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MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)

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Also listed as: Methylsulfonylmethane
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Crystalline DMSO, dimethyl sulfone, DMSO2, methyl sulfone, methyl sulfonyl methane, methyl-sulfonyl-methane, methylsulfonylmethane, MSM, MSM Relief, OptiMSM® 650mg, sulfonyl sulfur.
  • Combination product examples: AR7 Joint Complex (sternum collagen, methylsulfonylmethane, cetyl myristoleate, lipase, vitamin C, bromelain) (Robinson Pharma, Santa Ana, CA); FlexmaxT Glucosamine with MSM (glucosamine sulfate potassium chloride, methylsulfonylmethane, maltodextrin, cellulose, stearic acid, modified cellulose, silica, glycerine); Flex-A-Min® Complete (glucosamine HCl, MSM, chondroitin complex, white willow, ginger, SAM-e, hyaluronic acid, collagen, Boswellia, citrus bioflavonoids); Osteo Bi-Flex: Plus MSM SmoothcapT (glucosamine HCl, MSM/chondroitin complex, vitamin C, manganese, boron, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, yellow 5 lake, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, yellow 6 lake, maltodextrin, dextrose, soy lecithin, sodium citrate, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake); ProctoialT (hyaluronic acid, tea tree oil and MSM); Tenosan® (arginine L-alpha-ketoglutarate, MSM, hydrolyzed type I collagen, bromelain); MagProT (magnesium and MSM).

Background
  • Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a form of organic sulfur that is found in many different fruits, vegetables, grains, and animals. MSM is a product of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and is also known as DMSO2, methyl sulfone, and dimethyl sulfone. It is made by reactions that occur on the surface water of the ocean. MSM is white, odorless, and crystalline. It dissolves in water and contains 34% elemental sulfur.
  • Evidence supporting the need for dietary MSM or the use of MSM as a source of dietary sulfur is lacking. Although sulfur is thought to be an essential mineral, there is no dietary requirement for it.
  • MSM has been studied for its possible benefits for allergy symptoms affecting the nose, osteoarthritis, and antioxidant status. However, more research is needed.
  • MSM is generally well tolerated. However, studies on its long-term effects are lacking.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Studies suggest that MSM may have antioxidant activity in people who exercise. More research is needed to determine the proper dose.

B


MSM has been studied in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), both alone and combined with glucosamine, with small benefit. More studies on MSM and its effects on osteoarthritis are needed.

B


Early research suggests that a combination treatment containing MSM may reduce swelling and oxidative stress in people who have circulation problems. However, the effects of MSM alone need to be determined, as it may increase swelling. More research is needed.

C


The use of MSM in exercise performance is unclear. One study found a lack of benefit on endurance when applying a combination product containing MSM to the skin; however, another study found a possible benefit with MSM in reducing muscle soreness and fatigue following exercise. More research is needed to form a strong conclusion.

C


MSM has shown to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms in early research. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

C


Research has found that a combination product containing MSM significantly improved symptoms of hemorrhoids. However, the effects of MSM alone are unclear, and additional research is needed.

C


A combination treatment containing MSM has been studied for possible effects on skin redness, itching, color, and bumps. However, the effects of MSM alone need to be determined. More research is needed.

