MSM for Joints: Using MSM to Treat Osteoarthritis

The Swedish Rheumatism Association reckons that around 30% of osteoarthritis sufferers take various dietary supplements to reduce their pain. One of these is MSM powder. MSM is short for methylsulfonylmethane and is a natural product which has numerous health benefits attributed to it. This is because MSM contains organic sulfur, which is already present in the body, for instance, in tissue such as cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. There is no scientific evidence available yet showing that this supplement has proven benefits in the case of osteoarthritis. On the other hand, some of those taking the product believe that they can experience some benefit. Read more about osteoarthritis.

Why do we need MSM?

The most common explanation as to why we take dietary supplements in general is that we do not get sufficient vitamins and minerals from the food we eat. In 100 years the important minerals in the soils have decreased by a total of 85%. Although we eat a healthy, varied diet, there is a risk that we don’t get sufficient quantities. For this reason, it may be a good idea to top up our diet with a supplement like MSM. It is also said that it can help the immune system and offer a way of relieving the pain accompanying osteoarthritis.

MSM powder or capsule?

MSM is normally sold in powder or capsule form, with or without added vitamin C. This is because vitamin C makes it easier to absorb MSM in the body. If you take MSM powder and mix it with coffee, for instance, you will get a particular taste. If you find the taste hard to take, you may find it easier to take MSM tablets instead. MSM is classified as posing no risk in being taken as a supplement. It is available naturally in mainly high-protein foods, such as milk. The substance used as a dietary supplement has often been extracted from the sea. There are actually no downsides to MSM. Some people may find the period of getting used to taking this substance tough, whereas others don’t notice anything at all. A few studies have been conducted indicating that MSM can relieve osteoarthritis-related pain and swelling in the knees. But there is so little scientific evidence to support this that it is impossible to draw any definite conclusions yet.


Sulfur is something that our bodies need and it is harmless in small amounts. Most people notice an effect when they reach one to three teaspoons a day. On the other hand, if you take far too big a dose, it becomes toxic. However, there is little chance of overdosing on this. For instance, if you weigh 50 kilos, you need to take a kilo of the substance for it to poison you. It also said that the best effect is achieved by taking the MSM powder in its pure form. You can also mix the powder with water and spray it on the areas of the skin that are affected by psoriasis or acne, for instance. You will then notice a difference already after four to five days if you spray it on three times a day. Applying it to the body is nothing new. There are in several countries, including Hungary, special bathhouses with water in pools containing sulfur.

Side effects from MSM

MSM should generally not cause any side effects. However, many users have mentioned purge symptoms, such as pimples, dizziness, and diarrhea. This is why it is important to start taking a dosage of the product that is just enough and then increase it slowly to avoid these effects. How high a dose you should take and how much your body can tolerate are absolutely specific to each individual. Start with one milliliter a day and increase it slowly to avoid the side effects described above for MSM.

Pros and cons

In the case of joint diseases like osteoarthritis, there are a number of types of alternative medicines and herbal medicines available, which are said to be able to help relieve the pain. There are many who advocate the use of MSM in the herbal and alternative medicine sector. There are also many who stated that MSM has relieved their joint pain. However, there are still no rigorously conducted scientific studies available that can prove that it offers no more than a placebo effect. Continue reading about using turmeric for joint pain.