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What Is the MSM Supplement?

If you have searched your local health food store or the Internet for a dietary supplement that may help treat joint pain or arthritis, you may have come across the nutrition enhancer MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane. Dr. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., and clinical nutrition specialist, in his book "The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth," lists MSM among the best dietary supplements for pain and inflammation.

 

The Langone Medical Center at New York University explains that MSM is a sulfur-containing compound that can naturally be found in many of the foods that you may already eat, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. MSM is closely related to DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide, which is a topical arthritis treatment that converts to MSM. MSM is generally sold as dietary supplement in a capsule or tablet pill form to be taken orally for joint pain and osteoarthritis relief.

 

MSM exhibits significant potential as a natural treatment for osteoarthritis, a condition that affects over 20 million Americans. Jacqueline Jacques, a neuropathic doctor, explains that sulfur is a critical compound for maintaining connective tissues and joint health. Sulfur is in our bones, joints, skin and muscle tissues and is involved in making collagen, which is the primary component of connective tissue. MSM contains high amounts of sulfur and Bowden believes that most Americans have a "borderline deficiency of MSM," although no daily recommended allowance has been established.

 

Bowden explains that MSM can reduce pain by blocking the transmission of impulses in nerve fibers that carry pain signals. A study published in the 2004 "Journal of Clinical Drug Investigation" by the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences in India confirms this and found that 500 mg of MSM added to 500 mg of glucosamine resulted in greater pain relief and increased functional muscle and joint ability. The study found MSM to be well-tolerated and generally free of adverse side effects.

 

You should begin by taking 1,000 mg of MSM a day and gradually increase the dose to 4,000 mg. Bowden reports MSM also has a detoxing effect and can remove heavy metal compounds from your body. After you begin taking MSM, you may notice rashes, headaches, sweating or increased acne. These side effects will subside and are a sign that you are detoxing -- not having an allergic reaction.

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