The Science of MSM

Research shows MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) can provide benefits across many areas: beautiful skin, strong hair and nails; improved joint health and mobility; reduced inflammation for faster exercise recovery and pain relief; improved immune system health and relief with hayfever and allergies.

Browse the research sudies, papers and presentations from leading scientific and medical journals on the efficacy of MSM and better understand more of the benefits and why we use MSM across our entire skincare range.

MSM research is an active area and constantly evolving, so be sure to check back as we add newly published research and other findings.

 

Skin Health and Signs of Ageing

 

Effects of Oral Supplementation with Methylsulfonylmethane on Skin Health and Wrinkle Reduction

Natural Medicine Journal (2015)
Michael Anthonavage, Rodney Benjamin, Eric Withee

Under the conditions of this study, use of MSM led to significant improvements in skin’s appearance and condition as evaluated by expert grading, instrumental measures, and participant self-assessment. Although the mechanism of action is not well understood, it is apparent that MSM does work at altering gene expression of key genes that affect moisturization and barrier function, extracellular matrix production, and inflammation control. Inflammation, oxidation, and gene expression in skin cells are highly interconnected, and previous research indicates MSM has a positive effect on all 3, although the root mechanism or mechanisms are not fully understood.

The results of this study suggest that the effects of MSM previously characterized through biochemical measurements translate into measurable clinical effects. MSM taken orally may be beneficial for skin health and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, though further research is warranted in broader populations.

Link to Study

 

Beauty from within: Oral administration of a sulfur-containing supplement methylsulfonylmethane improves signs of skin ageing

International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research (2020)
Neelam Muizzuddin and Rodney Benjamin

The studies reported were well designed to observe the effect of MSM supplementation on skin using a three aspects of assessment i.e. instrumental measurements, expert grading as well as subject self assessment. This multi prong approach imparted strength and validity to the data presented in this manuscript. Although this study exhibited a good indication of the effect of MSM on reducing signs of ageing, the results do not explain the mechanism of action. Additional controlled studies are warranted to further validate efficacy and hypothesized mechanisms of action.

Based on the confines and conditions of this study oral supplementation with MSM resulted in significant improvements in skin’s appearance and condition as evaluated by expert grading, instrumental measures, and participant self assessment. The results of this study suggest that MSM taken orally may be beneficial for skin health and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, at a dose as low as 1 grams a day.

Link to Study

 

Assessment of methylsulfonylmethane as a permeability enhancer for regional EDTA chelation therapy

Drug Delivery Journal (2009)
Min Zhang, Ira G. Wong, Jerry B. Gin and Naseem H. Ansari

Pharmacologic chelators do not effectively penetrate cell membranes and blood–brain barrier. This study assesses methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) as a permeability enhancer and an excipient to facilitate EDTA transport across biologic membranes, and to make possible localized, regional chelation. 

The aim of this study was to determine if topically administered methylsulfonylmethane is a permeability enhancer capable of increasing the transport of drugs into tissue. We studied the ability of MSM to transport methylene blue and ciprofloxacin across tissue membranes in vitro. Then we studied, in vivo, the ability of MSM to transport a chelator, sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), into the eye. The eye presents unique opportunities to drug delivery and is most accessible to topical drug application. Because the cornea, lens, and vitreous are avascular, their uptake of EDTA provides a means to examine drug penetration in avascular cellular tissues. If a chelating agent can permeate tissues at potentially therapeutic concentration with the use of a permeability enhancer, opportunities are possible for new use of chelation therapy. Also development of an effective permeability enhancer offers new means to deliver other drugs.

Link to Study

 

Exercise Recovery and Muscle Soreness

 

The Influence of Methylsulfonylmethane on Inflammation-Associated Cytokine Release before and following Strenuous Exercise

Journal of Sports Medicine (2016)
Mariè van der Merwe

Inflammation is associated with strenuous exercise and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Double-blind, placebo controlled study. Forty healthy, resistance trained males received 3g MSM or placebo for 28 days before eccentric knee exercise.  Data suggests that an intense bout of exercise causes muscle damage that induces a robust inflammatory reaction that results in exercise-induced leukocyte death and temporary immunosuppression. MSM, acting as an antioxidant, is able to blunt tissue damage and the resulting inflammation and, as a consequence, prevent leukocyte apoptosis.

As inflammation induced by exercise may cause prolonged muscle soreness, these data are in agreement with the results noting a reduction in muscle soreness after exercise with MSM supplementation [11]. Based on these results, we speculate that MSM taken during intense bouts of exercise would reduce postexercise immunosuppression.

