Medical experts are calling methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) a miracle supplement for our health.1 It’s getting attention as a possible promoter of longevity and vibrant health for our joints, skin, immune function and more. With all of MSM’s potential benefits, it’s important to understand how much MSM to take and the best ways to add MSM to your diet.
MSM is a naturally occurring, organic sulfur compound found in humans, animals and some plants.2 We get some MSM from food sources,2 but processing and cooking food at a high heat may deplete food sources of MSM.3 Researchers say there are no detectable structural or safety differences between MSM supplements and naturally produced MSM,2 so dietary supplements are an excellent option for reinforcing your MSM intake.
What is MSM Good for?
MSM for Joint Health
MSM is often taken to help support joint health, promote flexibility and preserve collagen.2 It may also assist the immune system’s response to help keep joints healthy. Many clinical trials and studies have been conducted on the benefits of MSM for joint health, with positive results.
Skin Health and MSM
Research shows that MSM may help soothe skin and support overall skin health.2,5 MSM may help combat the effects of the sun and signs of aging while calming skin4 and boosting collagen production.
Muscle Health, Exercise Recovery and MSM
MSM might help support muscles during workouts,6 help muscles recover more quickly from workouts,7 and help fight oxidative stress as a result of exercise.
MSM for Immune Health
Studies suggest MSM may play a role in supporting immune response to stressors and combating related oxidative stress within the body.2
MSM and Hair Health
MSM supports both collagen and keratin,2 both of which are needed for strong, healthy hair.
How Much MSM Should I Take?
MSM supplements are highly absorbable sources of organic sulfur. There are no officially recommended daily intake amounts for either sulfur or MSM, and no toxic intake of MSM has been determined.3 MSM is commonly supplemented in doses between 2,000 mg - 6,000 mg per day, and this range has a great safety record. Some studies and trials have involved higher intakes of MSM, but it’s best to stay well within demonstrated safe ranges unless directed by a physician.
MSM supplements are usually available in capsules containing 200 mg - 1500 mg each and are taken several times a day. Many joint-support supplements combine MSM with other nutrients that may also help support joint health, including glucosamine and chondroitin. It’s also available as MSM powder, which mixes easily into water, juices or smoothies.
If you are considering taking MSM to promote a particular area of health, it may be helpful to understand the amounts used in studies for that area of health. We’ve included the results of several MSM studies below. Regardless of amounts used in studies and clinical trials, consult your doctor before taking MSM in doses higher than amounts commonly recognized as safe, and always take the smallest effective dose for your needs.
MSM Dose for Joint Support
MSM is a dietary supplement, and some studies have suggested that MSM as a dietary supplement may help support joint health.
The International Journal of Orthopaedics published the results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 100 participants conducted to determine the potential use of MSM to support hip and/or knee joint health. The participants were given 6 grams (3 grams twice daily) of MSM per day for 26 weeks and noted improvements in all monitored areas of joint health.8
Another, similar study conducted over the course of 12 weeks focused on 49 subjects and their knee joint health. The study participants were given 1.125 grams of MSM three times a day, for a total of 3.375 grams per day, and researchers reported some subjects experienced positive results in joint health for participants given MSM.9
MSM Dose for Skin Health
Sulfur baths and ointments with sulfur in them are sometimes used to help support skin health through topical application, but the benefits of MSM for skin health may run deeper. MSM is thought to help skin by acting as a sulfur donor to keratin2 and by providing antioxidant support.
A randomized, placebo-controlled study conducted on MSM for skin health involved participants taking 3 grams per day (3 capsules of 1000 mg). Participants were both men and women between the ages of 36-57. Skin improvements were expertly assessed at 8 and 16 weeks, revealing statistically significant improvements in skin tone, firmness and signs of aging.5 Other studies suggest that it may be helpful to use MSM topically to support skin health.2
MSM Dose for Immune Support
Many studies on MSM originate from areas of sports health. Clinical data suggests the heavy exertion athletes endure may cause negative changes in immune health while simultaneously increasing stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol.10 Athletes bodies are subjected to a lot of stress during intense training, making it an ideal environment for testing the benefits of MSM in several areas of health including immune health and antioxidant support, as well as muscle recovery.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported research results that suggests 3 grams of MSM per day might help reduce the “cytokine surge” (substances released by immune cells)11 related to exercise-induced stress on the body and thus may support healthy immune response.
MSM Dose for Antioxidant Support
Two studies focusing on the antioxidant benefits of MSM used an intake of MSM based on body weight, followed by strenuous exercise to measure oxidative stress and antioxidant capacity. In both studies, a control group was given a placebo.
Researchers mixed MSM with water to be consumed daily for 10 days at a ratio of 50 mg per kg of the participant’s body weight. For a 175 lb person (79.38kg) that would equate to 3,969 mg of MSM per day, almost 4 grams. The research results suggested MSM may help support muscles during strenuous activities due to its ability to provide antioxidant support.12
A similar study supplemented healthy, untrained young men with MSM combined with water at a ratio of 100 mg per kg of body weight just before having participants run on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Researchers then measured markers of oxidative stress and total antioxidant capacity, and found comparable results to earlier studies supporting the antioxidant effect of MSM. The results suggest that supplementing with just a single dose of MSM in this way may help combat exercise-induced oxidative stress.13
MSM Dose for Muscles and Exercise Recovery
A study conducted by University of Memphis Health & Sport Sciences provided healthy, physically active adult males with 3 grams of MSM per day for 28 days to measure the benefits of MSM for muscles after prolonged exercise. The results of the study indicated positive support for exercise recovery.14
Another study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal provided “moderately exercised” men with 3 grams of MSM per day for 14 days. Researchers in this study also noted a significant, positive impact post-exercise.15
Although there were a few exceptions, the majority of these studies used 3 grams (3000 mg) of MSM per day, usually split into 2 or 3 doses throughout the day. Some of the researchers used as much as 6 grams per day, but 3 grams was a more common intake.
