MSM Supplement side effects and benefits
July 20 2014 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Methylsulfonylmethane is a popular dietary supplement promoted for a variety of conditions including pain, inflammation, allergies, arthritis, and the maintenance of normal keratin levels in hair, skin and nails. Until recently it had not been studied much and most of the reports on the benefits of MSM supplement had been anecdotal. However, there have been recent reports that they do have benefits, particularly in arthritis and seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Benefit, what is it used for?
MSM is found in small amounts in everyone's blood and it is also found in many foods. It's unclear what role dietary MSM plays in the complex chemistry of the human body, but like other sulfur compounds, it is a necessary building block for proteins, especially those found in the hair, muscles, and connective tissue of the joints and skin. Sulfur also is found in insulin hormone and bile acid. MSM, taken as an oral supplement, is able to cross the blood brain barrier.
   MSM supplements appear to be a promising nutrient in the treatment of arthritis and possibly certain types of allergies. A study finds the combination of MSM and glucosamine to benefit in the treatment of arthritis (see study below). More research is needed before we determine the full benefit of MSM supplements and the potential MSM side effects with long term use. As of December 2007, I have not seen any studies regarding the benefit of a MSM supplement in hair or nail growth.

buy MSM supplement 1000 mg each pill
MSM serves as an important source of bioavailable dietary sulfur, an element that plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity and elasticity of connective and other tissues. It is an important component of proteins found throughout the body, such as in hair, nails, skin and tendons. If you would like a glucosamine chondroitin msm combination, consider Joint Power Rx which also contains: CMO complex; boswellia serrata extract; curcumin; cat's claw extract; devil's claw extract, and grape seed extract.

Supplement facts
Amount per capsule:
Methylsulfonylmethane 1 gram (1,000 mg)




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Suggested use, dosage: One MSM capsule daily, or as recommended by your health are professional. I currently don't have a strong opinion on its intake in terms of daily use for prolonged periods since I have come across only a limited number of published human trials with this nutrient.

Iran J Pharm Res. 2013 Fall. Effect of single dose administration of methylsulfonylmethane on oxidative stress following acute exhaustive exercise. Methylsulfonylmethane is a sulfur-containing compound commonly found in diet and known to reduce oxidative stress. This trial was conducted to determine whether single dose supplementation with MSM attenuates post-exercise oxidative stress in healthy untrained young men. Sixteen untrained men volunteered for this study. Participants were randomized in a double-blind placebo-controlled fashion into 2 groups: Methylsulfonylmethane and placebo. The participants took supplementation or placebo before running on treadmill for 45 min at 75% VO2max. The MSM supplementation was prepared in water as 100 mg/ kg body weight. The placebo group received water. Serum Malondealdehyde (MDA), uric acid, bilirubin, protein carbonyl (PC) and plasma vitamin E levels were determined as the markers of oxidative stress. Plasma GSH (reduced Glutathione) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were measured as markers of plasma antioxidant system. MSM supplementation successfully lowered serum PC 2 and 24 h after exercise. Plasma TAC in MSM group was higher at 24 h after exercise. Serum level of uric acid and bilirubin were significantly low immediately after exercise in MSM supplemented group. There was no significant difference between groups in terms of plasma GSH level. These results complement earlier studies showing anti-oxidant effect of MSM and suggest that single dose oral supplementation with MSM lowers exercise induced oxidative stress in healthy untrained young men, but is not adequate to significantly affect plasma GSH level.

MSM Cream for sale



Advanced Liposomal Delivery Source Naturals MSM Cream can be used to soften and smooth skin while adding oil-rich liposomes, tiny spheres which easily penetrate the skin. This skin product also contains the potent antioxidants vitamin E and ginkgo biloba.

 

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Mmethylsulfonylmethane is a naturally occurring form of organic sulfur. MSM Cream can be used to soften and smooth skin while adding oil-rich, moisture- binding protection. Liposome technology is an exceptional method for topical penetration and absorption of key ingredients. Liposomes are tiny spheres which easily penetrate the skin to deliver it. This dermal product also contains the potent antioxidants vitamin E and ginkgo biloba.

Suggested Use: Massage MSM Cream into the skin as needed to support healthy skin and joints. For Topical Use only.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Methylsulfonylmethane (15%), Aloe Vera Gel, Stearic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), Vegetable Oil, Lecithin Phospholipid, Glycerin, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol & Ceteareth-20 (Emulsifiers), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin B-5), Aminomethyl Propanol (Solubilizer), Grapefruit Extract, Rosemary Oil, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben & Propylparaben (preservatives).

