The Need for Sulfur-Foods, article by Stephanie Seneff at WAPF

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    • The Need for Sulfur-Foods, article by Stephanie Seneff at WAPF

      I found this fascinating and helpful. :) I didn't post the whole article. The parts of the article, where I put the ellipses marks, are fascinating, too.

      Sulfur Deficiency

      Posted on July 2, 2011 by Stephanie Seneff, PhD

      A Possible Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Chronic Fatigue

      Obesity is quickly becoming the number one health issue confronting America today, and has also risen to epidemic proportions worldwide. Its spread is associated with the adoption of a Western-style diet. However, I believe that the widespread consumption of food imports produced by U.S. companies plays a crucial role in the rise in obesity worldwide. Specifically, these “fast foods” typically include heavily processed derivatives of corn, soybeans and grains, grown on highly efficient mega-farms. Furthermore, I will argue in this essay that one of the core underlying causes of obesity may be sulfur deficiency.

      Sulfur is the eighth most common element by mass in the human body, behind oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The two sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine, play essential physiological roles throughout the body. However, sulfur has been consistently overlooked by those addressing the issues of nutritional deficiencies. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences has not even assigned a minimum daily requirement (MDR) for sulfur. One consequence of sulfur’s limbo nutritional status is that it is omitted from the long list of supplements that are commonly artificially added to popular foods like cereal.

      Sulfur is found in a large number of foods, and, as a consequence, it is assumed that almost any diet would meet the minimum daily requirements. Excellent sources are eggs, onions, garlic, and leafy dark green vegetables like kale and broccoli. Meats, nuts, and seafood also contain sulfur. Methionine, an essential amino acid, is found mainly in egg whites and fish. A diet high in grains like bread and cereal is likely to be deficient in sulfur. Increasingly, whole foods such as corn and soybeans are disassembled into component parts with chemical names, and then reassembled into heavily processed foods. Sulfur is lost along the way, and so is the awareness that this loss matters.

      Experts have recently become aware that sulfur depletion in the soil creates a serious deficiency for plants,17 brought about in part by improved efficiency in the U.S. agricultural industry, which has steadily consolidated into highly technologized mega-farms.

      It is estimated that humans obtain about ten percent of their sulfur supply from drinking water. Remarkably, people who drink soft water have an increased risk of heart disease compared to people who drink hard water.2 Many possible reasons have been suggested for why this might be true, and just about every trace metal has been considered as a possibility.3 However, I believe that the real reason may simply be that hard water is more likely to contain sulfur.

      The ultimate source of sulfur is volcanic rock, mainly basalt, spewed up from the earth’s core during volcanic eruptions. It is generally believed that humans first evolved in the African rift zone, a region that would have enjoyed an abundance of sulfur due to the heavy volcanic activity there.

      The three principal suppliers of sulfur to the Western nations are Greece, Italy and Japan. These three countries also enjoy low rates of heart disease and obesity and increased longevity. In the United States, Oregon and Hawaii, two states with significant volcanic activity, have among the lowest obesity rates in the country. By contrast, the highest obesity rates are found in the midwest and in southern farm country: the epicenter of the modern agricultural practices (mega-farms) that lead to sulfur depletion in the soil. Among all fifty states, Oregon has the lowest childhood obesity rates.

      Hawaii’s youth are faring less well than their parents, however: while Hawaii ranks as the fifth from the bottom in obesity rates, its children aged ten through seventeen weigh in at number thirteen. As Hawaiians have recently become increasingly dependent on food imports from the mainland, they have suffered accordingly with increased obesity problems.

      In her recently published book, The Jungle Effect,25 Dr. Daphne Miller devotes a full chapter to Iceland in which she struggles to answer the question of why Icelanders enjoy such remarkably low rates of depression, despite living at a northern latitude, where one would expect a high incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder. She points out, furthermore, their excellent health record in other key areas: “When compared to North Americans, they have almost half the death rate from heart disease and diabetes, significantly less obesity, and a greater life expectancy. In fact, the average life span for Icelanders is amongst the longest in the world.” While she proposes that their high fish consumption, with associated high intake of omega-3 fats, may plausibly be the main beneficial factor, she puzzles over the fact that former Icelanders who move to Canada and also eat lots of fish do not also enjoy the same decreased rate of depression and heart disease.

      In my view, the key to Icelanders’ good health lies in the string of volcanoes that make up the backbone of the island, which sits atop the mid-Atlantic ridge crest. Dr. Miller pointed out that the mass exodus to Canada was due to extensive volcanic eruptions in the late 1800s, which blanketed the highly cultivated southeast region of the country. This means, of course, that the soils today are highly enriched in sulfur. The cabbage, beets and potatoes that are staples of the Icelandic diet are likely providing far more sulfur to Icelanders than their counterparts in the American diet provide.



