MSM – a sulfur compound with pro-health activity

On the market of dietary supplements, you can find many substances with a potential beneficial effect on the human body.One of them is MSM – an organic sulfur compound, a natural substance, as well as synthetically obtained.Well absorbed, easily available and inexpensive.It is suggested that the use of MSM may bring health benefits.What exactly is MSM?Is it really worth to supplement this relationship?

  1. MSM – characteristics

MSM, otherwise known as methylsulfonylmethane or dimethyl sulfone, is an organic sulfur compound commonly used as a dietary supplement.Methylsulfonylmethane is a naturally occurring compound with biological activity.It contains organic sulfur, it is strongly bound to dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO – an organic form of sulfur synthetically produced from lignin), which is transformed in the body into MSM.This compound is a source of sulfur in the process of endogenous synthesis of certain amino acids.

The natural synthesis of MSM occurs in algae, phytoplankton and other marine microorganisms.It takes place on the principle of sulphate uptake in order to create special complexes called DMSP (dimethylsulfonopropionate).As a result of chemical reactions, dimethyl sulphide (DMS) is formed.Atmospheric DMS contributes to the formation of clouds and their increased condensation.In this way, it can return to earth as a result of precipitation.It dissolves in sediments, where DMS or MSM is transformed.

Due to the intake of this component from the soil, MSM is present in vegetables, fruits and cereals.It also occurs in grains, beer, port wine, coffee, tea and cow’s milk.The content of methylsulfonylmethane in food products depends on their individual characteristics and soil.MSM is easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.Interestingly, the absorption of MSM from food depends on the intestinal microbiome.It turns out that intestinal bacteria have a very large impact on the use of MSM from food.Methylsulfonylmethane is also produced in the chemical synthesis process.This makes it possible to provide this ingredient for health-promoting purposes, since its total presence in food products may be small.


  1. The influence of MSM on the human body

Recently, the number of scientific reports confirming the beneficial biological functions of the sulfur compound in question has increased.He is credited with influencing metabolism and improving circulation.MSM can also improve wound healing, relieve stress, reduce pain or increase energy.It turns out that it can also be used to treat parasitic infections.

Scientific literature indicates the important role of the sulfur compound in the treatment of arthritis, other diseases associated with inflammation (eg interstitial cystitis), allergic rhinitis or acute inflammation caused by excessive physical exertion.

Already in 1991, the beneficial properties of MSM were described, consisting in reducing the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis associated with their inflammation.Due to the potential contribution of sulfur in the regeneration of connective tissue MSM was considered an effective analgesic and anti-inflammatory.According to some reports, this compound may also reduce muscle damage caused by prolonged physical activity.

Due to the high antioxidative potential, MSM can affect the reduction of excessive amounts of oxygen radicals arising as a result of mental and physical stress.Free radicals (ROS) in small amounts are needed in the body, because they activate the appropriate pathways at the cellular level.Excess ROS is a promoter of the development of inflammation.MSM affects the balance of oxygen radicals and antioxidant enzymes in the body.It also inhibits the production of proinflammatory cytokines.The effect of this compound on the inhibition of protein oxidation, bilirubin, lipid peroxidation, creatine kinase or uric acid was also observed.MSM supplementation increases the concentration of glutathione – an organic compound with antioxidant activity in the blood serum.

Due to the anti-inflammatory effects of MSM, some authors also attribute to him an anti-cancer effect.This compound regulates the formation of cancer cells at the stage of their division and multiplication.MSM is cytotoxic to cancer cells, inhibits their viability and cell cycle.Attention is drawn to the use of methylsulfonylmethane in the reduction of tumor cells of gastric and intestinal cancer, liver and colon cancer.MSM also has the ability to reduce insulin-like growth factor, whose elevated level is observed in many other diseases.

Chronic stress weakens the body’s immune system.MSM plays a key role in the regulation of the body’s immune response.This is related to the ability of this compound to reduce inflammation.The immunomodulatory potential is also associated with the reduction of oxidative stress.It has been observed that the use of MSM before physical exercise effectively reduces oxidative stress.Anti-inflammatory use of MSM is also observed in the case of colitis, interstitial cystitis or damage to the lung and liver.