Link to Study

 

The Effects of MSM Supplementation on Knee Kinetics during Running, Muscle Strength, and Muscle Soreness following Eccentric Exercise- Induced Quadriceps Damage

University of Memphis, Health & Sport Sciences (2015)
Shelby A. Peel, Daniel A. Melcher, Brian K. Schilling, Richard J. Bloomer, Max R. Paquette

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of MSM supplementation on knee joint kinetics during running and muscle soreness following eccentric knee extensor damage.  It was expected that MSM intervention would reduce the negative effects of muscle damage on knee joint kinetics during running.

At least a portion of findings suggest that individuals may be able to return to regular training more quickly with MSM supplementation following knee extensor damage.

Link to Presentation

 

Effects of MSM on exercise-induced muscle and joint pain: a pilot study

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2015)
Eric D Withee, Kimberly M Tippens, Regina Dehen and Douglas Hanes

Participants in organized running commonly experience muscle and joint pain while training for and competing in distance events. Many runners report pain as a major influence on changes or breaks in training regimens, and as a common deterrent for returning to exercise after a break. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-based nutritional supplement shown through several clinical trials to be effective in reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, and to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. To further investigate the role of MSM in pain management, this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of MSM supplementation on exercise-induced muscle and joint pain.

Twenty-two (22) healthy adults randomly assigned to take either 3g of MSM per day or placebo for 21 days before running a half marathon. MSM attenuated post-exercise induced muscle and joint pain at clinically significant levels compared to placebo. Statistically significance was not reached possibly due to small sample size.

Link to Presentation

 

A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Evaluation of MSM for Exercise Induced Discomfort/Pain

The FASEB Journal (2013)
Douglas Kalman, Samantha Feldman, Adam Samson, Diane Krieger

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has been reported to provide anti-inflammatory & antioxidant effects in mammals. Resistance exercise is known to induce both inflammation & oxidative stress resulting in muscular discomfort & pain. In a pilot-proof of concept study, we determined the effects of MSM on markers of exercise recovery & performance.

Double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Twenty-four (24) healthy adult males randomly assigned to receive either treatment or placebo for 14 days. Intervention of 3 grams of MSM per day for the 14-day period resulted in significantly lower (1.55 + 0.82 vs. 3.75 + 2.58 p=0.012) pain/discomfort 2 hours following a leg extension exercise to muscle failure when compared to the placebo group.

Link to Study

 

Effect of Single Dose Administration of Methylsulfonylmethane on Oxidative Stress Following Acute Exhaustive Exercise

Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2013)
Babak Nakhostin-Roohi, Zahra Niknam, Nasrin Vaezi, Sadollah Mohammadi, and Shahab Bohloolic

This trial was conducted to determine whether single dose supplementation with MSM attenuates post-exercise oxidative stress in healthy untrained young men.  Sixteen (16) subjects randomly assigned to receive either 100mg/kg bodyweight (6g for a 60kg person) MSM in water or placebo (just water) were subjected to treadmill running until exhaustion. Protein Carbonyls were lower at 2, and 24 hrs post exercise. Plasma TAC was higher at 24 hrs after exercise. Serum levels of bilirubin and uric acid were significantly lower immediately after exercise in the MSM group.

Results suggest a single oral dose of MSM lowers exercise induced oxidative stress in healthy untrained men but is not adequate to significantly affect reduced glutathione levels.

Link to Study

 

Effect of MSM Supplementation on Exercise-induced Muscle Damage and Total Antioxidant Capacity

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness (2012)
Barmaki S, Bohlooli S, Khoshkhahesh F, Nakhostin-Roohi B

The aim of this study was to evaluate effect of 10-day methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supplementation on exercise-induced muscle damage.

Eighteen healthy, non-smoking, active young men were recruited to participate in this study. Participants were randomized in a double-blind placebo-controlled fashion into two groups: MSM (M) (N.=9) and placebo (P) (N.=9). Subjects consumed daily either placebo (200 mL water) or MSM supplement (50 mg/kg MSM in 200 mL water) for 10 days. Afterward, participants ran 14 km. Blood samples were taken before supplementation, before exercise, immediately, 30 min, 2, 24 and 48 h after exercise.

It seems that 10-day supplementation with MSM has allowed to decrease muscle damage via effect on antioxidant capacity.

Link to Study

 

Influence of methylsulfonylmethane on markers of exercise recovery and performance in healthy men: a pilot study

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2012)
Douglas S Kalman, Samantha Feldman, Andrew R Scheinberg, Diane R Krieger and Richard J Bloomer

Our data indicate that supplementation with MSM, specifically at a daily dosage of 3.0 grams, may favorably influence selected markers of exercise recovery. In particular, to our knowledge, this was the first study to observe an effect of MSM on antioxidant capacity, as measured by blood TEAC.

