MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a useful supplement to consider for fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue. It has a wealth of support behind it and I have personally found benefit from it. I share all of this below.
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MSM is an organic sulfur-containing compound that is meant to help with pain in the tendons, ligaments and muscles. It is also said to help with energy, post-exertion malaise, and for cellular energy (to support mitochondria). In New Zealand it is one of those nutrients the soil is now depleted of.
The benefits of MSM
Dr Axe outlines six benefits of taking MSM, including joint pain, digestive problems and muscle pain and spasms (a biggie for me):
“Research suggests that MSM can act like a natural analgesic, helping prevent and treat muscle aches and pains, throbbing and swelling while improving range of motion and mobility.”
The article goes on to state that, “MSM also restores the flexibility and permeability of cell walls within muscles, which means nutrients can pass through the tissues more easily, facilitating repair work faster and removing lactic acid, which causes that “burning feeling” following exercise.” This is great for people with Fibromyalgia, who often feel greater post-exercise pain – I often get severe pain in my lower body for up to three days post exercise, if I have overdone it.
An article on the Shawn Stevenson Health Show website includes detoxification and increasing energy as other benefits of MSM:
“Digestion is the biggest energy requirement of the body (Approximately 70-80% of your energy is spent on digestion each day). MSM increases the absorption of nutrients so that the energy expenditure on digestion is vastly reduced.”
Which is good news for a person like me who doesn’t tend to take the nutrients from food efficiently, using iron as an example, despite a healthy level of iron rich foods I cannot keep my iron levels up without regular injections. Also, any efficiency in energy is a bonus for people with limited energy levels.
MSM and mitochondria
This article on Prohealth.com states a couple of extra benefits:
“Preventing and reducing symptoms of autoimmune diseases by supporting reduction of chronic inflammation.” and supporting “Your body’s electron transport system, as part of iron/sulfur proteins in mitochondria, the energy factories of your cells.”
This is important as there is a lot of noise about supporting our mitochondria. Ari Whitten believes mitochondria are the key to overcoming chronic fatigue. He has a fantastic free masterclass that I highly recommend signing up for. It is a little information-dense so take your time with it. While COq10, D-ribose, PQQ and many other energy enhancing supplements are usually recommended (and are not cheap) – MSM is often left out.
Below I share how MSM helps me.
MSM and me
I began taking MSM (this is what I used) in July 2017 as this was when I began to suspect the pain in my neck was actually Myofacial Pain Syndrome – painful, severe trigger points that recur no matter the treatment. Trigger points are usually considered separate to Fibromyalgia but there are some doctors who believe them to be part of it (like Dr Liptan).
See my giant introductory post about Myofascial Pain Syndrome here.
After a Google search for potential side effects, potential benefits and checking any interactions with my current medicines (amitriptyline and low dose naltrexone) – I decided to try it.
It took about six weeks to build up in my system. At this point I noticed a slight reduction in pain, perhaps one pain point on average in my neck, which is actually a big deal for me. This helped reduce the number of severe headaches and I didn’t have any other pain relief for several weeks.
I began with tablets, they were big! I had to take one tablet two times a day, and it was difficult swallowing them. So when I finished the bottle, I ordered a powdered version. During the wait the symptoms returned. It took another few weeks to feel the benefit of the powder. It is much less of a burden to take the powder, half a teaspoon dissolved in a cup of water (which I skull) is really easy for me.
A minor medical event, separate to the Fibromyalgia occurred in August which set me back. But I am going to keep the low dose naltrexone and MSM going for the year’s experiment and I have just added moringa powder (which I will report on later) – moringa is a good source of protein and amino acids, as well as iron and magnesium which is said to work well with the MSM.
After finding the mitochondria research trail again as my third baby began nursing less and less (making me feel more comfortable adding in some natural supplements) I began taking MSM again. It makes sense to me to help support the many mitochondria with my energy crisis. I will let you know how it goes after several weeks.
I’d love to hear your experience with MSM, please share in the comments.
Grab your MSM powder here (do always check for interactions with your medicines and supplements and check with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing):
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