As sports nutrition continues to evolve with increased relevance to active everyday consumers, there is increasing need and interest in joint and recovery products. The need is less about performance but enabling an individual to remain active and supporting the process of exercise recovery, both short and long-term.
The Balance Between Adaptation & Recovery
There is a delicate balance between training, adaptation, and recovery. The overload principle dictates the body needs to be stressed to adapt and improve. However, if the stress level is greater than what the body can tolerate, significant levels of oxidative stress, inflammation, and muscle damage will occur. The result is increased fatigue and reduced performance. Nutritional strategies that help facilitate and speed up the recovery process are essential in assisting athletes in maintaining adherence to their training programs, while for active exercisers; it is more a case of keeping them fit and healthy and continuing exercising.
How Does OptiMSM provide support?
OptiMSM improves health through a few different pathways. First, MSM is a proven bioavailable source of sulfur. Sulfur is essential for several functions, including support of connective tissue, skin health, detoxification, immunity, and metabolism. MSM also addresses inflammation caused by stress, strenuous activity, or toxins found in the daily environment. Lastly, MSM protects the body from oxidative damage by increasing natural antioxidant capacity to neutralize damaging free radicals. The decrease in inflammation and oxidative stress protects joints, helps the body recover from strenuous activity, boosts immunity, and helps users stay mobile, live, and age well.
The Role of OptiMSM
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound with extensive research supporting its use. MSM’s sulfur helps the body maintain healthy connective tissue. MSM helps to mitigate oxidative stress from exercise and subsequently exercise recovery and performance. The scientific evidence to support OptiMSM has focused on four areas.
- MSM Reduces Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress & Increases Anti-oxidative Capacity
Endurance exercise significantly increases oxidative stress in athletes. Runners participating in a 14k run had increased levels of oxidative markers, serum malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyl (PC), and plasma oxidized glutathione (GSSG). Ten days of MSM supplementation before the run reduced the oxidative markers’ levels and increased plasma antioxidative capacity (Nakhostin-Roohi et al., 2011).
- MSM Reduces Resistance & Endurance Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage & Improves Recovery
MSM helps to protect muscles from exercise-induced damage and aids recovery in endurance (Barmaki et al., 2012) and resistance exercise (Kalman et al., 2013). Following a 14k endurance run, creatine kinase (CK), a marker of muscle damage, was significantly elevated. However, ten days of supplementation with MSM before exercise significantly reduced CK (Barmaki et al., 2012). In another endurance-focused study, 3g of OptiMSM for 21 days before a half-marathon attenuated post-exercise muscle discomfort (Withee et al., 2015). In terms of resistance exercise, the consumption of 3g of OptiMSM per day for 28-days before 18 sets of muscle-damaging knee extension exercise favorably improved markers of exercise recovery (Kalman et al., 2012). In a follow-up study, 3g of OptiMSM per day for 14-days before a leg extension exercise to muscle failure resulted in significantly lower muscle discomfort 2 hours post-exercise when compared to a placebo (Kalman et al., 2013).
- MSM Improves Inflammatory Response to Exercise
OptiMSM improves the inflammatory response following exercise (Benjamin et al., 2015). A single bout of acute exercise (10 sets of 10 repetitions of eccentric knee extensions) increased systemic levels of inflammatory cytokines (IL-6) immediately after training. However, 28 days of OptiMSM supplementation before the exercise sessions not only reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory markers (IL-6), OptiMSM increased anti-inflammatory markers (IL-10).
- MSM Improves Performance After Damaging Exercise
OptiMSM supplementation improves knee joint kinetics during running following eccentric knee extensor damage (Peel et al., 2015). Knee extensor maximal isometric force (MIF) returned to baseline values in the OptiMSM group at 72 hours but remained lower than baseline in the placebo group. The data suggests OptiMSM speeds up MIF return to baseline, allowing individuals using OptiMSM to return to training faster.
Getting Back at it
The role of inflammation and oxidative stress is often overlooked, particularly in recovery. The management of inflammation and oxidative stress during periods of heavy training or competition is a concern of athletes. Interestingly, the relevance extends to active everyday consumers because aging and life stress potentially inhibit the recovery process. Managing the response to recovery and regeneration is crucial to ensure you feel better, recover quicker and continue your exercise program sooner.