MSM — How Much to Take? What About Adverse Reactions?

. . . answers to frequent questions about MSM

There are some compelling reasons to add MSM to your supplement protocol, especially if you’re dealing with pain and/or inflammation. MSM is also an excellent source of sulfur, known as the “beauty mineral.” Sulfur provides support for strong, thick, lustrous hair; a complexion free from blemishes and wrinkles; and nails that are strong without being brittle. In addition, MSM promotes detoxification.

For more on what MSM can do for you see my article on MSM in our website Article Archives.

But how much should you take? And what about the possibility of adverse reactions?

One 500 mg capsule a day is good insurance for most people to prevent sulfur deficiency and support construction of healthy connective tissues, detoxification, and beautiful, strong hair, skin and nails.

Treating specific health problems can require anywhere from 1,000-6,000 mg a day (and higher doses under professional supervision) depending on body size, age and severity of symptoms. MSM is particularly good for symptom-relief related to allergies, asthma, athletic injuries, arthritis (and any other “-itis” — “‘itis” indicates inflammation), cancer, digestion, lung disease, and lupus, and for skin problems such as acne, sunburn, dermatitis, and scars. Reduction in symptoms is usually seen within 2 to 21 days.

For osteoarthritis, combining MSM with glucosamine sulfate (see our Joint Support Formula), has been shown to work better than either alone in reducing pain and inflammation, and in increasing joint function.

For many people, MSM has been a miracle — an answer to their prayers. But adverse reactions, especially at the beginning, prevent others from staying with it long enough to get MSM’s benefits.

MSM is very safe. Animal toxicity studies have shown it’s as safe as pure water, and there are no reported allergic responses to it in the medical literature. However “mild adverse reactions” are common. According to anecdotal reports, these stop when MSM is discontinued.

Many adverse reactions are probably to impurities in the MSM, not to the MSM itself. But uncomfortable reactions are common with even the purest MSM. (To my knowledge, our MSM is the purest on the market.) This is because MSM is a potent detoxifier. It dissolves many compounds, reacts with certain toxins and greatly facilitates elimination of toxic wastes from the cells. Detoxing too fast can produce a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, insomnia, depression or anxiety, skin eruptions, itching, the worsening of allergy symptoms and even palpitations. Reactions, if there are any, tend to be quite individual. If you’re prone to getting headaches, MSM may cause headache; if you tend to experience insomnia, MSM may lead to insomnia; and the same with other potential reactions.

With any new supplement, it’s wise to start out with a small dose and build up gradually, and this is particularly true with MSM. Start out with half a capsule (250 mg) for several days to see how you do with it before adding more. If you’re very sick, very toxic, or know you are extremely sensitive, begin with even less.

If you experience really uncomfortable detox symptoms it is an important message from your body that it is being asked to do more than it can handle. Reduce or stop the MSM completely. Drink plenty of water and take extra vitamin C to help clear the symptoms. When you’ve recovered, you can start the MSM again, slowly and cautiously.

Some people are allergic to sulfa drugs and avoid MSM because it contains sulfur, unaware that they inevitably ingest small amounts of sulfur daily in the food they eat without any problem. The chemistry of MSM and sulfur are quite different from the chemistry in sulfa drugs. If you are allergic to sulfa drugs, could you possibly react to MSM? Although it’s possible, there are people who are allergic to sulfa drugs who do just fine on MSM, and it’s more likely you are experiencing detox reactions.

Some gastrointestinal symptoms can be alleviated by taking MSM with food. Taking MSM early in the day can prevent problems with insomnia.

There are no known drug interactions with MSM, although MSM can release old drugs stored in your body fat and may make drugs you are already taking more effective so that you need less. Although concerns have been raised about MSM as a possible blood-thinner, in at least one clinical trial, 6,000 mg (6 grams) daily had no blood thinning effects.

Long-term studies on the effects of large doses of MSM have not been done. It is best used for symptom relief and as part of a complete program to repair tissue and address the underlying causes of disease.

Although you may have no problems with MSM whatsoever, if you should, it is well worth some extra effort and putting up with some bumps along the road to find a dose that’s comfortable for you. MSM is one of our less expensive supplements ($19.95 for 150 500-mg capsules) and it offers some very big rewards for your persistence.

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55 thoughts on “MSM — How Much to Take? What About Adverse Reactions?

