Diseases

MSM for Arthritis

Explore the role of MSM supplements in relieving arthritis symptoms.

Are you looking for new and natural ways to manage your arthritis? There are a number of reasons you might be thinking of turning to alternative medicine. Maybe you’re getting tired of doctors or maybe you’re looking to bypass the side effects of the pharmaceutical drugs they prescribe. Maybe you’re just looking for a more natural way to keep your arthritis symptoms under control. No matter what the case may be, the good news is that there is hope for managing your arthritis without doctors or medicine.

By now, you may have heard about MSM for arthritis. This alternative medicine remedy has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. If you’re thinking about trying it, then look no further. Here are the answers to some of the questions you probably have about MSM and how it can work to benefit your arthritis.

What is MSM?

For starters, what is MSM? You’ve probably seen the name on supplement labels, but you likely have no idea what it actually is.

MSM stands for Methylsulfonylmethane, which is an organic sulfur. It’s found naturally in meat, grains, and raw fruits and vegetables. Believe it or not, it is also found in humans!

When MSM is used to aid in the treatment of diseases like arthritis, it is made up of 34% sulfur. It is a white crystalline substance. 1 There are a number of different ways in which you can take MSM. It comes in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid, and powder. It can also be taken orally or used topically. 2

What are the benefits of MSM?

Due to its high sulfur content, MSM is known to offer a number of benefits for everyone. It is thought to play an important component in bone and joint health. MSM can also help boost your immune system. There are a number of benefits of MSM for arthritis.

It has been found to offer anti-inflammatory properties. This can be a useful benefit for arthritis sufferers who struggle with inflammation and swelling in their joints. 3

It may help prevent cartilage degeneration. Since MSM has been found to both maintain and repair connective tissue, 4 it might help maintain cartilage. It might even help repair cartilage! This is great news if your arthritis has begun to affect the cartilage in your knees and joints.

It may prevent the need for chemotherapy. Some researchers believe that MSM offers chemo-preventative properties. 5 This may make MSM an ideal option for arthritis sufferers who are looking to get off their chemotherapy medications, which often have undesirable side effects.

It works as a natural pain reliever. MSM is believed to act as an analgesic. It has been shown to decrease nerve impulses that transmit pain. 6 If you suffer from a lot of arthritis-related pain, MSM may help you find some relief without causing you to reach for NSAIDs or other pain killers.

These are just some of the many benefits of MSM for arthritis!

Have studies found MSM to be effective for arthritis management?

Before you commit to using MSM, you may want to know how effective it will be in managing your arthritis. The last thing you want is to invest your time and money in something that won’t work. Well, there’s good news. Although there isn’t a whole lot of research out there in regards to MSM for arthritis, the studies that have been done so far have been promising!

A positive benefit was found in a 2006 study. In the study, 50 men and women suffering from knee osteoarthritis were given 6 grams (3 grams twice a day) of MSM or a placebo for twelve weeks. 7 The group receiving MSM reported less pain and improved physical function in regards to performing daily activities than the placebo group.

In a 2013 study, Japanese researchers bred mice to have knee osteoarthritis. The mice were divided into three groups. One group was given over-the-counter levels of MSM, the second group was given 10 times the amount of MSM, and the third group were given no MSM. Mice in the groups receiving MSM were found to have less knee cartilage degeneration than those who weren’t given any MSM. 8

Another study, which was published in 2014, involved men and women suffering from hip and/or knee osteoarthritis. One group was given 6 grams (3 grams twice daily) of MSM powder for 26 weeks, while the other group received no MSM. At the end of 26 weeks, people in the MSM group reported a 25% improvement in their arthritis pain. During those 26 weeks, only two people in the MSM group had taken NSAIDs in comparison to five people in the placebo group! 9

While the effects of MSM for arthritis need to be studied further, the available research is very hopeful for arthritis sufferers!

Do you need to take MSM in combination with glucosamine?

Good question! You may have heard that one won’t work without the other. This isn’t true. MSM has been studied without being used in combination with glucosamine and a positive benefit has still been found.