      Sulfur-containing biological molecules like glutathione and the amino acids cysteine and methionine play an important role in redox (oxidation/reduction) reactions by tempering the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS); that is, by acting as potent antioxidants.1Closely related to this role in protecting from oxidation damage associated with aerobic metabolism is the potential role of sulfur in protection from radiation damage due to sun exposure, radiation treatments for cancer, or radiation exposure following a nuclear reactor meltdown.

      An awareness that sulfur protects against ionizing radiation dates back to at least 1949.10An enlightening article from 19835 showed, via experiments conducted at very low temperatures, that sulfur’s reaction to radiation is a secondary effect. The associated primary effect is ionization of oxygen, producing the highly reactive species, O2¯, Sulfur then responds by binding to the O2¯ and thus preventing other molecules from reacting adversely with it.

      Through an extensive review of the research literature on the response of human skin to the radiation in sunlight, I have come up with a theory for how sulfur could be intimately involved not just in preventing harm from sunlight, but rather by contrast in harnessing the sun’s energy and putting it to good use. I propose that sulfur, readily available from the active cysteines in an enzyme called (inappropriately) endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), reacts with two O2¯ ions produced by sunlight exposure to produce the highly stable and useful anion, sulfate. This reaction would take place in a cavity formed by two abutting molecules of eNOS (that is, an eNOS dimer). A positively charged zinc atom centered in the cavity8 draws in the two O2¯ ions to combine them with a nearby sulfur atom attached to a cysteine residue, to form a sulfate anion SO4 −2. The sulfate, then, in a subsequent reaction, combines with cholesterol to form cholesterol sulfate, a prominent component of the outer layers of the skin (and also of hair, feathers, fur and fingernails).

      An article that appeared in 2002 on the effects of irradiation treatment on aortic endothelial cells4 revealed that irradiation induces expression of another “inducible” nitric oxide synthase, iNOS. My belief is that the purpose of the iNOS in this case is identical to the purpose of eNOS in the skin: to mop up anticipated O2¯ radicals produced by the radiation, and to convert them to sulfate. The authors showed that if the cells are supplied with the substrate to produce nitric oxide, L-arginine, then this causes them to initiate a programmed cell death reaction called apoptosis. What happens is that the L-arginine binds to the iNOS (and the eNOS as well) and deflects these enzymes towards producing nitric oxide rather than sulfur dioxide. Unfortunately, under the right circumstances, nitric oxide can turn into the highly reactive species ONOO − (known in the vernacular as “oh, no!”)9and this can make the cell non-viable.

      A highly significant fact that supports a primary role for the NOS’s in producing sulfate is that red blood cells have an abundance of eNOS, but they are very careful to keep out its substrate L-arginine.6 This act has puzzled researchers, but the answer becomes clear when you realize that red blood cells are strong producers of cholesterol sulfate,11as well as major carriers of oxygen. This makes them a prime candidate for using eNOS to convert oxygen to sulfate (taking advantage of sunlight as a catalyst), and then shipping it to the tissues via the carrier molecule cholesterol sulfate. This action would both protect the red blood cell from oxidative damage and reduce the risk of damage due to oxygen exposure in other cells, as the oxygen supply contained in the sulfate constitutes safe transport of oxygen to these cells. I have little doubt that this is a productive (but overlooked) mode of oxygen transport in the body.

      The sulfur in cysteine plays a crucial role in protecting proteins from radiation damage. In experiments conducted in the late 1950s3, it was shown that proteins needed to contain only half a percent of cysteine by weight to be immune to any damage to the other amino acids in the protein. Proteins containing no cysteine produced complex irradiation spectra indicating that diverse chemical reactions had taken place.

      An article from Nature in 19622showed that sulfur has a remarkable ability to protect macromolecules in colloidal suspensions against cross-linking upon exposure to radiation. The effect was much larger than what the authors would have expected, given their understanding of possible mechanisms, so there is still something mysterious about sulfur’s protective role. Since molecules in the blood serum are in some sense a colloidal suspension, this behavior has relevance to protection from ionizing radiation of proteins like serum albumin, which contains significant amounts of cysteine.

      The best source of sulfur is the protein from animal products such as meat, fish and eggs. Sulfur is becoming depleted from the soil, so vegetables contain even less sulfur than they used to. It is therefore highly likely that vegetarians suffer from sulfur deficiency, which could affect their susceptibility to damage from radiation exposure.

      I put in the bold type. The extra numbers are for the footnotes at the WAPF article.

      LCHF Maintenance, Goal: Health First.
      Daily averages of 50-60P: 110-130F: 30-35C

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    • Interestingly with my chickens in natural circles it is increasingly common to feed/medicate your chickens with garlic (sulfur) to boost the immune system, treat worms etc

      The worming mash recipe I use which you feed to the chickens in the morning once a month contains 2 whole bulbs or garlic for just 10 birds!
      Low Carb in a Nutshell ~ Carb Counts ~ Research ~ Measurements/Conversions ~ Glossary

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