MSM: Could This Be a Safe and Effective Natural Solution to Your Chronic Joint Pain?
If you are living with chronic pain you want symptom relief that is safe AND effective, and you believe modern medicine shouldn’t make you choose one over the other. For some patients, natural remedies have performed as well as medications and with fewer serious side effects. MSM is one nutritional supplement that for some patients has proven to be safe and effective.
What is MSM?
MSM is the abbreviation for methylsulfonylmethane, an organic form of sulfur. MSM is found only in trace amounts in the human body. We get most of dietary needs for MSM from the amino acids in our food, especially food high in protein. Cow’s milk is the best food source of MSM. Other good sources of MSM include raw tomatoes, corn, meat, eggs, poultry and fish.
MSM was first widely used by veterinarians in treating musculoskeletal conditions in horses and dogs. Today MSM it is approved for human use in more than 120 countries for treatment of inflammation, scar tissue, and high blood pressure.
Uses of MSM
MSM seems to act as a natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It bocks inflammation and boosts the body’s production of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol. It also enhances blood circulation by dilating blood vessels. MSM is used for the treatment of a wide range of chronic pain conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Joint inflammation
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Lower back pains
MSM is usually taken in tablet form and with a glass of water. The adult dose is typically 500 mg taken two to three times daily each day. People with more severe conditions can take higher dosages, up to 3 grams three times a day. Patience is needed as symptom relief can take two days to three weeks.
Controversies Relating to MSM
MSM has not been as widely studied as some of the more popular supplements, but the early results are encouraging. Positive research findings were published in the March 2006 issue of the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. The research was based on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of fifty patients with pain caused by osteoarthritis. The patients who were treated with MSM for 12 weeks showed significant decreases in pain and stiffness, and overall improved physical function.
Some human studies have shown that MSM significantly reduces joint damage and swelling as much as NSAIDs, but other studies have shown only a slight reduction in joint pain symptoms.
More research is needed so it is too early to speak definitively about its benefits. So far, the results have been mixed but promising.
Risks and Limitations of MSM
MSM is a low risk supplement with few side effects. For some people, taking MSM can cause diarrhea, nausea, bloating insomnia or aggravate allergy symptoms. MSM can be a stimulant, so you should avoid taking it at night or risk insomnia.
People living with chronic pain want symptom relief want treatment that is effective and has a low risk of side effects. For some, MSM offers both benefits. It is a low risk gamble that may pay off in additional relief from joint pain and swelling.
Dr L.S. Kim, N.D; Dr L.J. Axelrod, N.D; Dr P. Howard, M.D; Dr N. Buratovich, N.D; Dr R.F. Waters, Ph.D. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. March 2006; Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 286–294