Reader says he notices excess water retention and body swelling whenever he takes a large MSM dose of 7.5 grams (1.5 teaspoons) or more. He wonders if this is a normal response and why the supplement is affecting him in this manner.

My response

WebMD offers this description of edema, which is the medical term for swelling of the body:

Body parts swell from injury or inflammation. It can affect a small area or the entire body. Medications, infections, pregnancy, and many other medical problems can cause edema. Edema is a part of most allergic reactions. In response to the allergen, nearby blood vessels leak fluid into the affected area.

A simple step that my reader can take is to evaluate his body’s response when he consumes a smaller dose, such as 5 grams (1 teaspoon) at a time.

On June 23, 2017, Christian Nordqvist posted a Medical News Today report that was reviewed by the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Medicine that described some of the many reasons why the body would retain excess water or fluids:

• If the capillary wall becomes too leaky, excess liquid will be released into the spaces between cells.
• If the kidneys are failing, waste material, including fluids, cannot be properly eliminated which can result in fluid retention.
• If the lymphatic system is congested, fluid may remain in the tissues which can cause swelling of the abdomen, ankles, legs, and feet.
• Exercise is necessary to stimulate the lymphatic system, and long periods of physical inactivity increase the risk of water retention. published an article entitled, “MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane): Overview” that assesses the product’s relationship to edema and swelling:

MSM relieves swelling, inflammation and pain because it allows the harmful substances that have accumulated to flow out and nutrients to flow in.

On the other hand, WebMD notes that MSM may cause some people to experience nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, headache, insomnia, itching, or worsening of allergy symptoms.

Nutrition expert and talk show host Hesh Goldstein wrote a report for Naturally Savvy that was entitled, “What Is Organic Sulfur?” that described the food supplement’s cleansing properties:

Organic sulfur has a cleansing or “detoxifying” effect on the cells within the body. It allows the body to remove toxins that have accumulated in all types of cells, including fat cells. To derive the maximum benefits, it must be in the form of organic crystals and lignin (wood) based.

Some individuals experience symptoms similar to a Herxheimer response when they begin their organic sulfur protocol. This occurs much more frequently if they are dehydrated and fail to drink enough water commensurate with their body weight. The rule of thumb is to drink on a daily basis an ounce (30 ml) of water for every two pounds (0.9 kg) of body weight.

If you experience headaches or flu-like symptoms while taking organic sulfur, immediately take another dose with food and water. The detox reaction usually passes within a few minutes to a few hours. Afterward, you should feel much better and not experience those symptoms again.

Jennifer Thompson, founder of Healthy Bliss, describes how a detoxification response can be mistaken for an allergic reaction, which occurs when your body sees a food product as a foreign body or allergen and starts to attack it by creating antibodies and inflammation:

According to the Mayo Clinic, The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:

• Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
• Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing.
• Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
• Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
• Tingling or itching in the mouth.
• Hives, itching or eczema.

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction

• Mild headaches, nausea, chills, sweating.
• Fatigue, aching muscles.
• Mucous, body odor, rashes.
• Dizziness, weakness or even foggy brain.

As you can tell, there are similarities between the two lists and it would be easy to mislabel a food allergy or intolerance as a detoxification response. While you can email me at info at to schedule a conference call with Patrick McGean to discuss your case in detail, you are strongly advised to consult your physician for his or her professional advice if you are experiencing symptoms similar to what’s presented in this blog report.


Water retention (fluid retention): Causes, symptoms, and treatments
by Christian Nordqvist
Reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Medicine
Fri 23 June 2017

Edema Overview


What Is Organic Sulfur?
by Hesh Goldstein | Naturally Savvy

Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction or Intolerance – Which one is it?
Jennifer Thompson | Healthy Bliss
Oct 8, 2014

Are You Having an Allergic Reaction to Organic Sulfur?
Tagged on:                         

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »
This website uses the plugin.