MSM for Joint Health

by Melissa Chichester

Glucosamine is one of the most popular and well-known supplements for joint health.* It is typically paired with MSM, short for methylsulfonylmethane. It is an odorless and colorless compound and can be used on its own or in conjunction with other joint-supporting nutrients and is often paired with them in supplements. In nature, MSM is found in plants, animals, and humans. Synthetic MSM can also be produced. 

Compared to other beneficial compounds, the discovery of MSM is young! In the early 1980s, two medical doctors, Stanley W. Jacob and Robert Herschler of Oregon Health and Science University discovered MSM after conducting extensive research in the late 1970s. Since then, research on useful MSM applications has expanded, and today MSM is best known for supporting joint health.* 

MSM benefits 

MSM is a natural source of sulfur, one of the major building blocks of glycosaminoglycans.*

Glycosaminoglycans are key structural components in cartilage and play an important role in the maintenance of joint cartilage. *

Joint cartilage supports a flexible range of motion and helps cushion bones in addition to keeping bones connected. Cartilage is also found in other parts of the body, including the nose and rib cage. 

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red gala apples

MSM in foods

You can consume dietary MSM, as it is naturally found in a wide variety of foods, including: 

  • Onions 
  • Milk 
  • Eggs
  • Apples 
  • Leafy green vegetables 
  • Apples
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Garlic 
  • Cruciferous vegetables 
  • Fish
  • Algae
  • Tea
  • Coffee

Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet will help you consume MSM daily and based on the list above, you probably already get a significant amount from food and beverages. 

MSM supplements

You can use supplemental MSM on its own without glucosamine. This is useful for people who cannot consume shellfish due to allergies. MSM powder is another option that makes it even easier to consume, as it can be added to soups, smoothies, and water for a nutritional boost. 

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MSM in skin care

MSM is also a popular ingredient in skin-soothing creams, often combined with skin-loving nutrients such as aloe vera and natural oils. MSM may have a positive effect on the appearance of your skin, helping it appear smoother.*