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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).


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