Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur chemical compound found in plants, animals, and humans. It can also be chemically made.
In recent years, it has been researched for possible hair-growth properties.
MSM is known as a sulfur-rich compound with anti-inflammatory properties. There’s also some inconclusive research on its effectiveness with hair growth and retention. MSM sulfur may form bonds essential to strengthening the keratin in hair and influencing hair growth.
An older 2009 study tested the effect of MSM and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) on hair growth and alopecia treatment in mice. Researchers applied varying percentages of MAP and MSM solutions to the mice’s backs. This study suggested that hair growth depended on how much MSM was applied along with MAP.
According to a 2019 study of 63 human participants, oral supplements with MSM may improve the appearance of hair and nails. In study participants, researchers found that a higher concentration of 3 grams per day delivered quicker and more pronounced benefits than taking 1 gram of MSM per day.
The researchers hypothesized that MSM may give sulfur to keratin, which may help strengthen bonds between keratin molecules. However, this study also reported some conflicts of interest. More research is needed to support the effectiveness of MSM for hair growth.
MSM is a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Supplements are available in most health stores and pharmacies in pill form.
However, since this supplement is still being researched for its hair-growth effects, the FDA doesn’t offer a recommended dosage of MSM.
Before including this compound in your daily routine or incorporating supplements into your diet, discuss risks and intake recommendations with your doctor.
When choosing a supplement, consider supplements that have been verified by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. They test to make sure the supplements contain what the label says they do and in the right amounts.
You may already be eating foods that naturally contain sulfur or MSM. Common foods rich in this compound can include:
Cooking these foods may decrease the natural amount of MSM. Eating MSM-rich foods unprocessed or raw is the best way to consume higher amounts of this natural compound. MSM supplements may also be taken in combination with MSM found naturally in foods.
Research from 2017 shows minimal to no side effects from using MSM supplements.
If you do experience side effects, they may be mild and can include:
Talk with a doctor about potential side effects or interactions with medications or supplements you currently take.
Due to limited research on MSM safety, you should avoid taking this supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
MSM is a sulfur compound found naturally in the body, and it may be used to treat osteoporosis and joint inflammation. Some also claim it can treat hair loss. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support claims of hair growth from using MSM supplements.
If you are looking to increase hair growth or treat hair loss, consider traditional remedies with more research to back them up.
If you’re unsure how to support your hair growth, discuss your options with a doctor.