Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

One common ingredient in joint formulations is methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM. MSM is readily absorbed into the body, the sulfur incorporated into tissues, and eventually excreted.1 It is thought to help arthritic joints by providing chondrocytes with a source of sulfur for protein and cartilage synthesis. Cartilage is primarily composed of sulfur containing molecules and MSM functions as a source of sulfur when taken orally.

A study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage found:

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.

Another study on DMSO, a compound closely related to MSM,

…found that DMSO and dimethyl sulfone lessen the destructive changes in the joints, while DMSO also inhibits the manifestation of immune disorders, i. e. produces a “basal” effect on the course of spontaneous chronic arthritis in experimental animals.

MSM is very promising and shows some effectiveness. A recent review article which examined all credible studies on MSM concluded:

MSM provides moderate evidence of efficacy for knee OA.

1http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0621469

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