Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints and is more prevalent among older people and women.
It is also called degenerative joint disease.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage at the end of the bones starts to degrade which makes the bones to rub against each other. This causes pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints.
To help with osteoarthritis, it is important to consume proper nutrition through natural food items or supplements.
Following a proper routine and getting regular checkups done to monitor the status and progression of osteoarthritis is essential to receive proper treatment.
It is necessary to understand the reason behind the development of osteoarthritis and what your body lacks.
What is MSM-Methylsulfonylmethane?
Methylsulfonylmethane, also known as MSM, is a chemical that is present in green plants, animals, and humans.
It can also be made artificially in labs.
People became more aware of this chemical after the book The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution For Pain was published. It is an organic compound that contains sulfur.
MSM is considered to be a miracle supplement because it is effective against many diseases.
The main reason behind the effectiveness of MSM is that it provides biologically active sulphur.
Sulfur is an extremely important mineral of the body and is required for many critical functions to occur.
Therefore MSM supplies sulphur to the body which leads to the production of other chemicals.
MSM can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for a variety of diseases like:-
• Muscle cramps
• Musculoskeletal pains
• Hair loss
• Scar tissue
• Oral hygiene
• Gum disease
• Liver disease
• Alzheimer's disease
• HIV and AIDS
• Yeast infection
• Leg cramps
This article will review the effectiveness of MSM in osteoarthritis.
5 Benefits Of Methylsufonylmethane In Osteoarthritis
Quite a lot of research has been conducted to study the effectiveness of MSM on osteoarthritis.
1. MSM as an anti-inflammatory agent
MSM is an effective chemical in reducing inflammation. It has the ability to decrease the expression of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygensase-2.
These 2 enzymes lead to the expression of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E. Nitric oxide and prostaglandin E are pro-inflammatory mediators; hence by inhibiting these compounds, MSM reduces inflammation.
MSM is also effective in reducing the levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha. These are also pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation in autoimmune diseases.
What does this mean? This means that MSM significantly inhibits the pathway of the production of pro-inflammatory compounds like IL-6, TNF-alpha, nitric oxide, and prostaglandin E. By reducing the expression of these compounds, MSM becomes effective in reducing inflammation and preventing the progression of osteoarthritis.
2. It is an analgesic
MSM reduces inflammation.
By doing this it alleviates pain. It also has the ability to block the transfer of pain and makes us incapable of feeling joint pain. It decreases nerve impulses.
A study was published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in which the efficacy of MSM in treating osteoarthritis pain was assessed.
At the end of the trial, it was reported that if 3 grams of MSM is consumed twice a day, then it has the capacity to reduce pain and stiffness and improve joint function. MSM did not show any adverse effects as well.
Another study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology examined the comparative effectiveness of MSM and boswellic acids with glucosamine sulphate in treating knee arthritis.
It was reported that the combination of MSM and boswellic acids has positive anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects.
What does this mean? This means that MSM blocks the pathway by which our brain can sense pain. Swelling and pain are the 2 most common symptoms of osteoarthritis. By reducing these, MSM enables us to perform our activities more regularly and with less help.
3. It is an anti-oxidant
Our bodies go through many chemical processes that generate energy. Sometimes during these reactions, harmful molecules get produced that increase oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress leads to damage in the DNA which leads to inflammation.
A study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine evaluated the effectiveness of a combination containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, MSM, vitamin D, and guava leaf extract.
It was reported that this combination had favourable effects in suppressing inflammation and reducing cartilage loss.
A study published in The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology assessed the effects of MSM supplementation in reducing oxidative stress.
It was reported that if you take supplements of MSM daily orally, then it reduces the markers that are responsible for leading to oxidative stress.
What does this mean? MSM, being a natural anti-oxidant makes it a powerful compound in treating osteoarthritis. When the DNA gets damaged, it causes inflammation and pain which are characteristics of this disease. Hence by reducing oxidative stress in the cells, MSM can reduce the occurrence of inflammation. This is how it can be useful in treating osteoarthritis.
4. It increases cartilage synthesis
The most common characteristic of osteoarthritis is the loss of cartilage. Cartilage is made up of proteoglycans and collagen.
Cartilage is connective tissue. It has been studied that sulphur is an essential mineral for the synthesis of collagen and hence connective tissue.
A study published in PLoS One investigated the effects of MSM on the growth factors hormone.
This was done to study its effect on bone health. Growth factor hormone is a regulator of bone growth and metabolism.
It was observed that MSM enhances the activity of compounds that increase the activity of the growth factor hormone.
This shows that MSM is effective in the synthesis of bones.
A study was published in Journal of bone and mineral metabolism in which effects of MSM on the formation of cartilage in animal models.
After 13 weeks, it was observed that a regular intake of MSM reduced the degeneration of cartilage in knee joints.
However, taking larger doses of MSM can decrease the size of several organs; hence it is important to consume appropriate doses.
What does this mean? This means that the sulphur that is released by MSM in the body increases the synthesis of collagen and cartilage. By doing this, MSM becomes very useful in preventing the development and enhancing the intensity of osteoarthritis.
5. It reduces pain and inflammation and improves joint function
A study was published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in which the efficacy of MSM was studied to treat knee osteoarthritis pain.
At the end of the study period, it was reported that MSM reduced pain and improved the function of the joints.
It also did not show any major adverse effects. Hence there is a capacity for further investigation in this field.
Another study was published in Clinical Drug Investigation in which the efficacy and safety of MSM were compared with that of glucosamine in treating osteoarthritis of the knee.
At the end of the study, it was reported that both these compounds reduced pain and inflammation.
Their combination was more effective in producing anti-arthritic effects.
A study published in the Journal of bone and mineral metabolism assessed if MSM was safe and effective in treating bone and knee joints in osteoarthritis.
After 13 weeks, it was observed that MSM decreased the loss of cartilage and hence improved the function of the joints.
Another study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine tested the efficacy of MSM in treating the patients with osteoarthritis.
The study was done for 12 weeks and after the end of the study, it was reported that MSM reduced the pain and improved joint function. However more studies were done to determine if these findings were of clinical significance.
What does this mean? All these studies that have been conducted to test the effectiveness and safety of MSM on osteoarthritis suggest that MSM can be a great alternative to other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as it possesses the quality of improving osteoarthritic symptoms like reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Dosage of MSM For Osteoarthritis
The general dose of MSM to treat osteoarthritis is 1.5 to 6 grams daily in 3 divided doses for 12 weeks.
However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any dose for longer periods of time.
MSM is possibly safe for most people if taken at appropriate amounts for up to 3 months. However sometimes it can cause a few side effects like nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, fatigue, restlessness, headache, itching, and difficulty in sleeping.
There is not much information about the safety of consuming MSM during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Hence these women should avoid using MSM.
If you apply lotion on your limbs that contain MSM, then it may cause swelling and pain.
The benefits of MSM for treating osteoarthritis are well researched.
It has been reported that MSM is useful in improving the symptoms of osteoarthritis like inflammation, pain, stiffness, and movement.
Hence it improves the quality of lives. MSM helps in cartilage and joint formation as the sulphur present in MSM is required to carry out important processes in the body.