MSM, short for methylsulfonylmethane, is a natural molecule which occurs in low levels in foods, the ocean, and all over planet earth, but is now rampantly popular as a dedicated supplement. For acne, muscle health, and athletic performance, it’s one of the most promising supplements out there.
Firstly, MSM is a molecule mostly consisting of sulphur, and sulphur is one of the main ingredients for the powerful bodily antioxidant glutathione. This master antioxidant defends your skin against free radicals, keeps your brain focussed and intelligent by defending neurons, detoxifies toxins, and much more.
One key customer base for MSM is racehorses, who love the supplements for calming their aching joints after a gruelling race. Why? Because MSM is strongly anti-inflammatory, according to countless studies. MSM can therefore calm raging acne and calm your muscles down.
Additionally, jockeys often feed their horses MSM to keep their hair sleek and shiny, because the sulphur portion is also terrific for boosting collagen output. That’s the key structural component of hair and skin, and a vital compound for wound healing, clear skin, and youthful skin.
MSM is among the most promising supplements for acne. It has several powers and each one is potent. But which brand is the most effective?
That’s what we’re going to find out today. Before we begin, keep in mind the rare side effects: ankle swelling, intestinal discomfort, minor skin rashes, nausea, fatigue, and insomnia. Such problems are extremely uncommon, and only occur in high doses (staying below 2000mg daily is a good precaution), but discontinue supplementation if you notice them.
For a shortcut, Bestvite and Pure Encapsulations are the ultimate brands here.
Let’s get started:
One – Bestvite
Firstly, Bestvite has a high dosage, with 1000mg of high quality MSM per capsule. That’s easily enough to boost collagen and glutathione levels. Bestvite also has an extremely high capsule count, with 240 per bottle. Take one capsule daily and you’ll have a near 8 month supply. The only additive is gelatin, to form the capsule.
Even better, Bestvite uses OptiMSM, a form of distilled MSM, and this is a very important topic to understand. To produce MSM, before other ingredients are added to the supplement, manufacturers begin by processing raw DMSO, but they can choose either distillation or crystallisation. The former is a labour intensive process where raw DMSO is heated slowly to remove any impurities, sometimes up to 4 times to achieve ultimate purity, which requires expensive laboratory equipment and highly knowledgeable scientists.
Crystallisation is a much cheaper process, where the DMSO is spin washed in a centrifuge, and crystallised. Which is superior? Easily distillation. Firstly, crystallised has a higher water content, making the MSM less pure and more susceptible to moulds. Worse, the crystallisation binds in any impurities and chemicals which were found in the water used.
Distillation is far purer; OptiMSM, for example, consists of 99.8% MSM and less than 0.1% water. The MSM in Bestvite is 100% distilled; in fact, it’s quadruple distilled. It’s also manufactured in the United States rather than China.
Bestvite meets every requirement for an acne-clearing, muscle protecting MSM supplement.
Amazon link: Bestvite MSM made with OptiMSM.
Two – Kala Health
The capsule count is slightly higher than Bestvite at 250, while the dosage is a powerful 1000mg per capsule. Kala Health is made in the USA rather than the polluted industrial wastelands of China. This brand is completely free from additives like magnesium stearate, croscarmellose, and allergens like soy.
Like Bestvite, Kala Health features OptiMSM as the specific form. What is OptiMSM? It’s a patented form of MSM, a pure and optimally absorbed form manufactured by Bergstrom Nutrition.
It’s a distilled MSM, made by world renowned MSM experts and rigorously analysed and tested for potency. OptiMSM is manufactured in the USA and proven by lab results to be free from the heavy metal contamination of Chinese brands, with aluminium, lead, mercury and arsenic being almost nonexistent.
You’ll find OptiMSM in many different brands other than Kala Health, and even scientific studies, and that’s because it’s the best form in the world, whether for brain health, aching muscles or acne. Supplements with OptiMSM may not be perfect themselves, because it’s up to the manufacturer as to whether they add magnesium stearate or other additives, but OptiMSM guarantees that the MSM itself is potent. Speaking of additives, Kala Health’s are minimal, with just the hypromellose capsule being included.
Kala Health is an expertly formulated MSM supplement.
Amazon link: Kala Health MSM Vegetarian Capsules.
Three – H2O Air Water Americas
Our first powdered MSM, and one of the best available. This is a 1 pound bag of MSM crystals, easy to dispense in water, coffee, tea or even an energy drink to prevent aching muscles before a gym workout.