  1. I took a dose of msm on Saturday it is now Thursday and I’m still detoxing really really hard.

    Getting to the point of being mentally unstable. I have taken it before and didn’t detox at all. For some reason this last dose really kicked in.

    What can I do I’m having constant panic attacks and trouble sleeping and feeling very weak.

    • Hello and good morning,

      We are sorry to hear you are having these problems. We know for a fact that our MSM does not give any detoxing effects or mental side effects. You may want to consult your physician to see into this problem further. Please call us at 800.250.3063 to get more information and further assistance.

      Thank you for the question!

      • Interesting because if that’s true, it’s exactly the opposite of what websites state about MSM.
        MSM DOES cause side effects when detoxing to quickly. Man is an excellent detoxer and can cause anxiety depression etc. when done too quickly so why on earth would you come in and say the opposite when this guy is currently experiencing the very issue. Goodness gravy.

        • I absolutely agree with your comment. In fact, the very text on this web site above states that detox reactions may take place. How unhelpful the BH staff was in their ridiculous reply to this man!! Shame on you!

        • I just started using it…taking stated dose.half t spoon..omg it almost killed me a week later..weird head akes..weakness..cramps..depression…but I came off it and lowers the doses..things are getting better..but my dose is soo small now lol 1/16 of a teaspoon spoon

      • What the person above is saying about the side effects from MSM is completely true. I have never been or suffered from these mental effects but for some reason get them every time I have tried MSM. I tried MSM two days last week, it suppose to be pure organic, and I have anxiety and feel depressed. I do not suffer from these normally, it is only when I touch MSM. Once it wears out your system all these symptoms disappear. Telling Matt to go and see a doctor is silly, the answer is tell him to drink plenty of water and these symptoms will go but it can take a few days.

      • My husband(70yrs) and I(67yrs) have been taking MSM (1t.) and Magnesium Oil (1t.) every morning for 18 months now. We feel fantastic and sleep like babies. I sometimes take the same in the evenings. I have no more pains in my hip and leg – before I had to take pain capsules every evening. Our 40 year old son started using it before us. He was very ill when coming back from an eastern country where he had fever, a lack of food and dehydration that lead to major psychiatric problems. MSM and magnesium formed part of an extensive holistic healing process – no bad side effects. He is now completely healed.

    • Hi angel ok so take activated charcoal ! And loads and loads of water ! Also try to get a shot of b 12 🙂 hope it’s getting better !! Bath in magnesium.. Down load some 10 min meditations an do those 🙂 good luck

    • Are you on any other supplements? Most if our nutrients are no longer in our foods due to soil mineral depletion. You might want to look at supplementing the B complex, natural sources are bee pollen and nutritional yeast. Maybe extra no flush niacin with that. ( B3). Kelp meal is good for 60 minerals, spirulina good for beta carotene and other complex nutrients. We need them all. People can die from deficiencies. Look up scurvy, beriberi and pellagra. B12 deficiency is another bad one.

    • Same thing happening to me while taking 3-4 300mg capsules a day. I was ok for a couple of days, but effects seem to be accumulating. Taking 1000mg vitamin C helped with my symptoms. I plan to wait a couple of days and then start up again with a smaller dose of MSM, see if I can get over the detox hill, if that’s what it is.

    • I started about 12 weeks ago by taking a Teaspoon of MSM Powder and the only discomfort I have, is that it tends to makes me urinate more frequent and if I take it late in the day, I am up constantly during the night.

      I feel that I have a bit of an increase in my energy levels and I am less prone to getting a bit annoyed by some of the little issues that used to annoy me, so for that aspect of MSM, I am very thankful and I would recommend any person who is prone to getting annoyed by life’s ups and downs, take the MSM powder for at least 4 weeks before giving up.

      Natural products are not as quick to make changes to our bodies as the newer more Toxic medicines and other Medical Appliances that are available today, the work slower and adjustment to this is needed.

      Keep trying and you will get there.

    • Generally with MSM the symptoms get worse before getting better. For example if you have a bad cold and take MSM to detox, then you may experience flu like symptoms because it’s waking up all of the bacteria, germs, etc. and removing from your body. Just don’t stop and make sure that you drink TONS of water and don’t forget to take Vitamin C with it. Once all of the germs are gone, so will the symptoms.

