylmethane on markers of exercise recovery and performance in healthy men: a pilot study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012 9:46. Kalman: MSM exercise recovery
16. Kim LS, Axelrod LJ, Howard P, Buratovich N, Waters RF., "Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial," March 2006; 14(3):286-94. Epub 2005 Nov 23. Kim: MSM relieves osteoarthritis pain
17. Lawrence Ronald M., Daniel Sanchez, Mark Grosman, “LIGNISUL MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) IN THE TREATMENT OF ACUTE ATHLETIC INJURIES,” Lawrence: MSM treating sports injuries
18. Lee Thomas S., "An important protection from radioactivity." Lee: MSM protection against radioactivity
19. Lignan -- An -- is a polyphenolic compound that may have phytoestrogenic effects in the body. Flax seed is an exceptionally rich source of lignans. Lignin -- In -- is a polymeric compound that supports cellular structure in plants, like cellulose (and is thus "insoluble fiber"). It is true that lignins are not sulfurous, but the wood pulp industry uses sulfur compounds to break down the raw stuff; Di-methyl-sulfoxide [DMSO] is a by-product of that process. DMSO is easily converted into Di-methyl-sulfone, a.k.a. DMSO2, a.k.a Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane [MSM]. The pulp is thus a source of methyl groups, not sulfur. Methyl groups are very important in liver detoxification and epigenetic processes. Sulfur is a vital element in most major antioxidants in the body, especially Glutathione (if you see "thiol" or "thione" then you are seeing a sulfur compound); Alpha-Lipoic Acid, a.k.a. Thioctic Acid, is also a sulfur antioxidant. Artificial fertilizers and pesticides have seriously interrupted the natural remineralization of our crop soils; sulfur, a major bodily mineral, has been one of the many casualties. MSM is known both as Organic Sulfur and Biological Sulfur. Purity is probably better obtained by distillation than by crystallization.
20. Magnus Axelson, “25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 3-sulphate is a major circulating form of vitamin D in man,” FEBS Letters, 1985, Volume 191, Issue 2, 28 October, pp 171-175. Magnus: vitamin D-3 Sulfate in body
21. McGean Patrick, “The Sulfur Study - Early results of an experimental study using Organic Sulfur,” NaturoDoc: McGean: early MSM research
22. Millen Barbara, "2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisaory Committee," Report to USDA, 2015. Millen: Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee
23. Mindell, Earl L, The MSM Miracle - Enhance your health with organic sulfur, Keats Good Health Guide, Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, CT, 1997. Mindell book MSM
24. Morton, Jane I., and R. D. Moore. "Lupus nephritis and deaths are dimished in B/W mice drinking 3% water solutions of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and dimethyl sulfone (DMSO (2)," Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 1986, 40 (3);322. 9.
25. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) INFORMATION. MSM info
26. MSM - Medical Information Foundation, “The MSM Miracle,” Entire page copyright 2005 – 2014. MSM Medical info
27. Murray Michael T., "What is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for sulfur?" Shareware. Murray: RDA sulfur
28. Pagonis Thomas A, Panagiotis A Givissis, Aristidis C Kritis, Anastasios C Christodoulou, “The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility,” International Journal of Orthopaedics,June 23, 2014. Pagonis: MSM & osteoarthritis
29. Parcell Stephen, “Sulfur in Human Nutrition and Applications in Medicine,” Alternative Medicine 2002, Review Volume 7, Number 1. Parcell: Sulfur in humans & Medicine
30. Plant & soil Sciences Library, "Soils - Part 7: Soil and Plant Considerations for Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Zinc, and other Micronutrients." University of Nebraska. Plant soils & minerals
31. Roth Ronald, "Alzheimer's Disease: Nutritional Causes, Treatments & Prevention," Acu_Cell Disorders; The Weston A. Price Foundation, July 2, 2011. Roth: Alzheimer's & sulfur deficiency
32. Schauss Alexander G., “Natural or Synthetic? Resolving the Controversy,” 2005. Schauss: Controversy MSM
33. Seneff Stephanie, "A Possible Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Chronic Fatigue," The Weston A. Price Foundation, July 2, 2011. Seneff: Sulfur deficiency
