Alternate Title

  • Methylsulfonylmethane

Related Terms

  • Crystalline DMSO, dimethyl sulfone, DMSO2, methyl sulfone, methyl sulfonyl methane, methyl-sulfonyl-methane, methylsulfonylmethane, OptiMSM®, sulfonyl sulfur.

Background

  • Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a form of organic sulfur that occurs naturally in a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and animals. MSM is a normal oxidation product of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). It arises from a series of reactions that begin on the surface waters of the ocean. MSM is a white, odorless, crystalline substance that is water-soluble and contains 34% element sulfur.
  • No evidence suggests that MSM is a necessary part of a normal diet. Sulfur is considered an essential mineral, but no dietary requirement has been established for it. MSM as a vital source of dietary sulfur is unsupported by published research. The nutrient is generally well tolerated, but long-term effects of supplementation with MSM have not been examined.
  • MSM seemed to improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis and osteoarthritis. However, more high quality research using MSM is necessary to define its role in treating these conditions. Although the Arthritis Foundation reports that MSM is used for pain and inflammation, they do not recommend its use due to lack of clinical trials.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    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.

    Allergic rhinitis

    Preliminary study suggests that MSM may reduce symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). However, additional study is needed to confirm these findings.

    Osteoarthritis

    Preliminary study has used MSM, alone or in combination with glucosamine, in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The combination may provide pain relief and reduction in inflammation. Further studies on MSM and its effects on patients with osteoarthritis are warranted.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    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.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older)

    • MSM comes in various dosages and is an ingredient in many products. Adult dosage may range from 500-8,000 milligrams daily with or after meals. For allergic rhinitis, 2,600 milligrams per day for up to 30 days has been used. For osteoarthritis, 500 milligrams per day for up to 12 weeks has been used.
  • Children (younger than 18 years)

    • There is no proven effective dose of MSM in children.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    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 in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to MSM.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Studies have shown safety and tolerability of MSM products when taken by mouth in recommended doses. Minimal side effects, including mild gastrointestinal discomfort, have been associated with the use of MSM. No studies on the long-term effects of MSM have been conducted.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • MSM is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Although not well studied in humans, MSM may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. In theory, use of MSM with other anti-inflammatory or antioxidant agents may have additive effects.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Although not well studied in humans, MSM may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. In theory, use of MSM with other anti-inflammatory or antioxidant herbs or supplements may have additive effects.

Attribution

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

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

  • Barrager E, Veltmann JR Jr, Schauss AG, et al. A multicentered, open-label trial on the safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. J Altern Complement Med 2002;8(2):167-173.
    View Abstract
  • Beilke MA, Collins-Lech C, Sohnle PG. Effects of dimethyl sulfoxide on the oxidative function of human neutrophils. J Lab Clin Med 1987;110(1):91-96.
    View Abstract
  • Horvath K, Noker PE, Somfai-Relle S, et al. Toxicity of methylsulfonylmethane in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2002;40(10):1459-1462.
    View Abstract
  • Layman DL, Jacob SW. The absorption, metabolism and excretion of dimethyl sulfoxide by rhesus monkeys. Life Sci 12-23-1985;37(25):2431-2437.
    View Abstract
  • Lin A, Nguy CH, Shic F, et al. Accumulation of methylsulfonylmethane in the human brain: identification by multinuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Toxicol Lett 9-15-2001;123(2-3):169-177.
    View Abstract
  • Richmond VL. Incorporation of methylsulfonylmethane sulfur into guinea pig serum proteins. Life Sci 7-21-1986;39(3):263-268.
    View Abstract
  • Usha PR, Naidu MU. Randomised, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and their combination in osteoarthritis. Clin Drug Invest 2004;24:353-363.