Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM for short: What sounds chemical and unnatural at first glance is actually a sulfur compound from nature that is found in onions, sauerkraut, tomatoes and other foods. But what happens with it in the body? Find out everything you need to know about the effects of MSM here.
MSM: What is it exactly?
MSM is the abbreviation for methylsulfonylmethane and is also called dimethylsulfone. MSM is an organic sulfur compound, which means it is found in living organisms and serves as a source of sulfur for us. MSM is therefore also a natural ingredient in foods. Tomatoes, onions, milk, coffee and more are good food sources. When MSM is isolated, it is a white, odorless powder that dissolves well in water.
Researchers are finding more and more positive effects associated with MSM. However, so far the results have not been confirmed from a medical point of view, so MSM is not a medicinal product. Currently, it may only be used as a dietary supplement or in cosmetic products. Therefore, you can buy MSM in the form of powder, capsules, tablets or creams. We have combined MSM powder with other valuable plant extracts such as field horsetail and boswellia in our ANTIFLAMM capsules.
What does sulfur do in the body?
Which minerals do you know? Surely substances like iron, magnesium, calcium or iodine come to your mind. But very few people think of sulfur. This mineral is often forgotten, although it is the third most common element in humans. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), we take in enough sulfur through a normal diet, because some amino acids contain sulfur. Therefore, this mineral is not discussed further by the professional society. Accordingly, there is also no daily recommendation. At the same time, however, they also mention that sulfur is a component of several vital compounds in the body. These include insulin and keratin.
Sulphur, however, has other functions as well:
- Component of bones, joints, tendons, muscles, skin, hair and nails.
- Needed for the formation of chondroitin sulfate. Chondroitin sulfate is an important component in cartilage.
- Essential for detoxification of the body. For example, breakdown products of alcohol are bound to sulfur and excreted in the urine.
- Involved in the provision of energy, as it is a component of coenzyme A.
- Essential for the formation of insulin, therefore also involved in glucose metabolism.
Sulfur is thus a central building block in the human body and involved in a variety of processes. As with other minerals, its effect on health should not be underestimated.
What are the benefits of MSM capsules?
MSM is probably the most available form of sulfur for humans. In other words, we can easily absorb the mineral from this natural compound and process it well. Capsules are simple in their use and, unlike a powder, allow for a standardized daily intake of MSM. CLAV's capsules are encased in a vegetable shell, making them suitable for a vegan diet.
Why take MSM capsules?
Why might it be useful to take supplemental sulfur when there is in fact no sulfur deficiency? The answer: In certain situations, a greater need is suspected. This can be the case, for example, with frequent sports or illness. Scientific studies indicate the following positive effects of sulfur or MSM:
- MSM has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and stimulating effects on bone metabolism outside the body (cell studies)
- Reduction of oxidative stress during exercise (human study)
- Improvement of joint symptoms in osteoarthritis (animal study + small human studies, which have low significance due to small number of participants)
- Prolonged lifespan in autoimmune diseases (animal study)
- Reduction of swelling in inflammatory skin diseases (animal study)
- Positive influence on sugar and fat metabolism (animal study)
Results from cell and animal studies cannot be directly applied to humans. Therefore, the findings on MSM effects are not yet sufficient to approve methylsulfonylmethane as a drug.
What to consider when taking MSM?
As with all dietary supplements, you should not exceed the recommended amount of MSM capsules. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers a dosage of up to 4.8 grams per day to be safe.
Nevertheless, side effects are possible even with natural substances. When taking MSM, you may experience allergic reactions, gastrointestinal problems, and irritation of the skin. If you notice these side effects, you should stop taking it and seek medical advice if needed. For people suffering from ulcerative colitis, a low-sulfur diet is recommended. Therefore, MSM should be avoided as a precautionary measure for this disease and other intestinal inflammations.
Also note that MSM is not a miracle cure for osteoarthritis, pain or for autoimmune diseases. So far, there are initial studies looking at the effects of MSM, but the findings are not medically accepted. This does not necessarily mean that MSM has no positive effects, but only that there is not yet sufficient data in this regard. You can therefore use MSM in consultation with your doctor to accompany your therapy. A combination with other natural plant substances that relieve pain or inflammation is also useful.
Effects of MSM at a glance
- MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic sulfur compound and is a good source of sulfur.
- Organic sulfur can usually be taken in sufficient quantities in the diet. The mineral contributes to many of the body's functions
- MSM as a dietary supplement may be useful in certain circumstances. It is believed that the need for sulfur increases with some diseases and with exercise.
- Current studies on MSM products suggest benefits in osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory processes, pain, and for the glucose as well as lipid metabolism. However, the studies to date are not sufficient to put MSM on par with medications.
- Note the respective dosage for MSM powder, capsules and tablets. Taking 4.8 grams per day is generally well tolerated. Even though MSM is a natural substance, it can cause side effects. People with an inflammatory gastrointestinal problem are advised against MSM products as a precaution.