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DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide)
Last review: 08/12/10  J.R. Rogers

Arthritis Pain Reliever or What?

Occasionally, someone will ask for an opinion about DMSO as an arthritis pain reliever. Although most who use high-quality glucosamine formulas know that clinically and practically they are on the right track, a few will explore DMSO. Before considering the use of DMSO, there are a few facts you should be made aware of.

Quality and Usage

DMSO is an industrial solvent that is used in antifreeze as well as paint thinner. That is of course, DMSO in its "industrial" form. However, there is a type of DMSO that is "medical-grade" which is touted for its anti-inflammatory qualities in treating osteoarthritis.

How it is Used

In clear liquid form, DMSO can be externally applied, injected, or ingested orally--understanding of course, that this is a "purified" form. However it is taken, (if you are inclined to try it) it has some rather unpleasant side effects. The most notable "side effect" is that it leaves you with a very bad taste in your mouth and your breath will have a pronounced odor of garlic and oysters.

The Studies

When it was first introduced in the 1960's, studies on animals indicated that it was causing damage to the lens of the eye. Admittedly, there is no evidence that the same holds true of humans but these findings quickly caused DMSO to fall from favor. As most of you know, the bodies of animals are (in many cases) nearly identical to that of humans.

With the limited use as a treatment for a medical condition called interstitial cystitis (a bladder problem), it is rarely used for treating osteoarthritis today. Of course when used to treat that condition, it is done so under the supervision of a physician.

Over-the-counter DMSO (And of course, on the internet)

There are still companies that tout the benefits of using DMSO; so it is available. However, if you insist on trying it you should be aware of two facts. First, the "over-the-counter" variety is likely not powerful enough to really be of any benefit. Secondly, it may be too powerful and cause adverse consequences.

The DMSO-MSM Connection

Once DMSO is introduced into your system, about 15% will turn into MSM. Of course, there are many who are sold on using MSM and admittedly (even lacking clinical findings) it has some beneficial qualities.

Blood Thinning

The use of DMSO and MSM can produce blood-thinning. This becomes an issue if you are using aspirin, heparin, as well as certain groups of herbs. When the blood is thinned, you are at risk of either prolonged clotting or excessive bleeding. Given that potential risk, it is something that should be discussed with your physician.

J.R. Rogers is the founder and President of Activex America, Inc. makers of Liquid Glucosamine Formula Syn-flex®