Sulfur Health for High Blood Pressure or Cholesterol
Sulfur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, found more frequently than sodium, which we know is essential for normal body function. Sulfur is found in certain foods, but it is likely that we don’t get enough of it in our diet, especially as we age. This deficiency can lead to joint problems, cardiovascular effects, and even weak fingernails.
Sulfur is used for many things within the body. A primary role of sulfur is to act as bridges in protein molecules to help them hold their shape. Without the correct shape or configuration, the protein will not have its normal function, such as enzymatic activity.
Sulfur is also important for cardiovascular health. There is an area within blood vessels known as the glycocalyx, and this area holds a great deal of sulfur. Without enough sulfur there, abnormalities can occur within the endothelial lining, such as sclerotic plaque formation. An interesting thing occurs when plaques are formed: they release sulfur-containing products to help build the levels of sulfur back up. Without the plaques, the sulfur levels stay deficient.
High cholesterol also occurs when there is not enough sulfur in the body. This is because cholesterol has to undergo a change with sulfur to be transported out of the blood vessels. Without sulfur, this process cannot occur and levels of cholesterol build up in the body.
Improved endothelial function occurs when you have enough sulfur in the body. Sulfur-containing compounds, such as alpha-lipoic acid, lower blood pressure via their actions on the endothelium. Other molecules that contain sulfur, including taurine, also reduce blood pressure and help the heart maintain a normal rhythm.
We can get sulfur from a variety of sources, including grass-fed beef and high-quality eggs. Some veggies also contain sulfur, such as onions, garlic, and Brussels sprouts. If the quality of the soil that these crops are grown in happens to be sulfur-deficient, the foods will be also be lacking in sulfur.
A way to get sulfur supplemented is to use a high quality sulfur supplement, using methylsulfonylmethane, also known as MSM. MSM is found in low quantities in some foods, but it can also be manufactured in a lab. Taking this form of organic sulfur is easy to digest, so you can get the bioavailability of the product. Supplementing your diet with MSM can help you maintain high enough levels of sulfur to support normal body functions.
You can also get sulfur from garlic supplements, which helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It also decreases LDL concentrations and plaque formation. Garlic supplements also have anti-cancer activity, and they inhibit platelet aggregation.
Sulfur found in purified chondroitin sulfates can also help decrease cardiovascular risks. Chondroitin sulfates are the sulfur-containing compound that is released from plaques. They block pro-inflammatory pathways with monocytes and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
We’re only beginning to scratch the surface on what benefits sulfur supplementation have for the body. In addition to helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, they can help provide pain relief from arthritis and clear skin conditions. You should consider supplementing your diet with a sulfur-containing product such as MSM.