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MSM For Arthritis: Does it Help?

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What is Arthritis?

Arthritis although very common isn’t particularly well understood. The term comes from the Greek words arthro which means joint and itis which translates as inflammation. Arthritis is a term used to describe a variety of disorders that affect joints, typically causing joint pain and stiffness. While it primarily is a disease of the elderly, it affects people of all ages, sexes and races. There are well over 100 known types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia being among the most common. Typical primary symptoms range from joint pain and swelling to stiffness and a decreased range of motion, while the secondary symptoms can include depression, tiredness, irritability and even flu-like symptoms.

What Causes Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis, otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, is typically an age-related condition that manifests increasingly as people age, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system starts to attack bodily tissues, particularly joint linings and cartilage. Gout, on the other hand, is caused by the deposit of uric acid crystals in the joints, which causes pain and inflammation. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but sufferers typically experience it as widespread pain and increased pain response to pressure.

Is There a Cure?

As of this time of writing, we are aware of no universal or even more specific cure for most forms of arthritis. Early diagnosis and effective treatment supported by 

What is MSM?

MSM, an abbreviation for MethylSulphonylMethane or MethylSulfonylMethane (US spelling), is an organosulphur compound that is also known by several other names including DMSO, methyl sulfone and dimethyl sulfone. It is an organic water-soluble white sulphur powder present in plants, meats, dairy products, and vegetation. However, the cooking process can quickly cause it to degrade.

It is particularly popular as a treatment for degenerative joint diseases as it supports the formation of connective tissues and repairs joints, tendons, and ligaments. People use it to treat chronic joint pain and inflammation associated with such conditions as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in the treatment of osteoporosis and cases of susceptibility to bone fractures, as well as bursitis, tendonitis, scar tissue development and other musculoskeletal ailments.

What are the Benefits of MSM?

The benefits of using MSM for arthritis include improving muscle recovery after inflammation, injuries and even surgeries, and research has shown that it is highly effective in improving joint flexibility, as it helps to produce flexible skin and muscle tissue. It increases the ability of the body to eliminate waste products at the cellular level, such as lactic acid and other by-products that cause pain and soreness in the body. Effective waste elimination speeds recovery and frees up more energy for the rebuilding of muscle tissue.

Does MSM Help with Arthritis?

In a word? Yes. A research study entitled Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study, the abstract of which asserts:

 Patients with osteoarthritis (OA) take a variety of health supplements in an attempt to reduce pain and improve function. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in treating patients with knee OA.

further concludes:

Patients with OA of the knee taking MSM for 12 weeks showed an improvement in pain and physical function. The results suggest that larger and long-term studies may find additional and greater improvements in knee OA symptoms.

According to WebMD which typically tends away from in any way supporting the efficacy of natural, read non-pharma, supplements:

However, there is evidence that MSM may help a bit with the pain and swelling of knee osteoarthritis. Also, early animal research shows some promise for decreasing joint degeneration.

MSM has shown some effectiveness for treating allergies, repetitive stress injuries, certain bladder disorders like interstitial cystitis, and wounds.

Is Long-Term Use of MSM Safe?

We are aware of no long-term studies examining this particular, however, sound advice may be to only use as needed and lessen dosages and frequency if possible when needed less urgently or at all. Where possible, even longer term breaks from continuous consumption would tend you toward erring on the side of caution. 

WebMD states:

Chances are it is safe if you take MSM by mouth for three months or fewer.

 

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