I wanted to share my experience with a compound which I had, up till now, completely disregarded the importance of. It is in fact a mineral and within the human body is the forth highest concentration according to some. This gives some idea of the importance of it. It is not something we naturally metabolise and so it is imperative that we consume it, either within our diet or through absorption into the skin.
Through my research I was fascinated to learn that sulfur deficiency could be attributed to a whole range of huge health issues the western world is struggling with including obesity, chronic fatigue, depression, joint pain and inflammation as well as conditions such as Alzheimer’s and ADHD.
Why we need sulfur
Muscles, skin and bone
Mostly found in your muscles, skin and bones sulphur is used to create different proteins in our cells and tissue. Sulfur rich Keratin is what makes up our hair and nails and is very strong. A sulfur deficiency would show up in splitting nails and breaking of the hair. Sulphur also makes up the elastic connective tissue and cartilage between bones giving much needed flexibility. As we age we tissues, skin and muscles tend to loose their elasticity creating sagging, wrinkles, stiffness and painful joints. A shortage of sulfur would contribute to these problems and support the need for increasing sulphur input as we age. A sulfur deficiency can also be seen in thinning of the skin or wounds taking a long time to heal.
Energy and metabolism
The compound is also vital for regulating your metabolism. Insufficient sulphur in your body may lead to insulin resistance — and insulin is vital for regulating sugar levels in your body. With a yo-yoing blood sugar level you are likely to experience periods of excess and then depleted energy levels, and if your anything like I was, indulge in sugary treats or caffeine to make it through the day. Simple addressing this sulfur deficiency can turn your day around!
Memory, ADHD, depression and dementia
There is growing evidence that the rampant growth in cases of Alzheimer’s could be due to a sulphur deficiency. Measuring levels of different compounds and trace minerals within Alzheimer sufferers has shown a distinct lack of sulphur present with the levels decreasing in relation to the severity of the disease. Early trials have shown that when supplemented at an early onset stage, memory loss can be retarded by simply adding in a therapeutic dose of daily sulphur. Many patients suffering from ‘foggy brain’, poor memory or lack of concentration as well as those suffering from some forms of depression or ADD/ADHD have also been tested for low sulphur levels and evidence is growing for an easy cure with a simple sulphur addition to the diet.
There is even factors pointing to sulfur being a contributing factor in obesity and the inability to loose weight which would also be linked to metabolic rate as mentioned earlier and the bodies inability to metabolism glucose efficiently which some have linked to sulphur deficiency.
Sources of Sulfur
Naturally high in sulfur foods are the cruciferous vegetables including brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, garlic and onion. The food highest in sulphur for non-vegans is eggs, which is what gives them the powerful rotten egg smell when they go bad.
A sure way of getting a good amount of sulfur in your diet is adding in a pure sulphur supplement in the form of MSM. This is a concentrated vegan source of sulfur and can be added to juice, smoothies or sprinkled onto food. It has a mild, slightly salty taste and the texture is similar to salt grains. I have been taking the MSM produced by Raw Revelations. A company whom I discovered down at Shakti Fest this spring. It was their knowledgeable elixir baristas who put me onto the importance of sulfur and after putting it to the test and doing the research, I am convinced that almost everyone could do with a good daily dose.
How much should you take?
How they recommend taking it is to start with a teaspoon and to keep upping a teaspoon at a time until you experience a slight headache. This is the therapeutic dosage and the headache is signalling that all your cells have received the right amount of sulphur. You might prefer just to take a teaspoon per day and see how you feel.
Another traditional source is hot springs where the hot water aids the passage of the therapeutic sulphur through the skin dermis. This is the main reason for the health benefits attributed to hot springs. You can easily tell a hot springs high in sulphur from the potent smell, which luckily you grow accustomed too after a while. In many traditional cultures spending long amounts of time in the healing waters of hot springs was a key part of longevity and healthy living and still is revered in places such as Japan, Scandinavia and Russia.
The problem with todays food
Like many trace minerals we have started to see a decline in the level of sulfur in our foods because of industrial and mono-crop farming. When soil is enriched with artificial, fossil fuelled derived fertilisers the main components are NPK (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus). These have been found to be keep crops growing but unfortunately they are mere husks to crops grown in rich, alive soils regularly replenished with a full spectrum of nutrients through good organic additives. These industrial produced crops are not grown for nutrient quality and they are deficient in trace minerals we need for many important bodily functions. Eventually the soil is empty of nutrients and so our food becomes the same, leading to so many chronic diseases and deficiencies we are now experiencing. The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ comes to mind.
The sulfur rich soils of Iceland
In Iceland the soils are rich in trace minerals and particularly in sulphur. This is due to the many volcanic eruptions, most recently in the 1980’s. This covered the island with a thick layer of volcanic ash, high in sulphur. Growing crops in this highly fertile soil produces vegetable and also animals who are eating the ground cover, with high levels of essential minerals within their cells. This gets passed onto the humans who consume them. This is one of the reasons it is believed that the Icelandic have such amazing health statistics with high life expectancy and very low occurrences of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimers that are plaguing other western societies. It is often argued that it is the diet high in fish that is the reason for this but it doesn’t seem to translate, as when Icelandic’s move to the USA and continue with the same fish rich diet they also begin to suffer with the same chronic diseases as the rest of the population. Thereby showing no immunity when removed from the sulphur-rich island environment.
My experience with sulphur supplementation
i was keen to try MSM once the importance of sulphur was explained to me, especially as a vegan not eating eggs which is a rich source. For me I was amazed at the energy it gave me and the stamina over a long day of manual labour, which usually I have trouble with. When you are lacking in any mineral it is hard for your body to operate at optimum. For most people I believe they have no idea of what their optimum could be! I am discovering at each diet modification that I still haven’t reached that peak as my general vitality is still improving and it is exciting to imagine what more is to come as I continue modifying and adding in the best sources of mineral rich food and supplementation possible for my own unique metabolism. To achieve a fully vibrant energy and consistently healthy being is for sure a beautiful aim and I am so grateful to be on this path of better understanding and awareness and to share my knowledge with those who may benefit too.
One article I read mentioned a guy who’s grandma forced him to drink the well water on the property, which he remembers stinking of rotten eggs. He now attributed his fantastic health and vitality to this sulphur rich water and is thankful for the wisdom of his grandma! So of course if you have a similar resource you probably don’t need to supplement! Everyone is unique and I am a strong believer in the exploration of self, letting go of these recommended daily amounts that standardise whole populations and finding out for yourself what it is that best supports and nurtures your own healing journey.
Where to buy
If you would like to experiment with MSM you can purchase online from Raw Revelations here. They also do an antioxidant rich drink mix which provides a whole host of other benefits through the addition of superfood berries, which I am keen to try next, which you can check out here. You might also find it in the bulk section of your local health food store.
A reason to go relax!
I also encourage a visit to your local hot springs which here on the west coast we are blessed with an abundance of beautiful soaking spots. Great for sulphur and ultimate relaxation in natures wonder. A great resource is Soak Oregon. In the last month we have been lucky to experience the healing waters of 4 different hot springs during our wedding and honeymoon in Oregon and it is really a very nourishing experience. I was coming down with a head cold that was cleared out by 2 sessions of the healing detoxing waters at magical Bagby hot springs near Portland.
Happy journey to optimum health!