What Mom Never Told Us About Sulfur

What Mom Never Told Us About Sulfur

Care for an extra helping of sulfur, dear? No mom has ever said…but maybe she should have.

Sulfur is present in all living tissues. In fact, did you know that it is the third most abundant mineral in the body, behind calcium and phosphorus? It is part of several crucial chemical couplings in your body that are essential to life. And while it shares the spotlight well, make no mistake, sulfur is a star in its own right.

SULFUR STAR POWER

First off, it’s a component in two important amino acids that help synthesize protein in our bodies–methionine, which is essential, meaning it must be obtained from an external source since the body doesn’t synthesize it, and cysteine, which needs a steady supply of sulfur in order to synthesize the protein, glutathione. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that protects the body’s tissues and acts as the body’s built-in detoxifier. Sulfur comprises keratin, the protein that strengthens your hair, skin and nails. It also supports the production of collagen, a substance that forms connective tissue, cell structure and artery walls. Sulfur helps reduce pain and inflammation in the body. It is a critical part of several bodily processes, including metabolism and insulin utilization by the cells.

WHEN SULFUR IS DEFICIENT

Without enough sulfur, the body’s protein synthesis can suffer, creating a cascade of other problems. Research has shown a relationship between sulfur deficiencies and muscle pain, joint pain, chronic  fatigue, osteoarthritis. Alzheimer’s, ADD/ADHD, certain forms of cancer, arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol (LDL), heart disease, acne, rosacea and allergies. Sulfur is known for its anti-parasitic properties and has a good track record treating chronic diseases caused by heavy metals toxicity. For the most part, all of these symptoms are examples of Vata conditions according to Ayurveda.

In the U.S., there is almost an epidemic of symptoms created by sulfur deficiency. What is the reason for this? MIT science researcher Stephanie Seneff explains: “A diet high in grains like bread and cereal is likely to be deficient in sulfur. Increasingly, whole foods such as corn and soybeans are disassembled into component parts with chemical names, and then reassembled into heavily processed foods. Sulfur is lost along the way, and so is the awareness that this loss matters.”

WHEN SULFUR IS IN EXCESS

As important as sulfur is to good health and cellular longevity, too much of any mineral is never advised. Short-term effects of over-supplementing with sulfur include digestive disturbances like diarrhea, flatulence and heartburn. Note that your urine will have a strong rotten egg smell when your body releases the excess sulfur. Ayurvedically-speaking, high levels of sulfur present as a Pitta imbalance. Long-term side effects include potassium and calcium deficiencies, both of which are suppressed by the presence of sulfur. Some serious chronic diseases–like Crohn’s and Lou-Gehrig–are further aggravated by sulfur intake. Note that, over time, excessive intake actually lessens the assimilation of sulfur in the body, creating the same symptoms as sulfur deficiency.

BALANCING SULFUR IN THE BODY

Have your urine tested for sulfates if you’d like to measure your actual levels. According to Dr. Seneff, high LDL cholesterol levels are a sign of sulfur deficiency. She recommends increasing sulfur in your diet or supplementing prior to going on a statin drug; that is it’s better to remove the cause rather than just the symptom. If your levels are too high, reduce foods high in sulfur by following a Pitta Food Plan and consider an Ayurvedic detox. On the other hand, if your levels are on the low side, follow a Vata Food Plan and increase your intake of foods and supplements high in sulfur.

See my Positively Ayurvedic article on “How to Increase Your Sulfur Intake” for the best ways to increase your raise your sulfur levels. And don’t blame mom for not telling you all of this; she would have if she knew what you know now.

RESOURCES

Sulfur Does Your Body Good – https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/05/16/sulfur-in-the-body.aspx

How Does Sulfur Help the Body – https://www.livestrong.com/article/441274-how-does-sulfur-help-the-body/

10 Surprising Ways Sulfur Can Benefit You – https://healthfree.com/view_newsletter.php?id=150&key=a

Could You Have a Sulfur Deficiency? – https://www.care2.com/greenliving/could-you-have-a-sulfur-deficiency.html

What Happens if you Get Too Much Sulfur in Your Diet? – https://www.livestrong.com/article/430390-what-happens-if-you-get-too-much-sulfur-in-your-diet/

Are We Getting Enough Sulfur in Our Diet? – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2198910/

Sulfur Does Your Body Good – https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/05/16/sulfur-in-the-body.aspx

DISCLAIMER

The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at info@positivelyayurvedic.com.

 

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