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Common Name(s)MSM, methylsulfonylmethane
Scientific Name(s)methylsulfonylmethane, dimethyl sulfone, sulfonylbismethane
MSM can be found naturally in small amounts in some green plants, fruits and vegetables, and in humans. It is also available as supplements.
How is this product usually used?
MSM is usually found in combination with supplements like glucosamine or chondroitin. It is taken orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed) (by mouth) usually with food, and it is available in different forms such as tablets and capsules.
What is this product used for?
MSM has anti-inflammatory actions. It is used to relieve joint pain in a type of arthritis known as osteoarthritis, including osteoarthritis of the knee. Several studies have shown that when used alone or with glucosamine, MSM reduces symptoms of pain and swelling in people with osteoarthritis. It does not appear to help with joint stiffness.
The dose ranges from 1,500 mg to 6,000 mg each day. MSM should be taken with food, and preferably not at bedtime.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
It may take 4 weeks before you notice any improvement. If at any time your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider.
MSM appears to be safe for most people when taken for a short period of time (3 months or less). Common side effects reported include diarrhea, nausea, bloating, indigestion, constipation, headache, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and worsening of existing allergy symptoms.
Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult a health care practitioner before using MSM.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
- Gregory PJ, Sperry M, Friedman-Wilson A. Dietary supplements for osteoarthritis. Am Fam Physician 2008;77:177-84.
- MSM. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (Accessed 3 July 2012)
- Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products. MSM (monograph). http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/prodnatur/mono_msm-eng.pdf (accessed 3 July 2012)
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