    • This comment comes almost a year later to Matt, so what happen? I had really bad headaches that stayed with me 24/7 and figured out it was MSM. I went to the doctors and told them my headaches were so weird and constant I knew I must have some bad tumor. I figured out on my own to stop taking the MSM and the headaches went away. You mentioned that you felt mentally unstable and for me it was because I was so worried and didn’t sleep well for days that I was just worn out. I was more edgy/cranky, but after reading all the post, I will try it again with vitamin C and with food and 1 dose instead of 2. I never really thought about the detoxing portion I only took it for my achey joints.

  2. HI

    what was the solution on that? I started taking MSM (1000g/day) about a month ago.
    HOwever since taking it last week started to have really nasty reactions. Insomnia, tiredness, and anxiety among them.

    You stated here that “We know for a fact that our MSM does not give any detoxing effects or mental side effects. ”
    but in the article you mentioned: “Detoxing too fast can produce a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, insomnia, depression or anxiety, skin eruptions, itching, the worsening of allergy symptoms and even palpitations.” SO it does cause these effects in case too fast detox?

    thanks for your feedback

    • Of course detoxing to fast off of anything could potentially have all of those effects. That’s standard. I wouldn’t detox any which way to quickly, your body will never keep up.

    • Essentially, MSM lets you know what your body needs to get rid of. Therefore, it you’re experiencing all of these symptoms it’s because you’ve had them all along and now MSM is getting rid of them one-by-one and they are more prominent until it’s all out of your system. “Been there, done that” lol It was very tempting to stop taking it, but I continued taking (and still do). No longer have the symptoms and am healthier than ever 🙂

  3. Despite claims to the contrary MSM can and does cause detox reactions, perhaps through the liberation of toxins stored in cells into the bloodstream. Andrew Cutler cautioned against MSM as it doesn’t bind tightly with metals after releasing them leading to retoxification.
    I myself using 1t/2x day along with 2G Vit. C powder experienced dizziness and nausea about 10 minutes after dosing. This happened on 2 occasions. I should add I am a retired firefighter and likely have a lot of chemicals stored in body fat.
    Perhaps taking an algae like Chlorella would mitigate some of the detox reactions, see Dietrich Klinghardt- Neurotoxin Elimination Protocol.

    • Someone mentioned activated charcoal…although the science behind the uses of Bentonite Clay would be more appropriate to grab up the released toxins and safely take them out. Bulk Herb Store is a great place to buy it and they have very educational little descriptions on most of their products. And premixed products for detoxes too.

  4. Just some feedback on the MSM . I was taking 1 teasppon of MSM with one teasppon of vitamin c powder, and I felt great . In the last week , I have increased the dose to two teasppoons , and I am now not sleeping . My energy is amazing , and my pain is diminished , however , I will reduce my dosae back to a teaspoon or stop it for a week and start again at a low dose. I love the product , I am not cranky or edgy and dont feel like I am artificially stimulated. One other thing I have noticed , is that I am incredibly thirsty and I am drinking far more than I usually do and the toilet breaks are very frequent . Apart from the above mentions , I would say its a fantastic way to increase energy, and wonderful for cognitive function .

    • Yes Joy, your bathroom visits will increase as the Vitamin C passes right through you and flushes you out. The combination is great I agree!

  5. Hei.
    Am taking 1000mg/day of mam I have noticed one thing. My hairline has grown so fast that I like. I nolonger have joint pains after a week in the gym.But I have a problem am constantly feeling depressed and i have lost appetite to eat. I have also noticed I have skin erupts in my armpit. How do I overcome the negative effects.

    • Please see your physician for any change in your lifestyle and health. Also ramp down the dosage since everyone is different and react to different amounts. Thank you for the question!

  6. It may be possible that the methyl in MSM combines with mercury (from amalgam fillings) to create methyl mercury a toxin worse than mercury. I have been taking MSM powder for about a week to help with heavy metal detoxing because my sulphur levels were very low and have started getting headaches & slight nausea. So not sure if symptoms are related to detoxing or due to methyl mercury. I didn’t realise initially that the MSM stood for methylsulfonylmethane but checked ingredients after headaches started. I have had issues previously with methyl mercury from a methyl perservative.

