Bergstrom Nutrition sees sports nutrition potential for MSM


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Bergstrom Nutrition sees sports nutrition potential for MSM

Related tags Oxidative stress Nutrition

A growing body of science supports the potential of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) to aid exercise recovery, opening the sports nutrition category for Bergstrom and its OptiMSM ingredient.

Tim Hammond, director of sales & strategic relations, for Bergstrom Nutrition told NutraIngredients-USA that it’s difficult to get manufacturers to look at Bergstrom beyond the joint health category for its ingredient. Indeed, 70% of domestic products containing the company’s ingredient are for joint health.

“We have a very large share of the MSM market,”​ he said. “After all, we’re the only domestic supplier.”

While joint health will remain a key market for MSM, there is now a growing body of science supporting the ingredient’s significant potential for sports nutrition, he said, and one manufacturer is set to release a pre-workout formula with MSM in 2013.

The first study to report the effects of MSM on exercise-induced oxidative stress in men came out of Iran in 2011 and was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology​ (Vol. 63, pp. 1290-1294), which found that MSM supplementation reduced markers of oxidative stress following exercise in young men. While the men were healthy, they were not trained athletes.

Another study by the same Iranian researchers, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness​ (2012, Vol. 52, pp. 170-174), supported these earlier findings, and concluded: “It seems that 10-day supplementation with MSM has allowed to decrease muscle damage via effect on antioxidant capacity.”


Bergstrom has invested in its own studies, with a pilot study led by Dr Doug Kalman from Miami Research Associates finding that a daily 3 gram dose of OptiMSM for 30 days was associated with significant reductions in muscle soreness following exercise. A slight reduction in fatigue was also observed.

The benefits were linked to a significant increase in the antioxidant capacity (J Intern Soc Sports Med​,​ 2012, 9​:46).

Dr Kalman and his co-workers have recently reported results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of OptiMSM for exercise induced discomfort/pain at Experimental Biology (April, 2013, Abstract 1076.7), which reportedly supported the reduction in muscle soreness.

With an eye on the European market and the regulatory environment there, the company is only doing studies in health humans, said Hammond.

Some of the claims that could be made by sports nutrition product manufacturers include:
- Reduces oxidative stress following exercise
- Increases overall antioxidant defense
- Helps combat exercise-induced inflammation
- Decreases measures of muscle damage and soreness
- Supports healthy joints and range of motion

Bergstrom received a letter of no objection from the US Food and Drug Administration​ in 2008 for MSM, but the company is yet to partner or collaborate with a company on a food product. 

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