With respect to the results of studies, the impact of MSM on allergic reactions is still unclear.There have been reports of potential effects on the release of histamine – a biogenic amine produced during allergic reactions, but this issue requires further investigation.However, a beneficial effect of MSM on reducing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and in the case of allergic inflammation was observed.

Research carried out so far has reported a positive impact of MSM in arthritic diseases.This information may be important for people struggling with osteoarthritis or inflammatory diseases.It has been observed that the use of MSM reduces the number of factors inducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).Supplementation with this compound may affect the pain reduction of joints and their stiffness and edema.MSM protects joint cartilage from degradation by suppressing the effects of proinflammatory cytokines.Methylsulfonylmethane also positively affects the synovium.It reduces the characteristic, irregular joint edges in the case of inflammatory diseases of the joints.The authors of the study point out that the beneficial effects resulting from the use of MSM are also observed in the case of combining it with collagen and boswellic acids, as well as with the simultaneous use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate (GCM).The need for further research to assess the direct impact of MSM on joint cartilage.

MSM supplementation may also improve general physical activity, in particular patients with osteoarthritis (degeneration of the joints).In a US study involving 100 patients with arthritis receiving 6g MSM per day over a 26-week period, a reduction in pain and improvement in overall physical fitness was observed in the study group.

It is suggested that MSM may affect the condition of the skin as a source of sulfur for keratin.Scientific data in this case, however, are ambiguous.Some authors, however, confirm that MSM can improve skin elasticity and pigmentation.The beneficial effect of MSM was also observed in reducing rosacea discomfort, but this effect was observed in combination with silymarin contained in spotted orchid.

MSM Powder

  1. MSM supplementation – indications, dosage

MSM can be used either orally or locally.Current scientific data recommend supplementation starting at a dose of 3 g. Some studies suggest the possibility of using up to 6 g of MSM during the day.The researchers’ position regarding the appropriate dose of MSM is ambiguous, therefore it is suggested to use 1-5 g of methylsulfonylmethane per day.

Attention is also paid to the duration of supplementation and the dose of MSM.In many studies, more beneficial effects were observed after prolonged MSM supplementation and using a higher concentration of compound.Antioxidant abilities in athletes performing resistance exercise have been proven during supplementation at a dose of 3 g daily for 28 days.Such dependence was not noticed as a result of shorter 14-day supplementation.

  1. The validity of supplementation – opinions

Methylsulfonylmethane is considered a safe dietary supplement, and its pro-health properties can positively affect health. Methylsulfonylmethane is a relatively new compound, but its popularity has increased in recent years.That is why the number of studies on supplementation is limited.

It should be noted, however, that in the animal studies carried out so far, the occurrence of side effects is minor.Adverse reactions were observed only when using incorrect doses of MSM.The side effects of supplementation appeared after doses 5-7 times higher than the suggested norms.According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MSM is considered to be beneficial to health at doses below 484.6 mg per day.

Therefore, MSM is considered a safe dietary supplement.It is also listed as an aid to the treatment of arthritis in the Guide to Alternative Therapies for OA – an American guide to alternative treatments for degenerative joint disease.

Some reports indicate hypersensitivity to alcohol during MSM supplementation, however, no clinical studies have been carried out to confirm this claim.

The data available in the scientific literature allow us to conclude that the use of MSM may have many health benefits.The therapeutic properties of MSM indicate that this compound may play an important role in the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the joints, allergies and cancer.Based on the data collected so far, MSM supplementation can be considered safe, which suggests the inclusion of this compound in the daily diet.It is worth noting that the beneficial effects of MSM supplementation are often noted when the compound is combined with other bioactive components, in particular in the course of inflammatory diseases of the joints.MSM can effectively help in the treatment of certain diseases.


You can read also:  Antioxidants and training adaptation