That being said, it is believed to work best when combined with glucosamine. 10 Glucosamine has also been found to offer positive benefits for arthritis sufferers. You might consider using MSM and glucosamine together in order to reap the benefits of both!

Is MSM safe to take?

MSM is generally considered to be safe when it’s taken on a short-term basis. No research has found any significant side effects in the short-term even when higher doses were taken.

Although some people have reported mild gastrointestinal symptoms, the 26-week study found that there were no significant side effects of using MSM for arthritis. The study found that there were no effects on blood pressure, bleeding time, bruising or changes in blood chemistry at the 26-week mark. 11

No studies have been done on the long-term effects of MSM. If you choose to use MSM longer than 26 weeks, it’s best to proceed with caution.

As with other anti-inflammatory supplements, people who are on blood thinners are not recommended to use MSM. 12 There is a possibility that it may cause you to experience an increase in bleeding and bruising.

If you use MSM or any other supplement, it’s best to be under a doctor’s care.

How much MSM should you take?

If you are interested in using MSM for arthritis, you may be wondering how much you should be taking. What’s the proper dosage to reap the benefits?

Well, until more research has been done, no one really knows for sure. The Arthritis Foundation recommends using 1,000 or 3,000 mg (or 1 to 3 grams) per day. 13 Two studies have measured the effects of 6 grams per day, broken down into 3 gram twice daily doses.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about how much MSM you should be taking. However, you might want to consider starting out with a lower dose to see if you can find relief before graduating to higher doses.

How long do you need to take MSM to benefit from it?

While more research needs to be done, studies have found a benefit in the short-term. The 2014 study did find that participants continued to improve at the 26-week mark, which was when the study ended. This suggests that it may take longer than 26 weeks to see the full effects of MSM for arthritis. 14

Should you take MSM with food?

Yes, the Arthritis Foundation recommends taking your MSM with meals. 15 This can help prevent you from experiencing stomach upset or heartburn.

What is the best time of day to take MSM?

It doesn’t matter what time of day you take an MSM supplement. However, most studies have participants take MSM at multiple times throughout the day. Taking a dose in the morning and a dose at night may be ideal.

Does MSM interact with medications?

No interactions seem to have been found between MSM and medications, vitamins, and nutrients. However, it’s best to check with your doctor and/or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications for other conditions.

Overall, MSM may be an ideal option to try for managing your arthritis. Since no studies have found any negative side effects, it can’t hurt to try this supplement to see if it helps relieve your arthritis symptoms.

  1. MSM Arthritis Research UK 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  2. MSM FOR ARTHRITIS | METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE Arthritis Foundation 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  3. MSM Arthritis Research UK 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  4. Pagonis, T., Givissis, P., Kritis, A. and Christodoulou, A. The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility. The International Journal of Orthopaedics.2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  5. Pagonis, T., Givissis, P., Kritis, A. and Christodoulou, A. The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility. The International Journal of Orthopaedics.2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  6. MSM FOR ARTHRITIS | METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE Arthritis Foundation 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  7. Kim LS, e. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2006 Mar;14(3):286-94. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  8. Reynolds, G. Ask Well: Glucosamine and MSM for Joint Pain? The New York Times.Accessed December 14, 2017.

  9. Pagonis, T., Givissis, P., Kritis, A. and Christodoulou, A. The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility. The International Journal of Orthopaedics.2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  10. MSM Arthritis Research UK 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  11. Pagonis, T., Givissis, P., Kritis, A. and Christodoulou, A. The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility. The International Journal of Orthopaedics.2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  12. MSM FOR ARTHRITIS | METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE Arthritis Foundation 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  13. MSM FOR ARTHRITIS | METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE Arthritis Foundation 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  14. Pagonis, T., Givissis, P., Kritis, A. and Christodoulou, A. The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility. The International Journal of Orthopaedics.2014. Accessed December 14, 2017.

  15. MSM FOR ARTHRITIS | METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE Arthritis Foundation 1999. Accessed December 14, 2017.

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