Have you heard of “The Beauty Mineral”? Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a natural sulphur compound that has traditionally been used therapeutically for joint health but is gaining popularity in the beauty world as an anti-ageing supplement beneficial for strengthening hair and nails and enhancing the quality and texture of skin. So does this mineral live up to its name and should you be adding it into your beauty routine?
MSM originates in the ocean, where microscopic plankton release sulphur compounds into the water that are evaporated into the atmosphere and react with ultraviolet sunlight, resulting in the chemical MSM. Through the Earth’s natural water cycle, rain transports MSM to soil and is then absorbed by plants and eaten by animals. MSM can therefore be obtained naturally in small amounts through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, animal products and dairy. A synthetic version of MSM can also be obtained orally through supplementation or topically mixed into a cream base.
While MSM has been used for decades to support the health of joints, its popularity in the beauty world is more recent. It is no wonder, given MSM is an essential building block for hair, skin and nails and plays a critical role in supporting the function of hormones, enzymes, antibodies, antioxidants and inflammation which greatly impact the way you look, feel and function.
Therapeutically as an oral supplement or topically in a cream base, MSM has been shown to reduce signs of ageing and to be useful in the treatment of several skin conditions including acne, rosacea, dermatitis and eczema.
The beauty mineral exhibits its anti-ageing properties via a number of ways including:
- It acts as a sulphur donor to keratin, which is a key structural protein that provides strength to hair and skin
- It supports the production of collagen and glucosamine, which help maintain skin cell membrane flexibility and permeability and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Provides the body with the raw materials needed for skin repair and new skin cell turnover
- Maintains the body’s pH balance and promotes an efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products that help keep skin clear
- Reduces inflammation by lowering the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines
- Helps maintain normal levels of the master antioxidant glutathione, which plays a fundamental role in reducing free radicals that are responsible for premature ageing, cancer and disease
To supplement or not?
Eating an array of foods in their closest natural form is always superior to supplements; however, it is important to know that sulphur can easily be destroyed if food is not fresh, has been processed or is exposed to high temperatures.
Other factors such as age, high stress and a compromised digestive system also play a role in how well you absorb and store sulphur, so in these cases supplementation may be beneficial. Fortunately, both natural and manufactured MSM produce equal biochemical effects with reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
How much and for how long should you supplement?
A study conducted on 63 participants evaluated the effects of taking 1 gram compared to 3 grams of MSM for 16 weeks on signs of ageing. Expert clinical grading and measurements were taken to compare changes in lines, wrinkles, skin hydration, firmness and elasticity. Following 16 weeks, a significant improvement from baseline was shown in the severity of facial wrinkles, as well as improved skin firmness, elasticity and hydration. While the study showed beneficial results following 3 grams per day, it concluded that 1 gram per day appeared to be sufficiently effective in reducing the signs of ageing.
How to weave MSM into your day
The best place to start obtaining MSM is by enjoying an array of colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains and a moderate amount of organic dairy and animal products. If you feel like you need a little extra support because you’re under high stress or your digestive system is feeling compromised, a supplemental dosage of 1 gram per day may be beneficial alongside addressing the root cause of stress and digestive imbalances.
MSM works synergistically with vitamin C; therefore combining your MSM supplement with vitamin C and antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables in a juice or smoothie will have a positive effect on your hair, skin and nails.
MSM Beauty Smoothie
½ cup frozen or fresh organic berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
½ frozen banana
1 handful organic
1g (or preferred dose) MSM powder
1 tsp chia seeds
1 cup coconut water
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
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