MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is an odorless, essentially tasteless, white crystalline chemical demonstrating usefulness as a dietary supplement. MSM is a naturally occurring nutrient, a sulfur compound found in typical human diets and those of virtually all other vertebrates. MSM contributes essential sulfur for the synthesis of connective tissue, enzymes and immunoglobulin production. Sulfur is also an important element in the formation of healthy hair and nails. Research suggests that a minimum concentration in the body may be critical to both maintain normal function and structure.

MSM is a natural component of many fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat. Cow’s milk is a particularly rich source of MSM. However, heat and processing can reduce the MSM quantity in foods. MSM is rated as one of the least toxic substances in biology, similar in toxicity to water and much less toxic than common table salt, for example. It has been widely tested as a food ingredient without any reports of allergic reactions.

It is recommended that first time users start at a low level, taking it with meals and increasing the dose gradually. Later, it can be taken without food. A typical starting recommendation is 250mg per day, increasing to an average therapeutic dose of about 2gm per day.

A single dose of MSM will not usually provide any benefit: MSM needs to be taken for at least 1-2 weeks or even up to 2 months before any results will be seen. People taking MSM may notice additional benefits such as softer skin, harder nails, thicker hair, and softening of scar tissue.

At the Oregon Health Sciences University there have been many observations of what MSM can achieve in the way of health and well-being when taken as a dietary supplement.

 


MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) can help with the following

Allergy  

Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever

Symptoms of pollen allergy may be reduced with MSM supplements. Dr. Stanley Jacobs, author of The Miracle of MSM admits that he does not understand why MSM would help relieve allergies, but he suspects that MSM blocks cell receptor sites for histamine, which triggers allergic symptoms. It is best taken in the evening, a couple of grams per day, perhaps more when the pollen count is high.



 

Sulfa Drug Allergy

Although it is generally believed that people who are allergic to sulfa drugs or do not tolerate sulfite preservatives in foods need not be concerned about the use of MSM and glucosamine sulfate – that these do not give rise to allergic reactions. However, there are reports of individuals who are reactive, so caution is advised.



Autoimmune  

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis) / Risk

“MSM has been shown to be clinically helpful in lupus and may be beneficial in other autoimmune disorders as well.” [Stanley W. Jacob, M.D.] However, some Lupus patients have reported an intolerance to MSM, so caution is advised. Please discontinue use if any negative reaction occurs.



 


Digestion  

Heartburn / GERD

Doctors using MSM agree that patients who have used antacids and histamine receptor antagonists to control hyperacidity can employ MSM with good results.



 

Constipation

Some patients with chronic constipation have experienced continuing relief with a daily supplement of 100-500mg of MSM. The effect appears particularly strong in those who are older.



Immunity  

Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome

According to Dr. Stanley Jacobs, MD, MSM can be helpful in most musculoskeletal pain and inflammation conditions, including fibromyalgia.



Infections  

Parasite, Giardiasis Infection

Oregon Health Sciences University researchers have found that MSM has anti-parasitic properties against giardia.



 

Parasite, Roundworm Infection

Clinical testing suggests MSM has activity against a variety of parasites, including roundworms. It seems to discourage these infections by competing for binding receptor sites at the mucus membrane surface in the intestinal tract.



 

Conjunctivitis

MSM eye drops used frequently may help with mild conjunctivitis. It should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics in serious infection.



 


Inflammation  


 

Tendonitis

Natural agents that have been used in tendonitis include MSM orally for pain relief.



Medications  

Medication Side-Effects

Patients demonstrating drug hypersensitivity to aspirin, several nonsterioid antiarthritic agents (Naprosin, Indocin, Motrin), and oral antibiotics, became drug-tolerant when MSM was given within an hour of or concurrently with the sensitizing drug.



Metabolic  


Musculo-Skeletal  

Osteoarthritis

Research at the UCLA School of Medicine found an 82% reduction in pain after 6 weeks of MSM use in a double-blind study on degenerative arthritis. The study lasted 4 months and involved 16 patients on about 2gm MSM per day; 10 patients on MSM and 6 on placebo. After only 6 weeks, those patients using the MSM experienced better than 80% control of their pain, while those on the placebo experienced 18% improvement. [Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 69th Annual Meeting, Apr. 21-26, 1985, p.692]



 

Joint Pain, General

One preliminary double-blind study, conducted by UCLA School of Medicine professor Ronald Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., followed 16 patients with degenerative arthritis or joint disease. The patients who took MSM daily over a six-week period reported an 80% reduction in pain. Only two of those taking the placebo reported decreased pain (20% [Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, July 1998]



 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

According to Dr. Stanley Jacobs, MD, MSM can be helpful in most musculoskeletal pain and inflammatory conditions, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.



 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The reason why MSM is beneficial against arthritis is unclear. It may be because of its sulfur content, or because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Unlike aspirin, which offers immediate pain relief, MSM takes 3 to 4 weeks before it produces noticeable change, except in rheumatoid patients who have been known to feel differences in just one day, and almost always within 3 to 4 days.

In an animal study on rheumatoid arthritis-like joint degeneration, MSM was effective in reducing joint inflammation, and completely prevented the breakdown of cartilage. According to Dr. Stanley Jacobs, MD, MSM can be helpful in most musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis.



 


 

Gout / Hyperuricemia

According to Dr. Stanley Jacobs, MD, MSM can be helpful in most musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, including gout.



 


Nutrients  


Organ Health  

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

In a study of 7subjects with respiratory deficiency, all were given MSM to take orally. Five had emphysema, and two had lung tumors plus fluid accumulation. At two-week intervals, before and during the MSM supplementation, the five subjects with emphysema were tested for their ability to walk a specific distance. After one month, all emphysema sufferers had at least doubled their walking distance. The two subjects with lung tumors were assessed by attending physicians, nurses and their family as being more alert and with an improved attitude. The lung fluid disappeared during the first months of the test period.



 

Blepharitis

A 15% solution of MSM in isotonic saline was evaluated and found to be a soothing treatment for the eye following accidental injury due to particulate matter in the eye as dust or pollen. A rabbit eye irritated with aqueous sodium lauryl sulfate, quickly cleared when treated every hour with a 10% aqueous solution of MSM. MSM eye drops are commonly available in health food stores.



Pain  

Low Back Pain / Problems

Many sufferers have reported the use of MSM has relieved low back pain and spasms/cramps.



Respiratory  

Problems Associated With Snoring

Research at Oregon Health Sciences University on 35 subjects suffering from chronic snoring has shown that MSM in a 16% water solution administered to each nostril 15 minutes prior to sleep provided significant reduction in 80% of the subjects after 1 to 4 days of use. As a control, a saline solution was substituted for MSM in 8 of the patients who showed relief with MSM, without their knowledge. 7 of these 8 patients resumed loud snoring. This change occurred within 24 hours of the substitution. After the MSM treatment was restored, these 8 showed a significant reduction of snoring again.



Uro-Genital  

Interstitial Cystitis

Stacy J. Childs, MD, of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, recently described 6 patients with interstitial cystitis who benefited from MSM.



 

Vaginitis/Vaginal Infection

Oregon Health Sciences University researchers have found that MSM has anti-parasitic properties against trichomonas.



Key

May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences

Glossary

Enzymes

Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Milligram

(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Gram

(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

Scar Tissue

Fibrous tissue replacing normal tissues destroyed by injury or disease.

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