Sulfur- that mineral that sits just below oxygen on the periodic table is without question a superstar, foundational mineral for beauty. Why? Because sulfur is present in every cell in the body and is especially concentrated in the joints, hair, skin, and nails. So when we don’t get enough, the quality of the aforementioned will suffer and we won’t look our best. Collagen is that magic protein that makes up our skin, hair, connective tissues and even our bones and teeth. Take a look around and you will notice that collagen products seem to be everywhere - from creams and powders to both internal and external applications.
In order to produce collagen, certain substrates need to be present - certain amino acids such as cysteine, adequate vitamin C, and sulfur. The presence or absence of these will to a large extent dictate whether the overall flexibility, fluidity, and overall structure of the skin. Picture the underlying structure of skin as a chain link fence: the finer the weave of the fence, the stronger and more flexible it is. Collagen helps to keep the weave of the fence and its overall structure strong. In order to build stronger collagen (and great skin) we need enough of these building blocks and this depends to a large degree on adequate sulfur in the body.
Sulfur also works wonders from the inside to help alleviate skin conditions such as rosacea, scar formations, dark spots and sun damage. It is worth noting that due to the large size of the collagen molecule, collagen creams or other external applications have very little effect on the skin. It is much more effective taken internally, and the more collagen reserves we have the less wrinkling, sagginess, cracking and generally lackluster skin.
But the beauty benefits don’t stop there. Additional sulfur in the diet is fabulous for hair health and growth. In terms of the structure of our hair sulfur is found in significant amounts in keratin. You hair obsessives know that keratin is that fibrous protein that makes our hair and nails strong and which is why keratin is found in so many hair products. The only problem is that when applied externally (as in shampoos and conditioners) keratin is not lasting and washes out quite quickly. A more permanent solution is to address our hair needs internally. As we are continuously building and rebuilding ourselves everyday and over time it is imperative that we give our cells the necessary substrates to do this. Increase your sulfur intake and watch your hair grow and strengthen like never before.
All around healer
Due to its profound positive effects on cellular health, the benefits of added sulfur in the diet are significant and wide reaching. The list is seemingly endless- better immune function, accelerated healing, reduced pain and inflammation, liver detoxifier…. it seems the only thing sulfur can’t do is wash your dishes. Here are just some of the benefits of adding more sulfur to your diet:
· helps to heal skin conditions such as acne and rosacea
· alleviates symptoms of allergies and asthma
· great for arthritis, helps to make joints more flexible
· anti-parasitic, good for chronic yeast infections and candida
· good for chronic constipation
· insulin regulator, good for diabetics
· improves digestion and gut health
· good for migranes
· boost for fragile hair and nails
· increases energy, good for chronic fatigue
· excellent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever
How to get it
Yes, sulfur is truly remarkable, potentially life changing stuff that we should all take more of. Of course some will argue that sulfur is present in nearly everything that we consume already from raw fruit, vegetables and grains. As a general rule, any food with a distinct smell such as onions and garlic are rich in sulfur as are cruciferous vegetables such as egg yolks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and brussels sprouts.
The problem is food processing and simple cooking methods destroy a large percentage of the sulfur naturally present in our food. So we supplement. And we do this with something called MSM. MSM stands for methylsulfonylmethane, which is an organic form of sulfur. It is approximately 34% bio-available, making it the richest source of organic sulfur available. MSM as a supplement is relatively inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your routine. Since the half-life of MSM consumed in the body is only 12 hours, supplementation may be best twice a day, usually morning and evening. Start with a teaspoon in water combined with any other vitamins or supplements you desire. As if it’s list of benefits weren’t enough, MSM taken with other vitamins and minerals acts as a potentiator meaning that it assists in the assimilation and bioavailability of other nutrients. Sulfur is most commonly taken together with vitamin C, increasing the absorption of the latter by 400% to make this a superstar beauty ritual indeed. Are you in the habit of raising your micronutrient profile? Take your vitamins with a good dose of sulfur.