MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) hit the market as a multi level marketing (MLM) product about 10 years ago. As with other MLM products it was promoted with a lot of hype and misinformation. What are the facts behind MSM?
MSM contains 34% sulfur by weight. Elemental sulfur is produced as the MSM is metabolized.
Commercial MSM is not natural. I had an MLM saleslady actually tell me that MSM was natural because it was derived from trees. This is really stretching it. MSM is created by the heating of the industrial solvent DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide). When DMSO is heated an oxygen atom attaches forming DMSO2, which is also known as MSM.
DMSO is actually a byproduct of the paper industry, but this does not make DMSO natural either. Many plastics are synthesized from natural compounds, but this does not make plastics natural. When a chemical is altered by man to make a new chemical then the new chemical is not natural, it is synthetic.
Sulfur is essential to the body, although deficiencies are almost unheard of. Sulfur is found in numerous foods we eat including garlic, onions, peppers, broccoli, beans, seaweeds, etc.
Sulfur is used in the production of proteins and hormones. For example, sulfur aids in the formation of the proteins collagen, elastin and keratin. Collagen gives connective tissues strength, while elastin gives the tissues their elasticity. Keratin is the primary protein founding hair and nails. Therefore, sulfur aids in the growth of hair and nails. It is commonly thought that sulfur aids in strengthening the hair and nails though silica in the form of orthosilicic acid, is the primary compound that strengthens the hair and nails. The hormone Insulin requires sulfur for its production. Insulin is required for the regulation of blood sugar and the transport of vitamin C to immune cells. Sulfur compounds also aid in the detoxification of the body.