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MSM

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & Tips

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Updated May 16, 2014

What is MSM?

MSM, also known as methyl sulfonyl methane, is a compound found naturally in foods such as cow's milk, meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables.

MSM is thought to work by contributing sulfur. It's found in capsule or tablet forms. MSM is also available as a cream or lotion, although evidence suggests it can't be absorbed through skin.

Why Do People Use MSM

1) Osteoarthritis

Two small studies suggest MSM may reduce osteoarthritis pain. MSM is often combined with glucosamine in commercial arthritis products. It's thought to work because of the sulfur, which is believed to strengthen collagen. More evidence is needed.

2) Interstitial cystitis

MSM has been proposed as a treatment for interstitial cystitis, although human studies are needed.

Snoring

One small, preliminary study found that MSM resulted in quieter snoring.

Other Conditions

MSM has been explored for cancer prevention, scleroderma, allergies and constipation.

Side Effects and Safety

Side effects with MSM are rare but may include stomach upset, headache and diarrhea. One study suggested MSM was safe for up to 12 weeks.

The safety of MSM in pregnant or nursining women, children, or people with liver or kidney disease, however, isn't known.

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