  7. I suffered with amalgam illness for a number of years without being aware of what my problem was. Doctors are not helpful with these sort of problems. Panic attacks were but one of the manifestations. When I realized that my problems were stemming from my mercury fillings, I had them removed and did Andy Cutler’s protocol using alpha lipoic acid. As predicted in his book, it took me 2 years to start feeling better. It has been 5 years now since the amalgam removal. I was afraid to try MSM for a while because it would probably stir up deep mercury. This past year I started using it. I have worked up to 2 tsp morning and evening, with tremendous health improvements. However, at this dose, just recently, I have felt like I may be on the edge of a panic attack a few times. I’m sure I’m moving mercury too fast. I plan to take a break for a few days, then reintroduce at a lower dose. I think it is very likely that others with this problem have heavy metal overload. So it is not the MSM per se, but you have to be cautious.

    • For moving mercury, support your body by placing hands over your kidneys (on your back or front) while laying down for 3 mins. This helped greatly for me when doing detox balances during Kinesiology training (kinergetics, Phil Rafferty). Amazing techniques.

  8. Re: Detox reaction from taking organic sulfur:

    I am a person who eat’s mostly organic, doesn’t smoke, drink or take drugs (other than caffeine).

    I’ve been taking 2 X teaspoons (1 in morning,1 late afternoon) for a few days now. Was definitely feeling positive energizing effects…

    However, today I’ve hit a MAJOR (almost incapacitating) herxing / detox wall… Headaches, foggy brain, all-over CRAPPY feeling (it’s a challenge to even type out this reply)…

    My point: no matter how healthy you believe your lifestyle is, take it SLOWLY with sulfur. Work up to, don’t start with, 2 x teaspoons a day (maybe ONE total a day). Don’t learn the hard way like I’ve had to.

    No matter how hard we try to live cleanly, we’re all exposed to a toxin load; be it traffic, chemtrails, plastics, etc., etc…. So assume you have toxins, and proceed accordingly when taking any product that has a potential to detoxify. I sure will from now on.

  9. I been on MSM over 5 years now. Started taking it January 2012, 1000 mg. caps.and 500 mg. I take two in the morning and two at noon, one vitamin C at noon . The brand I take is Doctor’s Best and the vitamin C is Solgar, Rose Hips.
    Reason for taking it, was to relief my lower back. It helped plus other thing too, you would believe……..
    I’m a male and 67 and on no medications……………

  10. I’ve been slowly introducing MSM starting 3 months ago, and then increasing the MSM to 12 grams daily as of last week (going up 2 grams each week). I’ve been taking this along with 1 tablespoon acerola cherry powder (natural vitamin C). Everything seemed to be going fine until I ran out of the vitamin C supplement, while continuing MSM, and I felt really anxious and depressed which cleared when I got back on the vitamin C. I’ve stayed at 1 tablespoon acerola cherry powder all the while upping the MSM and this last week I started to get lots of detox acne (big red angry looking zits). I’m now experiencing fatigue, heart, palpitations, a bit of insomnia and low back pain these last 2 weeks. I’ve stopped the MSM abruptly but continue with the vitamin C. Perhaps I’m doing too much MSM with not enough Vitamin C? Any suggestions? Thanks!

  11. …every one is such a unique person we all know that what works for one doesn’t always way for others!!!
    I suffer from COPD level 2 with moderate obstruction ( my quality of life was pushing me to being very depression)
    Just in time .. the mask for my machine broke….i add nothing else to use .. someone suggested MSM for inflammation …For me its a my “Miracle Relief” ..OMG :)… I can NOT believe within 3 day of taking MSM…. my coughing was reduces to half and the coughing itself sounded very deferent and was not as deep/loud as before..mucus color and size DRASTICALLY changed color and size and i could actually breath mush mush more then before … now on day 7 i take it twice a day with Vitamin C. Im astatic.
    Im aim sooooooo sooooo Happy now.
    I can think of myself as “more normal now” and not as afraid to go out a socialize. you owe it to yourself to try it.. its not expensive and for COPD sufferers out there.. you need to try this.

  12. I started taking MSM three weeks ago (1000mg/day), about the same time I turned vegan. I also started taking B12 and a spirulina/chlorella mix (1 tsp/day) at that time. I wasn’t a huge meat eater to begin with but ate a lot of dairy, which was beginning not to agree with me. The reason I started taking MSM was primarily for joint health. I’m an active 54 year-old male who cycles and plays squash and, about six months ago, started developing knee pain that wasn’t going away. I do have a tendency for low back pain / sciatica but have no history of any major illness or even seasonal flus or colds. Since taking the MSM, my knee pain has disappeared. But, last week my hips, shoulder and neck became so sore and stiff that I was barely able to get out of bed without excruciating pain. This tends to lessen slightly as I get moving in the morning, but it’s still very much with me a week later. I don’t know enough right now to definitively say that these symptoms are caused by detoxing or taking MSM, so I’ll try to be scientific about isolating all the possible causes and go through a process of elimination. I’ll keep taking the MSM to see if these symptoms gradually disappear, and if they don’t, I’ll back off the dosage. Sounds like I also need to start taking a vitamin C supplement.

