Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO): Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information


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Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is an organic molecule that contains sulfur that is well-known for its unique chemical properties and possible medicinal uses. As a byproduct of the paper industry’s wood pulping process, DMSO initially found usage in industrial applications before researchers looked into its possible medical applications. Because of its capacity to cross cellular membranes and transport tiny molecules through them, it can be used in a variety of therapeutic settings.

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Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO): Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information is an original (NootroPicsPlanet) article.

Nature of Dimethylsulfoxide

Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is a highly polar organic liquid that mixes well with both water and a variety of other chemical solvents. The chemical compound DMSO is structurally composed of two methyl groups (-CH3) joined to a sulfoxide group (-SO-), giving it both polar and nonpolar characteristics.

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The sulfoxide group, in which the sulfur atom has a partial positive charge and the oxygen atom has a partial negative charge, is primarily responsible for the polar aspect of DMSO. Due to its polarity, DMSO may interact with other molecules through hydrogen bonds and dipole-dipole interactions, which enables it to dissolve a wide variety of compounds.

The methyl groups in DMSO are also nonpolar, which expands the variety of nonpolar molecules with which it may interact and dissolve. Thus, the fact that DMSO has such a distinctive blend of polar and nonpolar properties is a key factor in its adaptability.

DMSO is an odorless, colorless liquid in its purest form. But because of contaminants, industrial-grade DMSO frequently smells strongly like garlic.

Cell membranes in biological systems are known to be easily penetrated by DMSO. Its tiny molecular size and amphiphilic nature enable it to dissolve in both hydrophilic (loving water) and lipophilic (loving fat) environments. Due to its strong ability to carry other molecules over biological barriers, DMSO is an ideal carrier material.

Health Benefits of Dimethylsulfoxide

DMSO has been employed to treat inflammation and discomfort, particularly in cases of illnesses like arthritis. It works by lowering free radicals and inflammatory cytokines, both of which are important contributors to the inflammatory response. DMSO can be used to inhibit lipid peroxidation due to its antioxidant properties. By reducing intracranial pressure and inflammation, DMSO has shown promise in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries in neurology. Additionally, DMSO has shown neuroprotective benefits in stroke animals, maybe through lowering excitotoxicity and apoptosis and encouraging neural regeneration.

The blood-brain barrier can be broken down by DMSO, which opens up novel possibilities for the transport of medicinal substances to the brain. The preservation of cells and tissues using it as a cryoprotectant broadens its range of advantageous uses.

Chemical Nature of Dimethylsulfoxide

The molecular structure of DMSO has two methyl groups (-CH3) on either side of a sulfoxide functional group (-SO-), making it a polar aprotic solvent. The electron-withdrawing sulfur atom generates a partial negative charge and a dipole across the sulfoxide group and contributes to the polarity of the compound. The methyl groups, however, produce a partial positive charge and donate electrons. Because of its polarity, DMSO may dissolve a wide variety of substances, including polar and nonpolar molecules.

Physiological Mechanism of Dimethylsulfoxide

As mentioned, DMSO has a special permeability through biological membranes including the skin. Due to its permeability, DMSO can dissolve and transport different pharmacological substances into cells and through the epidermal barrier. Additionally, the strong hydrogen-bond accepting capabilities of DMSO enable it to disrupt the network of hydrogen bonds in water, thus altering the local water structure within cells, which may change cellular processes and support its therapeutic qualities. Additionally, it is also known that DMSO interacts with cell membranes by loosening them up and changing the membrane proteins including receptors, ion channels, and enzymes.

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Optimal Dosage of Dimethylsulfoxide

Due to the variety in usage, determining an ideal DMSO dose is difficult. DMSO is often used topically at concentrations between 50 and 90 percent, however, it should be emphasized that the purer the DMSO, the higher the risk of skin irritation. DMSO may also be supplied intravenously or orally, but due to the possibility of side effects, these procedures should be strictly supervised by a physician.

Side Effects of Dimethylsulfoxide

Despite its advantages, DMSO does have certain drawbacks. Application topically might result in burns, rashes, or irritation of the skin. Administration by oral or intravenous routes might result in headache, nausea, vomiting, and, in severe cases, shortness of breath. Allergic responses to DMSO have been reported, emphasizing the need for caution in usage.

Toxins and contaminants can enter the body when DMSO is administered improperly due to its strong solvent capabilities, underscoring the need of using high-purity DMSO for any therapeutic usage.

Potential Substance Interactions with Dimethylsulfoxide

Given that DMSO serves as a transdermal delivery vehicle, it could increase the absorption of other chemicals that are administered simultaneously, which might result in unintentional overexposure to those compounds. Additionally, it may interact negatively with blood thinners like warfarin, raising the risk of bleeding. Thus, you must carefully monitor the usage of DMSO in combination with other drugs.

Best Responsible Use of Dimethylsulfoxide

Due to its distinct chemical and physiological characteristics, dimethylsulfoxide has found a niche in medicinal uses. Nevertheless, care is advised owing to the variety of adverse effects and potential interactions with other drugs, despite its potential health advantages. This highlights the necessity for continued study and knowledgeable medical supervision and shows that the best use of DMSO necessitates a sophisticated awareness of its characteristics and possible hazards.

Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO): Conclusion

DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) is an organic molecule that contains sulfur with a highly polar chemical property that can mix well with water and other chemical solvents. DMSO has a unique ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier which is then used as a vehicle to carry medicinal substances to the brain. DMSO’s neuroprotective effects also encourage its use as a treatment for traumatic brain injuries.

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DMSO also has antioxidant effects that inhibit lipid peroxidation and scavenges hydroxyl radicals. The drawbacks of DMSO are its slightly invasive nature that might result in headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc. Therefore, DMSO should be studied more for its novelty in drug delivery and its potential health benefits. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before for your specific needs and conditions before incorporating DMSO into your diet.  


  1. Immunomodulatory Effects and Potential Clinical Applications of Dimethyl Sulfoxide. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31987604/
  2. DMSO Represses Inflammatory Cytokine Production from Human Blood Cells and Reduces Autoimmune Arthritis. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816398/
  3. The Rationality of Implementation of Dimethyl Sulfoxide as Differentiation-inducing Agent in Cancer Therapy. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9801450/

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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