In this series we explore the ingredients in Natural Alchemy’s Yoga Formula – why they are good for the yogi, where they come from and what research has been done to support the merits of each ingredient.

What is MSM and OptiMSM?

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a biologically active sulphur compound that is naturally present in fresh raw vegetables, fruits and grains. It also exists in live animals and humans.

It cannot however be extracted or cultivated from its host and requires a chemical process for it to be reproduced outside a living organism. (1)

MSM was discovered in a lab experiment in the late 1970s / early 1980s by American chemists Stanley Jacob and Robert Herschler. It has since been used to improve joint health, relieve inflammation, aid in the recovery of muscle damage and support liver functions.

OptiMSM is produced by Bergstrom Nutrition – an ISO certified dietary supplement company in the United States. OptiMSM goes through the same chemical process as all other MSM supplements but have become a widely trusted brand through their purification process that puts MSM in a four-stage distillation process that ‘removes heavy metals and other contaminants’. Through this unique distillation method they have claimed to be ‘the world’s purest MSM’.

Bergstrom Nutrition states that OptiMSM is Kosher and Halal certified, non-GMO, gluten and allergen free, non-shellfish derived and vegan. It’s currently the only MSM in the international market that has been granted a GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status by the US Food and Drug Administration. (2)

MSM can contribute to the healing process of torn tissues thus supporting ease of movement and reducing pain levels.

How does it work?

Like the other ingredients of Yoga Formula – Glucosamine Sulphate, Curcumin and Boswellia Serrata, MSM can contribute to the healing process of torn tissues thus supporting ease of movement and reducing pain levels.

Over the years there had been studies on the efficacy of MSM. The most recent research was conducted in 2016 by the School of Health Studies in The University of Memphis in Tennessee, USA.

Forty men participated in this study. They were ‘healthy, physically active, nonsmokers and did not have any cardiovascular or metabolic disorders’. They were asked to keep fit six months prior to the study and to not use nutritional supplements or anti-inflammatory medications in this period.

The research started with 20 of them given three grams of OptiMSM daily, for four weeks. The other 20 subjects were given a placebo of rice flour in the same time frame. To eliminate bias, the study was double-blinded. This means that the subjects and the medical assessors did not know who received the OptiMSM and who received the placebo.

In these four weeks the subjects participated in a series of eccentric knee extension exercises. Athletes such as jumpers usually undergo these type of training. To determine the body’s reaction to both exercise and intake of OptiMSM, blood was collected from the subjects before and after the exercises.

The conclusion? Intense exercises can cause muscle damage that creates inflammation.

The chemical reaction in the blood of those who took OptiMSM showed that OptiMSM stimulated the production of anti-inflammatory proteins in their blood thus ‘blunting tissue damage and the resulting inflammation’. The study confirms that ‘this trend occurred only in the MSM group but not in the placebo group’. (3)

It’s worth noting that a possible limitation of this study was that it focused on the analysis of blood samples and did not analyse the effect (if any) of MSM on skeletal muscle.



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