Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stephanie Seneff Writes About Sulfur Deficiency?



Could Sulfur Deficiency be a Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer's and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

By Stephanie Seneff

1. Introduction

Obesity is quickly becoming the number one health issue confronting America today, and has also risen to epidemic proportions worldwide. Its spread has been 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 in addressing the issues of nutritional deficiencies. In fact, the American Food and Drug Administration 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, in that we are unable to synthesize it ourselves, 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 there is a lack of awareness that this matters.

Experts have recently become aware that sulfur depletion in the soil creates a serious deficiency for plants [Jez2008], brought about in part by improved efficiency in farming and in part, ironically, by successful attempts to clean up air pollution. Over the last two decades, the U.S. farming industry has steadily consolidated into highly technologized mega farms. The high yield per acre associated with these farms results in greater depletion of sulfur each year by the tall, densely planted crops. Plants require sulfur in the form of the sulfate radical (SO4-2). 

Bacteria in well aerated soil, similar to nitrogen fixing bacteria, can convert elemental sulfur into sulfate through an oxidation process. Coal contains a significant amount of sulfur, and factories that burn coal for energy release sulfur dioxide into the air. Over time, sun exposure converts the sulfur dioxide to sulfate, a significant contributor to acid rain. Acid rain is a serious pollutant, in that hydrogen sulfate, a potent acid, penetrates lakes, making them too acidic for lifeforms to thrive. The Clean Air Act, enacted by congress in 1980, has led to substantial decreases in the amount of acid rain released into the atmosphere. Factories have introduced highly effective scrubbing technologies to comply with the law, and, as a consequence, less sulfate makes its way back into the soil.

Modern farmers apply highly concentrated fertilizer to their soil, but this fertilizer is typically enriched in phosphates and often contains no sulfur. Excess phosphates interfere with sulfur absorption. In the past, organic matter and plant residues remained after the fruit and grain were harvested. Such accumulating organic matter used to be a major source of recyclable sulfur. However, many modern machinery-based methods remove a great deal more of the organic matter in addition to the edible portions of the plant. So the sulfur in the decaying organic matter is also lost.

It is estimated that humans obtain about 10% of their sulfur supply from drinking water. Remarkably, people who drink soft water have an increased risk to heart disease compared to people who drink hard water [Crawford1967]. Many possible reasons have been suggested for why this might be true ( Proposed theories for soft water/hard water differences in heart disease), and just about every trace metal has been considered as a possibility [Biorck1965]. 

However, I believe that the real reason may simply be that hard water is more likely to contain sulfur. The sulfate ion is the most useful form of sulfur for humans to ingest. Water softeners provide a convenient environment for sulfur-reducing bacteria, which convert sulfate (SO4-2) into sulfide (S-2), emitting hydrogen sulfide gas. Hydrogen sulfide gas is a poison that has been known to cause nausea, illness and, in extreme cases, death. When the bacteria are thriving, the gas will diffuse into the air and give off a foul odor. 

Obviously, it is rare that the concentration is sufficiently high to cause severe problems. But the sulfate ion is lost through the process. Water that is naturally soft, such as water collected from rain run-off, also contains little or no sulfur, because it has gone through an evaporation-condensation cycle, which leaves behind all the heavier molecules, including sulfur.

2. Sulfur Availability and Obesity Rates

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 from a common ape ancestor in the African rift zone, a region that would have enjoyed an abundance of sulfur due to the heavy volcanic activity there. 

The three principle 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 South America, a line of volcanoes tracks the backbone of Argentina. 

Argentinians have a much lower obesity rate than their neighbors to the east in Brazil. 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 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. Significantly, Hawaii's youth are faring less well than their parents: while Hawaii ranks as the fifth from the bottom in obesity rates, its children aged 10-17 weigh in at number 13. As Hawaii has recently become increasingly dependent on food imports from the mainland to supply their needs, they have suffered accordingly with increased obesity problems.

In her recently published book, The Jungle Effect [Miller2009], Dr. Daphne Miller devotes a full chapter to Iceland (pp. 127-160). In this chapter, 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 (SAD). 

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." (P. 133). While she proposes that their high fish consumption, with associated high intake of omega three fats, may plausibly be the main beneficial source, she puzzles over the fact that former Icelanders who moved 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 (p. 136) that the mass exodus to Canada was due to extensive volcanic eruptions in the late 1800's that blanketed the highly cultivated southeast region of the country. This means, of course, that the soils 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. (snip) ...

NOTE: This is a lengthy article where the author writes 10 points about sulphur and she lists 39 References at the end of the article. 


Readers are cordially invited to read the complete article at this website: http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/sulfur_obesity_alzheimers_muscle_wasting.html

AND the article is also posted at this website:

NOTE: Jonathan Landsman interviewed Stephanie Seneff on the Natural News Talk Hour on Sunday, July 27th. Full details at this website:

NOTE: Another relevant and interesting article is titled: "How The Sulfur Cycle Works In Crop Nutrition."

NOTE:  For Canadian consumers to order a single pound of pure organic sulphur, from the USA - the cost is $40.00 (US Funds) plus approximately $20.00 (US Funds) shipping costs. Then Customs adds their fee at the border. Since our Canadian dollar has recently declined to around the value of 90 cents this means the cost of a single pound of pure organic sulphur is approximately $70.00 (Canadian Funds.)

I am willing to purchase a case of 10 pounds of pure organic sulphur - at a discounted price and offer a single pound for sale at $50.00 (Canadian Funds). I need commitments for a few orders to make this happen. Let me know how many pounds you are willing to purchase at $50.00 (Canadian funds). Shipping costs will be $10.00 (Canadian Funds).

Sincerely,
Tom J. Kennedy
Tel: 1-613-422-0339

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