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Short overview

MSM is an organosulfur compound. It is a popular substance to cure joint pain. The body uses it for producing enzymes, antibodies, glutathione, connective tissues and mucous membranes. It is also necessary for producing amino acids, and sulfuric compounds also help maintain the molecular structure of proteins.

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Other names



MSM is a natural compound of meat, eggs, poultry and dairies. The MSM used in supplements is extracted from South Louisiana pine trees.

Note: MSM is often destroyed during the processing and storage of food.

Impact on improving performance

Why athletes use MSM

Athletes have found that the anti-inflammatory properties of MSM enable faster recovery and preserve joint health. As a common ingredient of joint support products, MSM diminishes muscle pain and cramps as well as joint pain and inflammation.

How it enhances muscle gains and recovery:

  • It reduces pain and inflammation, and by preventing the accumulation of toxins and aiding the absorption of nutrients into the cells, it revs up the recovery of joints and muscles.
  • And by potentially supporting the formation of collagen, it promotes the health of muscles, joints, skin, hair and nails.

How it can boost energy levels and stamina:

  • MSM is a sulfur compound, and sulfur is a major part of insulin. This way MSM improves energy levels by promoting the glucose uptake of the cells.

Health benefits

MSM deficiency symptoms

No known deficiency symptoms.

Possible use

Studies have shown that MSM may be beneficial in the treatment of the following symptoms:

  • Alcoholism
  • Arthritis
  • Scars/injuries
  • Parasitic diseases
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • NIDDM (noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus)
  • Cataracts

Detailed review

Further information

MSM is an organosulfur compound. It is a popular substance to cure joint pain. The body uses it for producing enzymes, antibodies, glutathione, connective tissues and mucous membranes. It is also necessary for producing amino acids, and sulfuric compounds also help maintain the molecular structure of proteins.

How it works

The benefits of MSM come in part from its capability to restore the flexibility and permeability of cell walls, enabling toxins to leave and nutrients to enter the cells. If the cells are kept in balance, formation of toxins which cause inflammation in the joints and muscles can be avoided. This means that MSM cures the cause of inflammation and pain instead of just treating the symptoms.

Some researchers say that MSM has a remarkable property to reduce or even completely relieve cramps and muscle pain after intense exercising. As a popular alternative to prescription painkillers, MSM reportedly relieves post-workout muscle pain and promotes collagen production, which is essential for the health of joints and muscles as well as for the healing of wounds.

Sulfur is also required for the functioning of certain B vitamins, and consequently, it also promotes the metabolism of carbohydrates and related energy production. And, being a sulfur compound, MSM promotes optimal energy levels by supporting the glucose uptake of the cells.

Some scientists even state that MSM is the most potent non-prescription anti-inflammatory product. Sufferers of arthritis reported that it significantly reduced their pains.

Reducing allergy symptoms

Patients suffering from allergies or asthma have also found MSM effective, even when they had serious symptoms. And it is not only effective in respiratory allergies: individuals with food allergies also reported increased tolerance of milk, citrus fruits, wheat etc. This is due to the effect of MSM on the mucous membranes, which promotes the normal digestion and absorption of nutrients.


Although MSM is a sulfur compound, it should not be mistaken for medicines with sulfur content: the contra-indications and potential allergic reactions are different, and unlike these medicines, MSM does not cause gases or body odor. As a safe antioxidant, detox and anti-inflammatory substance, MSM is a common compound of joint support formulas. And although further research is needed (research is still in its initial phase, as most of the experiments were conducted on animals), MSM offers great opportunities both for active and inactive people.

Indications for use


Optimal amounts have not been specified yet, since there haven’t been enough research conducted on this matter. According to the existing documentation, 100-5000 mg of MSM a day is effective.


It is recommended to take MSM before or during meals, 2 or 3 times daily.

Or, if you use MSM cream, spread it on your skin three times a day.


It often takes 4 weeks or more to experience benefits.

Synergists of MSM

A combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM can improve joint health and reduce joint pain.

If combined with vitamin C, MSM relieves allergy symptoms and improves skin health.

MSM toxicity

No known toxicity.

Contra-indication and restrictions

Not known.


Many research data that have been published on MSM are based on experiments that were conducted on mice and rats. And you, dear readers, hopefully don’t have tails or claws. Research is still in its infancy on this matter, so we have no reason to draw any serious conclusions yet. Nevertheless, there are a lot of positive feedback on this supplement worldwide, so many scientists believe there will be considerable research findings in the near future. As soon as we can lay our hands on the results of a reliable human experiment, we’ll let you know. You can take it for granted. Until then, see the below sources for further information.

• Haas, E.M., Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, Berkeley, CA, 1992) 184, 271.

• Burke, E.R., and Gastelu, D., Avery's Sports Nutrition Almanac (Avery, New York, NY, 1999) 220-1.

• Mindell, E., Earl Mindell's Supplement Bible (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1998) 104-6.

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