Note from Carolyn:
MSM is not necessarily all that it is cracked up to be!
Article continues ...
Many people use MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) to treat
arthritis. And although the effectiveness does vary, most of the people
who use it have experienced relief from their arthritis symptoms.
From all outward appearances, MSM seems to be effective and completely
safe. A recent study confirmed that it reduces arthritis pain and lessens
functional impairment. Studies also show no side effects when it's used
for relatively short time periods, such as a few months to a year.
But MSM might not be as totally harmless as it seems.
There's at least one long-term effect that is theoretically possible: the
depletion of the essential trace element molybdenum. Molybdenum is
essential to safe, complete processing of sulfur in human and animal bodies.
MSM contains nearly 30 percent sulfur. Typically, high-sulfur foods like
meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and legumes are balanced by nature to
contain the essential nutrients needed to completely metabolize the
But unlike natural foods, MSM supplements don't contain any other key
nutrients needed to metabolize MSM's high sulfur content. So, in a way,
MSM's sulfur is "naked" because it doesn't have a rich complex of vitamins
and minerals built in.
A century ago this wouldn't have been a big concern because you would
have gotten sufficient molybdenum from the other foods you ate to
completely metabolize the sulfur from MSM. Unfortunately, most agricultural
soils are much lower in molybdenum and other essential trace minerals than
they were 100 years ago.
To make matters worse, processing and refining foods removes most of the
remaining molybdenum (and other trace mineral) content. So unless you're
eating a mostly organic diet, you're getting much, much less molybdenum
than your grandparents or great-grandparents.
If you're taking large quantities of MSM, the molybdenum needed to
completely metabolize its sulfur must be "stolen" from an already relatively
low-molybdenum diet. Fortunately, there's likely to be enough molybdenum
already present in your body to metabolize MSM over shorter time periods,
such as weeks or months.
You're probably wondering why I'm still concerned about MSM safety.
Once again, I'm not concerned if you're planning to use MSM for just a
few months. But if you start using it at age 50 or 60, and it helps relieve
your pain, you're likely to take it for another 20 to 30 years or so.
So if you plan to take MSM for many years because it helps your joints
(or for any other reason), you should try to eat an entirely organic diet
to make sure you're getting enough molybdenum to offset the sulfur
in the MSM. If eating an entirely organic diet isn't possible for you, look
for one of the brands of MSM that contains at least 50 micrograms of
molybdenum for every 1,000 milligrams of MSM.
At the very least, I recommend working with a physician skilled and
knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine and monitoring
your molybdenum levels over the years.