Health Benefits of MSM — A Powerful Sulfur Donor by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Mercola
Sulfur is a somewhat “forgotten” nutrient you don’t hear mentioned very often, but it’s very important for optimal body function and health. You get most of your sulfur from certain proteins in your diet, specifically the amino acids methionine, cysteine, cystine, homocysteine, homocystine and taurine.1
Of these, the two most important sources are methionine and cysteine. Methionine is an essential amino acid, which means it cannot be synthesized by your body and must be supplied through your diet. Cysteine is conditionally essential, because it can be synthesized from methionine but not from inorganic forms of sulfur.2
Neither of these primary sulfur-containing amino acids is stored in your body per se, although glutathione is a key storage form for sulfur.3 Glutathione is composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate and glycine, and is your body’s most potent antioxidant.
Support Our Site
Now is your chance to support Gospel News Network.
We love helping others and believe that’s one of the reasons we are chosen as Ambassadors of the Kingdom, to serve God’s children. We look to the Greatest Commandment as our Powering force.
Glutathione also keeps many other antioxidants performing at peak levels, and cysteine availability is thought to be a rate-limiting factor for glutathione synthesis.4
While sulfur is found in many foods, sulfur deficiency may still be quite common5 — in part due to sulfur deficiency in crops,6 and in part due to low consumption of sulfur-rich foods7 such as leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, alliums8 such as garlic and onions, seafood, grass fed meats and organic pastured eggs.
Frequent use of drugs that require sulfur for excretion and/or detoxification can also contribute to an inadequate sulfur status. Acetaminophen is one such example.9 A vegan diet can also put you at increased risk for sulfur deficiency, because plant-based foods contain fewer sulfur-containing amino acids than animal-based foods.10
The Importance of Sulfur
According to Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., who has written several papers11,12,13,14 on sulfur and sulfur metabolism and its role in human disease, sulfur plays a role in many biological processes, including metabolism15 and the sulfonation of hormones,16 and deficiency appears to play a role in a wide range of health problems and diseases, including:
- Heart disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Alzheimer’s disease
Required in the creation of connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments, sulfur is also essential for healthy joints, and deficiency has been linked to joint pain and joint-related diseases.18 Other benefits, uses and sources are also noted in the paper “Sulfur in Human Nutrition and Applications in Medicine”:19