MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) - What Is It? Background, Uses and Benefits

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) - What Is It? Background, Uses and Benefits


  • Name: Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • Also known as: Dimethyl sulfone, methyl sulfone
  • What is it? A naturally-occurring, organic form of sulphur
  • What is it claimed to do? Improve skin and hair health, reduce joint pain, inflammation, and treat various ailments. †
  • Is there research to support it? Yes, MSM is known to reduce joint pain and block inflammation. It is also a known muscle relaxant. With regards to beauty, skin, hair and nail health, it helps boost keratin and collagen production – the basic ingredients for healthy, hair skin and nails. †


Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an naturally-occurring, organic sulphur that is found in fruits, vegetables, grains and milk. It is known to reduce inflammation in the human body and to inhibit the breakdown of cartilage and tissues. It is also a natural analgesic, providing relief from joint pain, and a blood vessel dilator, helping to decrease blood pressure. Due to this, its uses in medicine are widespread. 

Typical daily dose of MSM can range between 50-100 mg per capsule, which is the optimal dosage to build up long-term benefits. 

We chose MSM as an ingredient because not only does it demonstrate exceptional medicinal benefits for the purposes highlighted, it also acts as a sulphur donor to keratin, a crucial protein for skin and hair health. Our tests show it to be an exceptional ingredient for maintaining healthy skin, hair, nails and joints. †

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in medicine

Methylsulfonylmethane is not a dietary requirement for the human body, however, it occurs naturally in cow's milk, cheese, meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, grains and other foods and is used by the body. The body uses MSM in a variety of ways, mainly as a sulphur donor, but also as an anti-inflammatory agent. 

MSM has been well investigated and is scientifically proven as an inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant aid. However, it must be ingested to realise these benefits, since MSM does not absorb through the skin. Therefore, creams that contain MSM as their main ingredient may not be effective. 

With regards to hair, skin and nails, MSM is used by the body as a sulphur donor, and sulphur is the building block of the protein keratin. Keratin is a sulphur-based protein and the human body needs sulphur to produce it. It is the key component of our skin, hair and nails. As such, MSM can boost the production of keratin. This study found the effects to be significant for overall skin, hair and nail health. 

What are the main uses for MSM?

MSM is most widely used in the alternative medicine field, which is to say it is not prescribed by doctors to treat any one illness or ailment. 

Mostly, it is used for joint pain and inflammation, and has been shown to be an effective way to relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation. †

With regards to joint pain, this study involving 100 people over the age of 50 found that MSM decreased pain, stiffness and swelling in joints. 

Another study of 32 people with lower back pain found that an MSM-containing glucosamine supplement reduced lumbar stiffness and pain. 

Another study of 50 men and women aged 40-76 years of age with knee pain found MSM improved symptoms of pain and physical function during the short intervention. 

Another use of MSM is for hair, skin and nail health. With regards to this, this study found oral supplementation with MSM led to significant improvements in the appearance and condition of hair and nails. Another study found that MSM is a safe and effective treatment for facial skin aesthetics and overall skin health. 

MSM also acts as a sulphur donor to the human body, and sulphur is a basic principle for the formation of glutathione, the most important natural antioxidant in human beings. The human body uses glutathione to detoxify chemicals. It also recycles other antioxidants, so it plays a significant role in helping the body fight free radicals. 

What are the benefits of MSM? 

MSM is used as an alternative medicine to treat the following conditions:

  • Tendinitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Joint inflammation

Its effects on these conditions are constantly reviewed. We know that MSM can improve skin appearance, hair appearance and reduce joint pain. It is a powerful and highly effective beauty aid in combination with our other ingredients. †

Improves skin appearance

MSM acts as a sulphur donor to the body. Sulphur is the building block of keratin, a crucial protein for skin health. By taking MSM, you can boost natural keratin production. Keratin is what forms the rigidity of your skin. Some people have found it to have anti-ageing effects, although more studies are needed to verify this. †

Improves hair appearance

Keratin is also found naturally in hair strands. It gives hair structure. If you have frizzy hair that looks dry or d†maged, you may need a keratin boost. MSM could help provide this, so it’s worth a go. You can also buy keratin shampoos. Customers who use MSM to improve hair health have reported good results overall. †

Reduces joint pain

This study involving 100 people over the age of 50 found that MSM decreases pain, stiffness and swelling in joints, and this study found similar results in people suffering from knee pain. The way in which MSM treats joint pain is by way of anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and stiffness in the joints. †

Helps with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when protective cartilage around joints wears down over time. MSM inhibits the breakdown of cartilage and tissues in animals and it has shown promise in humans too. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you may find MSM to be quite helpful in reducing your symptoms. 

Helps with back pain 

A study of 32 people with lower back pain found that an MSM-containing glucosamine supplement reduced lumbar stiffness and pain. The supplement contained MSM as just one of its active ingredients, but the result is impressive nether-the-less. If you suffer from back pain, MSM could help alleviate your symptoms. 

Slows cross-linking in collagen

Cross-linking in collagen occurs naturally during scar formation. This is what causes hard, and sometimes painful, scar tissue. MSM slows cross-linking in collagen, helping to smooth scar tissue over time, making the skin more flexible. If you have scars, stretch marks, loose skin or otherwise unhealthy skin, MSM could help. 

Warning and footnotes

† This claim has not been evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). A food supplement is not a substitute for food. A varied and balanced diet is important. EU legislation prohibits the advertising of food supplements (or their ingredients) in their advertisements unless such claims have been approved by the European Commission. Our website provides only general information that should not influence the reader's decision to buy and/or use food supplements. If you have a specific disease or are taking additional medication or supplements, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new supplements. The information in this article is not the author's personal opinion. This information is not intended to advertise foods or supplements. This information should not be construed as a recommendation for treatment or other health problems. We encourage decisions regarding personal health to be made personally, taking into account different sources of information. If you notice any inaccuracies or have any comments, complaints or advice about the content submitted, please contact us by e-mail.