Researchers from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Arizona, had found out that a naturally occurring sulfur compound supplement called methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) could relieve the knee pain for people suffering from osteoarthritis.
When the condition of osteoarthritis attacks the knee, the consequences can be significant. Pain can become so intense that for many, a total knee replacement is required.
The researchers had presented their findings at the 20th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, at Arizona, USA.
MSM is a popular dietary supplement containing sulfur. Sulfur is beneficial for the body's connective tissue. Although the supplement is popular, few studies have been conducted involving patients.
The study was a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Fifty men and women, aged 40-76 with documented knee OA and arthritis pain were enrolled. Patients with any other type of arthritis or chronic pain were excluded.
Twenty-five of the test subjects were administered MSM 3g twice a day and 25 were given placebo twice a day for 12 weeks (OptiMSM®, Cardinal Nutrition). Purity of MSM (distilled MSM microprill 99.9% by high-resolution gas chromatography) and absence of heavy metals and microbial contamination were certified by an independent laboratory.
Researchers found from using the WOMAC visual analogue scale that compared to the placebo, MSM produced significant decreases in WOMAC pain and physical function. No notable differences were found in WOMAC stiffness and aggregated total symptoms. The changes in the placebo group were non-significant.
This study showed that MSM 3g twice a day for 12 weeks improved pain and physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis pain without major adverse events. The findings suggest MSM may be considered for short-term use in osteoarthritis pain when other treatments are ineffective.