While this study was small in scope, it is suggested that more research be done to extend these findings. Specifically, future studies should include a larger sample size, a placebo group for comparison, the inclusion of additional markers of recovery and exercise performance (e.g., force and power), as well as the consideration for a more strenuous “muscle damaging” protocol and a longer time course of post-exercise assessment (e.g., 4–7 days). Such work may help to more fully elucidate the role of MSM in exercise recovery.

Link to Study

 

Effect of chronic supplementation with methylsulfonylmethane on oxidative stress following acute exercise in untrained healthy men

Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology (2011)
Babak Nakhostin-Roohi, Sara Barmaki and Shahab Bohlooli

This study was conducted to assess the effects of chronic daily methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supplementation on known markers of oxidative stress following acute bouts of exercise in untrained healthy young men. Eighteen untrained men volunteered for this study.

Results suggest that chronic daily oral supplementation of MSM has alleviating effects on known markers of oxidative stress following acute bouts of exercise in healthy young men.

Link to Study

 

Joint Health and Mobility

 

The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility

International Journal of Orthopaedics (2014)
Thomas A Pagonis, Panagiotis A Givissis, Aristidis C Kritis, Anastasios C Christodoulou

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a non-pharmacologic nutrition supplement used against osteoarthritis (OA). Objective of study was to delineate the effect of MSM on osteoarthritic joints and mobility.

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial including 100 patients, with hip and/or knee OA stratified in an intervention and a placebo group.  MSM 6 gr per day or placebo for 26 weeks. Outcomes measured were the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index visual analogue scale (WOMAC), patient and physician assessments and SF-36 (overall health-related quality of life).

Compared to placebo the MSM group presented significant decreases in all subscales of WOMAC (P < 0.05) with improved performance of daily living activities on the SF-36 evaluation (P < 0.05). Patient and Physician assessments exhibited favorable effects on the MSM group.  MSM improved all physical symptoms in the WOMAC scale during the short intervention without any adverse events.

Link to Study

 

Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2011)

Eytan M Debbi, Gabriel Agar, Gil Fichman, Yaron Bar Ziv, Rami Kardosh, Nahum Halperin, Avi Elbaz, Yiftah Beer & Ronen Debi

Patients with osteoarthritis (OA) take a variety of health supplements in an attempt to reduce pain and improve function. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in treating patients with knee OA.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the primary cause of disability in the elderly, affecting nearly 27 million individuals in the United States alone. Knee OA is the most common type of OA, with an estimated 12.1% of adults in the United States suffering from pain and functional limitations. Given the association of OA with old age, these figures can be expected to rise significantly with the aging of the baby boomer population in the United States and with the increased longevity in the world's population. Currently, there is no cure for OA and treatment is focused on reducing pain and improving function.

Patients with OA of the knee taking MSM for 12 weeks showed an improvement in pain and physical function. The results suggest that larger and long-term studies may find additional and greater improvements in knee OA symptoms. These improvements, however, are small and it is yet to be determined if they are of clinical significance. Further trials on MSM are recommended to define the safety, efficacy and appropriate dosage of MSM. We recommend incorporating longer intervention periods, larger and wider patient populations, dose-response trials and comparisons with other health supplements and standard conventional treatments.

Link to Study

 

Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage (2006)

LS Kim, LJ Axelrod, P Howard, N Buratovich, RF Waters

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and the second most common cause of long-term disability among middle-aged and older adults in the United States. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a popular dietary supplement used as a single agent and in combination with other nutrients and purported to be beneficial for arthritis. However, there is paucity of evidence to support the use of MSM.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted. Fifty men and women, 40-76 years of age with knee OA pain were enrolled in an outpatient medical center. Intervention was MSM 3g or placebo twice a day for 12 weeks (6g/day total). Outcomes included the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index visual analogue scale (WOMAC), patient and physician global assessments (disease status, response to therapy), and SF-36 (overall health-related quality of life).

Compared to placebo, MSM produced significant decreases in WOMAC pain and physical function impairment (P<0.05). No notable changes were found in WOMAC stiffness and aggregated total symptoms scores. MSM also produced improvement in performing activities of daily living when compared to placebo on the SF-36 evaluation (P<0.05).

MSM (3g twice a day) improved symptoms of pain and physical function during the short intervention without major adverse events. The benefits and safety of MSM in managing OA and long-term use cannot be confirmed from this pilot trial, but its potential clinical application is examined. Underlying mechanisms of action and need for further investigation of MSM are discussed.