Treat your dosage carefully, and this tub could last for a whole year; 1 gram equals nearly 1000mg of MSM, with a full teaspoon (5 grams) containing 5000mg. H20 Air Water Americas is expertly produced, and importantly, this is American made MSM, with no low-quality ingredients sourced from China.
The MSM itself is distilled; you might be wondering why the brand is listed as MSM crystals, and that’s simply because the product resembles crystals rather than actually being crystallised. H20 Air Water Americas is tested by a third party laboratory to ensure purity and potency. The MSM itself is not OptiMSM, but rather the company’s own distilled form, double distilled at low heat for optimal effectiveness.
There are many bagged MSM brands on the market today, but H20 Air Water Americas is possibly the very best.
Amazon link: H2O Air Water Americas Pure MSM Crystals.
Four – Dr Mercola
Each capsule contains 500mg of MSM in OptiMSM form, therefore being distilled, made in the USA, and extremely potent. However, there’s also 50mg of alpha lipoic acid, 12.5mg of l-methionine, and a 12.5mg food-based sulphur complex derived from broccoli, collard greens, garlic, cauliflower, and kale.
This brand could be extra powerful for glutathione. MSM will provide the key ingredient of sulphur itself, but the vegetables will provide a food-based form, covering both bases. Alpha lipoic acid, meanwhile, is an antioxidant which occurs naturally in the human body, which has interesting anti-inflammatory properties when taken as supplement. Methionine is an essential amino acid which is vital for neurotransmitter functioning, promoting sleep and happiness.
All of this comes in a pure package, for Dr Mercola contains just silicon dioxide and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose as its additives, both of which are safe. Magnesium stearate is nowhere to be found. Each bottle contains 60 capsules.
If you’re interested in pure MSM, Bestvite is ideal, but Dr Mercola is extremely promising.
Amazon link: Dr. Mercola MSM with Organic Sulfur Complex.
Five – Pure Encapsulations
Our next brand is one of the greatest natural supplement companies around, Pure Encapsulations. This product is just as pure as their zinc, ashwagandha, or ginseng, with the vegetarian capsule (cellulose, water) being the sole additive.
Pure Encapsulations is free from magnesium stearate, croscarmellose, and allergens like soy. Pure Encapsulations tests every batch they make for purity and potency, while it’s made in the USA and free from any Chinese contamination.
Meanwhile, the dosage is slightly lower than Bestvite, with 850mg of OptiMSM per capsule, but the capsule count is higher at 250. What’s the best dosage in general? Studies on OptiMSM have used dosages of 500mg and easily achieved the signature reduction in inflammation. You can take 100mg go 1500mg for higher benefits, and even 6000mg has been demonstrated to be safe in the short term, although taking that much is pointless and I don’t recommend it.
The optimal timespan, meanwhile, seems to be 4 weeks, with a study detecting reduced output of pro-inflammatory chemicals after that time. My overall recommendation is to stick with MSM for at least 6 weeks before passing judgement. Its anti-inflammatory powers could materialise on your face and in your muscles fairly quickly, but the enhanced collagen formation will take longer.
Pure Encapsulations succeeds wildly as a pure and focussed MSM brand.
Amazon link: Pure Encapsulations MSM Capsules.
Six – The NutraSense Company
The NutraSense Company is another brand which meets every requirement for MSM. The dosage is a strong 1000mg per capsule, enough to relax your muscles and clear acne. The capsule count is 60 while the only additive is the HPMC capsule.
Once more, this brand contains OptiMSM, being expertly distilled four times over. The NutraSense Company is also sourced, manufactured, and packaged exclusively in the USA, and that brings us to a vital point. The MSM in every brand here is sourced from America or Europe, and that’s because you should always avoid Chinese-manufactured MSM at all costs.
The first problem is that Chinese MSM is almost always crystallised, since it’s so much cheaper to produce. But even worse, Chinese tap water is flooded with toxic pollution, contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, and other agrochemicals.
During the washing and crystallisation, every last molecule of these villains gets condensed into the product right along with the MSM. The healthy MSM is contaminated with acne-causing, neuron damaging villains. Crystallised MSM made in America is a problem, crystallised MSM made in China is a nightmare. Always avoid Chinese MSM.
The NutraSense Company is a premium MSM brand, with no flaws at all.
Amazon link: The NutraSense Company OptiMSM.
Seven – Happy Body
Another 1 pound bag of MSM, one which is tied as the greatest available today. Since Happy Body consists of 99.9% pure MSM, the dosage is nearly 1000mg per gram and 5000mg per tablespoon. Therefore, you have a 1 year supply with this brand for a very low price.
