Note: An MSM Study is currently under way. If you
are interested in participating, please follow this link:
Recently on the Holistic Bird list, a woman gave quite a convincing account
of how supplementation with MSM allowed her Eclectus to become completely
feathered. He had previously had only down feathers covering his body, and
had no flight feathers or tail feathers. She had tried many, many things
to solve the problem, all to no avail. After reading her testimony, I
decided to do a little research to see if I could determine *why*
supplementation with this product might help feather picking birds. Below
is what I found:
MSM stands for Methyl sulfonyl methane and is a relatively new dietary
supplement, which can be found at health food stores. MSM supports healthy
connective tissues, such as tendons and muscles. Thus, it is being used to
help in cases of arthritis and muscle pain, as well as for other conditions.
MSM is a naturally-occurring nutrient, and is an organic form of sulfur that is
easily absorbed by the body. It has a unique action on body tissues by
decreasing the pressure inside the cells. Thus, it assists with removing
fluids and toxins from the cells. Sulfur also plays a role in many other
body systems. Of most importance to us is the fact that it is present in
high levels in skin, hair, nails....and feathers. It is prevalent in
keratin, the primary protein of which feathers are made. Many of the amino
acids, the building blocks of protein, have sulfur as a component.
It is often helpful in strengthening fragile hair and nails. When humans
are supplemented with MSM, nails show not only an increase in growth rate, but
increase in toughness and resistance to chipping and cracking. It also
creates skin that is softer, smoother and more flexible.
MSM has also shown anti-parasitic action against Giardia, Trichomonas,
roundworms, nematodes, Enterobuis and other intestinal worms. Further, it
assists the body in defending against allergic reactions and helps the body
MSM ranks in the "extremely low" toxicity category with a toxicity
profile similar to that of water. When supplementation is undertaken,
excess amounts are simply excreted by the body, since it is water soluble.
Sulfur occurs primarily in protein foods, including eggs, meat and fish.
It is also found in some legumes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, sunflower
seeds, garlic, lentils, soybeans, and yogurt.
My conclusion, after doing all this reading, is that supplementing feather
picking birds with MSM could very well be a good idea. At the very least,
it can't hurt. The recommended dose for humans begins at 2,000 milligrams
per day. Many people take well above that. As I said, there is no
danger of toxicity from excess supplementation. As to how to go about providing
supplementation, there appear to be three ways.
The woman who reported such good results on the Holistic Bird list used the pill
form of MSM. She purchased Nature's Plus Brand - MSM, RX Wellness with
Vitamin C and cut each tablet into 4 pieces. She placed 1/4 tablet into
her bird's water dish each day. She did not indicate what size this water
dish is. She did mention that it did not dissolve particularly well.
Another listmember was already using MSM, and reported that she uses the
crystalline form. The form she purchases is actually made for horses and
is made by Vita Flex. She indicated it is quite good quality, and provided the
website for the company, which is http://www.vitaflex.com.
I already had a bottle of MSM in my cupboard because I've known of the
benefits for humans for some time. The kind I have is a liquid made by Innovative
Natural Products. Their customer service line is 1-800-893-7467.
I purchased it at my local health food store.
Additional information is available below. The first is a book, while the
remainder are websites. Some of the following websites will only have MSM
"hype", since they are also websites marketing the supplement
itself. These sites are included as potential sources for purchase. Other
websites provide more solid information about MSM itself. Follow this link
for information on the MSM Study.
Book: Vitamins for Dummies, Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac. and Elson Haas, M.D.,
1. MSM - Nutriteam. Find an overview
of the sulfur compound MSM and its medicinal uses. Includes clinical study
details, related links, and ordering information.
2. MSM - NuGen Nutrition.
Guide to organic sulfur offers a list of health problems which it treats, and
details on resources where it can be found. Find a Q&A form.
3. Nutritional Sulfur MSM.
Find out more about the supplement Methylsulfonylmethane, and its supposed
effects and benefits.
4. Dancing Wolf, Inc.
Methylsulfonylmethane, MSM Ice Crystal; Tablets MSM, strength building Macro
Nutrient in vertebrate diets, repair muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage,
connective tissues, enzymes, immunoglobulins, nails, hair, MSM Ice Crystal
Tablets 1000 mg,no additives.
5. MSM - Advanced Medical
Nutrition, Inc. Browse a profile of MSM, a naturally-occurring sulfur
compound and dietary supplement. Includes details on the metabolic process.
6. MSM - Practical Health.
Profile of this nutrient explains how it contributes to the dietary supplement
MSM. Find dosage tips, and details on other sulfur compounds.
7. MSM - Drugstore.
Description of this organic sulfur includes an details on indications, chemical
actions, and natural sources. Find a reference list.
8. MSM - HealthWorld
Online. Overview of this mineral includes details on its sources,
functions, and historical uses. Find details on toxicity and daily requirements.
9. MSM - Whole Health
Center. Find price and ordering information for this mineral, usage
suggestions, and an explanation of its therapeutic uses and possible side
10. Methylsulfonylmethane & More. World
Image Naturals offers its product list which includes MSM. Get details for
Find out about this supplement MethylSulfonylMethane which is supposed to
relieve many symptoms including those associated with severe allergy.
12. Alternative Medicine
Digest. Guide to alternative supplements, including
Methylsulfonylmethane, Grape Seed Extract, and Cat's Claw.
This site has an article which provides a further list of references, as
"Total Health" 1998. "MSM". Feb/Mar, Vol., 20
No. 1. pp. 30-31
Williams, S. 1997. Nutrition & Diet Therapy (8th ed.). Academic
Press, N.Y., N.Y.
Thomas, C. 1993. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, (17th Ed.). F.A.
Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA.
Mindell, Earl L., The MSM Miracle - Enhance your health with organic
sulfur, "Keats Good Health Guide", Keat's Publishing, Inc., New
Canaan, CT 1997
Herschler, R.J., "Methylsulfonylmethane in Cosmetics", 1984,
Cardinal Associates, Inc.
Whitaker, J., "Try MSM for Relief from Muscular pain", Health and
Healing, Oct. 1997
Kirschmann, J.F. and Balch P.A., Prescription for Natural Healing, Avery
Publishing, Garden City Park, NY, 1990