MSM and Boswellic Acids Comparable to Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis Relief, Study Says


Researchers say it is the first clinical study to compare efficacy of MSM and boswellic acids with glucosamine sulfate for knee osteoarthritis.

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New study results out of Italy suggest a combination of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and boswellic acids (BA) may be as effective as glucosamine sulfate (GS) for alleviating symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Writing in International Journal of Immunopathology & Pharmacology, researchers reported that while MSM and BA have been found to show positive effects on OA symptoms in the past, this is the first study to compare the efficacy of MSM and BA with GS for knee osteoarthritis.

The study included 120 participants with a mean age of 59.2 +/- 13, all of whom had OS of the knee and reported frequent joint pain for at least six months prior to recruitment. Participants were randomized to consume either 2.5 g of MSM and 3.6 mg of BA in a sachet twice a day or 1500 mg GS in a sachet once a day. The supplementation period of the study lasted 60 days.

Researchers assessed efficacy of the treatments with a visual analog pain scale (VAS) and the Lequesne Index (LI) for knee joint function, as well as the patient’s need to take anti-inflammatory drugs. Participants reported for clinical visits to evaluate these measures at the outset of the study, at the end of the supplementation period, and at six months after the beginning of the study (four months after the end of the supplementation period).

At six months, VAS, LI, and use of anti-inflammatory drug scores were significantly reduced in both the glucosamine group and the MSM and BA group compared to baseline, with a tendency to better values for the MSM and BA group. Aside from the fact that both treatments showed a significant improvement to osteoarthritis knee symptoms, researchers also noted that the effects seemed to persist for four months after suspending supplementation.

“This study suggests the potential effects of MSM and BA in knee OA patients in pain management, functional recovery, and the reduction of intake of anti-inflammatory drugs,” wrote the researchers. “The point that this new combination of integration (MSM and BA) has presented results comparable with GS could confirm validity in the treatment of OA.”

Researchers concluded by noting further research is still necessary to better understand the effects of long-term MSM and BA administration.

GS used in the study was obtained from Rottapharm Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland). Laborest Italia S.P.A. (Nerviano, Italy) provided the MSM and BA used in the study in the form of commercial supplements Lignisul and Triterpenol.


Read more:

More Evidence that Lecithin Delivery System Boosts Boswellia Bioavailability

MSM Supplement Boosts Blood Levels in a First Longer-Term Study

UC-II Collagen More Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms than Glucosamine and Chondroitin?


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Notarnicola A et al., “Methylsulfonylmethane and boswellic acids versus glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee arthritis: randomized trial,” International Journal of Immunopathology & Pharmacology, vol. 29, no. 1 (March 2016): 140–146

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