Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My opinion of MSM

MSM also known as Methylsulfonylmethane is a dietary supplement used for a variety of ails and reasons. Some studies claim it as an anti-inflammatory.  It is widely used with glucosamine and chondroitin to help those with arthritis.  It was recommended to me by my naturopathic doctor (ND) for the inflammation and oozing of my skin.

MSM is a sulfur compound not to be confused with the sulfa drug group.  They are unrelated and those with sulfa allergies (like myself) can safely take MSM.  It is naturally found in cruciferous vegetables, onions, and garlic.

There are numerous pages on the web about MSM and even books written about it.  Quackwatch.com claims it has no benefit based on their research.  I prefer to read my own articles and make my own judgement.

There are no known side effects that I can find.  If you read something that spouts something bad about the use of MSM, please comment below as I would love to know!  I want people (including myself) to be as well informed as possible!!  According to research, up to 2 grams per kilogram of MSM did not kill lab rats. 2 grams per kilo on an average adult (let's say 60 kg for kicks) would be 120 grams or 120,000 mg!  I am currently taking 12,000 mg per day.

As for dosing - some say 1000 mg or 1 gram per day is the typical dose. I have read studies where 20 grams or 20,000 mg per day were studied and showed no side effects.  It was recommended I start with 4 grams per day.  I noticed a slight decrease in redness and oozing at that dose.  I spent 2 months increasing my dose up to 12,000 mg per day divided into 2 doses of 6,000 mg each.

Here is what I know so far in relation to TSW:

*** MSM decreases ooze and redness at a higher dose.  Everyone who has tried it and increased the dose has noticed a difference.  A few have emailed me and told me they tried it and it never worked for them but they admitted they only tried the 1,000 mg per day dose.

*** Starting at 3,000-4,000 mg per day divided in 2 doses is probably a good starting point.  Increase by 1,000 mg per day every 2-3 days until oozing stops.

*** Everyone so far trialing MSM while  in TSW seems to go through a rough first 3-4 days...almost as if the TSW gets worse briefly.  I personally think this is due to a cleansing reaction.  Not sure - just an educated guess.

***  MSM doesn't seem to help with itching - at least no one has said it has helped.  For me I notice more of an itch.  This can also be a healing thing.  I worked in a burn unit once and those in the later stages of healing would complain of itching.  I think the same applies for using MSM.  I notice my skin feels stronger so scratching does not bother me anywhere near as much as it did before.

*** I was instructed to take the powder form.  I have tried the pills and the crystal form as well.  Don't notice a huge difference between any of them other than I started to ooze in small places when I was taking the crystal form, so I switched back to the powder form.   It has a bitter taste, so I mix it with orange juice or grapefruit juice.  Any other juice or drink is just not palatable.  I hate taking pills, so swallowing 12 pills per day was just too much for me.

*** My research has led me to believe that the opti-MSM is the best kind to get.  It is made by distillation and is considered the purest.  Apparently the crystal form can carry trace amounts of lead and other bad chemicals in them if made in other countries besides the US.  I have no opinion on this, other than I live in the US and do my best to "buy American" in general.  Nothing against other countries - just like to support the jobs and companies here.  About the lead and other chemicals....I am only reporting things I have read and have no substantial research to back up this information.  I would just advise anyone to do their own research.

***  I cannot state with a fact that MSM  alone has significantly helped improve my skin.  There are too many factors involved.  1st - I know that if I go below 8,000 mg per day, I start to ooze.  Others report only using MSM and seeing a big difference.  2nd - I am trialing a few other supplements (NAC,  5-MTHF, and glutathione).  I  believe the MSM is great for seeing near instant relief of some symptoms of TSW.  However I believe glutathione is responsible for the overall repair of my skin (as evidenced by my increasingly smooth skin after each IV glutathione injection).  3rd - TSW is a horrible beast that can change on a dime.  It could be all coincidental that my skin improved drastically at month 7 when I first started the 4 supplements.  We won't know for sure unless more people try this earlier in their TSW journey.  So far though reports coming into me are VERY positive even those early on in TSW (less than 6 months).  My opinion now stands that it is not coincidental.  My symptoms were too severe and ongoing with barely any breaks at all.  To have such huge drastic changes to the point where I could go back to work and function again for over 2 months now without any serious flaring is just TOO coincidental.  I do however believe I may end up flaring at some point but not to any such extreme I once had.  I have had a fear of it but now seeing "micro/semi-flares" here and there that are barely anything make me think this is the worst it will get from now on.

I am no where near healed.  I still suffer with fatigue.  Not crushing fatigue as I can work 12 hour shifts as an ER nurse in a busy trauma hospital without falling on my face. I do take a few hours on each day off to relax. But I still get the shopping and errands done each week working full time.  I also continue to stay on top of home schooling my 3 kids.  I just feel tired by evening. Yesterday I just couldn't get the energy to do the evening dishes.  Hubby did them this morning before leaving for work while I slept in.  (He's a keeper!).  But I am exercising more - at least 2-3 times per week on my elliptical approx 35-45 minutes each  time. (My resting heart rate is now down to 68 - down from the 90's  when I first started TSW).  I still itch a lot and break open some areas of skin.  I have redness (more pink than red) on my neck every few weeks.  Not sure why, but it comes in waves and feels irritating.  No oozing or pain, just a slight raw feeling at times that can leave a burning sensation.  It does not stop me from doing anything, but it irritates me and I cannot wait for my neck to heal!!  It has been the worst area during TSW to deal with.  Showers are a hit and miss.  Took one tonight with no problem....slight burning on a few open areas I just scratched.  Otherwise, it felt good....even on my neck! But some days my skin feels like it will burn if I shower, so I take a bath instead that day.  This is how it was  for many years of having "eczema".  Sometimes showers felt great and other times there was no way I was able to shower without burning - I learned over many years how to gauge the feel  of my skin to know if a shower was safe or not.

And just to clarify my opinion a little further - I do believe moisturizer withdrawal played a big part in my healing, BUT I have been in MW for over 2 months now and I still oozed last week when I was taking the crystal form of MSM.  I stopped oozing as soon as I switched  back to the powder form.  It was slightly painful and very itchy - more than my baseline itch.  I do not like the ooze!!  It grosses me out - the smell makes me nauseated.  So while I think MW plays a role in my healing, I believe the MSM and other 3 supplements play a huge role in the overall state of my skin.  I think if one can get to the right dose of MSM to stop the ooze, then trying MW might be less painful.  Just my opinion, though I do know someone personally who is trying this approach and finding they can stop moisturizing significantly more with the MSM and plans to stop altogether soon.

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and in no way do I promote that TSW can be cured by MSM or any other supplement or drug.  I do believe each and every person needs to do their own research and make their own informed decisions about what to try and what not to try to help with their TSW symptoms. I can only write about my personal experience and what others tell me works for them.  It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or medications.    


  1. This is very interesting! I bought some msm a while back but wasn't sure how much to take and forgot about it. I think I'll start up again and see how it goes. I'm in month 19 and had perfect skin month 14-16ish but now it's bad again. Not nearly as bad as it was last yr this time, but still sucks.

  2. Also my MSM is the powdered kind and it has one other ingredient - vitamin C. Is there a "too much" limit on that?

  3. I heard that up to 20 grams of MSM per day is safe, but it is best to start low....2 grams twice a day to start. The powder kind is best absorbed. But too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea. Won't hurt you metabolically as vitamin C is water soluble but can be uncomfortable and cause dehydration if you lose too much fluid.

  4. After using high doses of MSM did you see any hair color changing to grey? As MSM is know to chelate copper out of the body and grey hair is a deficiency of copper. Please advise.