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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33 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!

      • 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.

    • 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.

  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.

  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.

  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!

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