I don’t know exactly when it was that I crossed the line from being this person who frequently declared belief in maintaining a “healthy balance” of food and lifestyle choices, and left it at that, into the one who
obsessively actively seeks out the latest minutia of nutritional & wellness information for the purpose of experimenting on herself. A person whose social media heroes are people like Joseph Mercola, Mark Hyman, Sara Gottfried and Carolyn Dean — all accomplished integrative and holistic health practitioners generously making regular, free-of-charge brain dumps on the internet. To becoming that woman who so easily steers otherwise innocent cocktail chatter into an informal survey of one’s thoughts on the obscene amount of sugar we humans consume, or to the frightful magnesium deficiency in much of the US population, to the problem the richest nation in the world has with defining a healthy diet, to the politics of food.
Full-blown health nut, according to some. While this version of me emerged during my stay here in Thailand, I neither blame nor credit the country. Thailand is innocent. I’m pretty certain it has been the process of raising a family, aging and feeling less invincible that has fueled my move in the direction of stacking the odds of a longer “health-span” in my favor, and perhaps by osmosis graft a greater health consciousness onto those I love.
It’s a slippery slope, and I am far from an expert.
With that said, the potential benefits of MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) supplementation wooed me early on.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MSM?
MSM is a mineral. It is 100% natural and is the 3rd or 4th most common mineral in the human body. The problem with it is that we humans often don’t take in enough of it naturally. It is found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, and also meat (making vegetarians more at risk of shortfalls). A certain amount of it, like magnesium, can be absorbed in the body via an epsom salt bath, as well. But, to ensure I am getting MSM in the amounts my body requires, I prefer adding MSM powder to my daily routine.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUPPLEMENTING WITH MSM?
The benefits include:
– Detoxification. At the cellular level, MSM detoxifies the body by creating permeability in the cell walls. This enables the waste materials that our cells produce to exit more easily and move on their merry way out of our bodies. The enhanced permeability also makes it easier for vital nutrients to get into our cells. MSM dissolves calcium phosphate in our cells. Calcium phosphate is known to be at the root of a number of degenerative diseases.
– Improved flexibility of joints and joint pain recovery. MSM, as a key ingredient in our cells’ waste removal system, helps to rid the body of lactic acid, which produces joint and muscle soreness when it builds up in the body. People have experienced a reduction in arthritic and other joint pain when taking MSM.
– Anti-inflammatory & weight loss. When cells are under the stress of inflammation, excess fluid builds up to protect them. Sulfur is required to rid the body of toxins and waste that produce inflammation. When this happens, the cells are able to also expel the excess water they were holding onto as protection, and this can result in weight loss. People have experienced a reduction in edema when taking MSM.
– Improved nail and hair health. In addition to collagen, MSM is also vital in producing keratin. Both keratin and collagen are key to producing lush hair and strong nails.
– Improved skin health. MSM is necessary for collagen production. A lack of collagen in the body produces wrinkles and saggy skin.
– Production of energy. By increasing the permeability of the cell lining, MSM naturally makes the body more energy-efficient. This leaves you with more energy than without the additional MSM.
You really cannot take too much of it; what you do not need just exits your body in urine. It is important to find a high quality source, but even then it should not be very expensive.
I have now been on MSM, and I have been off MSM. And again I am back on – I prefer on, mainly due to the decrease in knee joint pain I have noticed while on it and the confidence I have in the benefits.
HOW TO TAKE MSM
I tried it in conjunction with my first juice fast that I embarked on in March of 2016. One of the recommendations in the 5-6 day fasting program was to supplement the diet of fresh juice with MSM powder, I believe for its energetic and detox properties. So I quickly sourced some way too expensive organic MSM powder in a little boutique health food shop in Bangkok.
It is often recommended to add up to a tablespoon of MSM powder to your morning water, along with a squeeze of fresh vitamin C (I use an entire lime), which helps with absorption. MSM will make the water taste bitter. Unlike some folks who seem to find the bitterness intolerable, and perhaps because I am not one to turn down a cold gin & tonic at the day’s end, I like it. Now, I sometimes smile in the morning when mixing up this MSM-lime-water concoction, imaging myself as a roaring 20’s morning drinker, a Great Gatsby character, letting the good times roll even before I head into the office.
I will also drink a glass of this first thing in the afternoon when I return from work, sometimes subbing soda water for plain, which feels even more like a wind-the-day down celebration beverage.
DISCOVERING i-HERB IN THAILAND
Once I decided MSM powder and I would be in a longer term relationship, I needed a more convenient, less expensive way to get my hands on it in Bangkok. Overseas deliveries into Thailand can be a real bother, as boxes often get stopped at the main Bangkok customs office, inconveniently located by the old Don Muang airport. There, in addition to this out-of-the way rendez-vous and waits in various lines, you will pay extra fees before ultimately getting your goods out of hoc.
It’s an experience best avoided.
iHerb.com came to my rescue. This most excellent international online vendor of health and wellness goodies states clearly that they can deliver purchases up to a certain maximum (I believe $50.00) direct to your door here in Bangkok, thereby avoiding that dreaded trip to the customs headquarters. I have tried it twice, and it worked perfectly, but I would prefer making larger orders less frequently. I have heard rumors of people regularly making orders up to $100 and still receiving door-to-door service, though, so I am hopeful that MSM powder, i-Herb and I will have a bright future together in Thailand.
While it’s a bit more challenging as a Thailand expat – this metamorphosis into a health weirdo – it can be done.