Wellness Wednesday - MSM: What it is? How it’s Made.

This week's Wellness Wednesday is brought to you by BioStar EQ Performance Whole Food. MSM (methyl-sufonyl-methane) is a biological sulfur found in plants, soils, fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, meats, and milk. MSM is a metabolite of DMSO. The cycle of these organic sulfur compounds begins in the oceans where microscopic plankton release sulfur compounds. These compounds (salts) are transformed in the ocean into a very volatile compound that escapes from the water as gas, which in turn rises into the upper atmosphere. This gas is exposed to ozone and ultraviolet light where it is converted into DMSO and MSM, which then returns to the surface of the earth in rainwater. Plants take up the two compounds into their root systems and concentrate them into their plant structures.

Sulfur is one of the five basic elements of life; it is found in every cell in the body and is structurally and functionally important to hormones, enzymes, antibodies and antioxidants. Sulfur itself is held mainly in muscles, skin, bones, nails, and hair. It is essential for the synthesis of collagen, plays a role in energy production as a component of insulin, and is essential in maintaining the body’s crucial acid/alkaline (pH) balance.

Although MSM is found in food, commercially MSM is manufactured using a chemical synthesis process of reacting two raw materials: dimethyl sulfoxide from petroleum and hydrogen peroxide from methane.

The reaction process forms a new molecule: MSM. Now a purification process is required to remove impurities. There are two different processes for purification: distillation and crystallization. Distillation requires heat, taking the separate compounds to their unique boiling points (anywhere from 400 to 478 degrees). Crystallization requires solvents. Typically US made MSM is a result of the distillation process, while MSM from China and India is generally made by the crystallization process.

If you are seeking to supplement your horses with a plant sourced sulfur, look to kale as one of the richest sources of sulfur in the plant kingdom. Garlic, also, is a high sulfur source.

There are some advantages to feeding sulfur from plants: your horse gets the added benefits of the enzymes, fiber, and the co-factors found in whole food;  that matrix is one of the keys to digestion, bioavailability, and cell utilization.

Feed chopped kale at ¼ cup to 1/3 cup per day. Kale can be food processed and frozen for convenience.