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Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) - What It Is For, Side Effects, Dosage, and Tips

The supplement known as methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur compound that has long been cited as useful for treating some health conditions involving pain and inflammation. The substance appears to be safe, but care must be taken in its continued use.

Let us explain what is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), what does it serve and show its probable side effects, as well as indicate the most adequate and safe dosage.

What is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)?

Also known as dimethylsulfone or DMSO2, methylsulfonylmethane is the oxidized form of DMSO, an organic solvent composed of sulfur. It is a source of sulfur which is an important component of proteins, collagen, keratin, hormones and enzymes.

Methylsulfonylmethane is a substance that occurs naturally in the body but can also be obtained from fresh and raw fruits and vegetables, especially on green vegetables. However, the processing of these foods, such as heating and dehydration during cooking, for example, decreases the amount of available MSM.

The main sources of methylsulfonylmethane include:

  • Cow milk;
  • Chard;
  • Apple;
  • Chicken liver;
  • Alfalfa;
  • Beet;
  • Cabbage;
  • Broccoli;
  • Corn;
  • Tomares;
  • Beer;
  • Coffee

Although it is quite present in the diet, methylsulfonylmethane is present in small amounts in these foods. Thus, the best significant source of MSM is through supplementation.

What MSM is for?

Sulfur compounds such as MSM are important for joints, connective tissue, muscles, hair, skin and nails. Therefore, its benefits are great for people who suffer from joint problems or who want to strengthen muscles, nails and hair. In addition, MSM is known to improve some neurological functions and reduce pain.

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Methylsulfonylmethane is one of the most popular joint health supplements in the world, behind only glucosamine and chondroitin. Below we list some of the most interesting benefits of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

- Antioxidant effect

MSM is a strong antioxidant, capable of acting against free radicals. This is because it is a source of sulfur for powerful antioxidants in the body like glutathione and the amino acids methionine, cysteine ​​and taurine. In addition, it potentiates the effects of other dietary antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium.

- Anti-inflammatory action

Methylsulfonylmethane may exhibit anti-inflammatory activity, decreasing levels of inflammatory cytokines in the body, as well as reducing the production of molecules associated with inflammation such as nitric oxide and prostaglandin.

- Treatment of arthritis and joint pain

Animal studies show that MSM is an effective supplement to improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee.

A study carried out in 2006, published in the scientific journalArthritis Today, showed that in a group of 50 people including men and women, a dose of 6 mg of MSM improved the symptoms related to pain and physical function of people with osteoarthritis in the knee with virtually no effects collaterals.

One possible theory explaining the health benefits of joints is the sulfur present in methylsulfonylmethane. This is because a deficiency in sulfur in the body has been associated with complications in the joints. Because MSM is a source of sulfur, the supplement can act by supplying this deficiency and benefiting the joints.

This benefit occurs because MSM supplements the body with sulfur to create methionine, which helps the body to to synthesize chemicals, form connective tissue, metabolize food and nutrients.

- Acting on digestive problems

Methylsulfonylmethane can help rebuild the lining of the damaged digestive tract. Scientific data show that oral intake of MSM has caused anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in rats with colitis, protecting them from intestinal damage.

- Treatment of hemorrhoids and inflammation in the bladder

Due to its anti-inflammatory action, methylsulfonylmethane may help reduce the pain and swelling caused by hemorrhoids. In addition, MSM can be used in the treatment of interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, which is a chronic bladder inflammation that causes a lot of pain and urination frequent.

- Treatment of skin problems

MSM can be used to moisturize the skin and strengthen the nails. Studies have shown that use of the product can improve skin problems such as redness, itching and burning.

- Muscle recovery

Studies in animals indicate that methylsulfonylmethane is a fairly effective supplement in reducing muscle damage due to its antioxidant action. The MSM is able to repair the cells of rigid fibrous tissue in muscles that are broken during bodybuilding. Thus, muscle pain decreases and post-workout recovery is faster.

- Protection against heart disease

Methylsulfonylmethane may be beneficial against heart disease and also helps in controlling pulmonary arterial hypertension because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.

