MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur-based compound that can relieve chronic joint pain resulting from inflammation, according to "Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise." Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a loss of mobility in various joints around your body and usually occurs due to over-stressing the cartilage within your joints. You should only take MSM under the supervision of your doctor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
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How It Works
MSM can relieve arthritis pain by reducing the chronic inflammation that surrounds your affected joints. MSM is broken down by your liver into metabolites, including sulfur, which has a stimulatory effect on your vascular system, causing vasodilation, or an increase in the circumference of your blood vessels, similar to the effect of aspirin. An increase in blood flow and oxygen delivery promotes healing in tissues damaged by arthritis by removing the inflammation that is inhibiting your body's natural healing process.
According to "The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain," by Dr. Stanley Jacob, a professor at Oregon Health Sciences University, if you have a sulfur deficiency, your risk of developing arthritis increases. After administering MSM to approximately 18,000 patients, Dr. Jacob concludes that MSM supplementation can improve symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. According to an article published in the Jan.-Feb. 2003 issue of "Anticancer Research," investigators found that, like aspirin, MSM exhibits anti-inflammatory effects.
According to Drugs.com, MSM is typically taken in 2 to 3 divided doses for a total of 2 to 6 g per day. The optimal dosage for MSM for the treatment of arthritis and other conditions has not been clearly established. According to eMedTV.com, some studies using MSM for arthritis have shown effectiveness when taking as little as 500 mg per day, while other studies indicate that 2 g twice per day for a total of 4 g is more effective. Consult with your doctor about MSM to see what dosage is right for you.
MSM supplementation may have some side effects, which may increase in frequency and severity the higher the dosage you take. According to "Anabolic Primer," common side effects of MSM supplementation include upset stomach, headache, or a rare allergic reaction. Many liquid MSM products also contain sugar and alcohol; therefore, you should use caution with liquid MSM products if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, or liver disease. Due to a lack of research, you should not use MSM if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.