How To Supplement With Sulfur
By Tyler Woodward
- What Is Sulfur
- Benefits Of Sulfur
- Who Should Supplement With Sulfur
- The Highest Sulfur Containing Foods
What Is Sulfur:
Sulfur is considered a reactive nonmetal and is the 16th element found on the periodic table, but the third most abundant mineral in the body. Sulfur happens to be in the atomic family as oxygen, requiring the input of an additional two electrons in order to be electrically stable. In this fashion sulfur must be controlled, so it does not “attack” other chemical compounds causing oxidative stress.
Sulfur is primarily found in the sulfur-containing amino acids which are primarily methionine and cysteine. Methionine is an essential amino acid which means we must consume it in our diet. In contrast, cysteine is a conditionally essential amino acid that we can produce if we have adequate amounts of the “supplies” necessary to do so. Both methionine and cysteine are precursors in the production of glutathione, the master antioxidant, so both are extremely important amino acids, but also can be harmful in excess.
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Benefits Of Sulfur:
- May Improve Joint Health - Sulfur is found in a number of common supplements aimed at improving joint health including: glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, sulfate, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). These are all forms of proteins that are naturally produced in the body and are believed to be necessary in supporting healthy and strong joints. Because all of these compounds require sulfur it’s believed by some that supplementing with sulfur helps to increase the production of these proteins, but this has yet to be proven. Although these compounds themself have been shown to be relatively effective for reducing inflammation and improving joint health.
- Reducing The Severity Of Allergies - MSM, one of the sulfur containing proteins, has been shown to help reduce the inflammatory response from an allergic reaction †.
- Reducing Dandruff - Sulfur is actually approved by the FDA to be included in over-the-counter remedies as a means of treating dandruff and reducing its appearance or symptoms.
- Reduce Rosacea - Rosacea is a skin condition in which the skin appears to be filled with red bloods, but sulfur applied topically seems to be able to reduce its appearance.
- It’s Potently Antibacterial And Antifungal - Dr. Raymond Peat has repeatedly suggested the use of flowers of sulfur in order to kill candida infections or to help fight bacterial overgrowth. Dr. Peat also recommends the use of the Dead Sea, sulfur containing soap for topical fungi/bacteria like Tinea Versicolor †.
- May Fight Acne Among Other Skin Infections - Again, due to its antibacterial qualities sulfur may be an effective means of reducing acne or dermatitis among other topical skin conditions †.
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Who Should Supplement With Sulfur:
If you are someone who is not consuming a lot of sulfur in their diet from consuming foods like eggs, dairy or meats, it may be a good idea to have a nutrient panel performed to see if you are deficient in this central nutrient. If you are consuming adequate amounts of sulfur, but are interested in the potential benefits extra sulfur can reap then sulfur is generally considered safe to supplement with. Although excess sulfur can cause diarrhea and the formation of sulfide gas from the excess sulfur in the diet.
Most commonly sulfur is supplemented topically through a shampoo, soap, or lotion, but sulfur containing compounds like MSM, chondroitin, and glucosamine are also commonly found in pill form.
The Highest Sulfur Containing Foods:
- Muscle Meats - These meats are generally very high in methionine and also contain relatively high amounts of cysteine, making these foods a great source of sulfur.
- Nuts, Seeds, Grains, And Legumes - These are all plant sources that contain relatively high amounts of the amino acid methionine.
- Allium Vegetables - Vegetables including garlic, onions, leeks, scallots, etc, all contain relatively large amounts of sulfur.
- Cruciferous Vegetables - Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur in what are known as glucosinolate. These compounds also may function to inhibit the thyroids ability to uptake iodine, interfering with the thyroid function and metabolism.
- Foods Containing Vitamin B1 or B7 - Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and Biotin (B7) are both sulfur containing compounds that we cannot synthesize and must consume in our diet.
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