The supplement methylsulfonylmethane, sometimes called MSM, is a sulfur compound promoted as useful for health conditions involving pain and inflammation. A 2006 study involving 50 men and women with knee osteoarthritis indicates that 6,000 mg of MSM improved symptoms of pain and physical function without major side effects, according to Arthritis Today; however, more well-controlled human studies are needed to confirm its use for this condition. MSM appears to be safe, but since research is lacking, consult a qualified health care provider before taking methylsulfonylmethane.
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Methylsulfonylmethane occurs naturally in the body, but you also obtain it from fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. However, processing, including heating and dehydration, destroys it. Sulfur compounds like methylsulfonylmethane are important for healthy joint and skin connective tissue, muscles, hair and nails.
With limited clinical research on methylsulfonylmethane comes a corresponding lack of quality information on side effects, according to eMedTV. However, side effects appear unlikely. Those reported in studies with humans, such as nausea, diarrhea, headache and fatigue, were just as common in participants taking a placebo.
As with any supplement, an allergic reaction to methylsulfonylmethane is possible. Signs of an allergic reaction may include itching, a rash, hives, mouth or throat swelling, wheezing, trouble breathing and chest tightness. An allergic reaction to methylsulfonylmethane calls for immediate medical attention, as it could be life threatening.
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements as strictly as it does medications, some methylsulfonylmethane supplements could be contaminated with other substances and may not contain the amount of methylsulfonylmethane listed on the label. Buying only from reputable manufacturers can ensure that you avoid this problem, notes eMedTV.
Animal studies have found no toxicity for methylsulfonylmethane, according to Drugs.com. Even when rats were fed up to 7 times the amount recommended for humans, no adverse events occurred. A standard dose for arthritis and other joint conditions is 2 to 6 g per day in 2 or 3 divided doses.