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Ingredient of the Week—Bergstrom® Nutrition: OptiMSM®


To say we've been busy these past couple weeks only skims the surface of Inside Cosmeceuticals' recent trade show and summit adventures. The good news is we have an abundance of new and novel ingredients to feature for IOTW—some old with new science and some fresh out of the laboratory.

One ingredient that caught our eye at SupplySide MarketPlace is Bergstrom Nutrition's GRAS-designated proprietary and patented OptiMSM®. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is well rooted in the joint health category; but more recently it found its way into the personal care category, too. Not only has the company conducted research on its self-preserving properties in personal care applications, but it released new data on its ability to strengthen skin within.

First, what's MSM? It's an organic sulfur-containing compound that occurs naturally in a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and animals, including humans. However, processing, heating, storage and preparation of foods removes essential MSM sulfur. MSM is 34 percent sulfur by weight. Sulfur may contribute to the cross linking of proteoglycans/collagen and is a building block of keratin.

As we all know, the environment plays a number on skin, which offset its natural homeostasis and accelerates its aging process. Usually, the most visible effect of skin aging occurs when there is a weakening of the extracellular matrix within the dermis (i.e., a breakdown of collagen-rich connective tissue). Not fun stuff. That's where OptiMSM can help. As a source of bioavailable sulfur (Nutr Res. 2002;313-322), MSM maintains disulfide bonds that hold collagen strands in strong form and preserve the pliancy of connective tissue. By maintaining healthy collagen, cross-linking (or hardening) of the tissue is inhibited allowing for healthy dermal functioning.

Glutathione is important to maintain a healthy skin defense against oxidative stress induced by UV rays. Similar to intense exercise that creates oxidative stress and reduces glutathione levels, the skin (when exposed to UV rays) also experiences an influx of oxidative stress. Although not a direct antioxidant, MSM has been shown in humans to significantly increase plasma glutathione levels (J Pharmac Pharmacol. 2011;63:1290–1294).

According to Bergstrom, OptiMSM:

  • Supports structural integrity of skin
  • Is a component of collagen and keratin for healthy skin, hair and nails
  • Supports glutathione production, primary antioxidant enzyme that neutralizes damaging free radicals
  • May inhibit pro-inflammatory mediators that weaken skin structure and resistance
  • Serves as an oral supplement and for topical use

I think this ingredient offers a unique approach to not only topical anti-aging products, but ingestibles, too; and serves as a crossover ingredients (from nutraceuticals to personal care), which was the subject of Ameann DeJohn's presentation at Inside Cosmeceuticals' Trends Forum at SupplySide MarketPlace.

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