What are the differences in MSM Purification?

I recently received an email from one of my readers asking about the different methods used to purify MSM. In this article I am going to explain the differences in MSM purification.

After reading this article, you should be able to use this information to shop for a quality MSM product. Without further ado, let's get started!


MSM (methlsulfonylmethane) is an organic, bio-active form of sulfur. It's naturally present in foods such as cabbage, broccoli, fish, milk, and meat, just to name a few. Although MSM is found in nature, these food sources contain MSM only in parts per million. This means there is actually very little MSM in most foods or plant cell matter.  ​

You would need to destroy thousands of trees just to produce a small amount of usable MSM, which is not sustainable or economically viable.

Since you can’t just extract, isolate MSM from plants or other natural materials. The most “natural” MSM is to mimic MSM found in nature.

The way commercial MSM is created is by combining dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and hydrogen peroxide. In the reaction, the hydrogen peroxide provides an available oxygen atom to the DMSO, forming MSM (also called DMSO2), and water (DMSO + H2O2 = DMSO2 + H2O).

MSM products are available in several forms: crystals, powder, capsules/tablets, and liquid. It's also available in cream, gel and lotion for topical uses.

When purchasing MSM for internal use, I highly recommend that you look for large crystals of flake appearance for maximum benefit and absorption. This is because in order for MSM to be biologically safe and effective, it must be pure and additive free. The brand I personally use is this one.


Once the reaction is complete, MSM is then separated from the water and other reaction by-products. Separation is commonly done utilizing either distillation or crystallization. 


It has been recognized that distillation is the superior separation method for MSM purification. If properly performed, this method will consistently produce a product of greater than 99.9% purity.  

In the distillation process, MSM is separated from the water and other impurities by using a boiling point. The boiling point of MSM is about 478 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat is used to slowly remove all impurities from the MSM solution, and the distillation can be performed multiple times to achieve greater levels of purity. This results in an extremely pure MSM with an extremely low water content.

Distillation is a very energy intensive and more expensive separation technique. However, it ensures a product that is virtually contamination-free regardless of the level of impurities in the reaction mixture.


Crystallization method is less costly and therefore is the more common option. MSM is washed in water, centrifuged, and then crystallized. During crystal formation occlusions, small pockets or imperfections, from within the crystal can entrap impurities present in the reaction mixture.

This means that the end product can contain a higher water content, which makes it more susceptible to mold and microbes. Another concern is that crystallization can also result in impurities such as heavy metals and solvents being used and left in the product.

Finally, the end product can be altered by changing the particle size, and by adding silica. Pure powdered MSM can clump into hard chunks due to its electron make-up. This natural caking makes it impossible to manufacture pills and capsules without adding flow agents like silica.

By adding silica, MSM can be made more manageable, easier to pour and to prevent it from clumping together. This processing can be very detrimental to MSM and also can reduce the effectiveness of MSM in the body.


These two separation purification techniques will both yield MSM that is equally bio-available. The highest level of purity is essential. This helps to ensure that the users can achieve desired therapeutic results without having to worry about potential health problems from trace impurities.

I hope after reading this article, you have a better understanding of different MSM purification techniques. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to eave them in the comments below. 

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