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Top Science-Backed Benefits of MSM Supplements

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a sulfur-rich compound that is used for reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle recovery time.

By JointXL Plus Staff Updated on
Science-Backed Benefits of MSM Supplements Science-Backed Benefits of MSM Supplements

What are MSM Supplements?

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur-containing compound found in plant and animal tissues and the human body. It can also be produced synthetically in a laboratory and taken as a supplement in the form of capsules or a fine powder.

MSM supplements are used for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The supplements help alleviate the suffering of arthritis and enhance the quality of life of sufferers.

Notably, MSM supplements are effective in treating arthritis or any joint disorder as they reduce the pains, stiffness, and swelling associated with the joints. Consequently, MSM supplements can reduce such conditions and enhance the lives of individuals suffering from joint issues and mobility issues.

MSM supplements help increase the levels of an antioxidant known as glutathione that battles inflammation. Another possible positive MSM supplement effect is that MSM is involved in muscle building and also helps with recovery training and minimizing muscle damage.

According to a review shared in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition a study, on MSM shows that in case it is consumed before and after exercising, it possesses the potential to slow down muscle wasting, swelling, and pain and enhance the rate of muscle building and repair. This may be helpful to any athlete or any other individual who may be engaged in any form of activity that involves physical strength.

In fact, various clinical analyses conducted on MSM showed that patients who used MSM supplements claimed that they felt decreased joint pain and stiffness as well as increased mobility compared to the placebo group.

In addition to joint health, MSM contains other benefits in supplements, including allergy, immune system support, skin health, and even some limited research on cancer. The MSM supplements derived from this naturally occurring sulfur compound may be worth considering for people who want to try a more natural approach to inflammation, joint pain, exercise recovery, and other issues.

One review in the Advances in Pharmacological Sciences by Sadollah Mohammedi et al. shows that MSM can be used in folk medicine, and has become a more recognized supplement that can have numerous benefits when taken in proper dosages and with the help of a doctor.

Science-Backed Benefits of MSM Supplements

1. Helps Reduce Arthritis Symptoms and Enhance Well-being

In a study of 100 people over 50, it was established that MSM at the dose of 1200mg for 12 weeks was effective in reducing joint pain, stiffness, and swelling compared to placebo. MSM enhanced overall quality of life, mobility, and ease of getting up from bed.

2. It is an anti-inflammatory agent as it raises glutathione levels in the body.

MSM prevents NF-kB, a protein that is responsible for the regulation of inflammation. A study conducted on men showed that 3g of MSM before exercise helped reduce the excessive release of inflammatory cytokines.

3. It helps speed up the recovery process after exercise by minimizing muscle damage.

A study on 18 men revealed that the oral administration of 50mg/kg MSM for ten days decreased exercise-induced muscle damage and increased antioxidant status after a 14km run. MSM helps decrease muscle and joint pain, particularly after exercise.

4. Helps Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms

In the Kim et al. (2006) study, 4g of MSM daily for 12 weeks was effective in alleviating pain and stiffness and improving physical function compared to placebo. According to Carol DerSarkissian, MD at EZRA Health, MSM supplements used in combination with glucosamine/chondroitin are effective in the treatment of arthritis.

5. May Relieve Allergy Symptoms

In a study of 50 people with allergic rhinitis, the authors reported that MSM at 2,600mg per day for 30 days significantly reduced symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itching, and coughing.

6. Can Boost Immunity

MSM enhances immune strength by decreasing the levels of oxidative stress and inhibiting inflammatory cytokines that overload the immune system.

7. Could Improve Skin Health

MSM may also help increase keratin levels in the skin and nails since it is a sulfur donor. According to Jillian Kubala, a registered dietitian in Westhampton NY, MSM may lead to an improvement in redness, itching, and skin color in people with rosacea.

8. May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties

Some cell and animal research shows that MSM can slow down or stop the growth and proliferation of various types of cancer cells, such as stomach, liver, colon, and breast cancer, through DNA damage to the cancer cells. However, more research is still needed to explore the problem's different aspects and find ways to solve it.

