Sulfur is a non-metallic mineral represented by the initial S in the Periodic Table of Elements. It is also one of the essential trace elements of the human body. In addition, Haarlem oil is known for its high sulfur content.
The history of sulfur is certainly as old as the history of the earth. In fact, it is naturally present in the earth’s crust and, in turn, in the oceans, soils and drinking water.
The first references to sulfur are described in the Bible. New traces can be found in antiquity, where it was used to protect vines from epidemics.
In the 11th century, it was used to make gunpowder. In the 15th century, it was used to disinfect the Black Death. It then acquired a sulfurous reputation that would continue for years.
In the 19th century, H. A. Vogel first described the role of this trace element in mammals. He discovered sulfur in the blood and bile of animals. He then realized that the substance is one of the components of two essential amino acids in the body.
In 1850, he made his grand entrance into the world of agriculture. It is successfully used as an anti-fungal and repellent. Today, it is still used in organic agriculture. Unfortunately, it is also still used as a weapon of war because its smoke can be toxic.
Roles in the organization
Despite its sulfurous reputation, it is essential to the organization. It plays a key role in the organization:
- Sulfur is a component of the sulfur amino acids, such as methionine, cysteine, and taurine1.
- It is part of the structure of vitamins B8 and B1.
- This trace element participates in more than 400 enzymatic reactions.
Its distribution in the human body
Sulfur is distributed throughout the body, from dandruff to bones and organs:
- the liver,
- the adrenals,
- the pancreas,
- the mucus cells in the epithelial lining
- the keratinized cells on the epidermal surface,
- superoxide dismutase,
- the connective tissue of cartilage and arteries
Certain types of thalassotherapy owe their results to the sulfur content of the water. Sometimes called a sulfur bath, this form of thalassotherapy is an alternative medicine treatment system.
In large thalassotherapy centers, the water used comes directly from the ground. It is often naturally rich in sulfur. But sometimes kalium sulfuratum is added, a substance called a soother.
Sulfur baths are practiced for therapeutic or relaxation purposes. It acts on many areas of the body. It treats circulatory, cardiac, joint, respiratory and bone problems, among others.
What is the difference with the MSM?
Sulfur is sometimes confused with methylsulfonylmethane, MSM or “organic sulfur. However, these two components are different.
In fact, sulfur is one of the components of MSM. And it is undoubtedly the one that explains the benefits of this molecule in the organism. In fact, MSM has useful anti-inflammatory virtues, especially for athletes. It also improves the condition of the skin and hair. It is very often sold as a dietary supplement because of its content in trace elements.
Sulfur is an amino acid component known as “ soufrés ”. These are mainly taurine, cysteine and methionine.
These amino acids are essential for the functioning of the body. Specifically, these amino acids are involved in nail health, hair formation, liver protection, healing and muscle building.
Sulfites and sulfates
Sulfur is also present in the body in the form of sulfites and sulfates.
The degradation of the sulfur amino acids leads to the formation of sulfites. These are toxic substances that bind to various cellular components. The body is able to process these different wastes.
However, today, sulfites are also present in food. They are food additives for the purpose of preserving or colouring food. Sulphite-based preservatives are the additives listed under the designations E 220 to E 224 and E 226 to E 228. Sulphite-based colors are the colors called E 250 b and E 250 d. They represent caramel colouring agents2.
To remove the sulfites, the body transforms them into sulfates. These are excreted by the kidneys. Sulfates are also present in tap water or some mineral waters. They have the reputation of being laxatives.
Virtues and properties
Over the years, scientists have discovered many benefits associated with sulfur. This is not surprising since it is found in many tissues, but also at the heart of many enzymatic reactions. The substance is then used in the form of a trace element.
Sulfur has long been used to relieve the ENT sphere (colds, stuffy nose). It is said to change the terrain to limit the occurrence of disorders and infections3. Its virtues are antiseptic and decongestant.
Sulfur has many benefits for the skin. It is used as a soil modifier for problem skin. In thalassotherapy, it is used for general and chronic skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. In localized treatment, the trace element is useful for acne and pimples in general4.
That’s probably their main use. In fact, this trace element would have the ability to relieve rheumatic pain in its entirety. Rheumatism, arthritis, tendinitis and others, sulfur has anti-inflammatory virtues that relieve patients. This application is the most widely used in thalassotherapy.
Due to its importance in the constitution of certain amino acids, sulfur is also used as a dietary supplement for nail and hair beauty. It participates in the constitution of keratin through amino acids, but also through certain B vitamins. Therefore, it acts both on the thickness of the nails and hair, as well as on their resistance and renewal.
The different forms
Sulfur is available in powder, capsule or crystal form.
Dosage and dosage
At present, the scientific community has not yet defined the precise doses of sulfur. However, true deficiencies are rare and excesses are also rare. Nevertheless, most experts agree on a dose of 13 to 14 mg per day.
Therapeutic use of sulphur
There are no specific recommendations for the use of sulfur-based dietary supplements.
Presentation of Sulfur Supplements
Sulfur never comes in its simple chemical form. It usually occurs in combination with other minerals or in a more complex formulation. Most sulfur supplements are MSM or sulfur amino acids.
Caution and side effects
Like all dietary supplements, this trace element has some precautions for use. Can sulfur represent a danger?
Caution in use
Like all food supplements, sulfur complexes should be consulted by pregnant or nursing women. Similarly, their use is not recommended for children.
Sulfur should be used after medical advice for pregnant or nursing women and children. Similarly, people with asthma, egg or sulfite allergies should consult a health care professional before using any dietary supplement containing sulfur.
At therapeutic doses, sulfur has no significant side effects. However, at higher doses, gastrointestinal discomfort has been reported.
Sulfur has no interaction in itself. However, according to some experts, this trace element is metabolized more strongly in the presence of the B group vitamins. It is also suspected that magnesium, zinc and selenium have the same impact. Therefore, a medical professional should be consulted before any mixing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is sulfur?
Sulfur is an essential trace element for the proper functioning of the body.
Why take them?
– Treatment of ENT diseases – Treatment of certain skin diseases: psoriasis, eczema – Relief of rheumatic pains – Promotes the beauty of nails and hair
What are the warnings?
Sulfur is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women and children. It is also not recommended for people with asthma, egg or sulfite allergy.
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