A meta-analysis of three trials involving more than 325 patients also found that MSM was effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.6 In a summary statement of findings, researchers agreed that the data established an overall reduction in pain with the use of MSM, but emphasized that the three trials identified an average reduction of 6.34mm on a visual analog scale that requires a minimum change from baseline of 17.5mm for statistical significance. 

Perhaps the most exciting potential of MSM is in its association with malignant melanoma cells, which have been found to be saturated with the compound.7 As a volatile organic compound, the intense clusters of MSM in these cells gives off an odor. Researchers are exploring the potential of nanotechnology sensors that can “sniff out” the MSM in melanoma long before it is visible.

Safety, Interactions, Side Effects

To date, there have been no serious side effects with the use of MSM reported in published clinical trials. The most commonly reported adverse effects have been gastrointestinal upset, headache, and fatigue.8 Studies have confirmed, however, that MSM crosses the blood-brain barrier, and it is not recommended for use in pregnant or nursing mothers.9

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor