MSM, also know as Methylsulfonylmethane, is a popular dietary supplement used to treat a wide array of symptoms and health conditions.
It’s an organic sulfur compound found naturally in plants, animals, and humans. It can also be produced in a lab to create dietary supplements in the form of powder, crystal, liquid, tablet, or capsule.
MSM has become a hot item because of the book The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain.
Accompanying with the growing interest in MSM, sellers and marketers have started to market MSM aggressively on the internet. As a result, greed has led to many conflicting claims and myths about MSM.
With that being said, this can really hurt MSM’s real value and give people false hope.
In this article, I am going to reveal the truth about MSM. You will find some to be quite shocking. I feel that you deserve the truth so that you can make a confident and well-informed choice.
Without further ado, let’s find out the truth about MSM!
Table of Contents
- 1. MSM Products Are All Natural
- 2. One MSM Product is More “Natural” Than Another
- 3. MSM Smells
- 4. You Can Get MSM From Rain Water
- 5. MSM is an Anti-Venom
- 6. MSM Can Help Ulcers
- 7. MSM is Anti-Parasitic
- 8. MSM is no More Toxic Than Water
- 9. MSM is Needed For Collagen Synthesis
- 10. MSM Speeds Up Healing
- 11. MSM Relieves Stress
- 12. MSM Has Anti-Cancer Properties
- 13. MSM Helps You Stay Focused
- 14. MSM Reduces Inflammation
- 15. MSM Can Reverse Emphysema
- 16. Diverticulosis is an MSM and Vitamin C Deficiency
- 17. MSM Eliminates Varicose Veins
- 18. Additives Have No Effect On MSM Products
- 19. All MSM Products Are Created Equal
- 20. I Have a Sulfa Allergy, So I Need to Avoid Sulfur
- 21. There is no Such Thing as “Organic” Sulfur
1. MSM Products Are All Natural
Claim: Organic sulfur (MSM) products are claimed to be natural, lignin-based, pine knot, sawdust, wood-chip, pine tree, salt water, plant-based, naturally occurring, or vegetable-based.
Comment: This is a myth. You want to be careful with these words. These are just advertising hypes used to promote sales because they sound very green and eco-friendly.
It’s true that MSM is found in foods such as cabbage, broccoli, onion, and egg. However, MSM is only found in nature in trace quantities, the amounts occurring naturally in food are too small for extraction for commercial production of MSM.
Therefore, you can not extract MSM from plants or other natural materials. Rather, a chemical reaction is required to make MSM.
The most “natural” MSM is to mimic the formation, function, and structure of the biological substance. All commercially available MSM is created through a chemical reaction of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and hydrogen peroxide.
This creates a chemical reaction that forms a new molecule called Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is identical to the molecule found in nature.
MSM is not a drug but an organic form of sulfur and a potent antioxidant made up of:
- 34% sulfur
- 34% oxygen
- 26% carbon and 6% hydrogen bonds
2. One MSM Product is More “Natural” Than Another
Claim: One supply of MSM product is more “natural” than another.
Comment: This is another advertising hype and it’s not true. Just as I’ve mentioned earlier that all commercially available MSM products are the result of a chemical reaction of DMSO and hydrogen peroxide.
All MSM products are synthetic.
The major difference comes down to the quality of the raw materials, the purification process, packaging, granular size, environmental exposure, testing levels, specifications and quality of the manufacturing, and country of origin.
The product I’ve been using since 2016 is this one. I’ve experienced the most benefit from that product. I believe it’s the purest, safest, and the most effective.
3. MSM Smells
Claim: MSM causes bad odor and bad breath.
Comment: This is a myth. I think the reason why people think that is likely because they confuse DMSO with MSM.
Let me clear up the confusion.
So, when DMSO enters the body, about 15 percent of it turns into MSM. This means the body attaches to an oxygen atom to a portion of the DMSO molecule and they become DMSO2 or MSM.
Now, the small percentage of DMSO also turns to DMS (dimethyl sulfide), which is responsible for producing the odor, similar to garlic or onion.
MSM does not produce the DMSO odor. So when you take MSM orally or topically, no part of it is going to turn to DMS.
4. You Can Get MSM From Rain Water
Claim: If you drink rain water you’ll get the MSM.
Comment: The amount of MSM in rainwater is minuscule by atmospheric chemists. There is no evidence that connects rainwater to health benefits. Although the rainwater is clean, it will become dirty quickly because of air pollution.
5. MSM is an Anti-Venom
Claim: MSM is an anti-venom that can quickly bind up foreign proteins such as snakebites, bee stings, and mosquito bites and some other insect bite.
Comment: People have applied MSM crystals and lotions to their skin to relieve multiple stings and said that it helped to reduce inflammation and pain.
MSM may be helpful in such cases, but there is no concrete proof for that. I believe the best responsible response is to seek medical attention when you get a bite from dangerous insects.
