The benefits of MSM & vitamin C

by Hannah de Gruchy October 10, 2020

The Benefits of MSM and Vitamin C

Methylsulphonylmethane, or MSM, is a supplement that when paired with vitamin C, has real health benefits.

MSM taken by itself has anti-inflammatory properties and reducing inflammation can help to manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, swelling and joint pain. What’s more, MSM supplements can also help to speed up recovery after exercise and support a strong, healthy immune system.

When MSM is combined with vitamin C, it can benefit our skin as well as our joints. This combination helps to maintain healthy levels of collagen and keratin, which helps to keep skin plump and looking youthful.

What is MSM?

Sulphur MSMMSM is a compound found naturally in certain foods, including vegetables, meat and dairy products.

In recent years, it’s become a popular dietary supplement. MSM supplements are a good source of sulphur, which the body needs to help keep levels of inflammation under control.

Why is vitamin C added to MSM supplements?

MSM was found to work best when taken alongside vitamin C. It’s likely that the presence of the vitamin improves the rate of absorbance of the MSM, producing more potent effects.

Additionally, vitamin C and MSM share several complementary roles, making them ideal companions when taken as supplements.

The benefits of MSM and vitamin C

healthy meal

MSM has anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin C helps to reduce the effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress. Combined in one supplement, they have many health benefits.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin. This means that it helps to neutralise harmful, unstable molecules called free radicals.

Free radicals enter the body as a consequence of smoking, breathing in environmental pollutants and eating a diet high in fried or processed foods. The body also produces them as a by-product of normal biological processes such as breathing and digestion.

If we don’t get enough antioxidants from our diet or in the form of supplements, free radicals can build up, causing damage to our cells and DNA. This damage can lead to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn can lead to premature skin ageing and chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

MSM and vitamin C for joint health

Elbows and knees joint health

As we age, our levels of cartilage naturally begin to decline, which is why many older adults begin to develop joint pain and arthritis. Studies have shown that taking MSM and vitamin C supplements, can help improve the symptoms of arthritis, including reduced pain, swelling and joint stiffness.

Researchers attribute this to its ability to reduce inflammation – arthritis is a type of chronic inflammatory disease. Reducing inflammation helps to reduce the symptoms associated with it, such as pain and difficulty on walking and using stairs.

Studies have also shown that MSM can reduce the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage helps to protect the tips of the bones within our joints from the potential damage caused by constant movement and acts as a barrier between the bones. The vitamin C complements this effect by acting as an antioxidant and preventing additional damage and inflammation from free radicals. It also helps in the production of collagen which is necessary in the production of new cartilage.

MSM and vitamin C for skin health

Beautiful Healthy Skin

Collagen is a protein that not only helps to protect our joints. It also forms a framework, like a biological scaffold, that our skin sits on. As we age collagen production slows down. This results in sagging and wrinkling of the skin.

Taking vitamin C supplements helps to keep collagen levels topped up and the skin plump. It also prevents the oxidative damage that can be caused by exposure to sunlight.

Also, the MSM provides sulphur which is also beneficial for the skin and helps to treat the inflammation associated with acne and rosacea. Another protein in the skin (and the hair and nails) is keratin. It helps to give the skin its structure. Keratin contains long chains of the amino acid cysteine which itself requires sulphur for strength.

The sulphur within MSM supplements can, therefore help to boost the strength and structure of keratin within the skin, helping to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.

MSM and exercise recovery

Woman exercising

Whilst exercise is beneficial to our health, when we exercise at an intense level, our levels of inflammation increase as our muscles repair themselves. This causes the muscle pain that anyone who has visited the gym will understand, delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

Studies show that MSM supplements can speed up the time it takes for our muscles to repair by reducing the inflammatory markers caused by intense exercise.

This helps to reduce the pain of DOMS, allowing us to get back to exercising at our optimal level a little more quickly.

MSM and a healthy immune system

human body immune system

Our immune system is a complex system of cells, molecules, tissues and organs. It acts as our defence system, helping to protect us from illness and disease. A robust immune system is our best form of defence against becoming unwell, but it can be impaired by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, stress, illness and certain medications.

The sulphur in MSM has been shown to help reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which can both have a negative impact on the immune system.

MSM also helps the body manufacture a vital antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione helps to protect the immune system from damage from chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. The more the body is able to manufacture it, the more it can support good immunity and protect us from disease.

How to take MSM and vitamin C

The suggested serving size of MSM is up to 3g daily, so if you’re concerned about joint health, ageing skin, your immunity or exercise recovery, this could be the supplement you’re looking for.

How much vitamin C should I take with MSM?

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 40mg, but we can tolerate a lot more than that. In fact, up to 1000mg of vitamin C each day is considered to be safe. When taking vitamin C with MSM supplements, aim for anything from 100mg vitamin C to 1000mg.

Summary

MSM and vitamin C supplements can help to support your immune system and reduce inflammation. They can also help to manage joint pain and the discomfort of arthritis. Making MSM and vitamin C supplements part of your healthy regime could also help to improve your skin and reduce the time it takes for you to recover after exercise. With so many benefits, you can see why taking MSM with vitamin C should be a cornerstone of your supplementation routine.

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Hannah de Gruchy
Hannah de Gruchy

Author

Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.


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