The quality of Happy Body is exceptional; all batches are tested by third parties to ensure purity and potency. Like with H2O Air Water Americas, the MSM may resemble crystals in texture and appearance, but the MSM is distilled, for maximum effectiveness.
Happy Body is free from any fillers, additives, or anti-caking agents. The product even has a full refund guarantee in the unlikely case that you’re not satisfied. The product consists of 99% MSM at the bare minimum.
Happy Body is an extremely difficult MSM brand to beat.
Amazon link: Happy Body Natural MSM Crystals.
Eight – Solaray
Another perfect MSM brand. Solaray isn’t an OptiMSM supplement, but is manufactured using a distillation process of its own, and NOT crystallisation. It’s also made in the USA rather than China and the only additional ingredient is gelatin for the capsule.
The dosage is high at 1000mg per capsule, while the capsule count is 60. An important note about Solaray is that it’s an add-on item, so you need to purchase something else to access it. The brand receives very positive reviews overall, and Solaray also sells an excellent saw palmetto and lysine brand.
In natural circles, there’s a rumour that MSM can either be extracted from a dirty fossil fuel source, or a clean pine tree source. This is false, because firstly, only the initial DMSO raw materials were ever extracted from pine trees. In the process, a wood pulping process is used to remove compounds like lignins from the tree, and the remaining waste pulp is called black liquor, which itself is refined to produce DMSO. The black liquor DMSO still has to undergo crystallisation or distillation to actually become MSM, with the final benefit being negligible.
Finally, very few if any companies use this method. If you’re focused on quality, the distillation versus crystallisation battle is far more important. Always stay alert for labels saying “naturally extracted from trees”, or “sourced from trees”.
Solaray is a high quality MSM supplement in every way.
Amazon link: Solaray Pure MSM Capsules.
Nine – Natural Nutraceuticals
The factory is also compliant with the Good Manufacturing Practises (GMP) code, a set of guidelines for making pure and high quality products. Natural Nutraceuticals has a standard powerful dosage of 1000mg, with 60 capsules in the bottle for you to discover whether MSM really is a miracle. The additives are all harmless, being silica, stearic acid, cellulose and glycerin.
Natural Nutraceuticals also comes with a 30 day refund guarantee. It’s perfect for a pure and focussed MSM.
Speaking of which, one common combined product you might stumble across is an MSM/glucosamine complex. Glucosamine is a structural component of human and animal skeletons, sold as a supplement itself. Since MSM’s anti-inflammatory properties are known to benefit arthritis sufferers in low dosages, it seems intelligent to combine them, but for this article, we’re mostly focussing on pure MSM.
You’ll also see combinations with hyaluronic acid, a carbohydrate which aids the skin in retaining water. This would make for an excellent recipe alongside MSM’s collagen-boosting properties, but the supplements themselves are often poorly formulated, making hyaluronic acid a topic for another article.
Natural Nutraceuticals is a top quality MSM supplement with no failings at all.
Amazon link: Natural Nutra OptiMSM Supplement.
Ten – ProCaps Laboratories
Our final MSM brand is somewhat unique. ProCaps Laboratories features a healthy MSM dosage, with 500mg per capsule and a 180-count supply. The additives list is very short, reading simply gelatin, with no magnesium stearate in sight, nor artificial additives and fillers.
However, the interesting feature of ProCaps Laboratories is its bonus inclusion of 50mg of vitamin C. That’s 83% of the recommended daily intake, and the vitamin C will compliment the collagen-boosting properties of MSM nicely, since vitamin C is a vital co-factor in collagen production. Vitamin C can also lower stress hormone levels, and protect your cells by acting as an antioxidant.
The specific form in ProCaps Laboratories is calcium ascorbate, a well-absorbed molecule which provides some bonus calcium as well. Elsewhere, ProCaps Laboratories is made in the USA rather than China and every part of the product is recyclable.
ProCaps Laboratories has a recipe which could be doubly effective for collagen levels.
Amazon link: ProCaps Laboratories MSM 500 Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane.
Our mission is complete. You are now ready to experience everything MSM has to offer, which is potentially younger looking skin, clearer skin thanks to glutathione, and calmer existing pimples.
You’ll also enjoy calmer muscles, potentially quicker thinking thanks to less brain inflammation, and maybe more energy. If you stumble across another product, the word OptiMSM is a guarantor that the MSM itself is potent and effective, but you still need to examine the additives list.
MSM is another supplement which is growing in popularity but not necessarily becoming cleaner and purer, so always stay on your toes.
Thanks for reading!