What Is MSM and How Does It Work?

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a chemical found in green plants, animals, and humans. It can also be made in a laboratory.

MSM is applied to the skin for chronic pain, osteoarthritis, joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, tendinitis, tenosynovitis, musculoskeletal pain, muscle cramps, scleroderma, scar tissue, stretch marks, hair loss, wrinkles, sun and wind burn protection, eye inflammation, oral hygiene, gum disease, wounds, cuts, and abrasions, and accelerated wound healing.

MSM is taken by mouth for relief of allergies, chronic constipation, "sour stomach," ulcers, diverticulosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mood elevation, obesity, poor circulation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, Alzheimer's disease, to control snoring, lung disorders including emphysema and pneumonia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders (such as systemic lupus erythematous), HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and colon cancer, eye inflammation, mucous membrane inflammation, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, leg cramps, migraine, headaches, hangover, parasitic infections of the intestinal and urogenital tracts including Trichomonas vaginalis and Giardia, yeast infection, insect bites, radiation poisoning, and to boost the immune system.

There is currently little published scientific research to support use the use of MSM. There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for MSM or sulfur, which is in MSM.

MSM is available under the following different brand names: dimethyl sulfone, DMSO2, methylsulfonylmethane, Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM, Flex-a-min, MSM glucosamine chondroitin, Osteo BiFlex plus MSM, and Triflex.

Dosages of MSM

  • 1000-3000 mg/day, divided, or
  • 400 mg per 50 lbs body weight per day

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

  • Take with meals
  • Pediatric: Safety and efficacy not established

Other Indications and Uses

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using MSM?

Common side effects of MSM include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating

This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects may occur. Call your doctor for information and medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Other Drugs Interact with MSM?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication for your condition, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions or side effects and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of this medicine or any medicine before getting further information from your doctor, healthcare provider or pharmacist first.

MSM has no known interactions with other drugs.

This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your physician if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for MSM?


  • This medication contains MSM. Do not take dimethyl sulfone, DMSO2, methylsulfonylmethane, Glucosamine & Chondroitin with MSM, Flex-a-min, MSM glucosamine chondroitin, Osteo BiFlex plus MSM, or Triflex if you are allergic to MSM or any ingredients contained in this drug.

Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.


  • Hypersensitivity

Effects of Drug Abuse

No information available

Short-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using MSM?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using MSM?"


  • None.

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • It is unknown whether MSM is safe to use during pregnancy or lactation. Avoid use if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Medscape. MSM.

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