MSM is short for methylsulfonylmethane. It is a member of the group of organic sulfur compounds (sulfones). Methylsulfonylmethane can be found in both vegetable products and animal products. Milk and coffee are two examples which both contain relatively high levels of this sulfur compound.
Increasingly often, MSM is consumed in the form of dietary supplements for the treatment of osteoarthritis. As a sulfur compound, it provides the body with the sulfur that it necessarily needs to grow cartilage tissue.
Safety of MSM: Side Effects, Contraindications
In the EU, MSM is classified as a dietary supplement. It is very safe to use and no side effects worth mentioning were observed. Overdosing is difficult to cause, even willfully and with maximum effort.
The dosage at which test animals suffered methylsulfonylmethane poisoning amounted to around 20 grams per kilogram body weight. Therefor, a human (75 kg) would have to take about 1.5 kilograms each day. Studies with volunteers involved administration of 1 gram per kg body weight (i.e. about 60 to 90 grams per day) over one month. No negative epiphenomena were detected.5
Based on the studies, the recommended dosage is between 0.5 grams and 4 grams per day. Higher dosages should only be used under medical supervision for general safety reasons.
MSM is also not appropriate for use during pregnancy. However, that’s a general recommendation as scientific knowledge is insufficient.
The dosage information relates to the oral intake (capsules, pills). In rare cases, MSM is also injected under the skin or – like DMSO – added to ointments. Especially in such cases, please consult your physician.
Purchasing MSM capsules
Several good combination preparations for joints also contain MSM. As the health of the joint cartilage depends on many factors, combination preparations are usually superior to individual active ingredients.
You may purchase MSM or methylsulfonylmethane from your pharmacy as a dietary supplement. Likewise, numerous recommendable remedies with good customer reviews can be found on Amazon, some of which we have selected here:
Sources and Studies on MSM:
- Kim et al. 2006. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 14(3), 286-294 ↩
- Brien et al. 2008. Systematic review of the nutritional supplements dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 16(11), 1277-1288 ↩
- Ezaki et al. 2013. Assessment of safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane on bone and knee joints in osteoarthritis animal model. J Bone Miner Metab 31(1), 16-25; doi: 10.1007/s00774-012-0378-9 ↩
- Kim LS, Axelrod LJ, Howard P et al; “Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. “; Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2006;14(3):286-94. ↩
- Jacob WS, Appleton J.; “MSM: the definite guide. A comprehensive review of the science and therapeutics of methylsulfonylmethane.”; Topanga, CA. Freedom Press, 2003 ↩