For osteoarthritis, the world’s most common cause of joint pain, people are increasingly turning to alternative medicine. Many herbal remedies have the ability to relieve pain and build cartilage in joints. One supplement in particular is extremely promising, as several studies have indicated. Its name is “methylsulfonylmethane” — or MSM for short.
Perhaps it will be a health secret no more. MSM has been found to reduce pain significantly and improve joint function in people who have osteoarthritis of the knee. They have found that about six grams of MSM for three months could lead to reduced pain and improved physical function.
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When we speak of improved pain and better function, we speak in percentages. Patients taking MSM have in the neighborhood of 12% less pain and 14% more knee function than those taking placebo. They also experienced less stiffness in their knees. Based on several reports — all pointing to about three months of use to reduce symptoms — MSM may be considered useful for short-term relief in osteoarthritis.
MSM is a natural substance that contains sulfur. It’s found in some vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and meat. It is also found in small amounts within our blood. When people have low levels of MSM, they might experience joint and muscle pain. And that’s because of what it does in the body: it’s a natural pain-reliever. MSM stops the transmission of pain impulses that flow along your nerves. When you combine this with its anti-inflammatory abilities, it’s easy to see why MSM could battle conditions such as osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
MSM may also ease muscle spasms, increase blood flow, and strengthen cartilage. Cartilage is the substance within joints that cushions everything, preventing injury. A final link between MSM and our joints is that the level of sulfur is lower in arthritic areas than in healthy joints. Since MSM is a sulfur compound, it could be delivering much-needed sulfur to the joints.
You can find MSM easily now in the form of a tablet, cream or gel. Oral doses start at about one gram per day. On the shelves of most pharmacies these days, MSM promises to help relieve pain, swelling, and the burning sensation that comes with arthritic points. The best evidence so far exists for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. In fact, since the early 1990s, MSM has been available for this treatment. If pain is afflicting your knee, or other joints, and you are still looking for relief, MSM seems worth a shot.