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Introduction

SULFATION:The Important Step In Joint Health And Repair

  • Sulfur helps maintain the structure of connective tissue by forming cross-linkages through disulfide bonds i.e., sulfur strengthens the tissues that make up the joint. Sulfur is critical to good joint health. GAGs are the fundamental building blocks of joint cartilage and GAG molecules are linked together in chains by disulfide bonds. As the name implies these bonds are between two sulfur atoms. The disulfide bridges reduce conformational flexibility of GAG chains making cartilage firm and resilient. Cartilage integrity is thus a sulfur-dependent state.

  • MSM, Racemethionine, L-Cysteine (formed from methionine) and Taurine are important sulfur containing natural substances. The current research and scientific studies have documented their important role in forming and regeneration of healthy cartilage during arthritis and other musculo-skeletal disorders.

Methyl Sulfonyl Methane

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  • For many years the compound DMSO  (dimethylsulfoxide) has been used as a topical agent in veterinary medicine due to its well established antiinflammatory and analgesic properties. DMSO has also been used by athletes for topical treatment of sports-related injuries involving inflammation of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursitis problems.

  • Unfortunately toxicity studies related to DMSO revealed that it causes damage to the lens of the eye in animals which was reversed when DMSO was withdrawn6. An additional drawback to the use of DMSO is the strong garlic-breath one is left with after its application6.

  • It is observed that approximately 15% of DMSO is metabolized by the body into MSM, which does not produce the garlic-breath effect. Unlike DMSO, MSM is safe and can be taken orally for therapeutic purposes. It is very soluble in water and is readily absorbed from the GI tract.

 MSM: The Rich Source of Bioavailable Sulfur

  • MSM is made up of 34% sulfur, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. As part of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, sulfur is required for the structural integrity and function of almost every protein in the body. MSM serves as a versatile donor of metabolically active sulfur for the synthesis of numerous organosulfural compounds and proteins in the body as well as the GAGs of cartilage and other connective tissue. It is shown to be effective in reducing or alleviating pain and immobility caused by ailments such as Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Back Pain and numerous additional health conditions.

  • A substantial amount of MSM is found in food like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables7 . Unfortunately most of it is lost during cooking processes because it is highly water soluble and goes up with the steam or is simply thrown out with the water. Heating, drying and in general, over processing of food has drastically reduced the  amount of MSM that we consume. Hence its supplementation is beneficial during old age and arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.

  • Scientists have shown that the sulfur content of cartilage decreases as we age and that this decrease parallels degeneration in the joints. They have also shown that certain arthritis drugs deplete the body's sulfur reserves. Separately, MSM has been shown to be a sulfur donor and to alleviate the pain of knee osteoarthritis. These results suggest that the sulfur in MSM is possibly being used to replenish depleted sulfur in the joints.