Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring organosulfur compound that has become a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes, including its most common use as an anti-inflammatory agent. MSM is found naturally in common nutrient sources such as coffee, tea, fruits, vegetables, grains, and cow’s milk. Its parent compound, dimethyl sulfoxide, has been extensively studied for its unique biological properties including its antioxidant capabilities, its anti-inflammatory effects, its anticholinesterase activity, and its ability to induce histamine release from mast cells.
Several in-vitro, animal, and human studies have demonstrated MSM’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties being attributed to its down-regulation of the NF-kB inflammatory pathway in cells. One notable study by Usha, et al. demonstrated a synergism between MSM and glucosamine, with a statistically significant reduction in pain and swelling after 12 weeks of use when compared to placebo.Most notably, the onset of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity was found to be more rapid with the combination of the two supplements, suggesting that combination of MSM and glucosamine provides better and more rapid improvement in patients with osteoarthritis.