Should I Use MSM Supplements for Joint and Arthritic Pain Relief?

MSM supplements can be recommended as a potentially effective treatment for joint and arthritic pain. A clinical trial with 49 patients with knee osteoarthritis took 3. A dose of 4 grams of MSM per day for 12 weeks was found to be effective in decreasing joint pain and stiffness and improving physical function compared to the placebo group.

MSM-boswellic acid supplement is more effective than glucosamine for decreasing pain and increasing function in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

The exact mechanism through which MSM reduces joint pain is not certain, but it may be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. These have been demonstrated to suppress inflammatory signaling, decrease inflammatory mediators, and enhance antioxidant glutathione.

MSM is a safe and natural remedy for patients suffering from joint and arthritic pain, which is further enhanced by the addition of other supplements such as glucosamine or Boswellia. For joint pains, the recommended doses are usually between 1 and 3 grams.

How To Buy MSM Supplements?

When buying MSM supplements, one should only go for the well-known brands that are known to deal with this supplement exclusively. Some brands you can look for are Doctor’s Best, Source Naturals, NOW Foods, Jarrow Formulas, and Solgar. These companies have established themselves as reputable manufacturers in the market.

Another crucial aspect is third-party testing certification from USP, NSF, or Consumer Lab organizations. Their seals show that the product has been tested and approved by other agencies on the market as being pure, strong, and free from any unwanted additives. You also need to ensure that the supplement contains OptiMSM®, a scientifically proven, patented, distilled form of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

It is also important to ensure that the dosage amount is closely observed. MSM general supplements commonly contain 500-2000mg per serving, while those marketed for joint health may contain 1000-3000mg doses, depending on the research done. The supplement should not contain any other compound, which means the ingredient list should be as follows: MSM and nothing else.

Dosage and Side Effects

In the case of MSM, it is essential to know the correct dosage to take and the side effects that may be experienced. MSM is not toxic and is regarded to be safe for consumption, but then taking the correct dosage is essential to enjoy the full benefits that come with MSM without having to suffer from side effects.

For MSM overall inflammation and antioxidation usage, recommended doses are between 500 and 2000 mg per day. However, in cases of osteoarthritis and joint pains, the clinical trials that have been carried out administer doses that are higher than the daily dose range of 1,200 to 2,400mg.

MSM supplements exist in capsule, tablet, and powder forms for convenient usage. The FDA has approved MSM as a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) substance, demonstrating that it is safe for use and has minimal side effects when used in the recommended doses.

Moreover, clinical studies have explored the efficacy of high doses, including up to 4,800mg per day for several months, and have not reported severe side effects. Individuals with known allergies or sensitivities to sulfur-containing compounds should avoid intake of MSM to avoid allergic reactions.

Patients with kidney or liver diseases should not take MSM supplements or do so only if their physician has recommended it. There are no known severe interactions with other drugs, but it is recommended not to consume MSM together with alcohol since this may increase the risk or worsen the side effects of MSM.

In general, the safety of MSM is well documented and supported by several studies that have been conducted. However, it is still better to be cautious and begin with a small amount, gradually increasing the dosage depending on your personal tolerance level.

It is recommended that you talk to your doctor should inform you of the right dosage to take and any side effects you may experience in case you have any other medical condition. As with any other supplement, it is recommended that one should take MSM after consulting with a doctor.

Thus, MSM is a natural supplement that, when taken in the right dosage and from a reputable source, can provide the body with numerous benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ones, as evidenced by the available research.

Provided that MSM supplements are taken as directed and any potential side effects are understood, MSM can be a responsible inclusion to anyone’s daily lifestyle if seeking support for their joints, allergies, post-workout recovery, and much more.

Just like any other medicinal component, if you have other medical complications, it is always advisable to seek medical advice, and when doing this, try to explain your symptoms and any other relevant history you may have.

FAQs

What is MSM?

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur-containing compound found naturally in plants, animals, and humans, often used as a dietary supplement for its health benefits.

How does MSM help with joint pain?

MSM reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, alleviating joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, particularly in conditions like arthritis.

Can MSM supplements help with muscle recovery?

