MSM Supplements Benefits and Properties

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Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic sulfur-containing compound that is found occurring naturally in different levels in many fruits, vegetables, grains, and in animals. Trace amounts of MSM are also found in human beings. Significant amounts of MSM have been found in common medicinal herbs such as horsetail. The biological role of MSM, if any, is not entirely understood. MSM is a metabolite of dimethyl sulfoxide or DMSO. It is believed that some of the possible effects of DMSO may be attributed to MSM.

Test tube and animal studies indicate that sulfur from oral supplementation of MSM is incorporated in body proteins. These same studies have shown that joints affected by osteoarthritis (OA) have lower sulfur content, and animals with arthritis given MSM appear to experience less joint deterioration. According to a preliminary report, a human study of patients suffering from osteoarthritis found that MSM, in the amount of 2,250 mg daily, alleviated pain after only one and a half months.

Many claims have been made that MSM may be helpful for pain relief, particularly in arthritis, immune modulation in autoimmune disorders, muscle repair, diabetes therapy and insomnia. However, there not enough credible research has been carried out to support these claims.

Dosage and Administration

Some health professionals anecdotally have said that 250-500 mg per day may be beneficial when used in connection with a variety of health problems. However, the only somewhat reputable studies have employed MSM at 2000 mg per day for osteoarthritis. There are no concrete recommendations for MSM supplementation due to a lack of reliable information.

Doses used in the limited research that has been conducted have used 1 to 3 grams daily.


MSM should be avoided by pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Supporting Literature

Jacob SW, Herschler R. Dimethyl sulfoxide after twenty years. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1983;411:xiii-xvii.
Kandorf H, Chirra AR, De Gruccio A, Girman DJ. Dimethyl sulfoxide modulation of diabetes onset in NOD mice. Diabetes. 1989; 38:194-197.
Kocsis JJ, Harkaway S, Snyder R. Biological effects of the metabolites of dimethyl sulfoxide. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1975; 243:104-109.
Lawrence RM. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): a double-blind study of its use in degenerative arthritis. Int J of Anti-Aging Med 1998;1:50.
Morton JI, Siegel BV. Effects of oral dimethyl sulfoxide and dimethyl sulfone on murine autoimmune lymphoproliferative disease. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1986; 183; 227-230.
Richmond VL. Incorporation of methylsulfonylmethane sulfur into guinea pig serum proteins. Life Sci 1986;39:263-268.