C


A combination treatment containing MSM showed benefit in people with Achilles tendon injury. Additionally, an MSM combination product has also shown a reduction in pain and an improvement in wound repair after surgery. However, improvement in function was lacking. The effects of MSM alone need to be determined. More research is needed.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, allergic skin reactions, anti-spasm, autoimmune diseases (lupus erythematosus), burns, cancer, constipation, cramps, diabetes, eye disorders, headache, heartburn, immune stimulation, inflammation, inflammatory conditions (scleroderma/connective tissue disorders), insect bites, interstitial cystitis (chronic inflamed bladder), liver disease, lung disease, mood disorder, muscle and joint disorders, obesity, pain, parasites, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), radiation side effects, rheumatoid arthritis, scar prevention, sinus problems, skin conditions (stretch marks), snoring, stomach problems, tennis elbow, tooth disease, wrinkle prevention.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • MSM comes in different doses and is found in many products. Adult doses range from 500 to 8,000 milligrams daily with or after meals.
  • For an antioxidant, 50 milligrams per kilogram of MSM in 200 milliliters of water has been taken by mouth daily for 10 days. 1.5 or 3 grams of MSM has been taken by mouth daily for 30 days.
  • For osteoarthritis, 500 milligrams of MSM has been taken by mouth three times daily for up to 12 weeks. 3 grams of MSM has been taken by mouth twice daily for 12 weeks. 1.125 grams of MSM has been taken by mouth three times daily for 12 weeks.
  • For hay fever, 2,600 milligrams of MSM has been taken by mouth daily for up to 30 days.
  • For exercise performance enhancement, 1.5 or 3 grams of MSM has been taken by mouth daily for 30 days.
  • For soft tissue injury, 50 milligrams per kilogram of MSM in 200 milliliters of water has been taken by mouth daily for 10 days.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for MSM in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to MSM.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • MSM is likely safe when taken by mouth in recommended doses of 500 milligrams daily to 3 grams twice daily for up to 12 weeks. Studies on the long-term effects of MSM are lacking.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Use cautiously in people who have stomach disorders. MSM may cause side effects such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and mild stomach discomfort.
  • Use cautiously in people who have circulation problems, such as chronic venous insufficiency. MSM may cause increased swelling.
  • Use cautiously in people who have nervous system disorders. MSM may cause decreased concentration, headache, and sleep problems.
  • Use cautiously in children and in women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, due to a lack of safety data.
  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to MSM.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of MSM during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • MSM may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
  • MSM may interact with agents for exercise enhancement, agents that are passed through the urine, agents that stimulate the central nervous system, agents that treat arthritis, agents that treat skin conditions, agents that treat stomach conditions, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory agents, laxatives, pain relievers, and wound-healing agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • MSM may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
  • MSM may interact with antihistamines, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, herbs and supplements for exercise performance, herbs and supplements that are passed through the urine, herbs and supplements that stimulate the central nervous system, herbs and supplements that treat arthritis, herbs and supplements that treat skin conditions, herbs and supplements that treat stomach conditions, laxatives, pain relievers, and wound-healing herbs and supplements.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Barmaki S, Bohlooli S, Khoshkhahesh F, et al. Effect of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on exercise - Induced muscle damage and total antioxidant capacity. J Sports Med Phys.Fitness 2012;52(2):170-174.
  2. Berardesca E, Cameli N, Cavallotti C, et al. Combined effects of silymarin and methylsulfonylmethane in the management of rosacea: clinical and instrumental evaluation. J Cosmet.Dermatol 2008;7(1):8-14.
  3. Brien S, Prescott P, Lewith G. Meta-analysis of the related nutritional supplements dimethyl sulfoxide and methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Evid.Based.Complement Alternat.Med 2011;2011:528403.
  4. Debbi EM, Agar G, Fichman G, et al. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study. BMC.Complement Altern.Med 2011;11:50.
  5. Gulick DT, Agarwal M, Josephs J, et al. Effects of MagPro on muscle performance. J Strength.Cond.Res 2012;26(9):2478-2483.
  6. Gumina S, Passaretti D, Gurzi MD, et al. Arginine L-alpha-ketoglutarate, methylsulfonylmethane, hydrolyzed type I collagen and bromelain in rotator cuff tear repair: a prospective randomized study. Curr Med Res Opin 2012;28(11):1767-1774.
  7. Kalman DS, Feldman S, Scheinberg AR, et al. Influence of methylsulfonylmethane on markers of exercise recovery and performance in healthy men: a pilot study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2012;9(1):46.
  8. Joksimovic N, Spasovski G, Joksimovic V, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of hyaluronic acid, tea tree oil and methyl-sulfonyl-methane in a new gel medical device for treatment of haemorrhoids in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Updates.Surg 2012;64(3):195-201.
  9. Lopez HL. Nutritional interventions to prevent and treat osteoarthritis. Part II: focus on micronutrients and supportive nutraceuticals. PM.R. 2012;4(5 Suppl):S155-S168.
  10. Moazzami AA, Zhang JX, Kamal-Eldin A, et al. Nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics enable detection of the effects of a whole grain rye and rye bran diet on the metabolic profile of plasma in prostate cancer patients. J Nutr. 2011;141(12):2126-2132.
  11. Nakhostin-Roohi B, Barmaki S, Khoshkhahesh F, et al. Effect of chronic supplementation with methylsulfonylmethane on oxidative stress following acute exercise in untrained healthy men. J Pharm.Pharmacol. 2011;63(10):1290-1294.
  12. Notarnicola A, Pesce V, Vicenti G, et al. SWAAT study: extracorporeal shock wave therapy and arginine supplementation and other nutraceuticals for insertional Achilles tendinopathy. Adv.Ther 2012;29(9):799-814.
  13. Notarnicola A, Tafuri S, Fusaro L, et al. The "MESACA" study: methylsulfonylmethane and boswellic acids in the treatment of gonarthrosis. Adv.Ther 2011;28(10):894-906.
  14. Tripathi R, Gupta S, Rai S, et al. Effect of topical application of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), EDTA on pitting edema and oxidative stress in a double blind, placebo-controlled study. Cell Mol.Biol.(Noisy.-le-grand) 2011;57(1):62-69.
  15. Tsui T, Boon H, Boecker A, et al. Understanding the role of scientific evidence in consumer evaluation of natural health products for osteoarthritis an application of the means end chain approach. BMC.Complement Altern Med 2012;12:198.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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