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

is MSM good for the brain

The Short Answer:

MSM is a naturally occurring compound that also has some additional benefits when supplemented. These include a reduction in joint pain and stiffness, as well as improvement in overall joint function. But, looking at the current evidence, MSM doesn’t have any substantial nootropic effects; that is, it doesn’t seem to benefit mental performance.

What is MSM?

MSM is a natural sulfur compound that has been used for centuries to promote joint health and reduce inflammation. [1]

It is found in all plants and animals, but it is most abundant in the cell walls of plants like garlic and onions. MSM is often used as a supplement to help people reduce pain, increase flexibility, and improve the function of their joints.

Benefits of MSM Supplement

1. Helps Repair and Strengthen Cartillage

Medical research has shown that MSM can help repair and strengthen cartilage. This is because it contains a high concentration of sulphur, which is a key component in the formation of cartilage. [2]

MSM also plays a role in the production of antioxidants and other health-boosting nutrients, such as glutathione. There is some evidence that MSM can help relieve symptoms of arthritis. It has the ability to reduce inflammatory reactions leadingto pain relief (more on this below).

Some people use MSM as a supplement to relieve joint pain and inflammation, while others use it as a general anti-inflammatory agent to assist with the healing process.

2. Reduces Inflammation

It has been confirmed that MSM reduces inflammation, and how it does this may be due to its ability to reduce production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as cytokines, prostaglandins, leukotrienes and nitric oxide. More specifically, MSM blocks the NF-kB, a type of protein that triggers a cascade of inflammatory processes in your body. [3]

MSM supplements are also used for joint health because they often contain glucosamine which can help with inflammation caused by arthritis. MSM also contains sulfur which can help with connective tissue production. Let’s have a closer look at this below.

3. Alleviates Joint Pain

The sulfur in MSM is what makes it so beneficial for joint health. These ingredients provide relief from inflammation, pain, stiffness, and swelling. They also help to strengthen the connective tissues that support your joints which will reduce wear and tear on them overtime.

There are many studies that have been done to find out whether MSM reduces joint pain or not. Most studies have shown that it does reduce joint pain to some extent, depending on the dosage, strength of the MSM supplement, and individual’s body chemistry and their reaction to supplementation.

4. Improves Flexibility

MSM is a type of supplement that people take to provide their joints with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and flexible. So yes, the use of MSM can help improve your joint function and flexibility. It can also help improve mobility. This is especially true for people who are suffering from chronic pain or arthritis.

Depending on the type, MSM can be found in powder form or as a tablet. The knock-on benefits of taking MSM supplements and having better flexibility is that it improves your joint health and strength, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is good for your tendons and ligaments.

5. Speeds Up Recovery After Exercise

Muscle soreness is a common feeling after exercise. It can range from mild to severe and can continue for days or weeks. It is usually accompanied by muscle tightness, loss of strength and range of motion, and stiffness.

Some people believe that MSM can speed up recovery after exercise and some of the current studies seem to support this claim. MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory and has been shown to decrease post-training inflammation. [4]

Is MSM Beneficial for Brain Health?

MSM has been touted for its benefits to the human body including improved joint mobility and reduced inflammation. As we’ve discussed above, you can expect these benefits from supplementing MSM:

  • MSM helps to maintain healthy skin by promoting collagen production.
  • MSM assists with tissue repair and growth which is important for all types of injury recovery.
  • MSM may help relieve symptoms associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases like psoriasis or eczema.
  • It may also be helpful in reducing pain from conditions like fibromyalgia or carpal tunnel syndrome.

However, some people wonder if MSM is good for brain health. Can MSM help boost your cognitive function?

The answer is that MSM doesn’t seem to have any notable nootropic qualities; it does not affect brain health in a significant way. On the bright side, MSM supplementation also doesn’t seem to cause any major side effects in terms of brain health.

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

As we’ve mentioned, MSM itself is a naturally occurring compound in your body. As such, it is fairly safe. Even when supplementing higher doses of MSM (500-1,500mg per day) isn’t shown to lead to any significant side effects.

However, there are studies which do tell us another side of the story. MSM has been shown to have many benefits for people who suffer from arthritis and other painful conditions. But it can also have negative effects on brain health. Some studies have found that taking high doses of MSM can cause memory problems and even lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. At the moment, it is best to take some of this data with a grain of salt until more solid study review papers come out. If you have any questions or doubts, check with your doctor before taking a MSM supplement.

Optimal Dosage for MSM

The recommended dosage of MSM supplements is anywhere from 500-3000 milligrams per day. This dosage is typically taken with food and should not be taken on an empty stomach to avoid 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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