There is no more certain universal truth than it takes action to have mental and physical satisfaction. You have to move to stay happy and healthy and to age with a good quality of life. Those messages are everywhere:

“How to start exercising when you’re already overweight” –
“How a very out-of-shape smoker begins a workout” –
“The couch potato guide to starting an exercise routine” –
“The 4 keys to starting an exercise regimen after 50” –

The other truth is that beginning to exercise can be painful; not just mentally painful to make yourself do it, but physically painful. Muscle and joint soreness at the outset of an exercise plan and the soreness that can continue as you progress in your training can sometimes be the reason that you stop training, or perhaps never even begin. The big secret that most people don’t know is that everyone, even a serious athlete, gets muscle and joint soreness from exercise. It even has a name: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS.

Why does DOMS happen?

When muscle tissue is stressed with new or challenging exercise, the cells break down and rebuild stronger. This muscle cell breakdown is partially caused by oxidative damage leading to an inflammatory immune response, which ultimately resolves and heals into a stronger muscle fiber. Resolution of inflammation requires antioxidant and anti-inflammatory factors manufactured by the body from dietary building blocks. Lack of dietary factors, unfitness, and extra body fat may allow the oxidative damage and inflammatory process to chug along unchecked, leading to greater cell damage and increased ongoing muscle soreness. THIS IS WHY IT HURTS TOO MUCH TO EXERCISE! (6)

There are over 800 research studies on DOMS, with the majority of studies investigating athletes. Everyone gets DOMS, not just those who are out-of-shape or new to exercise. The key to exercise success is to take a page out of the lives of athletes who use scientific recommendations to continue hard training and stay in the game. Why shouldn’t you benefit from the research results that athletes have used to support their daily training?

What can help?

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally-occurring compound and safe dietary ingredient that contains sulfur and methyl groups. It frequently is found in joint support products. Studies have shown that MSM supports overall joint health and helps preserve normal range of motion (7, 8).

Growing evidence suggests MSM is effective in reducing factors that lead to oxidative stress. Studies by Hasegawa and colleagues indicate that MSM aids in short-term recovery by reducing inflammatory immune responses and swelling (9, 10). Further studies by DeSilvestro and colleagues show that MSM increases glutathione levels, a primary antioxidant compound recognized by trainers, athletes and scientific experts for its ability to enhance exercise recovery (11). Finally and importantly for those new to exercise, after only one bout of exercise, daily MSM supplementation for ten days in healthy men significantly reduced the inflammatory response immediately after exercise and significantly decreased muscle cell damage up to 24 hours after exercise, compared to placebo (12, 13). These two factors combined may lessen DOMS for all novice exercisers, helping overweight and obese exercisers stay on their fitness plan.

Do you have bigger goals?

Are you dreaming about or have you already begun to train for an endurance event like a sprint triathlon, half-marathon, or another type of event? On any day at any event, you will see a gathering of all body types celebrating their personal level of fitness and physical mastery. This social pursuit of fun in fitness is one of the most successful means of staying with a fitness program, but you can be sidelined by unexpected illness. While moderate exercise enhances immune function, intense exercise may be immunosuppressive. Moderate exercise that is prolonged (>1.5 hours) and performed without food intake can create pronounced immune dysfunction (14). If you are training and participating in one of these events in part as a strategy for weight loss, you may not only be increasing your exercise intensity and duration, but also under-fueling training, possibly opening up a window for immunosuppression.

Recent research has shown MSM to bolster glutathione levels, alleviate oxidative stress, and protect against immune depletion that comes from strenuous exercise. Packed with sulfur, MSM supports redox balance and healthy inflammatory response, an imbalance of which can interrupt normal white blood cell activity.

A recent study using OptiMSM®, a U.S.-made, branded form of MSM, reported immune-modulation after exhaustive exercise. Participants taking OptiMSM showed lower serum levels of inflammatory markers post-exercise compared to placebo. However, when exposed to the pathogenic molecule LPS, blood samples of participants reacted differently: the placebo group had a blunted immune response while the MSM group responded normally. This response indicated that MSM conserved a healthy immune system after physical stress (15). Another study exhibited the powerful ability of MSM to improve the health of both upper respiratory (head, eyes, nose, throat) and lower respiratory (lungs and chest) systems (16).

You can benefit from performance nutrition research!

Professional athletes have used MSM for over a decade as nutritional support for their overall performance.
It’s time that all individuals striving to create a healthier lifestyle benefit from the current scientific knowledge and advancements discovered in performance nutrition research. Take action to achieve satisfaction! Add MSM to your nutrition and exercise regimen to support daily exercise and fitness for a lifetime.

6. Rosa, JS, Oliver, SR, Flores, RL, Ngo, J, Milne GL, Zaldivar, FP, Galassetti, PR. Inflammatory, Oxidative, and Metabolic Responses to Exercise in Pediatric Obesity and Type 1 Diabetes. Pediatr Diabetes. 2011 Aug; 12(5): 464–472.
7. Usha et al 20053
8. Kim et al 20054
9. Hasagawa et al 2004
10. Hasagawa et al 20055
11. DeSilvestro et al 20087
12. Nakhostin-Roohi B, Barmaki S, Khoshkhahesh F, Bohlooli S. Effet of hronic supplementation with methylsulfonylmethane on oxidative stress following acute exercise in untrained healthy men. J Pharm Pharmacology 63:1290-1294, 2011
13. Barmaki S, Bohlooli S, Khoshkhahesh F, Nakhostin-Roohi B. Effect of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on exercise-induced muscle damage and total antioxidant capacity. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 52:170-174, 2012
14. Gleeson M. Immune function in sports and exercise. J App Physiol 103 (2):693-699, 2007
15. Godwin S, Bloomer RJ, Merwe M Van Der, Benjamin R. MSM enhances LPS-induced inflammatory response after exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(Suppl 1):P48. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P48.
16. Barrager E, Veltmann JR, Schauss AG, Schiller RN. A multicentered, open-label trial on the safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. J Altern Complement Med. 2002;8(2):167-173. doi:10.1089/107555302317371451.