What is methylsulfonylmethane?

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur chemical compound found in plants, animals, and humans. It can also be chemically made.

Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, MSM is commonly used as an oral supplement to treat arthritis pain and swelling for a number of conditions including:

It’s also available as a topical solution to reduce wrinkles, eliminate stretch marks, and treat minor cuts.

In recent years, it has been researched for possible hair-growth properties.

Research on hair growth

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.

According to research, MSM sulfur can form bonds essential to strengthening hair and influencing hair growth. One study tested the effect of MSM and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) on hair growth and alopecia treatment. The test was performed on mice. Researchers applied varying percentages of MAP and MSM solutions to their backs. This study concluded that hair growth depended on how much MSM was applied in conjunction with MAP.

Daily dosage

MSM is a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, and supplements are available in most health stores and pharmacies in pill form. Toxicity studies show that MSM is safe to take in higher doses ranging from 500 milligrams to 3 grams daily. MSM is also available in a powder that can be added to hair conditioner.

However, since this supplement is still being researched for its hair-growth effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t offer a recommended dosage of MSM.

Prior to including this compound in your daily routine or incorporating supplements into your diet, discuss risks and intake recommendations with your doctor.

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MSM-rich foods

You may already be eating foods that naturally contain sulfur or MSM. Common foods rich in this compound include:

Cooking these foods can decrease the natural presence of MSM. Eating these foods unprocessed or raw is the best way to consume optimal amounts of this natural compound. MSM supplements can also be taken in combination with MSM found naturally in foods.

MSM for hair-growth side effects

Research shows minimal to no side effects from using MSM supplements.

If you do experience side effects, they may be mild and include:

Discuss potential side effects or interactions with current medication with your doctor.

Due to limited research on MSM safety, you should avoid taking this supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The outlook

MSM is a sulfur compound found naturally in the body that can 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, traditional treatment methods are recommended.

Discuss your options with your doctor to receive optimal treatment results.