Methylsulfonylmethane (msm)
Methylsulfonylmethane (msm)

Background

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a chemical that occurs naturally in humans, as well as some green plants and animals. It can also be made in a lab.

MSM might supply sulfur to make other chemicals in the body. But there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for MSM or sulfur, and sulfur deficiency is not a known condition.

People commonly use MSM for osteoarthritis. It is also used for pain, swelling, aging skin, hay fever, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

Don't confuse MSM with DMSO (Dimethylsulfoxide). They are not the same compound.
When taken by mouth: MSM is possibly safe when used for up to 6 months. In some people, MSM might cause nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach discomfort.

When applied to the skin: MSM is possibly safe when used in combination with other ingredients, such as silymarin or hyaluronic acid and tea tree oil, for up to 20 days.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if MSM is safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Varicose veins and other circulatory problems (chronic venous insufficiency): Applying a lotion that contains MSM to the lower limbs can increase swelling and pain in people with varicose veins and other circulatory problems.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Osteoarthritis. Taking MSM by mouth, alone or together with other ingredients such as glucosamine, can slightly reduce pain and swelling and improve function in people with osteoarthritis.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • Poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell (chronic venous insufficiency or CVI). Applying MSM and EDTA to the skin can reduce swelling in people with CVI. But applying MSM alone seems to make swelling worse.
There is interest in using MSM for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

MSM has most often been used by adults in doses of 1-6 grams by mouth daily for up to 16 weeks. MSM is also available in combination products, and topical creams and gels. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) interacts with any medicines. Before taking Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 07/12/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 14/03/2014 03:26:28. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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