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Supplements - Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for Pain

Submitted by Teo Graca | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me!

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound. It is also known by several other names including DMSO2, methyl sulfone, and dimethyl sulfone. In 1978, the FDA approved dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) for instillation into the bladder as a treatment for interstitial cystitis. Since DMSO is metabolized to MSM by the body, it is possible that MSM is the active ingredient in DMSO treatments.

A review by S. Brien, P. Prescott, N. Bashir, H. Lewith and G. Lewith of the two small randomized controlled trials of MSM in osteoarthritis knee pain relief "reported significant improvement in pain outcomes in the treatment group compared to comparator treatments; however, methodological issues and concerns over optimal dosage and treatment period were highlighted."

The claims for the need for sulfur supplementation originate with Robert Herschler, a biochemist who patented "Dietary and pharmaceutical uses of methylsulfonylmethane and compositions comprising it" in 1982; he claimed that MSM was useful in stress, mucous-membrane inflammation, allergies and gastrointestinal conditions.

Although no medical uses for MSM have been approved by any government, a variety of health benefits have been claimed and studied. Stanley W. Jacob reported having administered MSM to over 18,000 patients with a variety of ailments; he co-authored a book promoting MSM with a variety of claims, including its supposed utility as a natural source of "biologically active sulfur," suggesting that people are deficient in such forms of sulfur in their dietary intake. There is no Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) or Daily Value established for sulfur and sufficient dietary sources are readily available in onions, garlic and cruciferous vegetables and in protein-containing foods, including nuts, seeds, milk and eggs (whites and yolks).

Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). These vegetables are widely cultivated, with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables. The family takes its alternate name (Cruciferae, New Latin for "cross-bearing") from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross.