The sulfur is a nonmetallic element that is located in the VIA group or family of the oxygen in the periodic table of chemical elements. Its name derives from the Latin Sulfur, which is why its salts are called sulfides . It is a yellowish solid with a strong pungent , foul aroma , and is characterized by the ease with which it reacts with other chemical species.Sulfur has an atomic number of 16, and its melting point is 116 ° C . In its solid state, it is of a light greenish yellow color; when heated to the mentioned temperature, it changes to a deep red, in a highly flammable form, and its flames are a striking pale blue color.This mineral is abundant in nature, both in the earth’s crust and in the upper mantle. It is located more concentrated in volcanic areas , in geysers and hot springs , as it arises with the magma and accompanying the lava and ashes. It is part of the essential minerals for life, as all protein chains need it for their synthesis .

What is sulfur for?

Since ancient times, sulfur has had uses as a flavoring agent in temples and as a fungicide and disinfectant in medicine and veterinary medicine. In the form of the compound calcium sulfate CaSO 4 , also called gypsum , as a building material. In the form of sulfuric acid H 2 SO 4 , as a chemical reagent. Also, as organic substances, in food and pharmaceutical production.

The pure sulfur has many functions, especially in the life cycle, it is indispensable to create secondary nutrient protein chains containing all forms of life. In its elemental form (S), it is used in medicine to treat infections and skin problems, such as acne.

It serves to:

  • Fix health problems
  • Add yourself in industrial activities
  • Processes of nature
  • Treat skin conditions
  • Treat collagen deficiency
  • Adding to dietary supplements
  • Producir Methylsulfonylmethane
  • Composing fertilizers, insecticides, and cleaners

Sulfur is a powerful acne cleansing agent.

Solve health or activity problems

Sulfur is used to solve conditions that occur in the body, especially in the skin and digestive organs. Also, in some everyday problems, this element is applied for a quick and effective solution.

Among the problems that sulfur solves are:

  • Acne
  • Seborrhea
  • Urticaria
  • Fungosis in animals and plants
  • Skin infections
  • Oily skin
  • Dandruff
  • Hair fungus
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Premature old age
  • Joint problems
  • Shortage of collagen synthesis
  • Intestinal problems
  • Brittle hair
  • Low fertile soil for crops
  • Pests on crops or houses
  • In affected or blown tires, it serves as an additive for rubber, in vulcanization

Add yourself in industrial activities

Since the 19th century, sulfur has been used to improve the strength of rubber, in a process called vulcanization . In this phenomenon, the rings of eight sulfur atoms S 8 are chained with the structure of the rubber , so that a renewed and uniform surface is achieved.

Sulfur is still used today to strengthen the strength of a variety of materials , such as plastics and asphalt, and to bleach fabrics and paper . However, one of its main uses is undoubtedly the production of sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ) , a highly reactive product with wide application in the food, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries.

Processes of nature

In nature, sulfur fulfills multiple functions, since coenzymes, amines and protein chains require it to be synthesized; its role in the life cycle is very relevant, since both animals and plants require it for the formation of proteins and the generation and proper functioning of cells.

The unpleasant smell of sulfur is due to hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) , a gas that results from the decomposition by bacteria of proteins that include sulfur in their structures. This gas is also present in volcanoes, petrochemical refineries, petroleum, sulfur mines, and decaying organisms.

Treat skin conditions

One of the most recognized properties of sulfur of antiquity is its ability to heal or restore skin lesions, related to infections and excess fat. Its antibacterial and fungicidal properties are used.

Sulfur helps control fungal and bacterial infections that cause acne and other skin conditions. For this, it was used in ancient times by means of sulfur or sulfurous thermal baths, or it was applied directly on the affected area, in the form of ointments.

Today, sulfur ointments, soaps, and creams continue to be used to treat acne. However, it is not advisable to apply them so frequently, as the skin can suffer a gradual redness and, in the longer period, minor burns that can leave a mark.

Treat collagen deficiency

Proteins need sulfur to be synthesized, as one of the functions of this element is to help the long protein chains of keratin stay together . Therefore, with the deficiency of natural sulfur, hair, nails and skin are usually more prone to breakage.

Many hair and skin treatments and remedies, such as shampoo, include ingredients with high concentrations of sulfur, such as onion, garlic, and eggs. These help restore lost flexibility in skin and hair tissue.

Adding to dietary supplements

There are many drugs that use various chemical forms of sulfur, either to enhance the effects of other substances or to help the body make better use of the sulfur that comes from food.

Producir Methylsulfonylmethane

Methylsulfonylmethane is a sulfur-containing drug that, according to its creators, is a panacea or spectacular remedy, especially for joint-related diseases.

Due to the scarcity of scientific evidence, methylsulfonylmethane is considered an ineffective drug for fighting diseases , and only partially useful for some cases of osteoarthritis. The sulfur present in onions, garlic and other foods has been used in the form of nutritional supplements based on these ingredients.

Composing fertilizers, insecticides, and cleaners

Sulfur has been used for centuries to treat pests, both insects and bacteria and fungi. Of sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ) sulfates (Metal-derived SO 4 ), which are chemical compounds used to cleaners, detergents and insecticides . Among the most common, added to liquid cleaners, is sodium lauryl ether sulfate .

Sulfur has also been used directly, burning so that the gases that are formed, sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and sulfur trioxide (SO 3 ), disinfect rooms, barrels and temples. Blooming sulfur has also been applied to plants, such as rose bushes, where it treats fungal infestations.

Currently, sulfur dioxide is also used as a food preservative, especially for vegetable products or fruit-based preparations.

Sulfuric acid, a compound of sulfur, is a raw material for many products.

Sulfur side effects

Sulfur, in its natural form and like its derivatives, can be very toxic, corrosive and harmful. This is the case of hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S), also called hydrogen sulfide, which is a gas that causes the rotten smell of decomposing organisms.

Direct contact of this gas with the respiratory tract can cause irritation and damage to the lungs and the mucosa that protects and lubricates the respiratory system. In some cases, if the concentration is high, it can cause death.

Sulfuric acid can also be dangerous, as it is one of the strongest acids and is highly corrosive; its vapor is quite aggressive. It is due to the high toxicity of sulfur derivatives that it is recommended to use the appropriate personal protective equipment.

By itself, pure sulfur can be irritating on direct skin contact, especially on sensitive skin or diseased epidermis. The sulfur that animals and humans use comes from plants that are ingested and from sulfides that exist in nature.

Industrial derivatives and some natural compounds, when mixed with natural sulfur, can be harmful.

Some side effects of contact with sulfur are:

  • Intestinal disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Poisoning
  • Lung irritation
  • Skin irritation
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Reproductive problems (from sulfur contamination)

The consumption of pure sulfur or its derivatives is not recommended without the supervision of a doctor, by patients such as pregnant women and lactating women.

This article is educational only and is not a substitute for professional medical opinion. Consult a doctor

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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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