Risk assessment of methylsulfonylmethane in food supplements
Report no: 2021:06
A daily dose of 3 g methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) from food supplements may represent a risk of adverse health effects in adults. As limited data are available, VKM cannot conclude on a daily safe dose of MSM for children and adolescents.
MSM is present in small quantities in a large variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, eggs and fish, and is consumed in trace amounts in humans on a normal diet. It has been suggested that the body may produce MSM, however, the level of this production is not known.
MSM is rapidly absorbed in adult humans, is evenly distributed throughout the body, and is most commonly excreted through urine. No data on MSM metabolism were available, thus, it was not possible to determine whether MSM metabolites are harmless.
The hazard identification and characterisation was based on data from studies identified in literature searches. In human studies, no serious adverse health effects of MSM were identified. In animal studies, adverse effects reported included a decrease in body weight and organ weights and a decrease in bone mineral density. VKM considered the data to be insufficient, and confidence in the evidence ranged from moderate to very low.
“VKM concludes that a daily dose of 3 grams MSM from food supplements may represent a risk of adverse health effects in adults 18 years and older, whereas it is unlikely that a daily dose of 0.2 grams causes adverse health effects in healthy adults in the same age group. Since the data available was limited, VKM cannot conclude on a daily safe dose of MSM for children and adolescents,” says Johanna Bodin, Scientific Leader of the risk assessment.
The risk assessment is part of VKM's new assignment on "other substances" from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. A protocol for the risk assessment of these substances is published.
The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment