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MSM Does MSM added to Glucosamine have any value for arthritis sufferers?

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MSM and Glucosamine

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you deserve the facts about MSM. Here, we are going to review this subject and hopefully, you will have a better understanding of MSM and whether or not it offers any value to arthritis sufferers.

Does MSM assist with osteoarthritis (0A) when used with Glucosamine?

Once you have read this article I think the conclusion is that it has very little impact for osteoarthritis sufferers when added to a Glucosamine product. And, those who add it to a Glucosamine formula often call it “all natural.” That is not correct. It is a chemical compound that is made from DMSO. And, it can have some side effects.

What is MSM? 

MSM is a mineral sulfur which is the fourth most plentiful found in the human body and every day we ingest food that provides it. It is found in milk, vegetables, fish and grains. So, why would you need to add MSM as a supplement?

What is MSM and why the controversy?

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic sulfur compound that (some claim) will assist with osteoarthritis. Although it has been added to some Glucosamine and Chondroitin products, one has to look more closely at this practice. It would appear to offer little if any benefit given the clinical evidence and it can adversely affect the flavor of products that use it.

MSM was invented by Dr. Stanley Jacob and even he admits that MSM does not repair damaged cartilage as Glucosamine and Chondroitin do. His claim is that it assists in managing arthritis pain. However, the clinical studies need to be reviewed to understand that large doses of MSM would be required to have an impact on osteoarthritis pain. And, there has been no definitive clinical studies done regarding the safety of long-term use with MSM. It should be noted that Dr. Jacob has defended the fact that there are no true scientifically accepted MSM studies (i.e. peer-reviewed studies) published in medical journals. And, while he states that MSM is beneficial he serves as the medical director of a company that produces and sells MSM.

We will also discuss “why” Rheumatologists are wary of using MSM and side effects from using it. There is also ample evidence that we ingest enough MSM in the foods we eat to negate the use of an MSM supplement. Finally, we will discuss the potential side effects when using MSM in any form.

The problems with MSM and the pain management theory for arthritis

Now, there have been only limited pilot studies of MSM in this area but the doses used were extremely high. If you read these studies, you will find that low doses of MSM do not appear to have any impact on managing Osteoarthritis pain. There is even an indication of no anti-inflammatory effect when using MSM. That is certainly part of the answer to easing pain from arthritis. (OA)

And, rheumatologists have long distrusted MSM because it has a close relationship to DMSO. DMSO became very controversial as far back as the 1960’s. DMSO is an ingredient found in antifreeze and paint thinners as well as some agricultural chemical products.

Clinical evidence regarding MSM and Glucosamine Sulfate -Osteoarthritis

Although there are some who tout MSM as useful in a Glucosamine formula there is little clinical evidence to support that. For example, in one clinical study of MSM in 2004 that specifically studied it with Glucosamine (I.e. participants suffering from Osteoarthritis (OA) the amount of MSM used was 1500 mgs. per day. That is a very large dosage. (Usha PR, Naidu MUR. Randomized double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral Glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and their combination in Osteoarthritis. Clin drug Invest 2004; 24(6): 353-63. Only 40 Osteoarthritis participants completed this study.

A 2006 clinical study of MSM (only) focused on knee arthritis. That study had fifty (50) participants and only MSM was used. No Glucosamine was used here.  The dose of MSM administered was 6000 mgs. per day for twelve (12) weeks. (Ten did not complete this small study) Although this study concluded that there was a reduction in knee pain, there was no evidence of a more general anti-inflammatory effect was found in two measures of systemic anti-inflammation. (C-reactive protein level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate) The authors also noted that this short-term pilot study did not address long-term safety and usefulness of using MSM for osteoarthritis. Kim LS, Axelrod LJ, Howard P, Buratovich N, Waters RF. Efficacy of methhylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee; a pilot clinical trial. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2006; 14(3):286-94. PMID 16309928.

Given that easing arthritis pain and rehabilitating damaged cartilage is accomplished with Glucosamine and Chondroitin (and, adding other synergistic ingredients) you have to view the addition of MSM to any Glucosamine complex with some skepticism.

Potential side effects of using MSM

Potential side effects from using MSM include: diarrhea, stomach upsets and even mild cramps. It has also been suggested that if you are going to ingest MSM that you should consult with a physician in order that he or she monitor your blood, liver function and kidneys on a regular basis. Also, if you take heparin or any other blood thinning product or if you use aspirin MSM may cause some blood thinning.


It would seem clear that MSM has been overblown as useful for arthritis sufferers and it adds little if anything of value when placed in Glucosamine products. Clearly, the scant pilot studies provide little guidance on this issue.

If you are trying to manage your osteoarthritis and enhance joint health, a pharmaceutical-quality liquid Glucosamine/Chrondroitin formula with other synergistic anti-inflammatory and joint pain ingredients offers a far safer approach. And, without the risk of side effects associated with MSM.


The statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. (FDA)
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.