MSM is a naturally occurring compound found in plants and animals.
MSM stands for “methyl sulfonyl methane.” Yeah, I know. It’s a mouthful. Just including it here for your information.
Don’t worry… it won’t be on the “test”. 😉
It’s a form of sulfur that has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
As a result, it’s a common ingredient in many popular joint remedies and supplements for osteoarthritis and inflammation pain/stiffness, often playing a supporting role to more familiar supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.
Does MSM Work? What’s the Science Say about It?
There’s good news here…
Even if there are not a lot of them, existing scientific studies indicate that yes, MSM does work.
One clinical study found that it worked well to alleviate osteoarthritis pain of the knee as well as increase physical function “without major adverse events.”
A smaller study, performed on 16 people (in the treatment group, two had osteoarthritis in their hands, three had lumbar degenerative joint disease, two had degenerative arthritis in their knees, and one had arthritis in the shoulder), found that a MSM product brought significant relief to study participants.
Yet another study demonstrated consistent benefit for those with osteoathritis in large joints.
This is cool…
MSM’s benefits don’t appear to be restricted to merely joint pain and stiffness – this study showed it helped with Hay fever, and this one showed that when combined with silymarin, MSM seems to alleviate symptoms of rosacea.
MSM Safety and Side Effects
Studies conducted on MSM for periods of up to 6 months / 26 weeks showed no issues at all.
However, a fairly recent analysis of supporting clinical data suggests additional studies are needed to identify both the “optimum dosage and longer-term safety of MSM.”
What’s this mean in the real world?
It might be a good idea to limit your experimentation with this supplement to periods of 6 months or so.
Dosage: How Much MSM Should I Take?
As noted in the previous section, not everyone is in agreement as to the ideal dose of this supplement.
The most dramatic results were obtained with 6 grams / day in two divided doses (3,000 mg x twice daily).
… but other studies showed MSM provided benefits for joint pain and stiffness at a significantly lower dose (2,250 mg).
Watch out for label dressing!
It’s a common trick used by supplement companies to make a product to make a product look more impressive than it is – it involves inluding a TON of ingredients at doses much too low to provide any benefit. If the product you’re looking at contains a few milligrams of the MSM, you won’t receive any benefit from it!
One exception; studies show that when combined with glucosamine, lower doses of MSM seem to be effective (500 mg of each 3 times daily).
I’ve taken MSM before, but never on its own… only as part of product formula that contained numerous other ingredients. And while I found these products helpful for various aches and pains and stiffness, I have no idea how much the MSM contributed to the relief I was getting.
So it’s difficult to provide any real feedback of value from my own experiences.
Customer Reviews, Feedback and Testimonials
On the other hand, customer feedback on the top 4 selling MSM supplements at iHerb.com is overwhelmingly postive, with over 1,000 people contributing to rate them all an overall 4.5 out of 5 stars (at the time of this writing).
Of course, not everyone is using MSM for its ability to help with arthritis, stiff joints and pain (some use it for allergies), and no, it doesn’t work for everyone.
A small percentage of people – 11% in the case of the Doctor’s Best powdered supplement – rated it 3 stars or less.
But the overwhelming majority are very happy with MSM.
There is definitely something happening here.
Recommendation: Should You Take MSM?
As usual, recommendations here on Supplements Secrets are based on 4 things…
- Safety record.
- The supporting clinical science.
- Personal reviews and testimonials. While 100% anecdotal, a large number of genuine, positive experience can’t be discounted.
- Cost; is this an affordable natural remedy supplement for joint pain, stiffness and arthritis?
In the case of MSM, we’ve got thumbs up all the way around.
The only place where is MSM is a little weak is in the clinical study department, but that’s offset by the cost of this supplement (cheap!), and the huge number of overwhelmingly postive reviews.
Because an effective dose of this natural arthritis supplement is pretty hefty (anywhere from just over 2 to 6 grams per day) your best bet for value is a powdered product, like Doctor’s Best MSM powder from iHerb.
It contains 250 servings and costs less than USD$10.00.
At 2 grams per day, that’s 4 months worth. At 6 grams per day, it’s 41 days worth.
Pretty damn cheap, however way you “slice” it.
If you’d prefer tabs, this product, also from Doctor’s Best, is a decent option.
Your Turn. What Do You Think?
Alright. This is where I turn the “microphone over to you.”
Now it’s time for you to have your say.
Share YOUR experience.
Have you tried MSM for arthritis, stiff joints or pain?
What did you think?
How much did you take daily?
Did you notice any side effects of any sort while taking it?
I’d love to hear your comments, as would our readers. Please do share your experiences below, it is much appreciated.