The inorganic sulphates of food cannot be utilized foe building tissue proteins. They are excreted as such: the sulfur containing amino acids of food serves two broad functions. First, they are utilized by the body to build up tissue proteins and for the synthesis of various sulfur compounds. Secondly these amino acids break down and the sulfur liberated from them is mostly oxidized in the liver into sulphuric acid. This acid is partly excreted as inorganic sulphates and partly as the ethereal sulphates in the urine.
Sulfur derived from the breakdown of the endogenous proteins undergoes a different fate. It escapes further oxidation and is excreted as neutral sulfur compound, which is a true index of endogenous protein metabolism.
Sources of sulfur
Some important sources of sulfur are Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, cranberries, meat, fish, egg yolks, onion, garlic.
Benefits of sulfur
Sulfur is related to the maintenance of hardness with certain amount of elasticity in various tissues of the body, for instance, hair, hoofs, horns, cartilages, nails etc.
It is a constituent of essential amino acid methionine.
Taurocholic acid of bile is derived from taurine, which is synthesized from sulfur containing amino acid cystine.
It is related to O2 carriage and the oxidative processes of the body. For instance, a) Glutathione is a sulfur containing tripeptide. It takes an important part in tissue oxidation. B) It is an ingredient of the hormone insulin, which is concerned with the metabolism of carbohydrate mainly, and partly protein and fat. As a constituent of thiamine and biotin, it takes part in tissue oxidation.
Sulfur acts as the active radical of some enzymes. The enzymes lipase and phosphates, etc. contain SH (sulphdryl) radical, upon which there characteristic action depends.
The milk-coagulating enzyme rennin contains sulfur.
Heparin, which is believed to prevent intravascular clotting normally, contains sulfur.
The sulfur containing amino acid cystine is used in the detoxication of toxic substances, such as bromobenzene, which is excreted as mercapturic acid. Exogenous sulfur is oxidized into sulphuric acid. This sulphuric acid is partly used to detoxicate substances like indoxyl and forms ethereal sulphate. A part of it forms inorganic sulphate by neutralizing alkalis and thus helping to maintain blood reaction constant.
Deficiency symptoms of sulfur
Some important symptoms of sulfur deficiency are:
- Muscle pain
- Back pain
- Nerve disorders
- Circulatory problems
- Skin disorders
- Dry skin
- Urinary tract disorders
- Free radical damage
- Various muscle and skeletal disorders