By: Mia Sims
Ready to learn a new health term? Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is a natural, sulfur-rich chemical found in humans, plants and animals (x). Research states that the chemical may have a variety of health benefits on the immune system. It can also be produced in a lab, which allows it to serve as an ingredient in a variety of health supplements.
Why does any of this matter to you? MSM’s sulfur content is essential in ensuring the body conducts essential enzyme reactions and produces collagen, which gives structure to the hair, skin and nails (x). Our bodies need sulfur to keep these functions going and MSM helps work as a “sulfur donor” when the body needs it most to make it happen (x).
While there is no medical evidence supporting MSM as an alternative to conventional medicine to cure or treat any disease, researchers have studied the chemical for decades, uncovering the potential benefits of MSM and what it can do for the body as a supplement.
What is MSM Powder?
By now, you’re probably ready to learn a little bit more about MSM and how it can help your body. MSM is a sulfur-containing compound that is present in leafy greens, whole grains and fruit. It is widely known for its possible ability to alleviate pain and inflammation and treat wounds (x). The chemical is stored in the adrenal cortex and in the body’s spinal fluid.
In recent years, MSM has gained a great deal of popularity for its potential as an anti-inflammatory. As an anti-inflammatory agent, MSM is versatile, providing possible health benefits in the digestive tract, joints and other areas of the body (x). Paired with other natural supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin, MSM may effectively and naturally alleviate problems such as bone and joint pain (x).
What is MSM Powder Made from?
MSM supplies sulfur to the body and is an oxidation product of its parent compound called dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) (x). Commercial MSM is created from a chemical reaction between dimethyl sulfoxide and hydrogen peroxide (x).
Researchers studied DMSO throughout the 1950s and 1970s for its “unique biological properties” and possible ability to alleviate the body of inflammation and allergies (x). Researchers first studied the metabolism of DMSO in rabbits and studies conducted from the 1970s into the 1980s showed that MSM had similar therapeutic uses as DMSO (x). MSM acts as a sulfur donor when the body needs it and the body uses it to make methionine and cysteine. Because of this, the supplement may help treat pain and provide allergy relief and digestive support (x).
History of Research on MSM Powder
Before it was used clinically to treat illnesses or alleviate pain and inflammation, MSM served as a high-temperature, commercial solvent (x). Throughout the years, as researchers conducted studies testing the nature of the chemical, they discovered that the solvent may have been capable of helping to treat illnesses and alleviate pain in the body.
MSM’s parent compound, DMSO, was the first to capture the attention of scientists. It was tested throughout the 1950s and 70s for its biological properties, including its potential anti-antioxidant capabilities and anti-inflammatory effects (x).
In the late 70s, Dr. Robert Herschler and Dr. Stanley Jacob—two chemists from the Oregon Health and Science University—experimented with odorless MSM. The pair found that the chemical had therapeutic uses and in 1981, Dr. Herschler received an official patent that would allow him to use MSM to smooth and soften skin, strengthen nails and dilute blood (x). The patents that followed claimed that MSM may be able to relieve pain, treat parasite-related infections, alleviate stress, enhance circulation and improve wound-healing.
What Is MSM Powder Used for?
So, what are the health benefits of taking MSM powder and how does it work? Basically, MSM works with two other substances to build collagen to support the skin, muscles and bones—glucosamine and chondroitin. However, researchers do not completely understand its mechanisms of action but there is research to support its potential to perform the following functions:
- Controlling the body’s inflammatory signals
- Producing collagen
- Supporting connective tissue
- Suppressing damage & disease
- Reducing muscle damage
- Supporting exercise & athletic performance
Pain & Inflammation
To better understand how MSM works, we reached out to Dr. Richard E. Harris II, M.D., Pharm.D., internal medicine physician, board certified pharmacist and founder of Great Health and Wellness. According to Dr. Harris, “MSM… is used to make the amino acids cysteine and methionine. [It] works to decrease inflammation by reducing the release of inflammation causing molecules from our immune cells.”
MSM may successfully reduce pain and inflammation in the body, two symptoms that are often connected. For example, bone and joint pain can result from a number of medical conditions, such as arthritis, which is caused by a faulty immune response in the body that causes pain and inflammation.
MSM may also reduce the breakdown of cartilage, the material that protects the bones and joints (x). Wear and tear in the body’s cartilage can cause pain and interfere with mobility over time. How does it do this? Well, MSM can help control inflammatory signals and possibly reduce inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that control the body’s inflammatory response (x, x). Further, Dr. Harris also states that MSM may have antioxidant functions that aids in metabolism of an amino acid called homocysteine, which plays a role in inflammation.
What Does the Research Say?
