MSM stands for methlysulfonylmethane, a natural compound that contains the mineral sulphur. It’s found in small quantities in fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy foods, cereals and grains.1
What is MSM and what does it do?
MSM has anti-inflammatory activities, so people often take MSM supplements to ease arthritis and other joint or muscle aches and pains – including after exercise. MSM is also believed to help calm inflammatory conditions such as allergic rhinitis; hay fever is a type of allergic rhinitis.2
While organic methylsulfonylmethane is found in fresh, raw foods, MSM – the compound used in supplements – is a white, crystalline powder and contains 34% sulphur.3
Benefits of MSM
What does MSM do in the body?
MSM is rapidly absorbed by the body,4 where it’s said to have a number of effects, such as:
It eases arthritis symptoms – MSM specifically inhibits the activity of a chemical called NF-kB, which plays a key role in regulating the immune response to infection, and is linked to inflammatory disease. MSM also suppresses the production of other inflammatory chemicals in the body.5
This may explain why it’s a popular arthritis remedy; a 2004 study of 118 people with osteoarthritis found those taking MSM, glucosamine, or a combination of both, showed a significant improvement in pain and joint swelling compared with those taking a placebo.6
It tackles allergies – MSM may also have a role to play in suppressing the overactivity of inflammatory compounds that can trigger allergic reactions.7 A trial published in JMIR Research Protocols in 2018 reported that a daily dose of 3g of MSM could reduce the main symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including a stuffy, runny nose, by more than 50% in just two weeks.8
It can support post-exercise recovery – a 2013 study of 16 unfit men revealed that taking MSM could reduce the signs of oxidative stress on their bodies after exercise, helping to protect against damage caused by free-radicals.9 Meanwhile, a 2015 study of 22 runners found that taking 3g of MSM for three weeks before a half marathon and two days afterwards, reduced post-race muscle and joint pain.10
It soothes problem skin – thanks to its anti-inflammatory action, MSM could be an effective skin-care product. Italian researchers discovered that a cream containing a combination of MSM and milk thistle applied to the skin could reduce symptoms of rosacea.11 This may be because MSM is source of sulphur, and sulphur has antibacterial properties that have been shown to tackle mild acne.12
How much MSM is safe to take?
Most people can tolerate doses of MSM up to 4g.
1/2 teaspoon first thing in the morning once a day for a week, then double the next week and double again the next until the pain goes away.
WHOLE MSM comes in two sizes: