Tell me about MSM for pain
April 6, 2019 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I have pretty chronic pain from inflammatory arthritis and it is affecting my life a lot these days. I've heard about MSM, Methylsulfonylmethane, and would like to hear more. Would like to hear your experience or verified information from fact-based sites. Also, where do I buy good quality MSM?

I'm pretty non-woo. I mistrust the supplement industry, and a lot of alternative medicine, for reasons. Mainstream medicine, too, to some extent. But pain is keeping me from moving, and that can't continue. I can't afford physical therapy, due to deductible.
posted by theora55 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to its efficacy, but many mass-market "joint support" supplements contain both glucosamine chondroitin and MSM. Costco has it under the Kirkland store brand.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's what has to say. The US gov is less positive.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 10:29 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Someone insisted I try MSM supplements several years ago, mixing the white powder into water I drank. For a couple weeks, at least daily; no effect, no difference to me.
posted by Rash at 10:44 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used glucosamine and chondroitin with MSM, post shoulder surgery. I could feel it go to work to lessen inflammation at a like cellular level, inflammation really subsided almost immediately. Not pain relief but detectable relief at the surgical site, and the rest of the injuries that didn't have repairs. Find some reputable source.
posted by Oyéah at 11:11 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

MSM provides sulfur in a bioavailable form. It can be very helpful if you are deficient or borderline or have problems absorbing nutrients etc, dramatically so. It won't help much if you aren't.
posted by fshgrl at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here is a decent write up. One thing to note is that being deficient or borderline in selenium also affects how you absorb and utilize sulfur. And a lot of the US is pretty low in selenium.

In short, it's not woo but it may or may not have any impact on your particular issues. But it's cheap and won't hurt you so worth a try.
posted by fshgrl at 12:44 PM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

There is no evidence that glucosamine, chondroitin, or MSM have any benefits for inflammatory arthritis. There is only (some) evidence supporting their use for osteoarthritis. The origins and symptoms and treatments of the conditions are totally different.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:20 PM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Cochrane Database is a great resource for looking up comparative health research.

Really nice detailed summary of the available evidence from a hospital website:

From a meta-review looking at MSM:

“The data from the more rigorous MSM trials provide positive but not definitive evidence that MSM is superior to placebo in the treatment of mild to moderate OA of the knee. Further studies are now required to identify both the optimum dosage and longer-term safety of MSM and DMSO, and definitive efficacy trials.”
posted by forkisbetter at 9:23 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Really, all of these answers helped. Decided it's not worth it for now.
posted by theora55 at 5:06 AM on May 7, 2019

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