DMSO ( Dimethyl sulfoxide )

DMSO ( Dimethyl sulfoxide )

Related to MSM, but yet it is different enough to put in its own category. "One of the most well known and exotic properties of this solvent is its ability to penetrate living tissue and transport other medicines in their integral state deep into the body." "We've barely scratched the surface [of DMSO's capabilities], for this is a new principle in medicine. We've only had three new principles in our century - the antibiotic principle, the cortisone principle, and now the DMSO principle - and the DMSO principle is the only one of our generation. Despite all the controversy, my guess is that history will record it this way." "At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Charlotte Friend MD has turned cancerous cells into harmless, normal ones in the test tube by putting them in touch with the DMSO solutions. DMSO is routinely used by alternative cancer clinics in Mexico to transport laetrile intravenously into the body. Because of extremely promising clinical results, research is still ongoing on a privately funded basis into DMSO's potential role in the breaking up of tumours and the killing of metastatic cancer cells in its own right. Yet the United States Food & Drug Administration and the UK Medicines Control Agency continue to forbid the advertising and retailing of DMSO for any medicinal purposes save one: for the treatment of the rare urinary bladder condition, interstitial cystitis."

DMSO: Nature's Healer

by Dr. Morton Walker

Avery Publishing Group, 120 Old Broadway, Garden City Park, NY 11040, 800-548-5757
Ten years after his first book on DMSO, Dr. Morton Walker has published a second edition in an effort to publicize its many beneficial medical uses. In DMSO: Nature's Healer, he presents research, individual cases, and political history concerning this valuable therapy. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is an extraordinary solvent that, in the last 30 has been used in a wide variety of medical applications. The FDA, however, has approved its use only for treating interstitial cystitis. DMSO was first discovered in 1866, and can be made from coal, petroleum, or as a result of pulp and paper manufacturing.

Visually, DMSO resembles mineral oil, but it has a garlic-like odor and an aftertaste resembling oysters. DMSO affects the body in ways that scientists had never seen and are just beginning to understand. Dr. Stanley W. Jacob, the co-discoverer of DMSO's therapeutic properties, explains: "DMSO is literally water's alter ego. It moves through membranes and substitutes for water so that it pulls substances through cells that ordinarily would not move through them. This is its basic mechanism of action. The DMSO-water bond is 1.3 times stronger than the water-water bond." By changing the water structure within the cell, DMSO can heal cellular damage. DMSO also makes a strong hydrogen bond with hydroxyl radicals to form dimethyl sulfone and water, which are easily excreted. Hydroxyl radicals are responsible for breaking down cartilage and synovial fluid in joints, causing pain and inflammation.

Its properties as a solvent have given DMSO a multitude of therapeutic applications. Scientists have found that drugs dissolved in DMSO may become more effective, allowing lower and less frequent dosage and often causing fewer side effects. A combination of DMSO and idoxuridine, for example, was used successfully to treat shingles and herpes simplex in England. A DMSO-hematoxylon solution has been effective in treating some forms of cancer. DMSO has also been used to carry local anesthetics into deep layers of skin and into the eardrum. Transplant organs, red blood cells for transfusions, semen for artificial insemination have all been stored in DMSO.

Doctors who treat athletes use topically-applied DMSO to relieve the pain, swelling and inflammation of soft tissue injuries, sprains and strains, and acute bursitis. Dr. Walker reports that `[a] 70% concentration of DMSO mixed with [distilled] water in volumes ranging from 8 to 12 mi applied on and around the injury in a wide area at least three times dally, will provide effective healing response for four out of five people." It has also been used to relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis and scleroderma. The DMSO Society of Florida, Inc. has developed a protocol that includes a diet from the Manner Clinic Research Foundation, nutritional supplements, 5 IV treatments of DMSO in one week (spondylitis requires 2 weeks of treatments), and topical application of DMSO. Although this regimen does not cure the condition, it does ease or eliminate pain for many individuals. DMSO also relieves migraine pain and pain from severe burns. Dr. Jacob says, "Dimethyl sulfoxide in the laboratory blocks conduction in an isolated nerve when a 25% concentration is employed. Conduction returns when the fiber is washed free of DMSO. This blockage may be an osmotic effect. Nerve blockage is the way a local anesthetic works and accounts for why DMSO takes away pain."
To me, the most miraculous use of DMSO involves its effect on severe neurological, head, and spinal cord injuries and on stroke patients. DMSO can cross the blood/brain barrier, a protective barrier that limits the molecules that reach the brain. Once it enters the nervous tissue, it bonds with water quickly and rushes it out of the system, relieving damaging pressure. Researchers found that DMSO administered intravenously to the spinal cord of animals within an hour of a normally irreparable injury reversed the injuries. Dr. Jacob treated two patients with IV DMSO about an hour after "what was considered an irreversible injury -- an immediate, complete quadriplegia -- and in both people there was total recovery with them wa(king out of the hospital." DMSO must be given intravenously within 90 minutes of injury to have this kind of effect.

