Earlier in the year, I did several posts on sulfur. Stephanie Seneff has proposed sulfur and vitamin D sulfate play a significant role in human health in her essay: “Could Sulfur Deficiency be a Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?” None of the agencies through Health and Human Services has even established an incorrect minimum daily requirement for sulfur like they have for vitamin D3.
So what does sulfur do in the human body?
- Both organic sulfur from amino acids and from sulfur compounds in the cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) and allium (garlic, onions, etc.) vegetables and inorganic sulfur from sulfates in foods and our water supply are critical to human physiology.
- Sulfate is needed for the formation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGS i.e. glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, etc.) or amino acids necessary for joints, skin, connective tissues, and joint lubrication through synovial fluid.
- Sulfate is needed to start the cascade of digestive enzymes.
- Sulfate is necessary to line the gut wall with mucin proteins.
- Sulfate is needed for the formation of neurons where neurons are laid down on a platform of sulfated carbohydrates.
- Sulfation is a major pathway in detoxifying from drugs, environmental toxins especially in the brain (aluminum), liver (i.e., acetaminophen), and removing waste from cells after the mitochondrial processes.
- Sulfur is most abundant element (approximately one half percent by weight) in our body after calcium and phosphorus and is the fourth most abundant anion in our plasma. It helps to maintain the balance of anions (bicarbonate, chloride, and phosphate) to effectively carry oxygen to the cells. Interestingly enough, sulfates are not normally measured in serum analysis.
After reading the above list it is easy to see the connection between sulfur deficiency and many chronic diseases as suggested by Seneff and others: heart disease, Alzheimer’s, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, arthritis, interstitial cystitis, multiple sclerosis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS.
Interestingly, there is an excess amount of sulfur found in the serum of persons with ALS. I suspect this is a breakdown of the mitochondrial enzyme (superoxide dismutase) that requires manganese to properly form the water soluble sulfur ester necessary for waste removal. Could it be that people with ALS are just manganese deficient along with copper and zinc? Their mitochondria all plugged up with waste? Or perhaps the manganese transporter is not working properly because the person is vitamin D deficient or both? It is never just one thing, but the combination of nutrients and systems effectiveness that prevents and cures disease. Doctors, do you have patients with ALS, then, nutrition is the way to go in addition to drugs. You certainly are not going to do any harm by given them enough vitamin D3, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc.
Seneff suggested that the importance of sulfur in heart disease was through the effect of vitamin D sulfate. I would like to suggest that it is even more important because of the action of vitamin D on the sodium sulfate cotransporter, NaSi-1, in both the lining of the gut, the skin, and in the kidneys. This allows the balance of sulfate in the body for the many physiological roles that sulfate plays, in particular in the energy cycle of mitochondria. Could enough sulfate stop angina? Perhaps the sulfate is more important to relaxation of arterial walls than nitric oxide and more importantly to the action of the heart muscle and neural fibers? “Critical role of vitamin D in sulfate homeostasis: regulation of the sodium-sulfate cotransporter by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 ” Bolt, et.al. Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, May 27, 2004.
How important is sulfur in preventing heart disease? Consider this graph from an earlier post on the importance of calcium and magnesium in balance. The fact that Greece is an outlier in the balance of calcium and magnesium in the diet suggest that sulfur is more important than the balance of calcium and magnesium in heart disease. Like Japan, Greece is located of a volcanic riff and along with Japan is the world largest exporter of sulfur. In these two countries, the rate of death from heart disease is five times less than the US.
Have heart disease? Consider lots of vitamin D, Epsom Salt baths several times per week (or mineral water made from magnesium, sodium, and calcium sulfate ), and at least three cups of cruciferous and alliums vegetables each day. – Pandemic Survivor Happy Fourth of July!