Link to Study

 

Randomised, Double-Blind, Parallel, Placebo-Controlled Study of Oral Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and their Combination in Osteoarthritis

Clinical Drug Investigation (2004)

P. R. Usha & M. U. R. Naidu

A total of 118 patients of either sex with mild to moderate osteoarthritis were included in the study and randomised to receive either Glu 500mg, MSM 500mg, Glu and MSM or placebo capsules three times daily for 12 weeks. Patients were evaluated at 0 (before drug administration), 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-treatment for efficacy and safety. The efficacy parameters studied were the pain index, the swelling index, visual analogue scale pain intensity, 15m walking time, the Lequesne index, and consumption of rescue medicine.

Glu, MSM and their combination produced an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect in osteoarthritis. Combination therapy showed better efficacy in reducing pain and swelling and in improving the functional ability of joints than the individual agents. All the treatments were well tolerated. The onset of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity was found to be more rapid with the combination than with Glu. It can be concluded that the combination of MSM with Glu provides better and more rapid improvement in patients with osteoarthritis.

Link to Study

 

Assessment of safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane on bone and knee joints in osteoarthritis animal model

Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism (2013)

Junko Ezaki, Miyuki Hashimoto, Yu Hosokawa, Yoshiko Ishimi

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is one of the popular ingredients of so-called health foods in Japan, is expected to relieve inflammation in arthritis and allergies. However, there is no scientific evidence to confirm the efficacy and safety of MSM in detail.

In this study, we examined the effects of MSM on cartilage formation in growing rats (G) and cartilage degradation in STR/Ort mice (A), an accepted human osteoarthritis (OA) model. Intake of MSM for 13 weeks decreased degeneration of the cartilage at the joint surface in the knee joints in STR/Ort mice in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that appropriate intake of MSM is possibly effective in OA model mice; however, intake of large amounts of MSM induced atrophy of several organs.

Link to Study

 

Allergies and Immune System Support

 

A Multicentered, Open-Label Trial on the Safety and Efficacy of Methylsulfonylmethane in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2002)
Eleanor Barrager, Joseph R Veltmann, Alexander G Schauss, Rebecca N Schiller

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) affects more than 23 million Americans annually, and current epidemiologic studies indicate that its prevalence within the United States is increasing. Numerous clinical observations and case studies have led researchers to hypothesize that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) may help ameliorate the symptoms associated with SAR.

The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of MSM in the reduction of SAR-associated symptoms. This study also examined possible adverse reactions associated with methylsulfonylmethane supplementation. Finally, this study attempted to elucidate the method of action by which MSM elicits its effect on allergy symptoms.

The results of this study are promising but preliminary in nature. These findings lend support to previous clinical observations that MSM supplementation reduces allergy-associated symptoms and suggest that MSM may be therapeutic in ameliorating some of the symptoms associated with SAR. In addition, we found minimal side effects associated with the use of this product. Further studies examining the effects of MSM on the inflammatory process, including a more extensive evaluation of inflammatory cytokine levels, are necessary  to determine the method of action of MSM adequately.

Link to Study

 

Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement

MDPI (2016)
Matthew Butawan, Rodney L. Benjamin, and Richard J. Bloomer

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has become a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes, including its most common use as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been well investigated in animal models, as well as in human clinical trials and experiments. A variety of health-specific outcome measures are improved with MSM supplementation, including inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity. Initial evidence is available regarding the dose of MSM needed to provide benefit, although additional work is underway to determine the precise dose and time course of treatment needed to provide optimal benefits.

As a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, MSM is well-tolerated by most individuals at dosages of up to four grams daily, with few known and mild side effects. This review provides an overview of MSM, with details regarding its common uses and applications as a dietary supplement, as well as its safety for consumption.

Link to Article

 

Methylsulfonylmethane inhibits lung fibrosis progression, inflammatory response, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition via the transforming growth factor-Β1/SMAD2/3 pathway in rats exposed to both γ-radiation and Bisphenol-A

Toxin Review Journal (2020)
Enas Mahmoud Moustafa, Sahar Ismail Ibrahim and Fatma Abdel-Fattah Salem

Exposure to pollution is life-threatening, which may increase idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis progression. The current study aimed to explore the effect of methylsulfonyl methane as an anti-fibrotic agent against transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)/SMAD/Snail signaling-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition factors imbalance in rats exposed to γ-radiation, and/or Bisphenol-A.

Collectively, these findings reveal that methylsulfonylmethane exerts a potential anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic activity which could make it a potential therapeutic agent against IPF.

Link to Study

MISMO MSM - TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) Listing

Click here to view the public listing, including permitted indications.