Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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MSM speeds up post-weight training recovery

MSM, full name methylsulfonylmethane, may be an interesting supplement for strength athletes. Sports scientist Douglas Kalman of the University of Memphis comes to this cautious conclusion after doing a small human study. According to the study, which was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it seems that a daily dose of 3 g MSM speeds up post-weight training recovery.

MSM speeds up post-weight training recovery
Everyday foods such as milk, fruit, coffee and tea provide us with small amounts of MSM. Studies have shown that this compound inhibits inflammation. MSM is believed to boost the production of the detoxifier glutathione, and to disrupt the nuclear factor kappa-beta. This is a transcription factor involved in the reaction of cells to nearly all kinds of stress from UV radiation to LDL cholesterol, and from cancer to blood poisoning.

Intensive strength training stresses muscle cells and results in inflammation. The quicker the inflammation disappears, the faster the muscles recover. And you can guess what direction the researchers' thinking took: whether MSM supplementation might help speed up muscle recovery.

The study was sponsored by TandemRain Innovations, George Bergstrom's company. Bergstrom is also the driving force behind Bergstrom Nutrition [], the producer of the MSM preparation OptiMSM.

The researchers divided their subjects into two groups. One group were given a daily dose of 1.5 g MSM for 28 days; the other group were given 3 g MSM. Before and after the supplementation period the men trained their quadriceps by doing 18 sets on the leg extension machine.

Before, and then 2 and 48 hours after the training sessions, the researchers assessed the amount of muscle pain the subjects had and how tired they were. The figures below suggest that the 3 g dose of MSM certainly speeded up recovery.

MSM speeds up post-weight training recovery

MSM speeds up post-weight training recovery

MSM supplementation did not raise the amount of glutathione in the blood. It did raise the antioxidant activity in the blood two hours after the workout.

MSM speeds up post-weight training recovery

Other studies
It's not the first time that researchers have come across the protective effects of MSM on physical exertion. Researchers at the Islamic Azad University in Iran reported a few years ago that a 10-day supplementation period using 50 mg MSM per kg bodyweight reduced muscle damage after untrained men did endurance workouts. [J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Oct; 63(10): 1290-4.] [J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Apr; 52(2): 170-4.] In the Iranian studies MSM also boosted post-session antioxidant activity.

The American researchers are in favour of further research. "While this study was small in scope, it is suggested that more research be done to extend these findings", they write. "Future studies should include a larger sample size, a placebo group for comparison and the inclusion of additional markers of recovery and exercise performance (e.g., force and power)."

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 27;9(1):46.

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Nutrition & Strength Training

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MSM reduces pain in muscles and joints after half-marathon
Athletes who daily use 3 grams of MSM experience less pain in their muscles and joints the first two days after they have run a half marathon.

A capsule of MSM per day reduces wrinkles in a few months
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According to in vitro studies, MSM blocks the demolition hormone cortisol in muscle cells while increasing the action of IGF-1 and growth hormone. With such beautiful muscle strengthening effects, we get worried that MSM may also promote cancer.