34. Seneff, Stephanie T.,“Could Sulfur Deficiency Be a Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?” The Weston A. Price Foundation, September 15, 2010 Seneff: Sulfur deficiency & obesity
35. Sircus ,"Cancer, Sulfur, Garlic & Glutathione," Dr. Sircus.com, June 25, 2012 . Sircus: Sulfur & cancer
36. Stuber Kent, Sandy Sajko and Kevyn Kristmanson, "Efficacy of glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane for spinal degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease: a systematic review," J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2011 Mar; 55(1): 47–55. Stuber: MSM compunds not effective for joint diseases
37. Tarantino Laura M., "Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000229," Director Office of Food Additive Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, February 18, 2008. Tarantino: FDA notice that Bergstrom Nutrition MSM is GRAS [notice informs FDA of the view of Bergstrom Nutrition that MSM is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)]
38. TvWikiTV, “Methylsulfonylmethane.” TvWikiTV MSM & srudies
39. Usha PR, Naidu MU, “Randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and their combination in osteoarthritis,” Clin Drug Investig . 2004;24(6):353-363. Usha: Research MSM - glucosomine & osteoarthris
40. Vrentas Mike, "MSM & Vitamin C," February 27, 2015. Vrentas: MSM & vit C
41. Wikipedia, "Methylsulfonylmethane." ;  Wiki: MSM
42. Wikipedia, “Talk:Methylsulfonylmethane.” [Research studies on MSM] Wiki: Research studies on MSM
43. Wo Foye, “Sulfur compounds in therapy: radiation-protective agents, amphetamines, and mucopolysaccharide sulfation,”The Annals of pharmacotherapy, 1992 Sep;26(9):1144-7. . Wo: MSM therapy
44. Lab testing for organic sulfur in body, "Sulfate Summary." Sulfur Lab testing info
"Inorganic sulfate (SO4O2–) is required for the synthesis of 3′- phosphoadenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (PAPS). PAPS is required for synthesis of many important sulfur-containing compounds, such as chondroitin sulfate and cerebroside sulfate. While significant levels of sulfate are found in foods and various sources of drinking water, the major source of inorganic sulfate for humans is from biodegradation due to body protein turnover of the sulfur amino acids methionine and cysteine. Dietary sulfate in food and water, together with sulfate derived from methionine and cysteine found in dietary protein and the cysteine component of glutathione, provides sulfate for use in PAPS biosynthesis. Sulfate requirements are thus met when intakes include recommended levels of sulfur amino acids. For this reason, neither an Estimated Average Requirement and thus a Recommended Dietary Allowance) nor an Adequate Intake for sulfate is established." Note: Reference to sulfur content in soil in this article is based on 1972 samples.
45. Jez Joseph, "Sulfur: A missing link between soill, crops and nutrition," Book online; American Society of Agronomy Inc., 2008. Jez: Sulfur link to crops & nutrition
Goal of book: Provide overview of sulfur's link between soil, plants and nutrition by bringing together authors with expertise in molecular background.
46. Jackson Melvin, "3 Easy Ways To Turn Your Health Around In 2015," Health Trends Digest, 2015 Jackson: Health fertilizer trends
47. Eco Economics, "Sick soil," 2015. Eco Econ: Chronic diseases & sick soil
46. Beach Rex, "Modern Miracle Men - Dr. Charles Northerm, who builds health from the ground up," Document No. 264 74th Congress 2nd session, June 5, 1936. Beach: health from ground up
Congress Report 1936: "The alarming fact is that foods - fruits and vegetables and grains - now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us - no matter how much of them we eat! .... We know that rats, guinea pigs, and other animals can be fed into a diseased condition and out again by controlling only the minerals in their food. .... Sick soils mean sick plants, sick animals and sick people."
47. Mercola Joseph, "How to Bring Minerals Back Into the Soil and Food Supply," Mercola.com, May 25, 2014. Mercola: minerals back into soil
48. Bhagavan N.V. and Chung-Eun Ha,"Essentials of Medical Biochemistry," Academic Press, 2015 [Book] Second Edition. Bhagavan: Amino Acids
49. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000229," Response to Bergstroom Nutrition, February 18, 2008. FDA: notice Bergstrom Nutrition MSM is GRAS
50. Epp Melanie, "Ontario sulphur trials VARYING RESULTS," Ontario grain farmer, March 2014. Epp: sulfur in soils 2014Back to top