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Sulfur is crucial to life. This may never have been more true than it is today, as the ozone layer is known to be dependent upon the sea, specifically algae and plankton. The algae capture sulfur from volcanic vents on the ocean floor and are eaten by plankton, releasing dimethylsulfide (DMS) which replenishes the ozone layer.

Once DMS is energized by sunlight, it forms methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) by oxidation. Rain carries the MSM to earth where it is absorbed by plants and stored in their root systems.

The human body is capable of synthesizing MSM from DSM, if the diet contains sufficient raw foods.

The body's requirement for sulfur also increases when there is a need to build, or repair, tissue.

Method of Action

MSM is a preferred dietary source of sulfur for many important compounds in the body, including:

biotin, calcitonin, coenzyme "A" as well as other enzymatic processes, collagen, enkaphalin, fibrinogen, hemoglobin, heparin, human growth factor (HGF), insulin, methionine and muscle proteins.

Therapeutic Approaches

MSM seems to be especially important to the skin and wound healing. A group of people taking MSM could withstand sun and wind better than a control group, who were all severely burned.

For wound healing, MSM works in conjunction with vitamin C. (500 mg MSM and 250 mg ascorbic acid b.i.d.)

MSM may also be of benefit in supporting against the ravages of stress: gastrointestinal distress, inflamed mucous membranes, allergic reactions etc. Low levels of MSM are associated with physical and psychological stress, tissue and organ problems, fatigue and impaired immune function.

The body also seems less able to make MSM as it grows older, which is often when the need is greatest!

In sports medicine, athletes have found supplements of MSM have facilitated a problem-free event (cramp-free) and quicker recovery.


1 mg/kg body weight is the basic supplemental level.

Athletes participating in a marathon took 15 mg/kg during the final week before the event.

Toxicity Factors

MSM is stored by several organs but excess may be excreted via the usual channels (feces, sweat, urine).

MSM is non-toxic and studies with primates have shown no adverse effects during a 2 year program.



Dacey, J.W.H. & Wakeham, S.G. : Oceanic Dimethylsulfide: Production during zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton. Science, 1986, 233:1,314-1,315.

Herschler, R.J. Methylsulfonylmethane in dietary products. US Patent 4,616,039. October 7, 1986.

Pearson, T.W. et al., Natural occurring levels of dimethyl sulfoxide in selected fruits, vegetables, grains and beverages. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1981, 29(5): 1,089-1,091.