MSM is a natural mineral made of sulfur that has been shown in studies to relieve arthritis, headaches, back pain, and also contribute to stronger hair and nails. MSM is known as “Factor N”, for returning cells to normal. A recent study from the Genesis Center for Integrative Medicine in Graham, Washington has found another one to add to MSM benefits — it’s effectiveness as a seasonal allergies remedy.
MSM sulfur is a white, odorless, water-soluble element found in nature and in foods such as milk, fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat. It is especially high in eggs, onions, garlic, asparagus and broccoli. When food is heated, washed, frozen or processed, it becomes depleted of its natural MSM stores — making supplementation beneficial.
Seasonal allergies affect more than 23 million Americans each year. Symptoms can include sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing, itchy throat and fatigue. Side effects of antihistamines include drowsiness and decongestants may result in insomnia or irritability. The goal of the MSM study was to evaluate whether a natural mineral can reduce allergy symptoms and to determine if it has any possible side effects.
The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Fifty-five patients with seasonal allergies were given MSM at 2,600 milligrams per day. The MSM use resulted in significantly reducing upper and total respiratory symptoms within 7 days. Lower respiratory symptoms were substantially improved by the third week. Few side effects were associated with the use of MSM and no patients dropped out of the study from any adverse reactions. In addition, by day 14 the energy levels of participants had increased considerably.
The researchers concluded that MSM supplementation of 2,600 mg/day for 30 days is an effective and “side-effect free” remedy in the reduction of seasonal allergy symptoms. An unforeseen and valuable benefit of MSM was a significant increase in energy. For this reason, it’s best to take MSM early in the day rather than in the afternoon or evening too close to bedtime.
Regarding vitamin C, some people with allergies have experienced improvement in their symptoms after taking 1-2 grams of vitamin C per day (1,000 to 2,000 milligrams). A buffered form of vitamin C such as calcium ascorbate may work better for allergy or asthma sufferers than regular vitamin C, per a study in the American Journal of Digestive Diseases.
One group of researchers showed that vitamin C reduces the tendency of the lung’s bronchial passages to go into spasm (Annals of Allergy), and another study in China showed that people with more vitamin C in their diet had greater lung volume — meaning they could exhale more air than those eating less of the vitamin.
Natural remedies can go a long way toward providing effective allergy relief without the side effects of drugs such as drowsiness or headaches.