MSM or methylsulphonylmethane is a safe nutritional supplement that can be used to help control inflammation, arthritis, tendinitis and other joint related conditions, interstitial cystitis, allergies etc. MSM is in used by human and animal practitioners from decades. MSM is a metabolite of DMSO, an approved substance for the treatment of interstitial cystitis.
MSM has been used in human research for many years in amounts above 2000 mg per day, there are no significant adverse effects associated with it. MSM has extremely low toxicity to all forms of animal and plant life. DMSO, a somewhat similar substance to MSM can cause to produce strong body odors. But, MSM is different in its biochemical structure, so this would not happen if someone takes MSM.
MSM is found in many several foods, such as milk and pine nuts. It leads to speculation that people having allergy with some type of food can’t consume MSM supplement. You are right to consider this point but, MSM in supplements is a synthetic product which tends not to produce allergies.
Before you buy a MSM supplement check the product for possible contraindicated and allergic ingredients. Different manufacturers combine different ingredients. Quality of MSM can differ dramatically from one product to other. Some inferior products may contain trace amount of heavy metals which are toxic to your body systems. So, don’t compromise on the quality.
MSM can cause thinning of the blood (although it’s not supported by enough evidences), so if you’re using blood thinners such as aspirin, Coumadin, dabigatran etc, make sure to consult with your doctor before starting this supplement. MSM is usually a safer substance, but you may sometimes require to reduce the dosage of your other medication due to this effect.
MSM is included in “extremely low” toxicity category having a toxicity profile similar to that of water. It has 1/7 the toxicity of table salt i.e. MSM is 7 times safer than table salt. In a study on humans, it has shown to have no side effects at 1 g/kg body weight. In animals, LD-50 dose rate is more than 20g/kg body weight. MSM is rapidly distributed to whole body, and after 12 hours excess of it will be flushed out of the body.
However, according to some anecdotal reports, diarrhea, headache, fatigue and skin rash may be experienced in less than 20% of people taking increased amount of MSM. Some people develop allergies to sulfa drugs, but MSM is a form of dietary sulfur which we consume every day. So, don’t confuse these two separate substances. MSM is just an essential form of dietary sulfur, not a drug in any way.
There are no known interactions between MSM and other pharmacological agents. Some people suggest taking vitamin C with MSM to aid its effectiveness. Vitamin C itself have been shown to reduce pain and connective tissue synthesis, but there have been no studies supporting this synergy.
There are only few studies about the safety of using MSM during pregnancy and breast feeding. It’s advised to stay on safe by not using it during this period. Kids don’t tend to need MSM, but it can be taken with no side effects.