|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Angel, According to "Nutrition and Diet Therapy" by Williams, Sulfur is an essential mineral occuring in both elemental (sodium,potassium,and magnesium) and organic compound forms. It is present in all the cells of our bodies, typically as a constitute of cell protein. Nonprotein sulfur includes the organic compounds of sulfalipids and sulfatides. However, the largest amount of sulfur in the body is found in organic protein compounds including: 1) Sulfur containing amino acids: Methionine and Cysteine. These are the two most important sources of sulfur in the body. 2) Glycoproteins: Conjugates of sulfur and sulfuric acid with carbohydrate derivitives, such as chondroitin-sulfuric acid found in cartilage, tendon and bone matrix. 3) Detoxification products: Conjugates including phenol- and cresol-sulfuric acids and idoxyl sulfate, some of which is formed through bacterial activity in the intestine 4) Other organic compounds: Heparin, insulin, thiamin, biotin, lipoic acid, and coenzyme A. 5) Keratin: This is the protein of hair and skin Sulfur helps to maintain protein structure. Disulfide linkages form an important secondary structure between parallel peptide chains to maintain the structual stability of proteins. Sulfur additionally participates in enzyme activity through tissue respiration or biologic oxidation. Another function of sulfur is to contribute to detoxification. Toxic materials are conjugated with active sulfate and converted to non-toxic forms for excretion in the urine. I hope this helps to answer your question. Steve Williams
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