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MSM trials for osteoarthritis

Trial 1

In the first trial, 118 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomly given one of the following treatments once a day for 12 weeks:

  • 1.5 g glucosamine
  • 1.5 g MSM capsules
  • both glucosamine and MSM
  • placebo capsules.

The trials found the following results:

  • Participants given MSM or glucosamine showed a significant improvement in pain and joint swelling compared to participants who were given a placebo.
  • The degree of pain reduction was similar in both groups, but glucosamine seemed to have a better effect in reducing joint swelling.
  • The group who were given both glucosamine and MSM had the most significant reduction in both pain and swelling compared to the other three treatment groups.
  • The combined treatment group had the best functional ability of joints at the end of the trial period.
  • MSM was well tolerated with no significant side-effects reported.

Trial 2

In the second RCT, 50 participants with osteoarthritis-related knee pain were given either 6 g MSM capsules or placebo capsules for 12 weeks.

  • Only 25% of participants taking MSM showed some improvement of pain and physical function compared to those who took the placebo.
  • There was no difference in stiffness.

Trial 3

This trial has only been published as a conference summary so we don’t know about the quality. Sixty participants with knee osteoarthritis were randomised to take either 3.375 g MSM capsules or placebo capsules once a day for 12 weeks.

Participants who were on MSM showed improvement in pain and general functional well-being compared to those who took the placebo.

MSM didn’t have an effect on improving knee function (for example walking, climbing stairs).

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.