Helping your joints, hurting your head?
Q: I’m really happy with how much MSM has helped with my arthritis. There’s just one problem. Ever since I started taking it, I have been having awful headaches. My nutritionist says the MSM and headaches aren’t related, but the timing is just too perfect for them not to be. Do you think there is a connection?
Dr. Wright: Yes! MSM contains considerable amounts of sulfur. In all but tiny concentrations, sulfur (or sulfite) can definitely cause headaches, as well as dizziness, fatigue, wheezing, and other symptoms.
Sulfur of any sort is metabolized in the body into a harmless compound called sulfate by the enzyme sulfite oxidase. But sulfite oxidase depends on the trace element molybdenum to do its job. Without enough molybdenum, sulfite oxidase doesn’t transform sulfite into sulfate efficiently, excess sulfite builds up, and any or all of the above-noted symptoms can occur.
Although there’s presently no recommended daily intake for molybdenum, it’s a general consensus that if there were one it would be in the neighborhood of 200-300 micrograms daily. However, it’s been my experience from many cases that molybdenum absorbs poorly when taken orally. Usually at least 1,000 micrograms twice daily are needed to relieve symptoms.