MSM Benefits for Bodybuilding and Athletes

MSM? Yes I'll bet some of you are saying to yourself, what the hell is MSM? Well MSM could be a worthy supplement for bodybuilders and athletes.

Methylsulphonylmethane ((CH3)2SO2) a.k.a. DMSO2 is a naturally occurring form of organic sulphur found in all living things. MSM is a metabolite of DMSO, that is, the DMSO molecule with an additional oxygen atom. A wide range of primary pharmacological actions of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) have been documented in laboratory studies: membrane transport, effects on connective tissue, anti-inflammation, nerve blockade (analgesia), bacteriostasis, diuresis, enhancements or reduction of the effectiveness of other drugs, cholinesterase inhibition, nonspecific enhancement of resistance to infection, vasodilation, muscle relaxation, antagonism to platelet aggregation, and influence on serum cholesterol in emperimental hypercholesterolemia. (1986 Academic Press, Inc.) DMSO treats altered cellular function or damaged cells. The cells become healed and restored by changing and stabilizing the "water structure" within the cell. It exerts its effects on biological systems by changing the liquid structure of water. Therefore, changes occur in protein and other molecules. These changes are physical-chemical in nature and difficult to understand without a degree in physics. MSM possesses bio-medical properties similar to DMSO.

The possibilities of MSM supplementation are promising. As any bodybuilder knows, protein is essential for proper cellular metabolism and soft tissue syntheses (muscle building). Proper protein synthesis can only be achieved with amino acid monomers that maintain the correct molecular framework for soft and connective tissue throughout the human body. MSM is the transport molecule for elemental sulfur that is required for proper assimilation of the amino acids metionine and cysteine. In addition, the peptide hormone insulin requires sulfur in its molecular structure and numerous other proteins, catalysts, and enzymes incorporate sulfur into their molecular framework.

MSM could allow us to heal faster and decrease the amount of time between training sessions. Because there are few nerves in the bones, our pain comes from the soft tissue. Aspirin shuts off the nerves, but the muscles are still damaged. MSM takes out the inflammation, permits the muscles to heal, and prevents them from being sore.

MSM is present in low concentrations in our body fluids and tissues. It is found in a variety of fresh foods, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and milk. However, unless your diet is composed of primarily raw foods, it is unlikely that you are receiving enough MSM to make use of its accelerated healing properties.

Many world class athletes, bodybuilders, and marathon runners who have begun supplementing with MSMS have reported that when they take MSM before and after exercise, noticed few instances of cramps and muscle soreness and most importantly noticed decreased recovery time!

According to the foremost expert on MSM, Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., of the DMSO Clinic at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, MSM, exerts potent anti-inflammatory activity, stops pain impulses and muscle spasm, and improves blood supply to muscles. Jacob has been using MSM clinically for twenty years - longer than any other physician. Over the years in his clinic, Jacob has used both DMSO and MSM for athletic injuries, strained or cramped muscles, and over-extended joints.

A very effective method of supplementing MSM is to take 6 grams (6,000 milligrams) of MSM before and after a workout. Some increase this level to 8 grams before and after, on days of particularly heavy leg training, and drops down to 4 or 5 grams on lighter days for smaller muscles. On days when you are not training I recommend you take 5 grams in the morning and 5 again at night. This is only what some top athletes are reporting works for decreases muscle soreness and improved performance. As with all individuals, results may vary.

So there you have it! The low down on this relatively unknown, but very promising supplement. It's not expensive either, which makes it even more attractive. Give it a try and please forward any results on to us for a further installment.


1. Szmant, H. Harry. Physical properties of dimethyl sulfoxide and its function in biological systems, Biological Actions of Dimethyl Sulfoxide ed. by Stanley W. Jacob and Robert Herschler. (New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1975), pp. 20-23.

2. Herschler, R.J., "Methylsulphonylmethane and methods of use" United States Patent 4296130: 1981

3. Herschler, R.J., "Dietary and pharmaceutical uses of Methylsulphonylmethane and compositions comprising it" United States Patent 4514421: 1985

4. Lawrence, Sanchez, Grosman "MSM in the treatment of acute athletic injuries, a placebo-controlled double blind clinical trial" 1999

5. Richmond "Incorporation of methylsulphonylmethane into guinea pig proteins" Life Sciences 1986

6. Richmond "MSM contributes to biosynthesis of methionine and cysteine" J Nutrition: 116 (6), 1986Rizzo et al, J Experimental Zoology: 273(1), 1995

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