Organic Sulphur
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MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane)

Could understanding of the roles of this mineral be the most important advance in nutrition in the last few years?

Just look at the number of disorders in which a deficiency of sulphur may be a contributory cause:

·  Allergies

·  Arthritis

·  Asthma

·  Brittle nails

·  Burns; poor healing

·  Cancer

·  Cramps

·  Constipation

·  Detox; poor

·  Diabetes

·  Emphysema

·  Energy; low

·  Eyes; defects

·  Heartburn

·  Hair problems

·  Lung disease

·  Lupus

·  Memory; poor

·  Mental underperform­ance

·  Oral hygiene; poor

·  Pain

·  Parasitic infestation

·  Inflammation

·  Insect bites; poor healing

·  Scar tissue

·  Skin problems

·  Snoring

·  Sore muscles

·  Stress

·  Sunburn 

But how can one mineral affect so many functions of the body? To understand this, it is necessary to understand the difference between nutrients and drugs. For instance, the inflammation and pain of arthritis are not caused by a deficiency of ibuprofen, nor is excessive nervousness caused by a deficiency in Valium or other tranquillisers.

Humans, and all other living beings, have evolved over millions of years to utilise a vast array of naturally occurring minerals, elements and compounds of these to grow, function and survive. Many of the elements are involved in almost every part and function of the body. Sulphur is no exception to this, and it forms part of the structure of every cell in the body.

Sulphur is in the same group of chemical elements as oxygen, and the main organic form, MSM, has toxicity so low that it is comparable to water.

There are few people who do not readily understand that oxygen and water are vital to life. Sulphur is, over a somewhat longer term, equally so. Oxygen and water have more dynamic effects, so that lack of oxygen would kill within minutes, and lack of water within days, but total lack of sulphur would kill within weeks. The longer time scale is because sulphur is heavily involved in the structure, rather than energy production, of living organisms.

So how does this affect us as individuals?

In order to explain further the widespread effects of sulphur in the function of the body, let us consider first the sulphur-containing amino acids, and then the sulphur-containing vitamins.

Sulphur Amino Acids

When plants absorb sulphur from the soil and rainwater, they convert it into the amino acids methionine and cysteine. Cysteine can be further modified, to form taurine and cystine, by the action of certain enzymes. Glutathione is also a product of cysteine.

So what do the sulphur aminos do?

Very briefly, they perform the following functions:

Methionine

Increases production of lecithin, which helps to break down fat, and therefore helps prevent accumulation of fat in the liver and arteries, thus helping the brain, heart and kidneys. Helps protein synthesis and also helps to detoxify heavy metals.

Cysteine

It should be mentioned here that amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and cysteine is particularly important in this respect. Cysteine is present in keratin, the main protein that makes up hair, skin and nails, and is also important in the production of collagen, which is important for the elasticity of skin and all other tissues.

Cysteine, like methionine, can neutralise toxic chemicals and carcinogens, and is even sometimes used (especially in the form of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)), to neutralise the effects on the liver of drug or alcohol overdoses. NAC is often used in treatment of respiratory problems and even cystic fibrosis.

Taurine

This amino acid seems to have a stabilising effect on cell membranes, in particular enabling the passage in and out of cells of essential minerals. Taurine also seems to be an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and can therefore help anxiety and seizures. It is also a component of bile, which is used in the digestion of fats, control of cholesterol levels and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Glutathione

This is a compound of cysteine and two other amino acids, glycine and glutamic acid. It is manufactured in the liver. It is found in the cells of nearly every type of life on Earth. It acts as a waste disposal system, binding onto toxic substances in the cells so that they can be excreted without damaging the organs, especially the liver.

Sulphur Vitamins

Two of the B vitamins, thiamine (B1) and biotin, contain sulphur, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) needs to be converted to coenzyme A by the addition of sulphur before it can act on the body. Between them, these vitamins are involved in many body functions, including utilisation of carbohydrates for energy, and in cell growth. A biotin deficiency can cause high blood sugar. Vitamin B5 is important to the condition of the adrenal glands, for the production of anti-stress hormones and anti-inflammatory substances.

Two other substances vital to the body are dependent on sulphur.

Insulin

Without sulphur, insulin cannot be formed, and without insulin diabetes results, with all the well-known effects.

Glucosamine Sulphate

This substance is the main building block of all bodily structures, as is becoming better known. Without this building block, cartilage and connective tissue would disintegrate.

So: sulphur affects structure, metabolism, cell permeability and tissue integrity.

So to summarise, what can sulphur help?

Allergies

These appear to be helped by MSM, probably in two ways – one by blocking receptor sites for histamine, and seemingly also by improving lung and intestinal tissue integrity.

Lung Condition

The condition of lung surfaces seems to become more elastic, more permeable to nutrients and more resistant to allergens.

Pain and Arthritis

Because MSM supplies sulphur for glucosamine sulphate, it has the well-known helpful effects of glucosamine.

Intestinal Condition

MSM helps this in two ways; by improving integrity of the intestinal walls and also by binding onto toxins released by parasites, fungi and bacteria and causing them to be excreted without doing any damage.

Hair and Nail Condition

MSM helps these both by being part of the structure and because it is a component of biotin.

But, ladies, ignore the previous pages – let us get to the important stuff; MSM can help stop wrinkles.

In combination with the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) in either pine bark extract or grape seed extract, MSM is probably the most powerful anti-wrinkle compound available. MSM has, because of its effects on the metabolism of each individual cell, a powerful moisturising  and protective effect. The OPCs, because of their powerful anti-oxidant effects, protect further against damage.

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