Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM)
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM)?

MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) is a sulfur-containing compound normally found in many of the foods we eat. It is chemically related to DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), a popular (although unproven) treatment for arthritis. When DMSO is applied on the skin or taken orally, about 15% of it breaks down in the body to form MSM. 1 Some researchers have suggested that the resulting MSM could be responsible for the benefits attributed to DMSO. If so, MSM might be preferable as a treatment, because it does not cause some of the unpleasant side effects associated with DMSO treatment, such as body odor and bad breath. In addition, as a natural substance found in food, MSM would be expected to have a good safety profile. However, there is as yet no more than preliminary evidence that MSM is useful...

Two small double-blind, placebo-controlled studies indicate that MSM may be helpful for osteoarthritis . 2 In one small, placebo-controlled trial, the topical application of methylsulfonylmethane with silymarin ( milk thistle ) for 1 month appeared to be effective in the treatment of 46 subjects with the skin condition rosacea . () Small, unpublished trials have been used to claim that MSM is effective for the treatment of snoring, aiding the growth of nails and hair, and assisting in recovery from sports injuries . 3 However, the design of each of these studies was substandard, and the results were not subjected to any proper statistical analysis; therefore, they cannot be taken as meaningful evidence of efficacy.

One study in mice found positive effects of MSM in the...

Safety Issues

MSM is a natural component of the foods we normally eat and is not believed to be toxic. A laboratory study examining doses up to 8 g per kilogram of body weight per day (about 250 times the highest dose normally used by humans) reported that no toxic effects were seen. 4 Maximum safe doses for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with liver or kidney disease are not known. Possible drug interactions are also not known.