What kind of the odour is it when the hair or sheep’s wool is burnt? Why do our eyes water when onions are cut? Which is the important element for healthy hair? It is Sulphur. Sulphur is the third most abundant mineral in the body after calcium and phosphorous. It is 0.25 percent of the total body weight and is a non metallic element found mainly as a part of larger compounds. The three main areas of the body to which Sulphur is associated with are the muscles, skin and bones. In the 1800s, Sulphur was considered as grandma’s spring tonic. Also it was known as ‘beauty mineral’ as it cleared the complexion and made the skin youthful. It has its characteristic odour by which it is well recognized.

What role does Sulphur play in your body?

The functions of enzyme reactions and protein synthesis are performed by Sulphur. Sulphur is used in the formation of collagen that is found in the connective tissues. Keratin, which is necessary for the maintenance of the skin, hair and nails helps in giving strength, shape and hardness to the protein tissues. It is an important part of insulin that helps to regulate the carbohydrate metabolism. Important to cellular respiration, Sulphur is needed in the oxidation-reduction reactions which is helpful in utilizing oxygen and aids brain function and cell activity.

How much Sulphur is enough for your body?

There are about 20 amino acids that are normally present in the foods which contain Sulphur. Usually the need for Sulphur is met in the diet itself. The basic and normal amount of Sulphur needed by the body is about 850 mg.

How does lack of Sulphur affect you?

You may find lack of Sulphur in your body when foods are grown in Sulphur-depleted soil, low protein diets or lack of intestinal bacteria. Deficiency of Sulphur causes difficulty in synthesizing proteins, poor muscle mass and weakness. Lack of Sulphur is closely associated to the symptoms due to lack of proteins in the body.

What illnesses does the lack of Sulphur give rise to?

The illnesses are:

  • Alzheimer: Similar to dementia, it causes problems with the memory, thinking and behaviour. The greatest risk factor is the increasing age and it occurs to a majority of the people at the age of 65. Difficulty in learning and remembering new information is the most common and early symptom.

  • Chronic fatigue: It is caused due to mononucleosis or flu after a period of stress. It does not have early symptoms and occurs without warning. Fatigue can be vague and can occur gradually or suddenly. Hence one cannot understand the symptoms and it is not given attention for several weeks or months.

  • Heart disease: Several conditions affect the heart and blood vessels that leads to heart disease. The common symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath. Generally the pressure and the heaviness behind the breast bone with radiation to the jaw are described as the pain of angina.

  • Arthritis: It affects the musculoskeletal system, particularly the joints. People suffering from Arthritis face discomfort, pain, stiffness or fatigue.

How can you increase Sulphur levels in your body?

Sulphur is available in the protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and legumes. One of the better sources of Sulphur is the egg yolk. Other foods rich in Sulphur include onions, garlic, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and turnips. However complete vegetarians may not get complete and sufficient amount of Sulphur in their bodies.

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