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Health benefits of MSM or Sulfur Supplements and why you should take them

Updated on January 11, 2014


To maintain an optimum state of health, cells in our bodies require plenty of oxygen. But the buffet of our current diets are void of basic nutrition, not only does this affect providing the oxygen we need, but it also prevents our bodies from facilitating the movement of needed nutrients through our body. This is where sulfur comes in...

Sulfur powder


Food that contains small traces of sulfur

If you are not a big meat eater, you need sulfur from other food sources.

  • Kale
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Eggs
  • Wheat germ
  • Onion
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Legumes

Sulfur is a much needed mineral in the body. Sulfur comes almost exclusively from dietary protein and almost half the sulfur in your body is found in your muscles, bones, and skin. Benefits to using sulfur don't just help those parts of the body though. Sulfur has many vital roles to play within your body.

Nails and hair consist mostly of Keratin, which is very high in sulfur. Cartilage and connective tissues have flexible sulfur bonds, providing flexibility and structure. As we age these valuable tissues lose elasticity, which leads to hair loss, stunted nail health, aging skin, pain in joints and stiff painful muscles.

Sulfur is also needed for biological enzyme activity. Without adequate amounts, enzymes can't do their job or function properly within the body.

Today, our industrialized world has virtually eliminated sulfur from the soil with chemical fertilizers. Whatever trace amounts that remain in the food are usually lost from refrigeration, processing, cooking, and dehydration.

What is MSM?

Methylsulfonylmethane, aka MSM, is not a drug. It is sulfur in an organic form. It has enormous antioxidant properties. MSM also reduces inflammation, is a great natural way to detox, prevents heart disease, and reduces plaque in the arteries. Signs of low concentrations of MSM in the body include:

  • Degenerative diseases
  • Poorly managed physical and psychological stress
  • Depression
  • Muscle pains
  • Acne
  • Thinning hair and hair loss

Where is MSM naturally found?

  • Non-grass fed Milk
  • Natural Aloe Vera
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fruit

What does MSM help?

  • Inflammation
  • Heart disease
  • Reduces Artery blockages
  • Reduces allergies
  • Detoxes the body
  • Kills parasites within the body
  • Can benefit those ill with Cancer
  • Reduces chronic pain, muscle soreness, cramps
  • Improves arthritis pain and osteoporosis
  • Reduces bone loss
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves hair growth and strength
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps insulin function
  • Improving cellular uptake of nutrients including vitamins A, B, C, D, E, amino acids, selenium, calcium, magnesium, coenzyme Q10
  • Improves lung function
  • Assists cell regeneration
  • Can prevent and reverse Alzheimer's

Deficiency symptoms

  • Itchy skin, and disorders such as Eczema
  • Acne
  • Hair loss or brittle hair and nails
  • Memory loss
  • Slow wound healing
  • Depression
  • Migraine headaches
  • Gas and bloating
  • Heart related health problems
  • indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Impotence
  • Painful and irregular menstruation
  • Sore throat
  • Toothaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Fever (hot and cold sweats)
  • Obesity
  • Inflammation

Sulfur dosage, side effects and quality

Look for MSM or sulfur that has been purified by distillation, not crystallization. Crystallization processing can cause toxic elements to accumulate in the supplement. Distilled MSM, on the other hand, is more identical to naturally occurring sulfur molecules.

Side effects

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Odor (Sulfur is what is in eggs that makes them a bit stinky)


Always discuss taking supplements with your healthcare provider before taking, and double check interactions with medications you may be currently on, as well as verify you are not allergic to sulfur compounds.

Sulfur is best taken with a good multi-B vitamin complex. No toxicity has been reported with taking sulfur.

Minimum dose- 750-1000 mg. More common is 2-3 grams of MSM a day, taken in divided doses. Benefits from taking sulfur appear on average within 3 weeks or less, with further improvement from 4-6 weeks.

© 2014 Rebecca


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    • profile image

      Andrew 23 months ago

      I took three or four MSM capsules at once and it made me feel like I had the flu. So I took an ibuprofen and went to bed. Twenty minutes later, the ibuprofen kicks in and the flu-like body aches vanish. What was that all about? I read somewhere that high doses of MSM can expel waste products from your cells and make you feel lousy. I took the three pill dose for the cleansing effect it is said to have on the body. I definitely won't be doing that again. I think a dinner-to-dinner fast would be a better way to cleanse. Two pills at once doesn't bother me, though.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks DDE. I hope you find it helpful. :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well-informed hub on on Sulfur and you have enlightened me on something I rarely think of.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very helpful information. I am going to pursue this thanks to you!

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      :) I plan on taking it for chronic neck pain. I've tried to many things to determine the cause (to personal and to much to post here really) and I'm hoping it will help. But, the phooey side of me thinks I'm going through massive Chakra Ascension right now!!! It's been nearly 24 months and I'm willing to try anything to alleviate the growing pains! I'm glad you found this info useful and appreciate your comments WiccanSage.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Great hub, thanks for the information. Sulfur is one of those things I just don't think about very much when it comes to supplements or dietary requirements, I had no idea it had so much of an effect on the overall health. I was glad to see that your list of foods with sulfur are all things I eat regularly (some of them daily) so hopefully that means I'm not lacking. I'm definitely going to discuss this with my Dr. next time I get my complete blood works.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the comment vandynegl. I stumbled upon a mention of it when I was reading online. I have some MSM on order and will be taking it very soon.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Very useful information here! I bet a lot of people did not realize where sulfur comes from and assume it is something nasty! I personally did not know that MSM was found in natural aloe vera juice! I just started using this juice a few months ago! Anyway, great information and I plan to share!