What is your opinion of MSM cream for joint pain?
   I have not seen studies regarding its uses for joint pain or arthritis, however, it is an interesting concept and I look forward to any feedback from users. I have also seen MSM with glucosamine cream combination, and I wonder if glucosamine, as provided through a cream, can really cross the dermis, reach cartilage tissue, and have an effect. At this point I am skeptical of glucosamine cream being helpful, but I'll wait for study results. There are many other nutrients and herbs used in such products. For instance I saw an ad for topical MSM gel with emu oil and aloe vera. It seems marketers are just putting together many different combinations without really testing to see if they work.

Is it useful for rosacea, is there research on this topic?
   Yes, see rosacea article.

The MSM cream I am order from a discount vitamin company has a granular residue to it. It appears that the sulfur has never completely dissolved into the product. Is this normal? I.e., do all of them have a slightly abrasive quality to them, and is it possible that the active ingredient is not supposed to be soluble?
   At this time we have not seen any studies on the matter solubility to have an informed opinion. The use of MSM cream is relatively new and not much is known about the ideal solubility and other dissolving matters or how well it is absorbed in different creams.

Can we use MSM lotion on an 11 month old baby? He was born with a condition that makes it difficult and painful to bend his elbows and knees.
   I have not seen such research with a baby or a child.

MSM side effects, toxicity, allergy
Studies in rats show MSM supplements to have very low toxicity. We don't know enough about their long term use to fully know the full range of side effects. To prevent any potential adverse reaction, use the lowest dose that works for you, and occasionally take a break for a few days.
   We received this email in 2006 regarding a potential MSM side effect on high doses: Hi, Dr Sahelian, I appreciate your web site and your comments about alternative remedies. I took about 10 grams a day MSM supplement for about 3 months, for a back problem, which the supplement helped greatly. However, after 3 months of taking it, I noted small white pimples on my ears and face. It appeared to me that taking such a large dose for a fairly long time had loaded up my body and that the excess was being excreted thru the skin. I have now stopped it and the extrusion thru the skin seems to be lessening. I thought you would be interested in my possible MSM side effect. Incidentally, I searched the internet and could find no mention of this out break as a MSM side effect.

Oral developmental toxicity study of methylsulfonylmethane in rats.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2007
The objective of these studies was to determine the developmental toxicity potential of MSM when administered orally to pregnant rats during the period of major organogenesis and histogenesis. In a preliminary dose-finding study, distilled MSM microprill (i.e., microspherical pellets of MSM) was administered by oral gavage to 8-9 sperm-positive female Sprague-Dawley rats/group/day on gestation days 6-20. No evidence of maternal or fetal toxicity was observed. Under the conditions of this study, the no-observed-adverse-effect level for maternal and developmental toxicity was 1000 mg/kg/day.

Toxicity of methylsulfonylmethane in rats.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2002.
MSM is a popular dietary supplement used in a variety of conditions including pain, inflammation, allergies, arthritis, parasitic infections and the maintenance of normal keratin levels in hair, skin and nails. Despite its popularity, there is little published toxicology data. The objective of this study was to evaluate the acute and subchronic toxicity of MSM in rats at a dose five to seven times the maximum recommended dose in humans. MSM administered in a single gavage dose of 2 g/kg resulted in no adverse events or mortality. MSM administered as a daily dose of 1.5 g/kg for 90 days by gavage resulted in no adverse events or mortality. Necropsy did not reveal any gross pathological lesions or changes in organ weights. Renal histology of treated animals was normal. It is concluded that MSM is well tolerated in rats at an acute dose of 2 g/kg and at a subacute chronic dose of 1.5 g/kg.

Email received in 2012
I have been taking MSM for about 14 years now about 1000 mg per day. I have and increased benefit in my eyes with improved vision, at 67 hrs young I have 20/20 I think it helps keep collagen flexible, eye lens are collagen. I take no other supplements only other med is Protonix for GERD.

Allergy
I have an allergy to sulfa. Does this translate into a problem with MSM supplement use?
   Sulfonamides are compounds than contain sulfur, along with nitrogen, and attached to a benzene ring. Many medications contain sulfur but are not sulfonamides. Some of these prescription drugs include amoxicillin, captopril, spironolactone, sulfates and sulfites. There is no risk of cross-reactivity between these sulfur containing substances and sulfonamides. It appears that this is also true for MSM, methyl sulfonyl methane. No allergies to it have been reported in the medical literature as of 2011.

