The forgotten nutrient

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Bath, in England, possesses mineral-rich hot springs. In 43 AD, the Romans began the development of Bath as a bathing complex. Since the Roman period, the area’s natural thermal springs have been the center of Bath’s attraction. “One would think the English were ducks, they are for ever waddling to the waters“, said Horace Walpole in 1790.

In the Georgian and Regency era, the city became the height of upper society chic with splendid architecture, elegant shopping, opulent bathing rooms and grand assembly rooms (think Jane Austen).

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Roman-Baths

Roman bath

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Taking the waters became fashionable and spa towns flourished. Wherever wealth and breeding discovered new and exclusive waters, making them into fashionable spas, the towns developing around them.

Such a smell

Around the end of the 17th century, a visitor to Bath, Celia Fiennes, complained that water from the spring was “very hot and tastes like the water that boyles eggs, has such a smell.”

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Spring_water,_Bath_Somerset_-_geograph.org.uk_-_292193The waters

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Today you can still “take the waters” at Bath.  A Pump Room attendant will happily draw you a generous glass of malodorous, lukewarm water directly from Bath’s famous springs, and you can sip it while pondering the  history of the spa.

Therapeutic value

Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals, or other dissolved substances, that give it its therapeutic value.

Salts, sulphur compounds, and gases are among the substances that can be dissolved in the spring water during its passage underground. The ingredient in that malodorous water that smells like eggs is sulphur.

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hotspringsSoaking in Hot Sulfur Springs

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As you drive into Glenwood Springs, Colorado, you can smell the springs before you can see them! The distinctive rotten eggs smell of sulphur is everywhere.

Sulphur has been called “the forgotten nutrient”. It is, however, emerging as a key player in the process of methylation.

We now know that, in this process, the body uses  sulphur to add methyl “donors” to various molecules in the body – proteins, DNA, neurotransmitters, etc. – to keep them clean, healthy, and operating well.

Without successful ongoing methylation, DNA is left vulnerable to mutation, detoxification is impaired, the mitochondria (powerhouses) of our cells become exhausted, and we get fatigued and sick.

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sulfurSulphur

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The methylation cycle regulates the entire sulphur metabolism in the body. The role of the methylation cycle in the sulphur metabolism is to supply sulphur-containing metabolites to form a variety of important substances, including cysteine, glutathione, taurine and sulphate, via its connection with the transsulphuration pathway. This cycle balances the demands for methylation and for control of oxidative stress (think glutathione).

Epsom salts

Celia Fiennes (1662-1741) travelled extensively to improve her health, visiting many English spa towns. Not only did she complain about the smell of the water in Bath, she wrote about Epsom too;  “Monday is the high day in Epsom

Monday was in fact the ordinary day for the kinds of recreation not permitted on Sunday, until the later invention of the weekend. From the early seventeenth century, people had flocked to places where sulphur-rich waters were readily available. One of the earliest of these places was Epsom.

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Epsom

An artist’s impression of Epsom Common with an early well building

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The healing powers of the waters were discovered in 1618 or thereabouts. A villager called Henry Wicker was looking after animals on Epsom Common in a dry summer, when there was a shortage of water for cattle. He found a trickle of water in the hollow hoofprint of a cow, and dug a square hole about it before taking the animals home for the night.

Returning the next day he found the hole that he had made was full and running over with clear water. But his cattle, however thirsty, would not drink from it because of its mineral taste.

Wicker tried the water himself, and was the first person in history to experience the effects of Epsom salts. Enthusiastically, he set about promoting the waters as a medicine – and Epsom Salts eventually became known all over the world.

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EpsomSaltTinFront

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Epsom Salt is NOT salt at all. It is magnesium sulphate, and it is widely recognized for its healing properties. We now know that magnesium and sulphur are both readily absorbed through the skin.

Magnesium plays a vast number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, including those involved in the methylation cycle.

Sulphur helps improve the absorption of nutrients, and flush toxins out of the body. Both magnesium and sulphur are involved in the production of glutathione.

Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy produced in the mitochondria.

Correct magnesium and sulphate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, helping to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.

The forgotten nutrient is enjoying a comeback. We’re rediscovering the health benefits of sulphur as science reveals it’s role in methylation.

Click here for details of a study that demonstrated
the effectivness of transdermal Epsom Salts

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Eat up your greens!

Grandmother was right! Dark green leafy vegetables are good for you – they’re rich sources of both magnesium and sulphur (provided they’ve been grown on soild that hasn’t been depleted of minerals).

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dark-green-leafy-vegetables-in-colander-elena-elisseeva

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi and other
cruciferous vegetables – rich in sulphur and magnesium

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Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives and other members of the Allium genus are high  sulfur-containing compounds

Because sulphur is a component of amino acids, you derive much of the sulphur that you need from protein-based foods like beef, chicken and fish.  Vegans can use legumes like beans and lentils as a protein source to meet their sulphur requirements. Egg yolks are another sulphur-rich food.

whey powderOne of the most valuable sources of sulphur is undenatured whey powder – rich in sulphur-containing cysteine and methionine. The methylation cycle (also called the methionine cycle) is a major part of the biochemistry of sulphur and of methyl groups in the body – and the production of glutathione.

The methylation cycle is also tightly linked to folate metabolism and is one of the two biochemical processes in the human body that require vitamin B12 (the other being the methylmalonate pathway, which enables use of certain amino acids to provide energy to the mitochondria of the cells).

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Listen to what Dr Mercola has to say about sulphur

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San-Pellegrino-Sparkling-WaterSparkling San Pellegrino,
one of the few mineral waters
that contain sulfate ions

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Health information is not a substitute for good diagnosis,
and a doctor should be consulted when illness is present

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