  13. I have been taking 8 grams of organic sulphur for a couple of months and feel better all of the time. I have had chronic pain for 2/3 of my life, autoimmune issues, digestive, etc. and this has been a God send for me!

  14. I’m taking MSM powder from another brand and I don’t “feel” anything. Not that I expected to. I think one of the original commenters is confusing taking a supplement with “causing” his problems. I’m pretty sure he was going to have these problems, whether he took a sulfur supplement or not. It is possible for things to just pop up out of nowhere and have no other cause other than it was going to happen to begin with. This will seem to be rather snotty comment to make, but you don’t “detox” by taking or eating anything. Your internal organs are doing all the detoxing your body is capable of. I’m taking it because I want to try anything I can to restore my hair, even if it’s taking supplements I’ve never believed in taking before. You know it is possible for psychological disturbances to suddenly appear in adulthood. This guy needs to stop trying to apply it to something magical and have his problem really looked at. People can suddenly “become” bipolar in adulthood. It isn’t due to contrails or GMOs or voodoo, it’s brain chemistry.

  15. my mum who is 61 years old but 30 years old in her mind, has was diagnosed with severve copd, she was admitted into hospital in june 09 with an exberation of copd, she was hospitalized less than two months later and i must say alot lot worse, her sats dropped to 47 and me (her daughter) my brother and sister were called as things turned for the worse.she has to go home after a someone in the hospital recommended herbal clinic to us thankfully after three weeks and the shere determination of my mums will to live shes home, she was connected to oxygen 24hours a day, very tired,cant do things for herself. but shes alive!! this is a horrible condition for any human being to have to go thru but i can proudly say she is fully cure of COPD diease,for anyone in this condition must contact ( /

  16. My wife and I have been using a pure powder MSM for several years. I currently take a tablespoon full every morning and I am convinced it is the best supplement I take. No side effects, I have more energy and I sleep very well.

  17. Hi my name is Mary. I just started taking MSN about three days ago for for the joints in my nucOlesya keep locking . My Doctor reach minded it. Heard a lot of Google things about it. God willing this will be my miracle drug at age 57.

  18. I was diagnosed with COPD & emphysema in May of this year. I have been smoke free for 14 months. I quit because my first granddaughter was going to be born! I didn’t want to smell like an ashtray when I held her! Since then I have been having trouble breathing, gained twenty pounds since quitting smoking I was exercising and not losing any weight, seeing a dietician and being told to quit eating practically! I was depressed and feeling like nothing is working! There’s got to be a way to make me feel like my chest isn’t so tight feeling like something is stuck in my chest. I lost touch with reality.I started on Health Herbal Clinic COPD Herbal formula treatment in August 2017, i read alot of positive reviews on their success rate treating COPD disease through their Herbal formula and i immediately started on the treatment. Just 7 weeks into the Herbal formula treatment I had great improvements with MY breething ,I am unbelievably back on my feet again, this is a breakthrough for all COPD Patients, visit Health Herbal Clinic official website www. healthherbalclinic. net or email info@ healthherbalclinic. net.This treatment is incredible!

  19. hi, I startet to take msm and vitamin c thinking I have cancer but it turnd out to be endometriosis.I started with low dose 3 times a day and gradually increasing to 5 times a day total of 2 table spoons a day desolved in approx 500 ml of water.
    At first my lips were very dry and also I had very dry sckin. That all improved whith in 1 – 2 weeks. I dont feel great but i dont feel bed as well. I have been having msm for 2 months and I am planing to take it a bit longer to see if any changes. At this stage I think I feel slightly bit better but it is too early to say.

  20. Just started taking MSM and vitamin C two days ago to help with my newly diagnosed “Adults Stills Disease “ . Still waiting to see an NHS Rheumatologist after being referred four months ago . So went private to get my diagnosis. Steroid injection in September helped but it only lasts for about eleven weeks . Now l fine that l have still got up to three months waiting time to see a NHS Rheumatologist. So have decided to try MSM and vitamin c to see if this will help keep this joint inflammation at bay.

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