Health Benefits of MSM Supplements and Side effects

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a popular add-on with a wide range of health benefits. It can reduce joint pain, inflammation, improve skin health, reduce symptoms of allergy, and speed up recovery after exercise. It is a compound containing sulfur can be found in plants, animals, and humans. Evidence supports its use in the treatment of several conditions, ranging from asthma to rosacea.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Scientific research is well documenting the anti-inflammatory properties of MSM. It is believed to inhibit NF-kB, proteins responsible for inflammation in your body [1]. It also inhibits the production of cytokines, such as alpha (TNF-ɑ average) tumor necrosis factor and interleukin 6 (IL-6), which signal systemic inflammation-related proteins [2]. In addition, MSM will raise the body’s levels of glutathione, a potent antioxidant.

For example, supplementing with MSM reduced stomach ulcer inflammation in mice by inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-ɑ and IL-6, and increased the glutathione levels [3]. A study in 40 active men showed that consuming 3 grams of MSM before rigorous exercise reduced inflammatory cytokine release and prevented immune cell over-stress compared to placebo [4].

MSM suppresses the proteins in your body that cause inflammation. It also inhibits the production of cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-) and interleukin 6. (IL-6).

May Help People with Arthritis

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Arthritis is a common inflammatory joint condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion. MSM has strong anti-inflammatory properties. People with arthritis often use MSM as a natural alternative to medication. A study conducted in 49 people with knee osteoarthritis showed that taking 3.4 grams of MSM per day for 12 weeks had the health benefits of decreasing pain and rigidity and enhanced physical function compared to placebo [5].

It can also increase the effectiveness of other popular supplements used to treat arthritis, such as glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and boswellic acid. One study found that combining MSM with glucosamine and chondroitin in humans with knee osteoarthritis was more active than glucosamine and chondroitin alone in reducing pain and stiffness [6].

Another study found that a daily supplement containing 5 grams of MSM and 7 grams of boswellic acid had the health benefits of reducing pain and improving function in people with knee arthritis [7]. The people who received MSM and boswellic acid supplements were less reliant on anti-inflammatory drugs than the glucosamine group.

MSM contains anti-inflammatory properties that are rather potent. People having arthritis frequently utilise it as a natural alternative to drugs. It can boost the efficiency of other common arthritis remedies, including glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, and boswellic acid.

Improves Skin by Enhancing Keratin

Keratin is a protein that functions in your hair, skin, and nails as the main structural component. This component comprises sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine. As you may notice, burnt hair gives a smell of sulfur. By acting as a sulfur donor to keratin, MSM can be beneficial to skin health. This can help reinforce its essential protein, in effect.

MSM supplements also have the health benefits of reducing inflammation that can destroy skin cells, which can cause premature aging, such as wrinkles [8]. It can even reduce symptoms of skin conditions such as rosacea, which can cause skin redness, itching, and inflammation. One study showed that MSM improved redness, itching, swelling, hydration, and color of the skin in people with rosacea when applied to the skin [9].

MSM can benefit skin health by functioning as a sulphur donor to keratin. Reduces inflammation, which can cause skin cell destruction and premature ageing, such as wrinkles.

Decreases Muscle Pain

MSM supplements are often used to reduce muscle and joint pain. Those with joint dysfunction, a common cause of knee, back, hands and hips, can benefit from MSM supplementation. By restricting your movement and flexibility, joint pain can have a negative impact on your quality of life. Research has shown that MSM supplement has the health benefits of reducing inflammation in your body [10]. It also prevents cartilage breakdown, a flexible tissue that protects your joints.

A review of 100 people over the age of 50 showed that treatment with a supplement containing 1,200 mg of MSM for 12 weeks reduced joint pain compared to placebo [11]. Also reported by the community receiving the supplement improved overall quality of life. Another study in 32 people with lower back pain found that taking a glucosamine supplement containing MSM reduced lumbar rigidity and movement, plus an increased quality of life [12].

MSM supplements are frequently used to ease muscle and joint discomfort. Knee, back, hand, and hip discomfort are frequently caused by joint dysfunction.