DMSO-amino acid therapy, given in injection and orally, can improve the intellectual capacity of brain-damaged children and those with learning disabilities. The motor, language, and social skills of Down's Syndrome children show improvement with this therapy. DMSO also ameliorates the distinctive physical characteristics associated with Down's, such as bringing palate and tongue development into a normal range. It has also been helpful in treating senility, dementia, and other forms of psycho-organic decay.

Although scientists agree that DMSO is relatively safe, it does have some side effects. Topical application of DMSO can cause burning, itching, blistering and thickening or scaling of the skin for up to 72 hours. This can be alleviated by using a lower concentration of DMSO -- especially in sensitive skin areas and above the waist -- and by using aloe vera after a DMSO application. DMSO, regardless of how it is administered, also causes a strong odor for 24-48 hours after being used. This distinctive odor may be lessened somewhat by ingesting dairy products, especially raw milk. The odor makes it impossible to use double-blind studies to test DMSO; participants can tell when they are getting DMSO instead of a placebo. Unfortunately, the FDA insists that double-blind studies are necessary for its approval. Dr. Walker writes that the FDA also had concerns about toxic visual effects. Apparently, animal studies found that DMSO causes dogs, rabbits, and pigs to become slightly nearsi ghted. Tests with humans have shown no effect on sight. Rapid intravenous administration of DMSO can cause shortness of breath and rapid breathing. In the treatment of large tumors, a fever reaction may occur. These are the only side-effects of DMSO itself. Industrial grade DMSO, however, contains acetone which can cause liver damage and death over prolonged use. It is important to use pharmaceutical grade DMSO. It is also important that the skin on which DMSO is applied be clean. DMSO will take substances with which it comes in contact into the body.

Dr. Walker's book DMSO: Nature's Healer gives a thorough and fascinating picture of this new therapeutic principle. Dr. Walker is to be A applauded for bringing this information to the public in the hope that more doctors may learn of its capabilities and more patients may benefit.

Article copyright Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients.
By Jule Klotter

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The Buzz: Debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis for years, actor James Coburn attributes his comeback--capped by a recent Academy Award--to methylsulfonylmethane, commonly called MSM. Several companies (Jarrow, Natural Balance) sell MSM by itself. Others (Future Biotics, TwinLab) combine it with vitamin C, glucosamine or other reputed anti-arthritis compounds. A new book, The Miracle of MSM (G. P. Putnam Sons, 1999), touts it for relief of arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteo) and other inflammatory conditions, as well as for sports injuries, back pain, constipation and allergies.
The Basics: MSM is a nontoxic, odorless sulfur compound found in the human body. It is a breakdown product of DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), an industrial solvent derived from trees that also has medicinal uses. (DMSO is a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for interstitial cystitis, a serious, chronic bladder condition, but is also prescribed for unapproved uses.) Proponents say MSM has benefits similar to DMSO, but without its fishy odor.

The Bonus: Animal studies attest to MSM's biologic activity and even suggest cancer protection, says Stanley Jacob, M.D., a pioneer of MSM research who has used it to treat thousands over 20 years at his DMSO clinic at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. One unpublished study found marked improvement in the symptoms of 16 people with osteoarthritis who took 2,250 milligrams of MSM daily for six weeks compared to those taking placebos. Jacob believes MSM blocks pain impulses and histamine receptors, reduces inflammation, promotes blood flow and reduces muscle spasms.

The Bust: Most of the evidence behind MSM is extrapolated from research on DMSO. There are no published double-blind studies on MSM. Jacob himself admits the need for more research. Some of MSM's claimed benefits are based on relieving a sulfur deficiency, a controversial condition. More important, we think, is knowing that MSM has blood-thinning action. Do not take it if you are on an anticoagulant like aspirin or Coumadin (warfarin) unless you check with your doctor first.

EN's Advice: MSM may well prove to be the aspirin of the next millennium, perhaps with fewer side effects. But cure-all claims swirling around MSM trigger our suspicions. Until more proof surfaces, MSM's credibility rides on the coattails of DMSO, unproven assumptions, testimonials and the work of very few researchers. That doesn't mean MSM doesn't work; it just means evidence is scanty right now. On the plus side, MSM does appear to be safe and relatively inexpensive, for those wishing to try it. If you suffer chronic pain, however, EN recommends visiting a doctor before taking any supplements, especially something like MSM that might mask the pain but not cure the underlying cause.