Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM)
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH3)2SO2. It is also known by several other names including DMSO2, methyl sulfone, and dimethyl sulfone. This colorless solid features the sulfonyl functional group and is considered relatively inert chemically.
MSM is a chemical found in plants, animals, and humans. It can also be made in a laboratory.
Supporting research & information
Biologically active sulfur is one of the most critical nutrients for our bodies to remain youthful and energetic. As we age, along with a diet deficient in essential nutrients, our bodies become stiff, our cells become rigid, and our overall energy begins to rapidly decelerate.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic sulfur compound that’s naturally derived during the earth’s rain cycle. Sulfur is present in many natural unprocessed foods, but it’s quickly lost during the cooking process. MSM is gaining a lot of attention due to the recent focus on longevity and anti-aging technologies. Here’s a list of 7 impressive benefits that MSM delivers:
Naturally Increases energy
Due to the increased permeability of the cells, less energy is required to deal with the accumulation of toxins. This results in more energy being redirected towards activity and necessary healing. Digestion is the biggest energy requirement of the body (Approximately 70-80% of your energy is spent on digestion each day). MSM increases the absorption of nutrients so that the energy expenditure on digestion is vastly reduced.
MSM is a chemical in animals, humans, and many plants. People use it most often to try to treat arthritis.
MSM can be produced in a lab, where it is sometimes combined with other supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin.
There is a whole range of other reasons people take MSM. This includes obesity and liver problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gum disease, snoring, infections, lung problems, Alzheimer's, HIV, and cancer.
The evidence to support taking MSM for most of these is lacking.
MSM is used for chronic pain, osteoarthritis, joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, musculoskeletal pain, muscle cramps, scleroderma, scar tissue, stretch marks, hair loss, wrinkles, protection against sun/wind burn, eye inflammation, oral hygiene, periodontal disease, wounds, cuts, and abrasions/accelerated wound healing. It is either taken by mouth or applied to the skin for these uses.
MSM is also used for relief of allergies, chronic constipation, "sour stomach", ulcers, a bowel disease called diverticulosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mood elevation, obesity, poor circulation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is also used for type 2 diabetes, liver problems, Alzheimer's disease, lung disorders including emphysema and pneumonia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders (systemic lupus erythematous), HIV infection and AIDS, and cancer (breast cancer and colon cancer).
Other uses of MSM include eye inflammation, mucous membrane inflammation, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, leg cramps, migraine, headaches, hangover, parasitic infections of the intestinal and urogenital tracts including Trichomonas vaginalis and Giardia, yeast infection, insect bites, radiation poisoning, and to boost the immune system.
There isn't much published scientific research to support its use.
How does it work?
MSM might supply sulfur to make other chemicals in the body.
Possibly Effective for:
- Hemorrhoids. Applying a gel containing MSM, hyaluronic acid, and tea tree oil seems to improve symptoms of hemorrhoids.
- Osteoarthritis. Taking MSM by mouth seems to slightly reduce some symptoms of arthritis of the knee, such as pain and joint movement. But the changes seem to be small, and it might not reduce other symptoms such as stiffness.
- Rosacea. Applying a cream containing MSM and silymarin seems to improve skin color and other symptoms of rosacea.
- Stress brought on by exercise. Taking MSM by mouth before running seems to reduce muscle damage and other markers of stress caused by exercise.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Exercise performance. MSM taken by mouth, as well as cream containing MSM plus magnesium, did not improve flexibility, endurance, or overall performance when taken before exercising.
- Varicose veins and other circulatory problems (chronic venous insufficiency). Topical application of lotion containing MSM might cause increased leg, ankle, and foot swelling in patients with chronic venous insufficiency.
Insufficient Evidence for:
- Hay fever. One preliminary research study suggests MSM taken by mouth might relieve some symptoms of hay fever.
- Shoulder surgery. One study suggests that MSM, taken by mouth in combination with other nutrients, may reduce pain and improve healing following rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery.
- Tendon pain due to overuse. One clinical study suggests that MSM, in combination with other nutrients, may improve the outcomes of a specific therapy used to treat Achilles tendon pain caused by overuse.
- Chronic pain
- Muscle and bone problems.
- Scar tissue
- Stretch marks
- Protection against sun/wind burn
- Eye swelling
- Dental disease
- Stomach upset
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Mood elevation.
- Poor circulation
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
MSM is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for 3 months or less when applied to the skin in combination with other ingredients, such as silymarin or hyaluronic acid, and tea tree oil for up to 20 days. In some people, MSM might cause nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, headache, insomnia, itching, or worsening of allergy symptoms.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using MSM during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Interactions with other drugs and medications:
Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement
What Are the Dangers of Methylsulfonylmethane?
MSM Supplement Improves Joints, Allergies and Gut Health