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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 5, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)


MSM, formally known as Methylsulfonylmethane, is an organic sulfur compound that is commonly found in fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and some grains. MSM is derived from ocean plankton. Once the plankton release sulfur into the ocean, some sulfur remnants escape into the earth’s atmosphere where it is then transferred to plants through precipitation. Although MSM occurs naturally in the environment, MSM is also manufactured through dimethyl sulfoxide and hydrogen peroxide synthesis. Nonetheless, whether it is manufactured MSM or naturally occurring MSM, both methods yield identical MSM products.


Doctors Stanley Jacob, medical doctor, and Robert Herschler, a research chemist, discovered MSM in the early 1980s at the University of Portland Oregon. Their studies suggested that the sulfur in MSM is a prevalent element in our bodies as sulfur is responsible for replacing and repairing damaged tissues and cells. Moreover, their studies also concluded that the sulfur in MSM is not only safe but it is as prevalent and relevant as that of Vitamin C as part of a healthy addition to our diets.
MSM’s Relevance to Pain and Inflammation

MSM is commonly used to relieve pain and inflammation. The human body is infused with sulfur in the hair, nails, skin, and tissue. Inflammation and soreness result in increased amount of lactic acid, toxins and swelling. Sulfur allows lactic acid to flow out of the tissue and replaces the toxin with sulfur. This increases fluidity in movement and eases the symptoms, thus making MSM the ideal product for pain and inflammation remediation.


Since MSM is used to treat symptoms like pain and inflammation, it is additionally used to treat disorders and diseases with parallel indicators including allergies, fibromyalgia, diabetes, asthma, emphysema, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. MSM is also used for common ailments including constipation, acne, rosacea, scars, PMS, Candida and stress. It also improves mental alertness, increases energy and acts as a natural detoxifying agent. Increased fluidity in movement is especially beneficial for those with joint problems. Although MSM does not have the capability to preserve cartilage, MSM does support the foundation of collagen production and repair. Moreover, MSM is also used as a beauty treatment. MSM increases collagen production in the skin and it strengthens hair and nails.


Before beginning any dietary supplement, consult with a doctor or health professional. Recommended MSM dosage is up to three 500mg doses per day, however, the proper dosage is also dependent upon other factors like height, weight, and age. Pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers are not encouraged to take MSM. Since there are little studies to corroborate topical MSM application safety and effectiveness, it is recommended to also only take MSM by mouth.

Side Effects

Although MSM is safe for most people, others may experience extreme side effects including diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. Rashes and itching of the skin have also been reported.

Read also: Valerian

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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