How DMSO Fights Inflammation
A little over 15 years ago, I started a soccer career at Wake Forest University.
For four years, I was a Demon Deacon, and, in that time I can’t tell you how many ibuprofen and Tylenol I popped to help make it through the next practice.
Playing soccer was hard physical work. It took a toll on my body. Now that I’m out of school and working in private practice, I’ve learned that just life takes a toll on your body.
We all know that’s a given.
But, what I didn’t know, and what most people (99.9% of people) don’t know, is that you don’t have to use all those potentially dangerous OTC pills to combat the aches and pains.
In fact, there’s a powerful anti-inflammatory agent I could have been using at the time that would have really helped with pain and swelling…all with minimal side effects.
It’s called DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide), and it’s a pretty significant product that’ll help reduce inflammation.
Before I go further, I want to be crystal clear. DMSO is a potent anti-inflammatory. And because that’s true, it’s something you need to exercise great care and caution with if you plan on using it. Not because it has side effects, but for another reason which I’ll mention below.
Allow me to explain…
The Incredible Way DMSO Fights inflammation and the Controversy Surrounding It
DMSO was discovered back in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Jacob. When Jacob first stumbled upon its usefulness, he was the head of the organ transplant program at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.
The reason he was investigating DMSO in the first place was because he thought it might be suitable for organ preservation. Looks like he had brains on the mind.
While using the clear liquid, he noticed DMSO had a very peculiar ability he’d never seen before. Unlike many other substances he used, he saw that DMSO penetrated the skin barrier rather quickly.
To make better sense of what Stanley saw, let me give you a visual of how it works. Imagine your skin is the sand right at the edge of the beach in front of the water. Now imagine DMSO is water in a bucket. Dump the water out of the bucket onto the sand, and what happens? It instantly vanishes into the sand.
That’s how DMSO works with your skin, and this is what really excited Stanley.
The craziest thing Stanley noticed was that it did this without hurting the skin or the underlying tissue.
After noticing what DMSO was able to do, he embarked on what would be a mission to discover as much as he could about the drug. What he found proves that DMSO fights inflammation.
DMSO is very well-studied. “More than 40,000 articles on its chemistry have appeared in scientific journals, which, in conjunction with thousands of laboratory studies, provide strong evidence of a wide variety of properties.”
Jacob and numerous studies have confirmed that DMSO is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories available without a prescription (and without side effects).
How it works is quite amazing.
First off, DMSO is an antioxidant. As I’ve written about before, antioxidants are great at battling inflammation because they’re able to protect your body from free-radicals (which cause inflammation). Its antioxidant qualities have been confirmed in numerous animal and human studies.
It also helps ease inflammation by helping to “heal” the membranes of damaged cells and prevent them from leaking into the body. This helps minimize the painful swelling you experience when you injure a part of your body…the same thing you’re trying to do when you take a Motrin or something similar.
Another incredible thing DMSO does?
Because it can penetrate the skin and cell membranes with ease, it can also take other chemicals with it. That means it can bring healing agents that normally wouldn’t make it past the surface level of your skin deep into tissue and muscle to help the healing process.
DMSO.org, one of the leading DMSO libraries online, says this about DMSO’s unique talent:
“In addition, DMSO can carry other drugs with it across membranes. It is more successful ferrying some drugs, such as morphine sulfate, penicillin, steroids, and cortisone, than others, such as insulin. What it will carry depends on the molecular weight, shape, and electrochemistry of the molecules. This property would enable DMSO to act as a new drug delivery system that would lower the risk of infection occurring whenever skin is penetrated.”
It’s because DMSO can do this that it’s such a desirable drug.
And that’s also where the controversy comes in and why I recommend exercising caution when using it.
While I’m not one to go deep down the rabbit trail of medical conspiracies aimed at the public, I’ll say this much: Given how powerful and effective DMSO is at helping to fight inflammation, there’s a good reason you don’t see this all over the shelves in the pharmacy.
Dr. Jacob’s opinion on DMSO was that it was “almost too effective”, and this has kept it from gaining a significant foothold in the market…especially when pharmaceutical companies are able to make billions selling their easily-produced pain-relievers.
Jacob said this about DMSO:
“It’s a square peg being pushed into a round hole…It doesn’t follow the rifle approach of one agent against one disease entity. It’s the aspirin of our era. If aspirin were to come along today, it would have the same problem. If someone gave you a little white pill and said take this and your headache will go away, your body temperature will go down, it will help prevent strokes and major heart problems–what would you think?”
The good news is you can find DMSO. You just have to look in the right places. Places like Amazon among others.
Truthfully, there are a number of physicians who advise their patients to use DMSO.
Stephen Edelson, MD is a physician at Preventive Health Center of Atlanta.
For years now, he’s been thrilled at what DMSO can do for his patients and has used DMSO extensively for 4 years.
“We use it intravenously, as well as locally,” he says. “We use it for all sorts of inflammatory conditions, from people with rheumatoid arthritis to people with chronic low back inflammatory-type symptoms, silicon immune toxicity syndromes, any kind of autoimmune process.”
Best of all is DMSO comes with minimal side effects, and the main one that people complain about is definitely bad if you’re a vampire.
That’s because the two main side effects people complain about in regards to DMSO use are headaches and a strong garlicky odor emitted from the skin and mouth.
The headaches generally only occur when people are taking extremely strong doses, clinically-sized doses if you will. The odor, on the other hand, can come from just a few drops applied to the skin. It doesn’t happen with everyone though.
It has been reported the odor can be so strong though that it causes others to leave the room. But this report was, again, concerned with clinically-sized dosage.
The word of warning concerning DMSO is when it’s mixed with other substances, it will take those substances straight past the skin and into the body.
That’s why you really have to be careful when using it.
If you were to mix DMSO with other, normally safe, ingredients, they can have some pretty severe side effects.
For example, while it might seem like mixing DMSO with menthol (a common ingredient in topical analgesics) is a good idea, doing so could hurt your kidneys and other organs, because undiluted menthol in the body isn’t good for you.
Same thing with diluting it. Most DMSO solutions are a 3 to 1 mix of DMSO and water.
Mix the DMSO with regular tap water, and that means the DMSO will be taking whatever chemicals are in the water and moving that into your body.
But, at the end of the day, it’s still a great solution to start using if you want to avoid reliance on your normal pain killers and inflammatories.
Most physicians aren’t all that familiar with DMSO. So while you’ll want to inquire of a physician before using DMSO, it might be a tough battle to find one knowledgeable on it.
I recommend trying to find a doctor practicing functional medicine and getting their professional recommendation so you can understand its most proper and best uses.