Is MSM Good for The Brain? What do Studies Say?

is MSM good for the brain

The Short Answer:

MSM is a natural compound known for its main benefits for joint health including reduced joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. When it comes to brain health, MSM doesn’t have any substantial effects, according to current evidence. So, don’t expect it to benefit your mental performance.

What is MSM?

MSM is a natural sulfur compound used to boost joint health and reduce inflammation. [1]

It is found in all plants and animals, but it is most abundant in the cell walls of onions and garlic. It is one of the most popular ingredients in supplements known to help people reduce aches, improve the function of their joints, and increase overall flexibility.

Benefits of MSM Supplement

1. Helps Repair and Strengthen Cartilage

Studies have shown that MSM can help strengthen and repair cartilage. This makes it one of the most crucial nutrients in every high-quality joint supplement. MSM contains high levels of sulfur, which is critical for the formation of cartilage. [2]

MSM also helps in the production of some antioxidants like glutathione. Some evidence shows that MSM can reduce arthritis symptoms and reduce inflammatory reactions that lead to pain relief.

2. Reduces Inflammation

Many studies confirm that MSM helps to reduce inflammation, and it does this by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as prostaglandins, cytokines, nitric oxide, and leukotrienes. MSM blocks the NF-kB, which is a protein that triggers a cascade of inflammatory processes in your body. [3]

So, it’s not a surprise that high-quality joint supplements use this ingredient, as you can see, it has plenty of benefits, especially for the joints.

3. Alleviates Joint Pain

Just like it can help reduce inflammation, MSM can also reduce joint pain. The sulfur content is what makes MSM so beneficial. MSM also helps to strengthen the connective tissues, resulting in reduced wear and tear on the joints over time.

4. Improves Flexibility

Ultimately, by reducing joint pain and inflammation, MSM has the ability to improve flexibility. MSM is good for your ligaments and tendons too, and taking it leads to improved flexibility and better joint health overall.

5. Speeds Up Recovery After Exercise

For those who are regularly exercising, MSM is their friend. People who regularly exercise often feel muscle soreness, which can range from mild to severe and can continue for a longer period of time. It is believed that MSM can speed up recovery post workouts and some of the existing studies indeed support this claim. [4]

Is MSM Beneficial for Brain Health?

Now let’s talk about MSM for brain health. We often get asked if MSM is beneficial for brain health or not. Well, the answer to this question is not really, which could disappoint a lot of you reading. These are some of the proven benefits that you can expect from taking MSM:

  • Helps with skin health by promoting collagen production
  • Helps reduce inflammation, pain, and other arthritis symptoms
  • Helps with tissue repair
  • Necessary for connective tissue healing

Unfortunately, MSM does not have any noticeable nootropic qualities. It does not affect the brain in any significant way. On the bright side, it does not cause any major side effects for most people when it comes to brain health.

Negative Effects of MSM on the Brain – Are There Any?

As we have already mentioned, MSM should not cause any major side effects for most people. It is a natural compound, and because of that, it is considered fairly safe. Even higher doses of around 500-1500mg each day aren’t shown to lead to any noticeable side effects.

However, some studies tell us a completely different thing. They say that taking high doses of MSM could cause memory problems in certain individuals. This is a very rare occurrence and should not happen if you take recommended doses. To be completely safe, just talk to your doctor before taking it.

Optimal Dosage for MSM

The safest and most effective dosage of MSM is anywhere between 500 and 3000 milligrams each day. This dose is usually taken with food and it’s best like that; taking it on an empty stomach can cause cramps.

Further Reading:


  1. Butawan M, Benjamin RL, Bloomer RJ. Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement. Nutrients. 2017 Mar 16;9(3):290. doi: 10.3390/nu9030290. PMID: 28300758; PMCID: PMC5372953.
  2. Dalle Carbonare L, Bertacco J, Marchetto G, Cheri S, Deiana M, Minoia A, Tiso N, Mottes M, Valenti MT. Methylsulfonylmethane enhances MSC chondrogenic commitment and promotes pre-osteoblasts formation. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 Jun 5;12(1):326. doi: 10.1186/s13287-021-02396-5. PMID: 34090529; PMCID: PMC8180127.,shown%20to%20increase%20osteoblast%20differentiation.
  3. Miller L, Thompson K, Pavlenco C, Mettu VS, Haverkamp H, Skaufel S, Basit A, Prasad B, Larsen J. The Effect of Daily Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) Consumption on High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Healthy Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 15;13(10):3620. doi: 10.3390/nu13103620. PMID: 34684621; PMCID: PMC8540167.,and%20diabetes%20following%20MSM%20treatment.
  4. McFarlin, B.K.; Vingren, J.L.; Hill, D.W.; Bridgeman, E.A. MSM Supplementation Is Associated with Reduced Inflammation and Improved Innate Immune Response following In Vitro LPS-Stimulation in Humans after a Bout of Downhill Running. Muscles 20232, 204-217.

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