MSM osteoarthritis research
Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial.
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006.
Fifty men and women, 40-76 years of age with knee soteoarthritis pain were given a MSM supplement 3 grams twice a day for 12 weeks. Outcomes included the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index visual analogue scale (WOMAC), and patient and physician global assessments. Compared to placebo, patients given the supplement produced significant decreases in WOMAC pain and physical function impairment. No notable changes were found in WOMAC stiffness and aggregated total symptoms scores. MSM also produced improvement in performing activities of daily living when compared to placebo. Three grams twice a day improved symptoms of pain and physical function during the short intervention without major adverse events.

     My thoughts: 6 grams daily is a very high dose, and I would suggest using a smaller amount since most people will probably take it longer than just 3 months. Also, if a MSM supplement is combined with other nutrients and herbs used for arthritis, the dosage would have to be further reduced.

Glucosamine and MSM work better together for arthritis
A study, published in Clinical Drug Investigations, made big news in July 2004. The study found  that the combination of glucosamine and MSM is more effective against osteoarthritis than either nutrient alone. Although the individual nutrients did improve pain and swelling in patients' affected joints, the combined therapy was more effective than MSM or glucosamine alone in reducing these symptoms and improving joint function. In a clinical trial conducted at at the Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India, 118 patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis were treated three times daily with either 500 milligrams of glucosamine, 500 milligrams of MSM, a combination of both, or an inactive placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment, the average pain score had fallen from 1.74 to 0.65 in the glucosamine-only group. In MSM only participants, it fell from 1.53 to 0.74. However, in the combination group, it fell from 1.7 to 0.36. The combination treatment had a faster effect on pain and inflammation compared to glucosamine alone. All of the treatments were well tolerated. "It can be concluded," the researchers say, "that the combination of MSM with glucosamine provides better and more rapid improvement in patients with osteoarthritis."

MSM for seasonal allergy
A multicentered, open-label trial on the safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.
J Altern Complement Med. 2002.
Numerous clinical observations and case studies have led researchers to hypothesize that MSM may reduce the symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of MSM in the reduction of seasonal allergic rhinitis associated symptoms. Fifty subjects consumed 2,600 mg of MSM supplement orally per day for 30 days. Clinical respiratory symptoms and energy levels were evaluated by a Seasonal Allergy Symptom Questionnaire (SASQ) at baseline and on days 7, 14, 21, and 30. Immune and inflammatory reactions were measured by plasma immunoglobulin E (IgE) and C-reactive protein at baseline and on day 30. An additional inflammatory biomarker, plasma histamine, was measured in a subset of subjects. Day 7 upper and total respiratory symptoms were reduced significantly from baseline. Lower respiratory symptoms were significantly improved from baseline by week 3. All respiratory improvements were maintained through the 30-day visit. Energy levels increased significantly by day 14; this increase continued through day 30. No significant changes were observed in plasma IgE or histamine levels. The results of this study suggest that MSM supplementation of 2,600 mg/day for 30 days may be helpful in the reduction of symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Cancer
Aspirin and methylsulfonylmethane: a search for common mechanisms, with implications for cancer prevention.
Anticancer Res. 2003.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), a prototypic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and MSM, a "nutritional supplement", are both used in the treatment of arthritis and described as cancer chemopreventive agents. Initial experimentation indicating that aspirin and MSM also induced the differentiation of murine erythroleukemia cells led to a search for common mechanisms involving these two agents. Since the major mechanism of action attributed to aspirin is the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX), prostaglandin production was examined under differentiation-inducing conditions in murine erythroleukemia cells. Aspirin at low, nontoxic concentrations induced differentiation leading to terminal cell division. Aspirin had no effect on PGE2 production and minimal inhibitory effect on COX activity. Furthermore, salicylate, a major metabolite of aspirin and an ineffective COX inhibitor, induced differentiation at concentrations comparable to aspirin. Similar experiments with MSM indicated that MSM had no effect on PGE2 production or on COX activity under differentiation--inducing conditions and at concentrations reported in other studies. These experiments indicated that aspirin and MSM induced differentiation by a COX-independent mechanism(s) and suggested that a common mechanism for the chemopreventive action invoked by both agents might be the activation of gene functions leading to differentiation and thereby dismantling the cellular capacity for proliferation.