Can Speed Recovery

Muscle damage occurs during intense exercise and increased oxidative stress. It results in muscle soreness and discomfort felt by athletes, which can impair athletic performance and preparation [13]. After intense exercise, MSM can speed up muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Research in 18 men found that taking 50 mg of MSM powder per kg of body weight for 10 days [14].

After 10 days, they reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness and improved activity after a 14 km run. In three weeks leading up to a half marathon, 22 healthy women got 3 grams of MSM or a placebo per day in one experiment. The MSM group reported less muscle soreness than the placebo group [15].

MSM has been shown to speed muscle recovery by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress.

Cancer-Fighting Effects

One of MSM’s newest research areas is the review of its efficacy in fighting against cancer cells. While the research is limited, the results have so far been promising. Several test-tube studies have shown that MSM prevents the development of cancer cells in the stomach [16], [17], [18], [19]. It can damage cancer cells to boost the killing of cancer cells [20].

MSM also seems to prevent cancer cells from spreading, also known as metastasis [21]. A review of liver cancer in mice found that those treated with MSM had fewer tumors, less damage to the liver than those not [22]. Another mice study showed that MSM inhibited the development of human breast cancer cells [23]. While these results are encouraging, we need more research to determine its use for cancer.

MSM can also prevent cancer cells from spreading, which is referred to as metastasis. A review of liver cancer in mice discovered that those treated with it had fewer tumours and less damage.

Helps Allergy Symptoms

Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that causes symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, itching, and runny nose [24]. Animal dander, pollen, and molds are common triggers for allergic rhinitis. It releases some inflammatory substances such as prostaglandins and cytokines after exposure to an allergen, resulting in unpleasant symptoms. Studies have shown that MSM can help reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms [25].

It can reduce allergic reactions by reducing inflammation and inhibiting cytokine and prostaglandin release. A study of 50 people with allergic rhinitis showed that a dosage of 2,600 mg of MSM per day for 30 days had the health benefits of decreasing symptoms [26]. These symptoms include itching, nausea, shortness of breath, sneezing, and coughing. However, by day 14, the participants experienced a significant increase in energy.

MSM has been shown in studies to lessen allergic reactions by lowering inflammation and blocking the release of cytokines and prostaglandins.

Boosts Immune System

Your immune system is a network of specialized tissues, cells, and organs that protect your body from infection and disease. Factors such as stress, disease, poor diet, inadequate sleep or lack of activity may weaken it. Sulfur compounds like MSM play a major role in your immune system protection [27]. MSM can be active, for example, in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation that may weaken immunity. Because it is effective in reducing levels of inflammatory compounds such as IL-6 and TNF-ɑ.

It also plays a role in creating glutathione, the main antioxidant of your skin, which can help increase these essential compound levels. Levels of glutathione are crucial to your immune system, and overall health and function [28]. A test-tube study showed that MSM supplement had the health benefits of restoring glutathione and decreasing inflammatory markers in mouse cells damaged by HIV proteins [29].

Sulfur molecules, such as MSM, play an important function in immune system defence. They are effective at lowering inflammatory chemicals like IL-6 and TNF-ɑ.

MSM Safety and Side Effects

The FDA and other major regulatory organisations have awarded it the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) certification. Many toxicity studies have been conducted to evaluate the safety of MSM, and doses as high as 4,845.6 mg per day (4.8 gram) appear to be safe [30].

However, some people who are sensitive to MSM may develop moderate responses such as nausea, bloating, and diarrhoea. It may also produce moderate skin or eye irritation when applied to the skin [31], [32].

There is also worry about combining MSM with alcohol because other sulfur-containing drugs can produce severe effects when taken with alcoholic beverages [33]. However, no research has yet looked into this possibly dangerous combination.

Some people who are sensitive to MSM may experience mild symptoms such as nausea, bloating, and diarrhoea.


MSM is healthy and only studies report minor side effects. While the current findings on MSM are encouraging, there is a need for more studies to understand all its potential benefits and side effects.

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