Methyl Sulfonyl Methane is a relatively new dietary supplement form of
sulfur that is found in our living tissues. MSM supports healthy
connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscle. Thus, it is
important in conditions such as arthritis, muscle pains, bursitis, etc.
MSM should be considered an integral part of any health care practice
because of its physiological action, indirect importance, and current /
understand MSM, some background information is necessary. MSM is a
"naturally-occurring nutrient found in normal human diets" (1). It gets
into the diet through the sulfur cycle. Ocean plankton release sulfur
compounds which rise into the ozone where ultra-violet light makes MSM
and DMSO. DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide, is a precursor to MSM. MSM and DMSO
return to the surface of the earth in rain (1). Plants concentrate MSM
and return it to the earth and the sea. Evaporation into the air
results in their return to the earth (1).
MSM has a
unique action on body tissues. It decreases the pressure inside the
cell. In removing fluids and toxins, sulfur affects the cell membrane.
MSM is an organic form of sulfur, whereas sulfites in foodstuffs are
inorganic. Sue Williams states "sulfur is present in all cells" and is
in the form of "organic compounds throughout the body’ (2). However,
sulfur can be found in the body in sulfate forms. It forms sulfate
compounds with sodium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. MSM has a
significance, because sulfur compounds are found everywhere throughout
the body and in nature.
an indirect importance, because sulfur compounds play a role in many
body organs and systems. Sulfur is in the hair, skin, and nails. Many
amino acids, the building blocks of protein, have sulfur as a
component. Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid formed from
methionine (2). Taurine stabilizes cell membranes (2). Methionine
contains sulfur, detoxifies cells, and is involved in pain relief (2).
Carnitine comes from methionine and transports long chain fatty acids
preventing accumulations of lipoproteins (2). Many B-complex vitamins
interact with or contain sulfur. Sulfur is needed for insulin
use of MSM is for joint problems, as sulfur is found in and near
osseous structures. Sulfur supports healthy muscles, tendons, and
ligaments. Arthritic conditions have responded to oral MSM. Some
researchers note results from MSM when used for post-exercise muscle
pain (1). MSM normalizes pressure inside cells and removes toxins.
Oregon Health Sciences University has conducted arthritis studies with
mice. The mice which received MSM had "no degeneration of articular
cartilage" (1). The other non-MSM mice had cartilaginous degeneration.
The university has used MSM on over 12,000 patents. Researchers make no
claim about MSM as a supplement, but osteoarthritis, rheumatoid
arthritis, muscle soreness and muscle pain respond to oral MSM.
researcher claims MSM is about as safe as water. One should drink extra
water with MSM use. There are other dietary factors to consider.
nightshade plants has helped arthritis patients (tomatoes / potatoes /
green pepper/eggplant). Biotin and vitamin C help the body assimilate
MSM. Biotin and vitamin C are found in fresh fruits. Eating fresh
fruits while taking MSM could be helpful.
to arthritis, it may have other future uses. Dr. Stanley Jacob believes
,'most people are deficient' in sulfur (1). Insulin synthesis depends
upon sulfur. Many vitamins require or contain sulfur. Some researchers
claim it has many future uses such as in allergies (1).
A good MSM
product is both safe and effective. The MSM source for MSM supplements
is often lignin from pine trees. Lignin is a molecule in plants that is
part of a plant's cell wall. Lignin oxidation in oak wine barrels
results in the vanilla flavors of wines. The pine tree lignin is an
ideal source for a good MSM product.
who do not want to take MSM as a supplement, food sources of sulfur are
as follows: sunflower seeds, garlic, lentils, soybeans, and yogurt.
Persons with kidney problems or recurrent kidney stones may not want to
take MSM. Certain renal tubular defects can make a person susceptible
to recurrent kidney stones (2). Other kidney defects include errors of
metabolism in which processing of sulfur amino acids is altered (2).
Such persons may wish to avoid MSM.
thousand to three thousand milligrams per day is a typical dosage
range, but some people take well above that amount. This author takes
From the cell walls of pine trees to the cells of the human body, a good MSM supplement can contribute to good health.
Since sulfur is present in every cell of every living thing, it might
seem that we would get plenty of this essential mineral from dietary
sources and should not need supplements, but that may not be the case.
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products are the main sources of
dietary sulfur, but we have been advised to restrict or remove many of
those foods from our diets. Vegetarians, especially those who do not
eat eggs, are at particular risk for sulfur deficiency. Plants cells
contain sulfur but not in abundant quantities and much of the MSM
present in unprocessed foods is lost in washing, cooking or steaming.
And, of course, MSM levels decline noticeably with age - doesn't
everything? So, the older you get, the more important it becomes to
maintain adequate sulfur levels in the body.
Usage and Toxicity
Due to its
positive effects, particularly in maintaining healthy cell formation,
2,000 to 6,000 mg. of supplemental MSM daily is recommended. Of course,
the optimum daily dosage of MSM depends largely on body size, age and
the nature and severity of any deficiency symptoms you may be
experiencing. Since vitamin C provides a positive synergistic it should
be taken along with MSM.
in the "extremely low" toxicity category with a toxicity profile
similar to that of water. When oral supplements are taken, the body
will distribute MSM where it is needed. After about 12 hours, any
excess amounts will be flushed out of the body.