Rheumatoid arthritis testimonials
I am a 38 year old woman who has been dealing with rheumatoid arthritis since my child bearing years. I started seeing an rheumatoid arthritis doctor about 7 years ago and had been using a Naproxen prescription since then for pain, inflammation, morning and night stiffness. Not wanting to continue taking Naproxen for recent concerns about its safety. I started taking MSM supplement product advised by my mother who recently was diagnosed with
rheumatoid arthritis. I have been taking 3 grams in the morning and night for the past 3 months with no need for addition pain medications. I am truly amazed at the results I've had.

A year ago I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and spent 8 months in the most excrutiating pain I have ever experienced in my life. A rheumatoid doctor put me on Celebrex and then prednisone. It did nothing to get major flare-ups under control. On average I was having a major flare-up 4-5 times a week with significant pain in between. I took a glucosamine, chondroitin and msm product for 6 weeks and the pain miraculously went away and it's like I never had rheumatoid arthritis. It's been 3 months now and I feel great. Every thing I have read claims this supplement does nothing for rheumatoid arthritis. I am a 48 year old male that has been healthy and very active all my life.
   Congratulations! However, it's difficult for any scientist to get excited about one or two case reports. I know a friend with rheumatoid arthritis who tried MSM and the combination with glucosamine and chondroitin and she did not notice the benefits you did. If there is a subset of patients who benefit from these natural supplements, that would be fantastic.

Absorption
Pharmacokinetics and distribution of [35S] methylsulfonylmethane following oral administration to rats.
J Agric Food Chem. 2007.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic profile and distribution of radiolabeled MSM in rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered a single oral dose of [35S] MSM (500 mg/kg), and blood levels of radioactivity were determined at different time points for up to 48 h. Oral [35S] MSM was rapidly and efficiently absorbed. Soft tissue distribution of radioactivity indicated a fairly homogeneous distribution throughout the body with relatively lower concentrations in skin and bone. Approximately 85% of the dose was recovered in the urine after 120 h, whereas only 3% was found in the feces. No quantifiable levels of radioactivity were found in any tissues after 120 h, indicating complete elimination of [35S] MSM. The results of this study suggest that [35S] MSM is rapidly absorbed, well distributed, and completely excreted from the body.

Accumulation of methylsulfonylmethane in the human brain: identification by multinuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Toxicol Lett 2001
In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to detect and quantify MSM in the brains of four patients with memory loss and in three normal volunteers all of who had ingested it at the recommended doses of 1-3 g daily. MSM was detected in all subjects in the brain and was equally distributed between gray and white matter. No adverse clinical or neurochemical effects were observed. Appearance in significant concentrations in the human brain indicates ready transfer across the intact blood-brain barrier.

MSM joint health expert
Natural options for managing joint pain by Dr. Jason Theodosakis, M.D., international best selling author of "The Arthritis Cure," arthritis expert, assistant clinical professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and preventive and sports medicine clinician at the Canyon Ranch medical department: "Joint pain shouldn't limit someone's daily activities. There are safe, effective and cost-efficient natural options that are gaining major momentum and acceptance among athletes, baby boomers and the medical community. Simple exercises, antioxidant-rich diets and natural supplements, such as glucosamine, chondriotin and MSM, can reduce pain, help rebuild cartilage and improve joint flexibility and mobility.

Use by pets, dogs, cats, horses, etc
I have a 14 years old cat that have little problems with allergic and stiff joints. I have heard that MSM might help him. But I dont know how much to give him. I live in Sweden and my veterinarian don't know about this natural product.
    It's difficult to know the right dosage for a cat or dog since we don' t even know the right dosage for a human being. But if we want to estimate, an average human being is 70 kilograms and can take a 700 mg to 1000 mg capsule a day. To make it simple, this would be about 10 mg per kilo. We can use this approximation with our pets until specific research with animals is published.

I personally take 1000mg every morning and the same dosage in the evening and it has had a dramatic effect on the pains levels that I experience from my back. I broke my back as a child and through a series of subsequent accidents have damaged some of the supporting cartilage and soft tissue such as facet joints, etc. Some years ago the deterioration was so bad that I could bend forward no more than about 10degrees, today I am able to freely touch my toes! Furthermore, my dog was diagnosed with arthritis between his spine and sacrum at the age of 10 years and as such was prescribed an anti-inflammatory - Meloxicam by my veterinary surgeon. Tests on his sister also aged 10 years revealed similar problems, but not quite at the same level of severity. All of the vets at the practice all agreed that the dogs might benefit from additional supplements and prescribed a daily dose of Glucosamine HCI 1500mg, Chondroitin Sulphate 1200mg and Methylsulphonylmethane 1500mg to be given to each of them with their morning meal. He weighed 45kg and his sister weighed 38kg (both are Rhodesian Ridgebacks). They have been on this medication for 3 years since they were10 years old. They remain active, show significantly less deterioration in their joints and mobility in comparison to all of our friends dogs (Rhodesians, other pure breeds and mongrels). My veterinary surgeon continues to be amazed at the lack of deterioration in both dogs condition given their age and build.