Studies show that MSM may reduce inflammation and swelling dramatically. In a study testing patients over the age of 50, researchers gave each subject 1,200 mg of MSM for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers noticed a decrease in swelling, stiffness and pain in the subjects’ joints (x). The subjects also saw changes in mobility and noted that they were able to get out of bed easier (x). Researchers also gave the subjects glucosamine, which supports connective tissue strength. The study concluded that together, glucosamine and MSM may help build and strengthen connective tissues in the body (x).
Healing & Disease Suppression
Some studies show that MSM may also naturally help with wound-healing because of its effects on connective tissues. Like we stated before, MSM plays a role in producing collagen, a protein that plays a role in the body’s ability to heal (x). This is also related to its sulfur content. Researchers claim that high sulfur content in the body can have positive and strengthening effects on the skin hair, nails and joint cartilage. MSM may help support tissue flexibility and promote the body’s ability to repair damaged skin, which ultimately helps the body heal itself.
What Does the Research Say?
In addition, these properties may also play a role in MSM’s potential to suppress certain diseases in the body. For example, researchers have studied its ability to potentially suppress breast cancer growth (x). The study supported MSM as a possible treatment in cancer patients because of its effect on molecules involved in cancer development, progression and metastasis.
However, there are few studies that have examined its efficacy. These studies do not necessarily suggest that MSM supplements can successfully cure cancer or any other disease. But its natural properties may be beneficial. Consult a physician before using it as a supplement to see if the supplement can meet your needs.
If you’re a frequent gym goer or simply looking to exercise more often, MSM may be the right supplement for you. Because of its possible effects inflammation, MSM may also be able to reduce muscle damage quickly and efficiently after exercise. Specifically, its ability to donate sulfur groups plays a role in this process, as stated by Dr. Harris. He says that once MSM donates the sulfur groups, the body uses them to form collagen, which he calls “the backbone of connective tissue.”
What Does the Research Say?
In a 10-day study, 18 male subjects consumed MSM each day for 10 days and participated in a 14 km run (x). Researchers discovered a dramatic reduction in muscle damage and an increase in antioxidant functions following exercise. In another study that analyzed female subjects, the experimental group that took MSM supplements experienced less joint pain and muscle soreness than the control group that took a placebo (x). The results from these studies suggest that MSM supplementation may be able to help reduce pain and muscle damage caused by endurance exercise training, potentially improving the body’s ability to recover and continue to perform (x).
How to Take MSM Powder
Have you been feeling excessive joint pain? Are you looking to extend your exercise routine and ultimately take better care of your muscles? MSM powder may be able to provide a solution. The supplement’s potential to reduce inflammation may help with joint and muscle pain, arthritis and other inflammatory responses in the body. It is also rich in sulfur, which is important in the growth of our hair, skin and nails. Before taking this supplement, though, make sure to consult a physician to make sure it’s right for you.
How Much MSM Powder to Take Daily
As a dietary supplement, take 1,000 to 1,300 mg of MSM powder up to four times a day or as directed by a physician. Be sure to consult a doctor before adding MSM powder to your everyday diet to make sure the supplement is right for you.
How Long Does it Take for MSM Powder to Work?
MSM enters the blood quickly and usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes to take effect. But according to studies, it takes about two weeks before people begin to notice its effects (x).
What are the Side Effects of MSM Powder?
Experts recognize it as a generally safe supplement and most people usually tolerate it well in healthy doses, according to studies (x). However, it’s important to consult a doctor before taking it. It may cause mild side effects, including (x):
Other Warnings & Precautions
- Avoid using MSM supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding because there are insufficient studies to determine if it is safe.
- Using MSM powder alone may cause increased swelling in those who are suffering from varicose veins and other circulatory problems.
- Using alcohol while taking MSM powder may cause issues (x).
- If you suffer from sulfur allergies, do not take MSM supplements because of its sulfur content.
Where to Buy MSM Powder
You can purchase MSM in both powder and capsule form at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying MSM powder for its potential to reduce pain and inflammation, speed up wound healing and increase exercise performance? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
The Bottom Line
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is an essential sulfur-rich chemical in the body that helps support important metabolic reactions, such as collagen production. Research claims that MSM may be able to naturally reduce inflammation, manage pain, speed up wound-healing processes and reduce muscle damage to improve athletic performance. MSM may help anyone looking to turn their endurance up a notch or those looking to alleviate the effects of bone, joint and muscle pain.
MSM has not been medically proven as an alternative to conventional medicine, but researchers have studied it for decades and have found that it may have some beneficial effects on the body. Make sure to consult a physician before taking MSM powder to make sure the supplement is right for you. It is generally safe, but it may cause mild side effects or interfere with other preexisting health conditions or allergies to sulfur.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.