The Vanishing Nutrient That Your Skin, Muscle and Bones Depend On
As you age, the flexible tissues in your body tend to lose their elasticity, which can lead to sagging and wrinkling skin, as well as less flexible muscles and less comfortable joints. And one of the nutrients they need most to support them may be in decreasing supply. It is also one of the most abundant minerals in your body. But researchers have concluded that its importance may be underestimated and its essential role in your overall health unappreciated.
Why This Mineral is So Important
The greatly unappreciated mineral Dr Mercola is talking about is sulfur. Sulfur bonds are required for proteins to maintain their shape, and these bonds determine the biological activity of the proteins.
Your hair, skin, and nails consist of a tough protein composed in significant part of sulfur called keratin. And connective tissue and cartilage contain proteins with flexible sulfur bonds, giving the structures flexibility.
As you age, the flexible tissues in your body tend to lose their elasticity which can lead to sagging and wrinkling skin, as well as less flexible muscles and less comfortable joints.
In addition to bonding proteins, sulfur is also required for the proper structure and biological activity of enzymes. If you don’t have sufficient amounts of sulfur in your body, these enzymes cannot function optimally. Sulfur also plays other important roles as it:-
- Helps detoxification – Sulfation is a major pathway for detoxification by your liver
- Supports your body’s electron transport system – As part of iron/sulfur proteins in mitochondria (the energy factories of your cells creating ATP)
- Converts vitamin-B thiamine (B1) and biotin – Which are essential for converting carbohydrates into energy
- Helps promote normal insulin function – The insulin molecule consists of two amino acid chains connected to each other by sulfur bridges, without which insulin cannot perform its biological activity.
- Synthesises important metabolic intermediates, such as the super-antioxidant glutathione
Of all the roles sulfur plays, Dr Mercola believes one of the most important is how it can enhance your glutathione levels.
Are You Getting Enough Sulfur in Your Diet?
Dr Mercola believes that the best way for you to obtain sulfur is through your diet. However, there are some challenges with that. Only 2 of the 20 amino acids normally present in food contain sulfur.
- Methionine – This amino acid cannot be synthesised by your body and must be supplied through diet
- Cysteine – This one is synthesised by your body but requires a steady supply of dietary sulfur in order to do so.
These important amino acids cannot be stored by your body. Any dietary excess of methionine and cysteine are readily oxidized to sulphate, excreted in urine, or stored in the form of glutathione (GSH).
This Could Be One of the Best Sources of Sulfur in your Diet
Sulfur is derived almost exclusively from dietary protein. Dr Mercola believes one of the best sources of sulfur comes from humanely raised, pastured meat. Meat and fish are considered ‘complete’ as they contain all the sulfur-containing amino acids your body needs in order to produce new protein.
If you don’t eat meat, there are other sources of sulfur including organic pastured eggs, coconut oil, and olive oil, as well as most cruciferous vegetables (when grown in soil that contained adequate amounts of sulfur)… Other sources include: coconut oil, Brussels sprouts, Legumes, Asparagus, Garlic, Kale, Onion, and Wheat germ.
Another Option to Help Your Body Absorb Sulfur
A senior scientist at MIT suggests another (relaxing) source of sulfur :-
- Soak your body in a warm bath with magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)
- Helps compensate and counter act sulfur inadequacies
- Use twice a week with about ½ -1 cup in your bath (relax and enjoy)
Dr Mercola’s Selection Checklist for a High-Quality Sulfur Formula
Here’s Dr Mercola’s checklist to help you see the process he went through (and recommend you do the same) when searching for a high-quality sulfur supplement. The checklist is as follows:
- MSM must be of the highest quality – Prefer MSM produced using an extensive distillation process to ensure purity and help eliminate ingredient inconsistencies. Since sulfur is a prerequisite for this formula, MSM is a key ingredient in that it is made up of 34% sulfur.
- Look for a low-dosage serving of MSM in the formula – Keeping the dosage low may help avoid occasional minor side effects possible in larger doses.
- Include other robust sources of sulfur that can effectively serve as glutathione precursors – The potential benefits of glutathione as an extraordinary antioxidant within your body cannot be understated.
- Must contain high-quality pure ingredients –Without this, inconsistency in the formula can occur potentially making the overall benefits unpredictable.
- Must be produced by a high-quality manufacturer – High preference for a dedicated facility (particularly with MSM) to help avoid introduction of potential contaminants.
Here’s what you’ll find in every extraordinary capsule of MSM:
- OptiMSM® (Methylsulfonylmethane) – Dr Mercola only wanted the best MSM ingredient in his sulfur formula and he believes he definitely found it with OptiMSM. Due to the manufacturer’s 4-stage rigorous distillation process, consistency and purity became non-issues. He also kept the dosage low at 1000mg / 1 g per serving.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)– Since this sulfur amino acid is considered the starting point for the production of glutathione in your body, it was important to include it in my formula. NAC works as an antioxidant and can also promote your body’s healthy detoxification processes.
R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (from Sodium R-Alpha Lipoate) – Due to its capability to increase glutathione levels and to be readily absorbed when taken orally, Dr Mercola made sure alpha lipoic acid (ALA) was included in this formula. Dr Mercola also went to another level. Not only is R-alpha lipoic acid (R-ALA) the preferred form of lipoic acid, the R-ALA that was chosen is superior in stabilisation and can provide up to 21 times more bioavailability.
- Organic Sulfur Vegetable Blend – Naturally-occurring organo-sulfur compounds can be found in certain vegetables. One such group of nutrients called isothiocyanates are derived from sulfur-containing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and green cabbage. Allicin, another organo-sulfur compound, is the beneficial phytochemical found in garlic.
- Commitment to consistency and high quality – As with the other supplements Mercola offer on their site, MSM is no exception when it comes to my commitment to providing high quality.