Yes, MSM helps decrease muscle damage and soreness, speeding up recovery after exercise by reducing inflammation and supporting muscle repair.

Are there any anti-inflammatory benefits of MSM?

MSM raises glutathione levels in the body, an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and prevents the excessive release of inflammatory cytokines.

How can MSM improve skin health?

MSM may increase keratin levels, improving skin health by reducing redness, itching, and improving skin color in conditions like rosacea.

Can MSM supplements boost the immune system?

Yes, MSM enhances immune strength by decreasing oxidative stress and inhibiting inflammatory cytokines, thus supporting overall immune health.

Are there any potential side effects of taking MSM?

While generally safe, MSM can cause mild side effects like gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and in rare cases, allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to sulfur.

Who should avoid taking MSM supplements?

Individuals with known allergies to sulfur-containing compounds, and those with kidney or liver diseases, should consult a doctor before taking MSM supplements.

Conclusion

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a chemical with sulfur that has been identified to have numerous health benefits and is supported by many science-based studies. MSM is a dietary supplement that fights inflammation and free radicals, which might help treat numerous diseases.

MSM can provide relief from joint pain and stiffness and can help improve the range of motion in people with arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases. This may also help in the recovery period required after exercise by showing decreased muscle damage and oxidative stress.

In addition, MSM supplementation has been found to offer benefits such as reducing allergy symptoms, enhancing immunity, and improving skin health.

References:

  1. Fariba Afshar MD, Nafiseh Abdolahi MD, Gholamreza Amin PhD, Hadi Esmaily PhD, Shadi Ziayie PhD, Saeed Azimi PhD, Behnam Darvishi MD, Shima Afshar PhD A randomized, double‐blind placebo‐controlled phase I clinical study on safety and efficacy of the G‐Rup® syrup (a mixture of ginger extract and honey) in symptomatic treatment of knee osteoarthritis. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpt.13812
  2. Efficacy and Safety of a Joint Health Nutritional Supplement for Subjects with Non arthritic Knee Joint Pain: A Double-blind, Placebo-and Active-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial https://www.researchgate.net/publication/367204666_Efficacy_and_Safety_of_a_Joint_Health_Nutritional_Supplement_for_Subjects_with_Non-arthritic_Knee_Joint_Pain_A_Double-blind_Placebo-and_Active-_Controlled_Randomized_Clinical_Trial_Journal_of_Orthoped
  3. Withee ED, Tippens KM, Dehen R, Tibbitts D, Hanes D, Zwickey H. Effects of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) on exercise-induced oxidative stress, muscle damage, and pain following a half-marathon: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jul 21;14:24. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0181-z. PMID: 28736511; PMCID: PMC5521097. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5521097/
  4. Butawan M, Benjamin RL, Bloomer RJ. Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement. Nutrients. 2017 Mar 16;9(3):290. doi: 10.3390/nu9030290. PMID: 28300758; PMCID: PMC5372953. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372953/
  5. MSM trials for osteoarthritis https://versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/complementary-and-alternative-treatments/types-of-complementary-treatments/msm/
  6. Toguchi A, Noguchi N, Kanno T, Yamada A. Methylsulfonylmethane Improves Knee Quality of Life in Participants with Mild Knee Pain: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2023 Jun 30;15(13):2995. doi: 10.3390/nu15132995. PMID: 37447322; PMCID: PMC10346176. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10346176/
  7. Barmaki S, Bohlooli S, Khoshkhahesh F, Nakhostin-Roohi B. Effect of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on exercise - Induced muscle damage and total antioxidant capacity. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Apr;52(2):170-4. PMID: 22525653. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22525653/
  8. UPLC-PDA-MS/MS Profiling and Healing Activity of Polyphenol-Rich Fraction of Alhagi maurorum against Oral Ulcer in Rats by Hala El-Zahar 1ORCID,Esther T. Menze 2,Heba Handoussa 3,Ahmed K. Osman 4ORCID,Mohamed El-Shazly 3,5,*,Nada M. Mostafa 5,*,†ORCID andNoha Swilam 6,*,†ORCID https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/11/3/455