What it is

This odorless, tasteless sulfur compound is found in eggs, meat, and green vegetables. Processing or cooking, however, greatly reduces the mineral's potency, so food sources — unless they're raw — generally don't provide enough MSM.

Benefits

MSM helps nourish hair and nails, relieve joint pain and inflammation, reduce allergies, and promote gastrointestinal health.

News

A 2004 study found that 1,500 mg per day of MSM (in combination with glucosamine sulfate) over the course of 12 weeks helped decrease inflammation in people with knee osteoarthritis. And last November, researchers conducting a review of existing studies concluded that MSM may reduce pain and increase joint function, and recommended additional research be done.

How to take it

Start with 1 gram per day, divided, taken with food. After a few weeks, increase dose to 2 grams per day, divided.

Side effects

MSM is safe to use over long periods of time, but it may upset digestion or cause loose stools if introduced in high doses.

*Talk with your health care provider before starting any supplement regimen.