It’s always a pleasant surprise when you stumble upon a vitamin or supplement that can cure some of the most common health issues, while also giving you a nice little beauty boost. And such is the case for MSM!
I was recently chatting with a newly natural neighbor (try saying that 3 times fast!), when she asked about supplements she could take for hair growth. I suggested MSM. I guess she expected me say something like biotin or a multivitamin, because she instantly looked confused. So I explained that MSM, aka methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur-based compound that is naturally found in many foods such as milk, onions, garlic and green vegetables. Next to water and salt, MSM is also the 3rd largest compound found in the human body. Within the medical community, MSM has been traditionally used to treat pain bone and joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and tendonitis. But it also has a really cool side effect. And this really cool “side effect” is hair growth.
How is this possible?
The main ingredient in MSM is sulfur- one of the principle building blocks of hair (and nails). So MSM helps hair growth because it gives your body a building block for hair. But besides just contributing one of the main building blocks of hair, it is also theorized that MSM increases hair growth potential by lengthening the growth phase (anagen phase) of the hair cycle.
Where to get MSM?
You can find MSM supplements at any local health food store or pharmacy. Or you can just skip the pills and powder supplements and just focus on getting MSM from your food. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.
In addition to a healthy diet, I also take an MSM supplement. I primarily do this because, although MSM can be naturally obtained through a healthy diet, the cooking process and other factors can diminish MSM content in foods.
What Else Is MSM Used For?
MSM can be used to treat a variety of conditions including:
• Muscle and bone problems
• Chronic pain
• Hay fever
• Stretch marks
• Eye swelling
• Dental disease
• Stomach upset
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Type 2 diabetes
A Few Precautions Before Taking MSM
There is no recommended daily allowance for MSM, but high doses can cause MSM might cause nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, headache, insomnia, itching, or worsening of allergy symptoms in some individuals. And although MSM is generally for most people, not much in the medical literature is known about its safety during pregnancy and breast-feeding. So if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding it would be wise to consult your physician before taking this supplement.
This article was originally published on November 2011 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.