6. MSM Can Help Ulcers
Claim: MSM helps to control the acidity in the stomach so that is can help ulcers.
Comment: People that suffer from peptic ulcers have experienced fewer and less severe symptoms after they start taking MSM. People with heartburn also experience less discomfort while taking MSM.
7. MSM is Anti-Parasitic
Claim: MSM helps to coat the intestinal tract so the parasites can not hang on. They are then flushed out of the body immediately.
Comment: MSM has anti-parasitic properties. When parasites attach to one’s intestinal lining, they can live, reproduce and use up the nutrients from the body. MSM blocks parasites by competing for receptor sites on the mucous membrane.
Sulfur also has the ability to produce a slippery coating on the intestinal walls, which makes it difficult for parasites to cling to. When this happens, parasites are then flushed out of the body with the excess sulfur.
8. MSM is no More Toxic Than Water
Claim: MSM is no more toxic than water. If you take too much MSM, your body will simply flush it out of your system.
Comment: It’s true that MSM is safe and it’s considered to be no more toxic than water. If you take too much MSM, you may experience some minor gastrointestinal discomfort and increased bowel movement such as diarrhea.
According to West Coast Organic Sulfur Project, one person took about 1/3 of a pound of sulfur (MSM) crystals a day for three weeks. The person experienced mild diarrhea and light sleep agitation, but there was no ill effect.
9. MSM is Needed For Collagen Synthesis
Claim: MSM is necessary for collagen synthesis and also reduces wrinkles.
Comment: MSM does play a role in college synthesis. Regarding the wrinkle claim. There is no evidence of that. However, MSM does make the skin softer and smoother. I’ve experienced that after using my homemade MSM cream.
10. MSM Speeds Up Healing
Claim: MSM helps to speed up healing.
Comment: It’s true that clinical evidence shows MSM help to speed up healing of the musculoskeletal injuries and inflammation.
11. MSM Relieves Stress
Claim: MSM helps people feel less stressed.
Comment: People claim that they feel less depressed when taking MSM. MSM helps to relieve pain and as a result, a person is likely going to feel less stressed.
12. MSM Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Claim: MSM can change a cancer cell into a non-malignant cell.
Comment: Several rat studies at Ohio State University and Oregon Health Sciences University have shown that MSM has the ability to significantly slow the development of mammary and colon tumors in animals that were given chemical substances that cause cancer.
In these studies, MSM did not prevent cancer but delayed the disease in a major way.
For example in the breast cancer study, MSM helped to delay the appearance of tumors in about 100 days. However, more research is needed to determine if MSM can slow the progress of cancer in humans.
DMSO has the ability to change a cancer cell. The process is called maturation. So if you expose cancer cells to DMSO, they will be altered to look and behave like normal cells.
In practical terms, this means the use of DMSO allows you to reduce the dosage of chemo. DMSO is actually the most potent maturating agent know to chemistry, biology, and medicine. In fact, many clinics in Europe and South America use DMSO for that purpose. However, no such study has been done with MSM.
13. MSM Helps You Stay Focused
Claim: MSM increases the ability to concentrate.
Comment: There are many people say that. MSM helps with pain. When one has less pain, they are more likely to put their attention on other things.
14. MSM Reduces Inflammation
Claim: MSM reduces inflammation, heals muscles and prevents them from becoming sore.
Comment: When MSM is taken orally, it has the ability to reduce inflammation and muscle aches. Using topical MSM along with taking MSM orally will help to increase the effect.
In fact, many athletes use MSM to reduce stress, muscle soreness, and inflammation after an intense workout or training session.
15. MSM Can Reverse Emphysema
Claim: MSM deficiency causes emphysema and taking MSM can reverse it.
Comment: MSM does help people breathe easier. People can walk further without becoming short of breath as easily. However, MSM doesn’t reverse emphysema but it does help.
16. Diverticulosis is an MSM and Vitamin C Deficiency
Comment: Diverticulosis is the most common condition of the colon. It’s a condition in which small, bulging pouches develop in the digestive tract. The feces stop moving properly, and nutrition is not passed through the intestine walls.
Diverticulosis is typically caused by low fiber diets. Its rare among people that eat fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. When the pouches become filled with fecal matter and toxins, it can lead to swelling, information, and pain.
Although MSM and vitamin C both might help reduce some of the symptoms associated with diverticulosis, the is actually no evidence that this condition is related to an MSM or vitamin c deficiency.
17. MSM Eliminates Varicose Veins
Claim: MSM helps to get rid of varicose veins.
Comment: Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins. It’s developed from pressure and weakness in the walls and valves of the veins in the legs.
If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can back up and pool in your veins, causing your veins to swell, which can lead to varicose veins.
