Health Benefits of MSM

Medically Reviewed by Dany Paul Baby, MD on November 24, 2022
3 min read

MSM is an abbreviation for methylsulfonylmethane, a chemical found naturally in plants and animals. This organic compound is made synthetically and often combined with glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate.

MSM is a potent anti-inflammatory commonly used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, and tenosynovitis. Some people use MSM to treat gastrointestinal disorders like constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis.

A small number of foods do contain methylsulfonylmethane but only in very small amounts. Taking MSM in supplement form is a much easier way to increase your intake than looking to find it in foods.

MSM is essential for supporting many different functions in the body. It is vital for supporting proper cell structure and reversing free-radical damage to cells. MSM also supports the immune system and the body’s ability to repair connective tissue.

MSM can provide health benefits like:

Treat Osteoarthritis

MSM is best known for its effectiveness in easing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Numerous studies have supported the use of MSM for pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, particularly knee problems.

Two studies have considered the positive effects of MSM on knee inflammation. In one study, participants took 1.125 grams, three times, a day for 12 weeks. The treatment group reported improvements in both pain and joint function.

Another group of researchers gave the treatment group 3 grams, two times a day, for 12 weeks. Compared to subjects receiving a placebo, the treatment group reported a significant decrease in pain and improvement in physical function.

Reduce Allergy Symptoms

If you find yourself coughing and sneezing in spring or fall, you probably blame allergies and may even take a few over-the-counter or prescription medications to help. Seasonal allergies are becoming more prevalent, and millions of Americans rely on antihistamines to manage their symptoms. Researchers have determined that MSM can help alleviate the common symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), such as sneezing, nasal congestion, sinus pressure, and coughing.

In one study, participants took 2,600 milligrams per day of MSM for 30 days, and researchers took measurements during and after treatment. They concluded that MSM helped relieve both upper and lower respiratory symptoms, and people in the study reported increased energy levels throughout the study. If you battle seasonal allergies, MSM might offer some relief.

Speed Up Exercise Recovery

If you exercise regularly, you may have experienced muscle pain and soreness as a result of your workouts. Athletes, and particularly runners, often have to interrupt their training regimen because of muscle and joint pain that requires rest or treatment.

Researchers determined that MSM can help athletes recover more quickly from hard training sessions. Long-distance runners who regularly experience oxidative stress and muscle damage took 3 grams per day, for 21 days before a half-marathon race. The people in the study reported lower levels of joint and muscle pain after completing the race compared to the control group. If you’re an athlete or exercise regularly, MSM could help support healing after intense training and performance sessions.

Preserve Youthful Skin 

Taking good care of your skin as you age is important, from paying attention to moisture and hydration to wearing sunscreen regularly to avoid damage. Many skin creams contain MSM, which promises that this compound will reduce the appearance of wrinkles when applied topically. Researchers set out to determine if oral supplementation of MSM would produce the same anti-aging result.

Participants took 3 grams of MSM per day for 16 weeks. The photographic analysis showed that the treatment group saw significant improvement in the appearance of crow’s feet and overall facial wrinkling.

MSM supplementation is generally recognized as safe. Several clinical trials have proven MSM to be well tolerated with few side effects. Some have reported gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, or nausea.

There are no reported drug interactions, but it’s always best to check with your doctor when you’re considering taking a new supplement.

Research hasn’t established an optimal dosage for MSM. Check supplement formulations with your doctor to make sure the dosages in them are appropriate for you to receive maximum potential benefits of MSM.