- Protection against autoimmune diseases

High doses of MSM may offer protection to the body against the development of diseases that affect the immune system. Animal studies suggest an increase in life expectancy and a lymph nodes and spleen and anemia when submitted to a diet with 3% MSM solution for one month.

Scientific studies on mice with lupus, for example, also testified to the protective effect of MSM comparing data before and after the onset of the disease, showing that animals on a diet containing MSM died less and suffered less damage in the liver. Of course, to be sure of this benefit, clinical trials are also needed in humans to attest to the efficacy and safety of methylsulfonylmethane.

Side effects

Clinical research of MSM is still limited in humans. For this reason, not all side effects are fully known. However, side effects already reported and associated with substance use include:

  • Nausea:Some people taking MSM reported episodes of nausea after starting supplement use.
  • Diarrhea:A 2004 clinical trial of osteoarthritis performed in India compared the use of 1500 mg of MSM per day with a placebo for 12 weeks. In this study, the main side effect was diarrhea, which was observed in more than 5% of patients, which is little but an adverse effect.
  • Headache:According to the bookThe Miracle of MSM, there are reports of headaches in people who started taking methylsulfonylmethane in high doses. Researchers indicate that the initial MSM dose should never exceed 5000 mg per day and should only be increased over time for the body to become accustomed to the substance.
  • Fatigue:The reason is unknown, but the use of MSM seems to be associated with the feeling of fatigue by some people taking the product.
  • Allergic reaction:Like other substances, methylsulfonylmethane can cause allergic reactions. When you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction such as itching, rash, hives, swelling in the mouth or throat with or without difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately.
  • Gastrointestinal swelling:In 2006, a study published in the journalOsteoarthritis and Cartilagereported an assay at doses of 6000 mg of MSM and placebo for 12 weeks. In this study, some cases of gastrointestinal distension were observed. However, it is necessary to draw attention to the high dose of MSM administered to the patients, which may have contributed to the occurrence of this adverse effect.


MSM can be sold alone or combined with other substances, such as glucosamine and chondrotin, which also help joint health.

The recommended dose for people with arthritis or other joint conditions, the dosage is usually 2 to 6 grams per day, divided into 2 or 3 doses daily. The well-tolerated and considered safe standard dose of MSM supplementation is usually 1 to 3 grams per day, which appears to be quite effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis and providing antioxidant protection for the body.

Initially, it is not recommended to start with a very high dose, ie at doses over 5 grams, as their effectiveness is not proven and may increase the risks of side effects.

The efficacy and safety of the compound has not been tested in children and pregnant or lactating women. Therefore, it is indicated that these groups avoid the use of MSM.

Tips & Tricks

Methylsulfonylmethane has some interesting functions that will be highlighted below. Such tips include using the supplement to prevent hair loss, chronic snoring and even lessen the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

  1. Against Hair Loss:Preliminary studies indicate that MSM can be used as an adjunct in the treatment of hair loss. By increasing the levels of keratin and collagen, it is likely that the compound helps the hair to grow.
  2. Against snoring:There is also evidence that MSM is able to reduce chronic snoring by being given to the nostrils about 15 minutes before bedtime. The study showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of snoring in up to 80% of individuals after 1 to 4 days of use.
  3. Against allergic rhinitis:Although it may cause an allergic reaction in substance-sensitive people, MSM can help relieve some allergy symptoms such as nose with runny nose, watery eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing and lack of air. Research has shown that such symptoms have been reduced when people with allergic rhinitis have taken a daily dose of 2600 milligrams of MSN for a month. Scientists believe this occurs because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the substance that block the effects of the allergen.

Security Tips

It appears that methylsufonylmethane is safe to use. However, more research is needed in the area. Therefore, always seek medical help before you start using any supplement, including MSM, and always take the recommended dosage. When you experience any side effects for several days, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.

Additional references:


Have you taken any supplements with the methylsulfonylmethane compound (MSM)? What were your results and what was your doctor's appointment? Comment below!

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