Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Disclaimer: This post is currently being reviewed because it does not fit our standards for quality.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound stored in every cell of the body. It helps the hair, skin, and nails grow faster, softer and stronger apart from improving neurological functions and reducing pain. Continue to read to know the other benefits of this supplement and why it is essential for you!


MSM is methylsulfonylmethane, also known as dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2) and methyl sulfone (R).

The chemical formula for MSM is C2H6O2S.

It is an organic sulfur-containing compound found in foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, and beverages (R).

MSM is a source of sulfur which is an important component of proteins, collagen, keratin, hormones, and enzymes (RR2).

Health Benefits of MSM

1) MSM Is an Antioxidant

MSM is a strong antioxidant, capable of inactivating free radicals (RR2).

MSM provides the sulfur for powerful antioxidants such as glutathione, and amino acids methionine, cysteine and taurine (RR2R3).

MSM potentiates the effect of other nutritional antioxidants, such as vitamins C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and selenium (R).

2) MSM Helps with Methylation

MSM is a putative methyl donor.

MSM helps reduce homocysteine levels, suggesting a potential role of MSM in the process of methylation and proving its ability to reduce oxidative stress (R).

2) MSM May Have Anti-inflammatory Effects

MSM decreases inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-8 (RR2).

It also decreased the production of other inflammatory molecules, including nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 (R)

3) MSM Treats Arthritis and Joint Pain

A study in animals found that MSM was an effective supplement to improve the effects of osteoarthritis in the knee.

In osteoarthritis patients, after 12 weeks of supplementation with 1.125 g of MSM 3 times a day, pain levels and inflammation decreased, while physical function improved. The pain was reduced by 33% based on a scoring system for osteoarthritis patients (R).

It should be noted that the improvements were small, so it is still unknown if there is any clinical significance, particularly as there are not any studies on the long-term effects of MSM on osteoarthritis (R).

4) MSM Helps with Digestive Problems

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) may help rebuild the lining of the digestive tract.

It can help stop particles from leaving small junctions, which would improve symptoms in patients with Leaky Gut Syndrome (R).

Oral intake of MSM had anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects thus protecting gut damage in rats with colitis (R).

Further studies are needed to evaluate protective effects of MSM in treating inflammatory bowel diseases in humans.

Additionally, MSM supplements may reduce pain and swelling caused by hemorrhoids (R).

5) MSM Can Be Used To Treat Skin Problems

In animal studies, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has been found to soften skin and strengthen nails (R).

Another study found that Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can also be used to improve erythematous-telangiectatic rosacea. It improved skin redness, papules, itching, hydration, and returned the skin to a normal color.

MSM did not improve the burning sensation that some patients experience as a symptom of Rosacea. However, it did improve the intensity and longevity of the stinging sensation (RR2).

6) MSM Improves Muscle Recovery

A study done in animals found that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an effective supplement to decrease muscle damage via promotion on antioxidant capacity.

Increased antioxidant capacity inhibited lipid peroxidation (destruction of fat), which helped decrease leakage, and thus the release of CK and LDH in the blood.

CK and LDH levels are usually elevated after intense muscle usage. MSM facilitates repair and is able to remove lactic acid, which causes the burning sensation after exercise (R).

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) also repairs rigid fibrous tissue cells in muscles that are broken down during muscle usage. Thus, it decreases muscle pain and improves muscle recovery and increase energy levels (R).

3 g of MSM supplementation daily for 30 days in healthy, moderately active men is able to reduce muscle soreness (R).

7) MSM Can Help Reverse Hair Loss

A study in rats found that Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can help treat hair loss (alopecia).

When applied to depilated back skin of male rats along with MAP (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate) it was found that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), with MAP, improves hair growth in a dose-proportional manner by boosting collagen and keratin levels (R).

8) MSM Improves the Effects of Pitting Edema

In one study in animals, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) was used with EDTA in a lotion to treat Pitting Edema. EDTA does not effectively penetrate the cell membrane on its own but does in conjunction with MSM.

It was found that together, MSM and EDTA, is an effective therapeutic agent for lower extremity pitting edema through the reduction of oxidative stress (R).

9) MSM May Relieve Allergies

Allergic symptoms (runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, stuffed nose, sneezing) as well as lower respiratory symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath) were reduced in persons with seasonal allergic rhinitis after taking 2600mg of MSM supplementation for one month (R).

It is believed that MSM alleviates allergies through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and binding to the mucosa thus blocking host and allergen contact (RR2).

Further studies examining the effects of MSM on the inflammation are necessary to determine the method of action of MSM.

10) MSM May Be Potential Cancer Treatment

MSM may be toxic to cancer cells including gut, breast, and melanoma cells (RR2R3).

In mice, MSM decreased tumor growth and size (by decreasing IGF-1 signalling via STAT proteins) (RR2).

11) MSM May Help With Parasites

MSM may be effective treatment for worms, giardia, and trichomonas.

Research shows that MSM lays a coating in the gut making it impossible for parasites to attach themselves, and are therefore flushed out of the body.

According to Dr. Herschler, MSM concentrations of 20 mg/mL concentrations were effective against giardia, and concentrations above 40 mg/mL killed the organism (R).

