The importance of sulfur in your diet

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Number one is calcium. Two is phosphorus. And coming in third is sulfur. Sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body, and is involved in multiple processes. I recently read "The Wahl's Protocal" by Dr. Terry Wahls, a functional medicine doctor who reversed her multiple sclerosis through diet. Her story is pretty amazing. And she's big on sulfur. Why? Well, for several reasons.

  • Sulfur nourishes mitochondria, the organelles located inside our cells, that produce energy for life.
  • Sulfur is involved in the synthesis of glutathione, a big time antioxidant in our bodies. It too aids mitochondria by neutralizing free radicals produced by the electron transport chain.
  • Sulfur creates strong, flexible skin, hair, and nails.
  • Sulfur is involved in the production of collagen, which all your connective tissue is comprised of, and keeps joints strong. (That's why MSM, an organic sulfur, is often included in joint supplements.)
  • Sulfur is required to synthesize taurine, a sulfonic acid that is essential for cardiovascular function, the development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina of the eye, and the central nervous system. (Important stuff!)
  • Sulfur binds amino acids to form insulin, a critical hormone for blood sugar balance that keeps our body ph in check, and our cells fueled.
  • Sulfur helps to keep our blood vessels from narrowing, lowering the risk for atherosclerosis.

You can obtain sulfur compounds from both animal and vegetable sources, and both are important. One of the most sulfur rich animal foods are eggs. That's why sulfur is often said to smell like "rotten eggs". Or do rotten eggs smell like sulfur? (I think sulfur was around first.) Meats and dairy also contain sulfur.

When you think of the vegetables that can get the stinkiest; broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radish, onion, leeks, and garlic, you've got produce that contains organosulfur compounds which support detoxification in the body and reducing inflammation. Mushrooms are also high in sulfur. It's important to put an emphases on obtaining sulfur from vegetable sources, since they help create a more alkaline ph in your body, and also pack a heavier nutritional punch.

Some individuals may have a hard time breaking down and absorbing sulfur. If this is the case, cooking the food will make digestion easier. So either raw or steamed, be sure to eat your broccoli!