MSM, cancer and health

MSM, cancer and health

What is MSM?

It is an organic sulfur containing compound – MethylSulfonylMethane. And sulphur is the 4th most plentiful compound in the body involved in a mass of chemical reactions and important compounds in the body, such as glutathione. It is strongly anti-inflammatory, it helps immune response, is an antioxidant, and it is widely used in connective tissue and collagen formation. It can be used topically, for example, as a gel; or as a supplement, most usually in the form of crystals, or a pill.

Other Sulphur sources would include N-acetylcysteine, protein (cysteine and methionine amino acids), glucosamine sulphate supplements, and Dimethyl sulfoxide (or DMSO) of which MSM is a metabolite. 

What health benefits does MSM have?

1. It can help with osteoarthritis and joint pain.

One study(1) using a daily supplement of 3.375 gms for 12 weeks on osteoarthritis of the knee showed a reduction in joint pain and arthritis symptoms. Glucosamine sulphate rather than glucosamine hydrochloride seems to have similar benefits.  

2. It can help digestion, leaky gut and pathogen reduction 

Research from the Department of Food Science in Seoul (2) showed that Sulphur – methyl –L-methionine from Kimchi cabbages had a scavenging effect and prevented mucosal lining damage in the gut. The research showed that Kimchi cabbage sulphur was more bioavailable than supplementation. MSM may be used to treat allergies as gut bacteria issues frequently lie behind allergies and some gut bacteria thrive on Sulphur.

3. MSM helps hair loss, yeast infections, muscle cramps PMS, and wrinkle prevention

It may do. There are hints from numerous studies.

4. MSM and cancer

One study(3) showed apoptosis of cancer cells via mitochondrial activity when using MSM in head and neck cancer.

A September 2011 study(4) showed MSM was cytotoxic to esophageal cancer cell lines (Clinical Biochemistry).

A May 2011 study(5) showed MSM cytotoxicity to gastrointestinal cancer cell lines.

A number of studies have been produced by the University of Connecticut Medical School – on cancers from malignant melanoma to breast cancer. Their research shows that MSM seems to ‘normalise’ cancer cells. Interestingly, one study featured ER-ve cells – again these ‘morphed’ into healthy cells.   

But does it work in real people? Ohio State Medical Centre researchers have found several times that MSM delays cancer onset in rats. 

Clearly, there’s something to this, but we’re a long way away from ‘hard evidence’.



  1. Jafari N; Cytoxicity of MSM on esophageal cancer cell lines; Clinical Biochemistry 2011

  2. Naser Jafari; J Gastrointest Cancer (2012) 43; 420-425

Vitamins, minerals, natural compounds and supplements
CancerAcitve Logo
Subscribe (Free e-Newsletter)

Join Our

Join Our Newsletter Signup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.