Your human body in all of its beautiful complexity requires many nutrients to sustain, maintain and power up the healing and repair processes over the time you have lived so far ….. and for the years that still lie ahead. SULFUR (also spelled sulphur) is another key mineral element that you cannot live without. Yet very little discussion has taken place about just how valuable this mineral element is to your overall being and health.
What does sulfur do inside your body? This mineral element has unique properties that make it a key part of many biochemicals in your body. As a result it plays a wide array of important roles. For example sulfur is critical for the structural integrity of your bones and joints. In a totally different vein medical research points to vital links between sulfur and the development of a healthy brain and nervous system.
Here are examples of sulfur’s important tasks in keeping your body healthy:
- Sulfur is a trigger for biochemical processes that detoxify harmful substances produced by your body. Some of these processes must happen inside of you every day in order that toxins don’t build up to harmful levels. For example, the carcinogenic effects of certain estrogen by-products linked to breast and ovarian cancer seem to be reduced in women who tend to regularly consume vegetables containing abundant amounts of sulfur-type compounds. These vegetables include broccoli, kale, garlic, onions, cabbage.
- Your body manufactures an antioxidant called glutathione. Sulfur is an integral part of glutathione which protects your cells from free radical damage.
- The proper functioning of the insulin made in your pancreas depends upon sulfur being present as part of the insulin molecule. Sulfur anchors the shape of the insulin molecule so it can assist the transport of glucose into your body’s cells. Glucose is an essential source of energy for all the life functions of your cells.
- Sulfur as a mineral element combines with many other biochemicals to form a host of compounds with diverse functions inside your body. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are vital components of your joints and connective tissue. A related biochemical, keratan sulfate (not the same as keratin), is capable of holding onto water molecules which explains why it is found in your cartilage, the corneas of your eyes and in the nerve system.
- Medical research reported in 2014 in the journal Biomedical Research International on still another sulfur-based biochemical, heparan sulfate, points to vital roles in healthy development of fetal brains and even links to protecting the brain from deterioration as occurs in dementia and Alzheimer’s. Much more investigation is ongoing to uncover the complex connections in this area in research centers around the world such as China and Sweden.
Sources of Sulfur. This mineral element is obtained from both plant- and animal-based foods. Sulfur is obtained from protein consumption but in plant-based foods, there are a greater variety of sulfur-containing biochemicals plus other nutrients that may help your body utilize the sulfur element. Sulfur is also available in mineral waters. The general course to follow is to eat a variety of foods with emphasis on plant-based types including the sulfur-containing ones listed above.
This is a rather summary blog and it only begins to reveal the broad scope and powerful impact of sulfur on your long-term health and wellness. As a vital mineral element sulfur languished quietly on the sidelines for a long time while many in the health/nutrition fields spoke largely about calcium, sodium, vitamin C, iron and some other nutrients. The importance of dozens of other nutrients, biochemicals, and mineral elements such as sulfur is under-served and needs greater discussion and understanding. Thus more people will hopefully come to equate higher standards of food choice quality with greater chances for healthy longevity.