12) MSM May Treat Bladder Disease

Interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic inflammation of the bladder causing bladder pain and frequent urination (R).

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is proven in clinical trials to decrease bladder inflammation, and it is approved by the FDA for the treatment of interstitial cystitis (R, R2).

MSM, the product of DMSO, has also been proposed as effective treatment for interstitial cystitis without the unpleasant side effects of DMSO (R).

13) MSM May Protect Against Autoimmune Diseases

High doses of MSM provide protection against the development of autoimmune lymphoproliferative disease (ALD) in mice.

Mice prone to development of ALD showed increased lifespan, and significant diminished enlargement of lymph nodes and spleen, and anemia when fed a diet including 3% solution MSM drinking water for 1 month (R).

Study with mice with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) showed that MSM has protective effect before and after the onset of the disease. Mice on a diet with MSM suffered lower death and liver damage (R).

Human studies are needed to show an effect of MSM on autoimmune disorders.

14) MSM May Protect Against Heart Disease

MSM may also be beneficial in pulmonary arterial hypertension due to its anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects.

In rat models with pulmonary hypertension, doses of 100-400mg/kg of MSM for 10 days were able to decrease the increase in heart and lung relative weight (R).

15) MSM May Treat Snoring

Study including 35 subjects suffering from chronic snoring has shown that MSM administered to each nostril 15 minutes prior to sleep provided a significant reduction of symptoms in 80% of the subjects after 1 to 4 days of use (R).

How MSM Supplements Work

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supplies the body with extra sulfur to create Methionine, which helps the body synthesize chemicals, form connective tissue, metabolize foods, and absorb nutrients.


MSM is naturally present in a variety of foods such as vegetables (corn, cabbage, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, garlic, beets), fruits (apples, tomatoes, raspberries), cow’s milk, Swiss chard, chicken meat, coffee, tea, and beer (R).

Fresh, raw plant-based foods are the best source of MSM because food processing (cooking, freezing) decreases the amount of MSM found in the food.

MSM is available in the form of capsules/tablets, crystals, powder, lotions, and creams (R).

MSM is currently sold as a single agent, and in combination with other dietary supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate) (R).


There is no recommended intake of MSM supplement set forth by the FDA.

Therefore, the dosage depends on the current health state.

Studies show that 1-3 grams daily divided in 2 to 3 doses seems to be safe and well-tolerated (R).

MSM is generally considered safe and nontoxic to humans at recommended doses (R).

MSM Absorption

MSM taken by mouth is rapidly absorbed in the gut, well distributed in the body, and efficiently excreted in the urine (RR2R3).

Study has shown that after ingestion, MSM gives up its sulfur to form collagen and keratin found in hair and nails, to form amino acids methionine and cysteine, and to form blood proteins (R).

Unlike DMSO, MSM is not readily absorbed through the skin, and it does not help absorption of other substances through the skin into the blood (R).

Lower absorption through the skin may be due to retention in the skin at the site of application which could be beneficial for dermatological conditions.

When DMSO is taken orally or applied on the skin, about 15% of it is converted to MSM (R).

MSM is also absorbed in the brain without causing neurological damage (R).


The exact effects of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) are not well known, but MSM is probably safe to take for up to 3 months.

Side effects include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, nausea, swelling, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, allergy, skin rashes, and headaches (R).

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 3.71 out of 5)


  • jay

    Got hyperglycaemia too after only two days of taking it. Took me a week to realise but by then I could barely get out of bed because of fatigue.

  • P Roto

    When milk or any other food that contains msm is heated (cooked, pasteurised) it denatures/destroys the msm.
    As mentioned above molybdenum is a cofactor.
    1954 artificial petroleum derived fertilisers were introduced en-mass (west), The effect was to disrupt the natural sulphonation cycle of the soil drastically reducing the amount of S in our foods at all levels.
    NKP and CaCo3 is just about all they now add to the soil – one would think that this move was/is intentional 😉

    Health really does start with the soil.

    Modern fertilisers and pesticides are so damaging it is now hard to find authentic sources of nutrition.

    The mineral profile of an individual is the structure that all of our health hangs from. It is the fundamental aspect of health. I have never encountered a so called health professional (MD) who takes stock of this fundamental.
    It should be the primary course of enquiry and I find it baffling that this is absent from their rationale.
    I would surmise that most people are deficient in Mg, S, Cu (bioavailable forms)among others.
    The comparison of mineral contents of modern foods to those cultivated 50 – 100 years ago is astonishing with variances ranging from 5x to 50x less minerals in modern day counterparts.
    Its great that people like yourself take the time to learn about true nutrition.
    Many thanks

  • Terry

    You may need molybdenum to convert it to a useable form

  • Ann

    I used to take MSM for chronic myofascial pain. My naturopath started me at 1 g/meal daily and every week or so added 1 g until I saw an effect. For me it took 3 g/meal daily but the effect was a significant decrease in pain (anything less than 9 g/day wasn’t effective, possibly because my pain at that point hovered around 6-8/10 daily.

  • Zsazsa

    I started getting hyperglycemia after taking very small doses of MSM for a couple of weeks. NAC does the same to me in a couple of days. What’s the deal with it? I can’t convert it to sulfate?

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.