Sulfur is a key mineral found in many proteins and enzymes throughout the body. Naturally occurring at hot springs and volcanoes, sulfur has a distinctive “rotten egg” smell when it reacts with oxygen in the air. Sulfur can be ingested in the forms of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which and can be found naturally in some foods or taken as a supplement, and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), a chemical approved for medicinal purposes. Foods high in sulfur include garlic, onions, eggs, beef, poultry, and seafood, and MSM can also be found in fruit, some grains, and milk.
Sulfur can be used topically or ingested to alleviate the symptoms of numerous conditions. Sulfur baths, for example, can be used to decrease the swelling caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. DMSO can also be applied topically as a cream to relieve pain or in the treatment of skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, warts, dandruff, eczema, folliculitis, dermatitis, and scabies. It has also been used to reduce the symptoms of shingles by relieving pain and inflammation. Preliminary studies suggest that MSM can reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, but more data is needed to determine the extent of that effect.
Most people do not need to take a sulfur supplement, as they consume enough sulfur in their diet. Supplement dosages are determined by what disorder is being treated, and doses range from 500 to 3,000 mg daily. Sulfur should not be administered to children. MSM does not appear to interact with other medications, but DMSO may interact with several medications. Talk to your doctor before starting a sulfur regimen.
Sulfur can produce an allergic reaction characterized by skin rashes, itching, hives, or swelling of face, lips, or tongue. Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of skin inside the mouth are also possible.
Research done by Ms. Christina Perri
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