Nutritional benefits of Sulfur
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Sulfur is a macro mineral that is found in all the cells of the human body. It plays a significant role in a number of  biochemical reactions in the body related to the synthesis of proteins and enzyme reactions. It is needed for the production of collagen, the protein found in the connective tissue and is also found in keratin and hair. It plays an important role in the protection of joints and helps in maintaining the health of the skin, hair and nails. In addition to this, it also helps maintain the balance of oxygen in the body and aids in the protection of joints.

Sulfates are mainly found in the amino acids cysteine and methionine. Proteins contain about 1% of the mineral by weight. Inorganic sulfates of sodium and magnesium available in food are not utilized.

Functions of Sulfur:

Sulfur containing amino acids are important constituents of body proteins.

The disulfide bridges keep polypeptide units together such as insulin and immunoglobulin. Chondroitin sulfates are seen in cartilage and bone.

Keratin is rich in sulfur and is present in the hair and nails.

Many enzymes contain Sulfur hydroxide groups at the active site such as glutathione. Thiamine, biotin, lipoic and conjugated linoleic acid are also Sulfur Hydroxide containing molecules.

Sulfur promotes the secretion of bile in the body. Taurocholic acid  or bile salt contains sulfur groups.

If sulfuric acid is to be introduced in glycosaminoglycans or in phenols for detoxification, it can be done only by phosphoadenosine phosphosulfate (PAPS).

Sulfates also play an important role in the detoxification mechanism of the  production of indoxyl sulphate.

It purifies and tones the system.

It has mild laxative properties and prevents constipation.

It is used in the treatment of rheumatism. Gout and bronchitis.

It is used in the treatment of skin diseases.

Sources of Sulfur:

These include garlic, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, legumes, asparagus, dried beans, nuts, chives, fish, eggs etc. Oysters are also good sources of the mineral. They have  fairly high levels of cholesterol  content but contain high density lipoprotein (HDL), which is known to prevent platelets stickiness and clamping.

Excretion of Sulfur:

All sulfur groups are ultimately oxidized in the liver to form the sulfate (sulfuric acid) group and are excreted in urine. The total quantity of sulfur in the urine is about 1 gm/day. This comprises of three categories:

Inorganic sulfates: They  are about 80% in content. This is proportional to the protein intake of the body. This category can be isolated by treating the urine with barium chloride, when white barium sulfate is precipitated.

Organic sulfate, ethereal sulphate or conjugated sulphate constitutes 10% of urinary sulphates. Tryptophan is converted to phenol and indoxyl by intestinal bacteria. These are absorbed and conjugated with sulfates and excreted through urine. This represents the putrefactive activity in the intestine and this fraction is increased in intestinal stasis. This part is also proportional to protein intake. In Hartnup’s disease sufficient indicant is excreted to assume a bluish tinge on keeping the urine in a test tube. This fraction will not give a direct precipitate with barium chloride.

Neutral sulfur or un-oxidized sulfur constitutes 10% of total sulfates. Sulphur containing organic compounds such as amino acids, thiocyanates and urochrome constitute jaundice. It is also increased in aminoaciduria. Total sulfur content of urine is first estimated, from which inorganic and ethereal fractions are deducted to get the neutral sulfur content.
Sulfur is also lost from the body by bile, hair and nails.

Symptoms of Deficiency:

This is marked by sluggishness and fatigue. 

RDA of Sulfur:

The Recommended Daily Allowance of Sulfur is 850 g per day.

Before taking any mineral supplements it is essential for you to consult a registered medical practitioner in order to determine if the nutrient is required by your body or not. You must also make note of any of the diseases or ailments you might be suffering from such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, depression, kidney problem, gastro intestinal disease, high cholesterol levels etc. you must also consider your present medical condition before taking the supplement, if you are allergic to any prescription or over the counter (OTC) drugs or have a family history of any ailments before taking any mineral.