So what is MSM mainly used for?
MSM is a rich source of sulfur. Anecdotal reports suggest that sulfur can promote growth of hair, nails, skin and cartilage.
Sulfur is often referred to as the "beauty mineral" and many people use it for that reason.
It is also reported to prevent or reduce hair loss.
But the main reason why most people take this supplement is to help with arthritis pain and poor joint functions in the hands and knees.
Some experts believe that if your body does not get enough sulfur, your joints may not function well and this may lead to worsening of arthritis pain.
Continue reading to find out all the health benefits of this popular natural supplement along with suggested dose to use as well as potential side effects that you might experience.
Osteoarthritis / Arthritis
Some research studies show that it works to treat arthritis pain and swelling. It is often combined with glucosamine.
One small study showed that it helps with the symptoms of hay fever.
In animal studies, it seems to slow down the start of colon cancer. Unfortunately, no studies were done in humans to verify this benefit.
More research studies will be needed to show if it will offer benefits against some forms of cancer. In some studies done in rats, it delayed the appearance of tumors.
Topically (on the skin)
It is a naturally occurring chemical in the body and it can be found in dietary sources such as in some green plants, fruits, vegetables and grains.
It is a very good source of sulfur for the body.
It is also referred to as crystalline DMSO but don't confuse that with DMSO which is a different substance.
Sulfur is an important for our body as it is the sixth most abundant macro mineral in breast milk.
As well, it is the third most abundant mineral in our body based on percentage body weight. It is also a component of two amino acids, cysteine and methionine.
Studies show that MSM has a natural anti-inflammatory effect and some experts believe that it may slow down osteoarthritis.
Sulfur is a very important mineral in the formation of the cartilage.
The health benefits of methylsulfonylmethane were first popularized by the book "The Miracle of MSM - The Natural Solutions for Pain" by Dr. Stanley W. Jacob.
There have been reports of side effects such as stomach related complaints (diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, bloating and gas), insomnia and tiredness.
These side effects were mild and were no more common than those report by subjects taking a placebo (sugar pill).
Research studies show that it is safe to use. Dosages up to 6 grams daily have been used safely in human studies.
This supplement comes in capsules, tablets, liquid, softgels and powder format. It is often combined with glucosamine and chondroitin.
The typical dosage used for treating arthritis is 500 mg three times daily.
Dosage up to 3 grams twice daily have been used as well.
Topically, it is available as a cream, gel or lotion. It is commonly combined with glucosamine, chondroitin, Celadrin, menthol and/or camphor and sold as an arthritis pain relief rub.
Is taking MSM alone helpful for health conditions like arthritis, allergies and poor skin quality?
Unfortunately, MSM has not be extensively studies for most health benefits except for treating arthritis pain.
Therefore, in these multiple ingredients formulations, it is hard to tell if MSM is doing the job or that the other ingredients are actually responsible for the benefits seen.
If you decide to take MSM, take it along with at least glucosamine.