MSM has been widely used as a nutritional supplement for over 25 years for a range of uses including joint health, immune function, muscle soreness, skin health, general wellness, and as a source of organic sulfur.
MSM or methylsulfonylmethane is a small, naturally occurring organosulfur compound, also known as dimethyl sulfone, methyl sulfone, or DMSO2. The molecule’s structure comprises a central sulfur atom connected to two double-bonded oxygen atoms and two methyl (-CH3) groups. (Figure) MSM is formed naturally in the earth’s sulfur cycle. In the sulfur cycle, ocean plankton creates dimethyl sulfide (DMS) which rises into the atmosphere where it interacts with ozone and sunlight to form dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and MSM. These water-soluble compounds then fall to the earth in rainwater and are collected and incorporated into a variety of plants. MSM can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk.
MSM is 34.06% elemental sulfur, 25.52% carbon, 6.42% hydrogen and 34% oxygen.
Because levels of MSM are too low in naturally occurring sources to extract, all commercially available MSM is made by reacting DMSO with hydrogen peroxide. This reaction mimics the atmospheric process and creates an MSM molecule identical to that found in nature. The resulting MSM is then purified by either crystallization or distillation.