If the varicosity is associated with inflammation, sometimes it is, MSM will help to reduce the inflammation and allows you to stand for a longer period of time.
18. Additives Have No Effect On MSM Products
Claim: Additives don’t affect it MSM.
Comment: According to west coast organic sulfur project, over 15,000 hours of phone interviews with over 3,500 people over 14 years, and basic chemistry demonstrate it does matter. Powdered organic sulfur and sulfur with additives are shown to be not as effective.
If sulfur is made into pills or powders for resale, it must be highly processed several times after its manufacture. It has to be ground into fine powder and then flow agents like silica or stearate are added. This is actually extremely detrimental to the organic sulfur and also reduces the effectiveness of sulfur in the body.
19. All MSM Products Are Created Equal
Claim: One MSM product is the same as another product and the manufacturer doesn’t matter.
Comment: Not all MSM products are created equal. Some are far more potent and effective than others. MSM can come in the form of powder, crystals, liquid, tablet or capsule.
Often times capsules and tablets can contain silicon dioxide or their ingredients that can decrease the effectiveness of sulfur. According to the cellular matric study members, they have discovered and reported that they get the least benefits from taking the tablet or the capsule form of MSM.
The powder form of MSM can contain anti-caking and flow agent. The reason they are added is because pure powdered organic sulfur can clump into hard chunks due to its electron make-up.
By adding anticaking and flow agents, organic sulfur can be made more manageable, easier to pour and prevent it from clumping together.
In order for sulfur to be biologically safe and effective, it must be pure and free of all additives. In fact, most organic sulfur products that are available in processed forms of powder, pills or capsules have lost over 70 percent of its natural potency.
If you’re taking MSM, here is a simple test to determine if you’re consuming the most effective form of MSM.
- When taking your last dose of MSM for the day, leave last few drops and let the residue sit in your drinking cup.
- Take a look at the cup the next morning. You will notice the liquid has evaporated.
- If you see a crystalline design at the bottom of your drinking cup, then you are taking the most potent and beneficial form of organic sulfur.
I’ve used many MSM products including pills, powder and crystal form of MSM. I experienced the most health benefits with the crystal form of MSM. The brand I use since 2016 is this one.
20. I Have a Sulfa Allergy, So I Need to Avoid Sulfur
Claim: I am allergic to sulfa so I can’t take sulfur (MSM).
Comment: Many people confuse sulfa with sulfur. Sulfa is also known as sulfonamides, a chemical used in antibiotics. Sulfur is an element and the third most abundant mineral in the human body. Although both contain sulfur, that is where their similarities end.
The allergy-causing compounds in sulfa drugs bear no resemblance structurally or functionally to MSM.
Sulfonamides are not usually allergenic by themselves. However, when a sulfonamide molecule is metabolized in the body, it can bind to proteins and form a larger molecule. This can serve as an allergen and cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals.
In other words, the allergic reactions occur is due to the actions of the sulfonamide molecule, not the actual sulfur. There are people who are allergic to sulfa and take MSM with good results and no complications.
Regardless of the chemical structures and other people’s experience. If you have an allergy to sulfonamides, it’s always wise to consult your physician before taking MSM.
You can also check out this article for more information.
21. There is no Such Thing as “Organic” Sulfur
Claim: Why is MSM also called organic sulfur. There is no such thing as “organic” sulfur.
Comment: MSM is sometimes referred to as “Organic Sulfur” because of its carbon-containing molecule. Carbon-containing molecules are organic substances by definition.
MSM is an organic form of sulfur made up of:
- 34% sulfur
- 34% oxygen
- 26% carbon and 6% hydrogen bonds
This is not to be confused with food items or herbal products marketed as Certified Organic, Organic, 100% Organic, USDA Organic or Made with Organic Ingredients.
Organic in these cases is a labeling term that indicates a food or herbal product that have followed all the rules and regulations to meet the organic standard. MSM or organic sulfur is not and cannot be produced to be certified as Organic.
I hope I have cleared up some of the myths about MSM. If I find other claims I will be adding them to the list.
I hope you got value out of this article. If you did, it would be very helpful if you could share this information with others to keep them informed about the truth about MSM.
If you come across an MSM claim and you are not sure whether or not it’s myth or truth. Simply leave that in the comments below or email me at email@example.com. And I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you for visiting. If you have any questions, thoughts or concerns. Don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment below.
Recommended MSM Book For Furthur Reading:
MSM the Definitive Guide by Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Jeremy Appleton, N.D.
The Miracle of MSM – The Natural Solution For Pain, by Stanley W. Jabob, M.D., Ronald M. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., and Martin Zucker
The Power of MSM, by Dr. Earl Mindell
The MSM Miracle, Enhance Your Health With Organic Sulfur (a pamphlet), by Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.
MSM: On Our Way Back To Health with Sulfur!, by Beth M. Ley Jacobs, PhD