Articles

Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM)

Introduction

Editor's Note:While the science behind this dietary supplement is lacking, many individuals are using it. For this reason, NHIondemand has provided this monograph using the information that is currently available. As more science and research is provided, this monograph will be updated to include that material.

MSM is a natural sulfur-containing compound that is produced in the human body. Although MSM occurs naturally in foods, even moderate food processing destroys most of it. It provides an important source of sulfur, which plants, animals and humans need for a wide variety of processes.

Trace amounts of MSM occur in meats, fruits, and vegetables.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

2-8 grams daily.

Most Common Dosage

1,500mg daily for general maintenance; 3 grams daily for therapeutic applications.

Dosage Forms

Capsules, crystals, and topically as lotions, creams, and gels.

Reported Uses

MSM is a source of biological sulfur, which is a major component in many of the body’s proteins, tissues, hormones and enzymes. Sulfur also plays a role in the detoxification of the liver. Because MSM can inhibit pain impulses, promote blood flow, and reduce inflammation of tissues. It has also been researched for use as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory treatment. MSM has been researched for its ability to reduce pain associated with a long list of disorders. Some of these include:

Fibromyalgia Back pain from herniated discs, and other causes Headaches Muscle soreness Tendinitis Bursitis Carpal tunnel syndrome Athletic strains and sprains Cold sores Inflammatory bowel disorders Shingles TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) pain

MSM has seen use in treating allergies and asthma. (1) It has also been used to ease constipation and bladder inflammation. (2) , (3) , (4) It may even reduce the inflammation associated with gingivitis when used as a mouthwash. (5)

Research suggests that MSM may have a variety of benefits for people with all types of arthritis. Benefits can include the reduction, or even elimination, of pain in some cases. (6) For osteoarthritis, studies suggest that MSM may inhibit the formation of scar tissue around joints and slow down degeneration of cartilage. (7) , (8) , (9)

When applied topically, MSM may also reduce scarring and provide benefit for people with scleroderma, a disorder that involves hardening of the skin. (10) , (11) Additionally, MSM has shown promise in treating many of the symptoms of lupus. (12) , (13)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Side Effects

Occasional side effects reported with large doses of this dietary supplement include mild stomach upset, occasional headaches and more frequent bowel movements. It may be necessary to reduce the dose of this dietary supplement. Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

This supplement should not be used in children unless recommended by your physician.

References

  1. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  2. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  3. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  4. View Abstract: Childs SJ. Dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2) in the Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis. Urol Clin North Am. Feb1994;21(1):85-88.
  5. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  6. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  7. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  8. View Abstract: Rizzo R. Calcium, Sulfur and Zinc Distribution in Normal and Arthritic Articular Equine Cartilage: A Syncrotron Radiation Induced X-ray Emission Study. Journal of Experimental Zoology. Sep1995;237(1):82-86.
  9. Hess WC, Sullivan MS. Cystine Content in Fingernails in Arthritics. Journal of Bone Joint Surgery. 1935;16:185-88.
  10. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  11. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  12. Jacob SW, et al. The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999:57-58.
  13. View Abstract: Morton JI, Siegel BV. Effects of Oral Dimethyl Sulfoxide and Dimethyl Sulfone on Murine Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Disease. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. 1986;183:227-30.