The mechanism of action of MSM is not clearly understood and may very well act on more than one level at a time. MSM’s ability to penetrate into the intradermal layers is a crucial aspect of its benefit. By being able to penetrate the fat barrier in the skin, MSM can block the signaling process that activates the release of inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins.3

Other studies support MSM’s action to stabilize cell membranes, which can slow leakage and allow healing time in the absence of the inflammatory compounds.4

Use of MSM can significantly reduce pain and dysfunction in patients with osteoarthritis. In a study of 49 adults with radiographically confirmed severe osteoarthritis of the knee, participants were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of either treatment with an oral MSM product or a placebo product.5

Patients were screened for symptoms of pain, stiffness, and altered quality of life at the beginning and end of the trial using the aggravated locomotor function (ALF) test and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Patients in the MSM treatment group experienced statistically significant reductions overall in pain and dysfunction, exceeding a 20% change from baseline to the end of the study. 

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor