OptiMSM May Support Immune Response After Exercise


Bergstrom Nutrition’s methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) ingredient was found to mitigate the inflammatory response to strenuous exercise in a new study.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Ibrakovic

Photo © iStockphoto.com/Ibrakovic

Bergstrom Nutrition (Vancouver, WA) has shared new study results that suggest its branded methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) ingredient OptiMSM may help the immune system respond to inflammation caused by strenuous exercise. Researchers found that physically active men supplementing with OptiMSM showed a reduced release of inflammatory molecules after eccentric knee-extension exercise, suggesting potential benefits to the overall immune response.

“We’ve understood for a while that excessive exercise can dampen the immune system, but these results are pointing us toward believing that MSM might be a dietary ingredient that could be beneficial for overall immunity,” said Tim Hammond, vice president of sales and marketing for Bergstrom Nutrition, in the study announcement.


Study Details

Writing in the Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers studied 40 healthy men around the age of 25 who were randomized to consume 3 g of OptiMSM or a placebo every day for 28 days. At the end of that 28-day period, all subjects performed 100 repetitions of eccentric knee-extension exercise to induce inflammation. Researchers then evaluated cytokine production in blood before exercise and through 72 hours after the exercise to measure the immune response. Researchers also exposed blood samples to the bacterial molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to determine changes in cytokine production.

Participants supplementing with MSM showed lower levels of exercise-induced inflammation in the blood, compared to placebo, as well as a more robust release of inflammatory markers interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), suggesting MSM supplementation resulted in a stronger response to LPS after exercise. Taken together, the results suggest that “MSM appears to dampen the release of inflammatory molecules in response to exercise, resulting in a less incendiary environment, allowing cells to still have the capacity to mount an appropriate response to an additional stimulus after exercise,” researchers concluded.  

“The study suggests that MSM proactively reduces damage caused by excessive exercise, which in turn allows the body to mount a better immune response, leading us to believe in MSM’s antioxidant capabilities,” said Marie van der Merwe, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Memphis and lead author of the study, in a press announcement. “An immune system that isn’t overly taxed is better able to fight infection, whereas an overly stressed system cannot mount an appropriate response. MSM attenuates tissue inflammation, thereby reducing excessive tissue damage and preventing immune suppression.”


Read more:

Immune-Health Chewables Target Athletes Before, After Exercise

Alternative Joint-Health Ingredients Are on the Rise

OptiMSM Receives New ISO 9001 Certification


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Van der Merwe M et al., “The influence of methylsulfonylmethane on inflammation-associated cytokine release before and following strenuous exercise,” Journal of Sports Medicine. Published online October 23, 2016.

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