While they share a common pedigree as a byproduct of the paper manufacturing process, organic sulfur is a white crystalline solid, while dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a liquid under normal room temperature.
First synthesized from wood pulp waste in 1866, DMSO was initially used as an industrial solvent and additive in a number of chemical products. By the middle of the 20th century, DMSO began attracting experimental interest as a health aid in veterinary medicine, particularly by horse trainers.
In 1961, while employed as a surgeon at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, Dr. Stanley Jacob was introduced to DMSO by Dr. Robert Herschler, a chemist employed by the paper processing giant, Crown Zellerbach.
Dr. Jacob noticed how test subjects who suffered from severe burns or had been complaining of aches and pains suddenly experienced a quick recovery after applying DMSO topically to their skin. By 1963 the scientific community began to receive communiques about Dr. Jacob’s research findings.
Many people found, however, that DMSO irritates their skin and has a very strong and disagreeable odor. Consequently, Dr. Jacob and his research team experimented with the original formula in developing a dry crystalline compound called methylsulfonylmethane (MSM, for short) which doesn’t have the objectionable properties as DMSO. Over the years, it’s been found that this sulfur-based compound can not only help repair damaged skin when applied topically, but also yields health benefits when taken internally on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, most modern-day supplement manufacturers are fixated on maximizing profit margins and ensuring that their production machines don’t clog up during runs, so they usually convert their dry crystals into powders, pills, or capsules – a process that entails the addition of magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, or other anti-caking agents that interfere with the uptake of sulfur. As a result, many MSM products we find on retail shelves today have been adulterated from the original formula, which is the purest form of organic sulfur.
Despite its objectionable qualities, DMSO has not been discontinued as a consumer product, as it can be purchased today at drug stores and retail outlets like Walmart.
Current Status of DIMETHYL SULFOXIDE (DMSO)
Stanley W. Jacob, M.D
DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide)
Many athletes call DMSO a wonder drug, saying it heals injuries fast, but others — and the FDA — have doubts
J. D. Reed
Apr. 20, 1981
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