Reader asks, Why not take sulfur instead of MSM?

My response

Found in every living cell, sulfur is certainly an essential mineral. As it relates to human health, sulfur is a “team player,” providing vital bodily functions by its use and integration with other nutrients and compounds.

For instance, methionine (or L-methionine), cysteine, and taurine are sulfur-based amino acids that cannot be made internally by our bodies and are necessary for optimal health. Sulfur also plays a key role in the health of our hair, skin, and nails and is a constituent of vitamin B1, biotin, and the master antioxidant known as glutathione.

Methylsulfonylmethane is the chemical name for a popular food supplement known as MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane is naturally found in certain types of primitive plants and can be thought of in terms of its three named components: methyl + sulfur + methane. As noted on Wikipedia (, a methyl group is a molecule derived from methane and consists of one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms. Methyl groups are highly reactive.

Methylation cycle

Dr. Amy Yasko coined the term ‘methylation cycle’ to describe how the body is designed to function in a healthy manner by the continuous process of transferring methyl group molecules back and forth between homocysteine, a non-protein amino acid which is potentially harmful, and methionine, which is beneficial. Various dietary supplements are available to serve as methyl group donors, including MSM and SAMe (described below).

What is SAMe? | About Health | Updated Sep 16, 2015

The supplement SAMe, also known as S-adenosylmethionine, is a synthetic form of a compound formed naturally in the body from the essential amino acid methionine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-producing compound found in all cells in the body. It was first discovered in 1953. SAMe is believed to work by being a methyl group donor in many reactions in the body. After donating the methyl group, it is converted to a compound called S-adenosyl-homocysteine.

When the methylation cycle is functioning normally and there is an adequate supply of methyl groups available to convert harmful homocysteine into methionine, toxins from our food and environment become water-soluble which enables our bodies to release them safely through urine and feces. On the other hand, when the methylation cycle is impaired to where our bodies are coping with an abundance of homocysteine, our immune system is liable to become compromised which can ultimately lead to serious illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

MSM supplements found in health food stores are often adulterated with anti-caking agents such as silicon dioxide or heated above sulfur’s melting point of 239°F (115°C) — standard manufacturing procedures which transform MSM into a mild laxative without the added health benefits. In contrast, Organic Sulfur For Health offers a potent form of MSM crystals that has not been damaged in this manner during processing.

Click here to download an Adobe PDF copy of Organic Sulfur For Health’s Certificate of Analysis report (email address required to download).


Methylation for Dummies
You’ve got to be kidding
Oct 6, 2014

The Element Sulfur
Jefferson Lab

Sulfur is unquestionably an essential nutrient. So why doesn’t anyone consider it that?
By Jack Challem | NaturoDoc

The Vanishing Nutrient That Your Skin, Muscle and Bones Depend On
Dr. Mercola

Amino Acids Study

Why not take sulfur instead of MSM?
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