The findings of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) researchers were presented last week at the 2007 World Congress on Osteoarthritis in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The abstract of this study is to be published in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Journal. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been the most high profile joint health supplement ingredients to date, with MSM following in third place. With a larger proportion of the American population aging than before, supplements focusing on joint health will likely continue to grow in popularity, especially if they can be scientifically proven to be effective. Market researchers have time and again revealed baby boomers as a key demographic for supplement formulators and marketers as this generation is not only going to face more and more health problems as it approaches old age, but it also tends to have a greater sense of wanting to take charge of its own health, and in addition has the disposable income to do so. The form of MSM used in the UCSD study, was Bergstrom Nutrition's OptiMSM - which was provided by the Vancouver, Washington company. The in vitro study investigated the effect of the MSM on healthy and osteoarthritic articular cartilage from post mortem human knees. The researchers focused on cytokines - genes that are markers of inflammation and are related to cartilage degradation. They say the study results point to a protective effect of MSM on reducing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. "It suggests that MSM acts as a barrier, shielding cartilage in early stages of osteoarthritis from further degeneration from inflammatory cytokines and cartilage degrading enzymes," said lead researcher David Amiel, from the UCSD's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. With more researcher planned for 2008, the investigators say additional studies will be necessary to elaborate an optimum dose concentration for use in supplements by humans. The generally recommended dosage is 1,500 to 6,000 mg of MSM per day.