Sulfur is third most abundant mineral in your body. It is required for proper synthesis and biological activity of proteins and enzymes, and plays an important role in your body's electron transport system; vitamin conversion; synthesizing metabolic intermediates such as glutathione; detoxification; joint health; and proper insulin function, just to name a few.
Close to half of the sulfur in your body can be found in your muscles, skin and bones, but it does much more than benefit just these three areas. It plays important roles in many bodily systems. For example, hair and nails consists of a tough protein called keratin, which is high in sulfur, whereas connective tissue and cartilage contain proteins with flexible sulfur bonds, giving the structure its flexibility. With age, the flexible tissues in your body tend to lose their elasticity, leading to sagging and wrinkling of skin, stiff muscles and painful joints. In addition to bonding proteins, sulfur is also required for proper enzyme activity.
Dietary Sources of Sulfur
The best and most ideal way to obtain sulfur is through your diet. Sulfur is derived almost exclusively from dietary protein, such as fish and high-quality (organic and/or grass-fed/pastured) beef and poultry. Meat and fish are considered "complete" as they contain all the sulfur-containing amino acids you need to produce new protein. Needless to say, those who abstain from animal protein are placing themselves at greater risk of sulfur deficiency.
Other dietary sources that contain small amounts of sulfur include:
Organic pastured eggs
MSM, an Organic Form of Sulfur
Methylsulfonylmethane, commonly known by its acronym, MSM, is not a drug. It's an organic form of sulfur and a potent antioxidant, naturally found in many plants. While MSM is an important source of organic sulfur, it also has other unique properties. Common health complaints associated with low concentrations of MSM in your body include:
• High sensitivity to physical and psychological stress
• Degenerative diseases
MSM's ability to neutralize inflammation is one of the greatest, and one of the most inexpensive, discoveries in the health field, and is thought to be particularly beneficial in the prevention of heart disease. It has been shown to break down the plaque in your arteries, which is associated with chronic inflammation.
Other health benefits associated with MSM include:
• Reducing chronic pain
• Improving cellular uptake of many nutrients including vitamins A, B, C, D, E, amino acids, selenium, calcium, magnesium, coenzyme Q10
• Preventing cancer
• Reducing or eliminating muscle soreness and cramps
• Alleviating symptoms of allergies
• Anti-parasitic action against Giardia, Trichomonas, roundworms, nematodes, Enterobius and other intestinal worms
• Improving lung function by allowing your body to more effectively take up oxygen
• Preventing neurological disease by repairing oxidative damage and restoring cell membrane elasticity and permeability
• Preventing and reducing symptoms of autoimmune diseases by fighting chronic inflammation
• Preventing diabetes by promoting healthy insulin function
• Increasing strength and endurance, and reducing stress
MSM is also highly concentrated in aloe vera, so you can use natural aloe vera products to increase your intake of MSM in its natural form.
Article courtesy of Dr. Mercola's website, found in its entirety here.