MSM Powder Dosage
As mentioned above, there are no officially recommended daily intakes of MSM, but it has been safely taken in amounts up to 6 grams per day. Researchers say that “MSM appears to be well-tolerated and safe,” citing toxicity studies.2 But you should always take the lowest effective dose. Consult your doctor if you’re not sure about the right dosage for you.
Swanson Premium MSM Powder provides 5 grams of MSM per scoop (scoop included), which can be mixed with water or juice and taken once per day, delivering a biologically active form of sulfur that is ideal for nourishing the tissues that help keep your joints working smoothly.
MSM Supplement Dosage
MSM supplements are typically available in capsules containing 200 mg - 1500 mg each, to be taken up to a few times a day. Some MSM supplements also contain other supportive nutrients. Always follow the recommendations on your MSM supplement label and check with your doctor before taking more than the label recommends. Here are the dosage recommendations for some of our popular MSM products:
Swanson Ultra MSM - Provides 1 gram of TruFlex® MSM and can be taken 3-5 times per day. TruFlex® MSM is a unique, organic MSM formula that is biologically active for easy assimilation.
Joint Care with Glucosamine, MSM & Chondroitin - This supplement provides 250 mg of MSM per capsules to be taken 1-3 times per day. It also contains glucosamine sulfate (from shellfish), evening primrose oil, chondroitin sulfate, boron, vitamin C, vitamin E and manganese.
Glucosamine, Chondroitin & MSM - This three-in-one joint health formula contains 200 mg of MSM, 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate (from shellfish), and 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate. It can be taken 1-3 times per day with food and water.
Swanson Premium MSM Powder - MSM powder is a convenient way to get your intake of MSM, providing 5 grams of MSM per scoop to be used once daily. It mixes easily with water and juice, or add it to your favorite smoothie.
MSM Dosage and MSM Benefits
We hope this article helps you understand common intake amounts of MSM for supporting healthy joints, skin, muscles and immune function. If you found this article helpful, you might want to read MSM Benefits: Joint Health & Beyond and Joint Health: Glucosamine Chondroitin Dosage Recommendations.
Amy is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author with over 17 years of experience in the supplement industry. Amy is passionate about dietary supplements and the health benefits they offer. She enjoys working to find novel nutritional ingredients with strong clinical research behind them to drive innovation and provide health-promoting products to consumers.
1 The MSM Miracle. Dr. Earl Mindell. McGraw Hill Professional. https://books.google.com/books?id=tcSmnLOFXRYC/ (Accessed 2/15/2018)
2 Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372953/ (Accessed 2/14/2018)
3 MSM Methylsulfonylmethane. BIN Science. https://binscience.com/msm-methylsulfonylmethane/ (Accessed 2/14/2018)
4 Combined effects of silymarin and methylsulfonylmethane in the management of rosacea: clinical and instrumental evaluation. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18254805/ Accessed 2/14/2018)
5 Effects of oral supplementation with methylsulfonylmethane on skin health and wrinkle reduction. Anthonavage M., Benjamin R.L., Withee E.D. Nat. Med. J. 2015;7 https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2015-11/effects-oral-supplementation-methylsulfonylmethane-skin-health-and-wrinkle-reduction/ (Accessed 2/14/2018)
6 Effect of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on exercise - Induced muscle damage and total antioxidant capacity. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22525653 (Accessed 2/14/2018)
7 Effect of MSM Supplementation on Exercise-induced Muscle Damage and Total Antioxidant Capacity. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. (Accessed 2/14/2018)
8 The Effect of Methylsulfonylmethane on Osteoarthritic Large Joints and Mobility. International Journal of Orthopaedics. http://www.ghrnet.org/index.php/ijo/article/view/745/857 (Accessed 2/14/2018)
9 Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21708034 (Accessed 2/15/2018)
10 Exercise, upper respiratory tract infection, and the immune system. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8164529 (Accessed 2/15/2018)
11 MSM enhances LPS-induced inflammatory response after exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595096/ (Accessed 2/14/2018)
12 Effect of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on exercise - Induced muscle damage and total antioxidant capacity. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22525653/ (Accessed 2/14/2018)
13 Effect of single dose administration of methylsulfonylmethane on oxidative stress following acute exhaustive exercise. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24523764/ (Accessed 2/15/2018)
14 The Influence of Methylsulfonylmethane on Inflammation-Associated Cytokine Release before and following Strenuous Exercise. Journal of Sports Medicine. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jsm/2016/7498359/ (Accessed 2/15/2018)
15 The Effects of MSM Supplementation on Knee Kinetics during Running, Muscle Strength, and Muscle Soreness following Eccentric Exercise- Induced Quadriceps Damage. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal (Accessed 2/14/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.