Supplemental Uses For Sulfur: What is MSM Good For?

Did you know that in 1981, Dr. Robert Herschler was granted a patent for the use of MSM to soften skin, strengthen nails, and dilute blood? (1)

That patent was the result of research that was done throughout the late 1970s at Oregon Health and Science University. In addition to the above uses of sulfur supplements, some of Dr. Herschler’s patients claimed that supplementing with methylsulfonylmethane helped to relieve stress, relieve pain, treat parasitic infections, increase energy, boost metabolism, enhance circulation, and improve wound healing. (1) Other people even claimed that it helped with weight loss. Although none of those uses had supporting data, it hinted at some of the research that was to follow.

We now know that there are several incredible health benefits of MSM. Through the application of these benefits, MSM has a variety of scientifically supported uses.


6 Uses of MSM

Methylsulfonylmethane is a natural source of sulfur. Many people are deficient in sulfur because they are not getting enough from their diet. This is because the soil is depleted of sulfur so the amounts are not as high in foods. This impacts people’s health and could result in disease.

This article seeks to answer the question of, what is MSM good for? To answer that, we will go over the primary uses of MSM so you can use this amazing supplement to get the maximum health benefits.

1. MSM Helps With Arthritis Problems

old man with nurseIn a 26 week study on patients with Osteoarthritis of the knee, patients were either given a MSM supplement of 3 grams twice per day or a placebo. At the end of the study, those that were given MSM noticed significant improvement than the placebo group. Most notably, they saw changes in joint pain, stiffness, and physical function. (2)

Even the Arthritis Foundation recognizes the use of MSM to improve osteoarthritis and other symptoms. They acknowledge that the benefits that seem to achieve these results are by reducing inflammation and helping to form connective tissue in joints. (3)

This is especially important because joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis can have a significant impact on daily activities and quality of life. As a result, MSM supplements have excellent potential to help many people with joint pain and issues, especially the elderly.

2. MSM Lessens Muscle Pain and Soreness

Often, in the following days after an intense workout, people experience muscle pain and soreness. MSM has been shown to reduce the soreness and speed up the recovery process.

Select long distance runners that were training for the Portland half marathon were given 3 g of MSM daily to supplement with starting 3 weeks before the race. After the race, the runners recorded their muscle and joint pain at different intervals. The group that was using MSM supplements noticed less pain in both their muscles and joints than the runners who did not use MSM. (4)

3. Use MSM to Improve Allergies

girl with allergiesWhether it is seasonal of all year round, over 50 million Americans suffer from Allergic Rhinitis. As a result, these people have to cope with the symptoms of a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and itching of the eye. (6)

Most of these patients turn to over the counter medication or steroids, which can have harmful side effects.

Taking a low dose of MSM improves all of these allergy symptoms by up to 53.72%. Researchers found out that the most effective dose was 3 g of MSM per day. Surprisingly, this dose was significantly more effective than the higher dose of 12 g. (5)

4. Helps to Reverse Skin Damage and Wrinkles

Since the original patent, many more studies have been done on the effects of MSM and the skin.

Scientists are aware of how sulfur plays a vital role in collagen and keratin production, which are both critical for skin health.

Both of these proteins help to protect and develop new skin cells. By taking MSM orally for 16 weeks, it is possible to even skin tone, improve texture, and reduce wrinkles. (7) Many people have also seen improvements in the texture and appearance of their skin by using an MSM cream.

5. Support the Immune System and Prevents Cell Damage

We know that one of the main benefits of MSM is to aid the body’s production of glutathione, which is an antioxidant.

Antioxidants help protect the cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. These cause premature breakdown of the cell, which can lead to different illnesses and premature aging.

Also, glutathione plays a significant role in immunity. Because of this, when glutathione production is decreased, the risk of infection increases. This is especially relevant in people with bacterial infections, AIDS, viral infections, and sepsis. (8)

6. May Decrease Risk of Certain Types of Cancer

happy girlAlthough there have been no significant human studies on the role of MSM and cancer, there is emerging research in this field.

First off, MSM is toxic to cancer cells. (1)

Secondly, in a study on mice, methylsulfonylmethane was proven effective in suppressing breast cancer cells. (9)

Third, MSM was able to limit the spread of prostate cancer cells, which limited tumor growth.

Finally, another study was able to show that using MSM may be associated with a decreased risk of lung and colorectal cancers. (1)

Safety and Side Effects

Although MSM is generally considered safe, please contact your doctor for medical advice before starting any supplementation plan. Use of methylsulfonylmethane should not be used in place of a healthy diet.

In most of the studies referenced in this article, researchers noted that there were no issues or side effects. But in some instances, there have been observable side effects. These include nausea, irritation, difficulty concentrating, and headaches. Discontinue use immediately if you notice any side effects.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, MSM is safe under 4.845 g per day. (1) And in most of the studies listed, participants noticed positive effects with dosages of 3 g. For an in depth look at how to take MSM with the correct dosages, check out this article.


MSM is a natural and versatile dietary supplement with the potential to improve many people’s health. Although it is most widely used in alternative medicine for arthritis and joint health, research shows that there is so much more potential. From improving allergies, reducing inflammation, to hair health, and cancer, there are many great uses of MSM.

Studies show that supplementing with sulfur has a cumulative effect as amounts build up in the blood. So, it shows the most promise for preventative and long term measures.

In most of the studies, they used OptiMSM. So, if you are choosing a supplement, the best option is to purchase MSM supplements with OptiMSM in it.

The methylsulfonylmethane products from Kala health have the best reviews on Amazon. We recommend incorporating that one into a healthy diet for the best health benefits.