MSM is a safe, effective anti-inflammatory agent.
Question and answers about MSM for the medical community. Consumer questions are answered in the MSM Consumer FAQ . If you have a question about MSM and don’t see it here or on the Consumer FAQ, please submit it to the MSM Advisory Authority.
What are the benefits of MSM over non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen?
A: MSM is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Unlike NSAIDs, however, it does not
cause gastritis or inhibit cartilage synthesis.
Can patients with allergies to sulfa drugs still take MSM?
A: Many patients with allergies to sulfa drugs can take MSM. MSM contains no sulfonamides, and these allergies are not necessarily transferable to all sulfur-containing substances. However, patients with sulfonamide allergies also tend to have other medication allergies as well.
Are people sulfur-deficient? Can MSM help?
A: Most people derive all the sulfur they need from their diet, from the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine, which are abundant in animal-derived foods such as meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products. MSM is not needed to correct sulfur deficiency; it is useful for its own beneficial effects. Theoretically, if someone were deficient in sulfur, MSM could be a reasonably good source.
Is MSM safe for pregnant women and/or children?
A: There are no known reasons why pregnant women and children could not take MSM. However, its safety for these groups has not been definitively proven. As with most nutritional supplements, MSM should not be taken by pregnant women or children unless prescribed by a qualified doctor. Research is currently underway to determine the safety of MSM for these groups of people.
Does MSM have any proven effects on insulin, blood sugar, blood pressure, or peptic ulcer?
A: No. Sulfur is a component of many amino acids and hormones, and is required for the production of many more. But just because sulfur is required to produce insulin, it is not correct to believe that taking sulfur as a supplement (e.g., in MSM) would have any effect on the body's production or secretion of insulin. The regulatory pathways for blood sugar metabolism are far more complex than that.
Q: Should I be worried about heavy metals in my MSM?
A: Heavy metal contaminants (cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.) are a significant worldwide health problem in many areas including farming, groundwater and also dietary supplements. Nutritional products taken in large amounts (multiple grams per day) with even tiny amounts of contaminants present, may add up over time to unsafe levels. MSM is among these products with high daily dosages.
Therefore, industry or producer assurances of "less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of heavy metals as lead" may not be adequate for these products. According to the California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, daily intake of lead should not exceed 0.5 micrograms. MSM supplements with a lead specification of
" <10 ppm" would exceed the acceptable lead intake at just 50 mg per day. Most people take 10–100 times that much MSM.
The raw material supplier's required "certificate of analysis" must state the testing levels for heavy metals. Acceptably pure MSM should state that the lead content is less than 0.05 ppm (or, preferably, <0.01 ppm). Under these circumstances, it will be safe to take up to 10 grams (or 50 grams) per day without having to worry about lead.