Emails
I've been involved in three different car accidents via getting hit in the rear end of my vehicle. There has been pronounced pain in my right knee due to my right foot holding down the break at each time the rear ending scenario happened resulting from the accident. MSM supplement use has literally provided greater movement in my knee. I walk easier. Less tightness. I have had trouble sleeping at night before I took the product. I figure the anti inflammatory properties relaxes my joints where rest is now possible. My daily consumption is 1,500 milligrams.

I had an immediate increase in energy upon taking MSM product. It also has dramatically reduced my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and for the first time in two decades I am having solid bowel movements. I was taking 40 mg of Adderall and now I either take 10 mg or I can skip it. This has been consistent for three months. The increase in energy has been extreme to the point where I was having trouble sleeping. I was taking 15 grams per day; I had to back down to 10 grams. My knee, which was torn up from wrestling, is pain free for the first time in years. MSM truly is my miracle. I am baffled as to what is going on, but I do know that I have experienced chronic illness for 20 years and only now am I starting to feel okay!

After suffering for 30 years with hay fever, I tried everything. Six years of allergy desensitization shots, antihistamines, allergy shots with cortisone, etc. The past 3 years I have had great allergy relief taking 2000 mg of MSM a day. This year it has not worked. I started taking it in March, but allergies are here with a vengeance. Do you know any reason why the MSM product would not work for me this year when it has in the past?
   This is interesting. I am aware of one study with MSM supplements in seasonal allergy treatment where it was found to be of benefit. There are a few points to consider. Perhaps the MSM use and allergy relief in the past was a coincidence. Perhaps you are using a different MSM product this year. Perhaps it may help allergies from one type of allergen but not another. Perhaps you body chemistry and physiology has changed. There are many variables involved and it is difficult to have clear answers based on this limited information. Perhaps some people build a tolerance to the constant use and taking breaks may be helpful.

Q. I have pain in my right hip joint and a friend recommended MSM supplement use, they said it has helped them tremendously. I have hepatitus C and want to know if taking it would have any adverse effects on my liver.
   I have not seen human studies regarding its influence on the liver or hepatitis. Low dosages, thus far, appear to be not be toxic to the liver.

I read with great interest the letter by the woman who had great success with MSM for her allergies, and then it quit working! This was also my experience. I started taking it a year ago for my shoulder pain. Coincidentally, my asthma cleared up! For the first time in over 40 years, I was off of all daily meds. I had been on Ventolin, and also Cromolyn Sodium with a Pulmoaid. I would take maybe half dose (one puff) of the Ventolin, once every 3-4 weeks or so. I had been taking about 8 puffs per day prior to that. I believe I even went 3 months without taking any meds at all. This was the closest thing to a miracle I had ever experienced. However, after close to a year, it stopped working, much to my disappointment. I had been taking 4-1000mg tablets 3x a day. And, I believe they were also contributing to my migraines, as the severity increased. However, I was so thrilled with the asthma condition, that I continued with the MSM supplement until it apparently lost its effect. So, I have quit taking it now. I took one pill one day, and got a brutal headache within a couple hours. Any ideas about this at all? I took quite a bit, and it did give me a funny feeling in my chest at times, and kept me awake. Maybe some people don't take a break and become toxic.
   There are no long term studies with humans and MSM, it is a mystery at this time why this would happen. Perhaps taking time off for a month or two and then trying the MSM again with frequent breaks may be an option. Could tolerance develop to this nutrient?

I have been taking a MSM supplement for many years. However, recently I have been placed on Plavix blood thinner. Is it safe to take it with Plavix medication?
    We have not seen any studies with this combination, nor have we seen human studies regarding its role on blood clotting and platelet function. Caution is advised when supplements and medications are combined since unexpected reactions could occur. Your doctor should be aware of the dietary supplements that you are taking in regards to the additions of prescription medications.