The “Fountain of Youth” exists today, outside of folklore or mythology and it’s within our grasp.
I’m not speaking of immortality. As humans, living on an overpopulated planet, it would be more responsible to have a limited lifespan.
We can, however, all live longer if we could simply manage to keep ourselves from being collectively overfed, malnourished, deconditioned, under stimulated, over medicated or blatantly misinformed.
I theorize that the “Fountain of Youth” is a nutritionally disregarded compound, which if we consumed regularly in our diets, would help our bodies achieve the kind of balance required to live 100 years or more and in relatively good health.
Time. Other than your health, what can be more valuable than that? If you want it, you’ll have more time to spend it with your loved ones, your children, your grandchildren and even your great- grandchildren. You’ll have that time to travel, educate yourself even further, and even the time to stop and smell the roses. Do what you want with the extra years. Just don’t spend your last few moments on this earth being dependent on others, in the hospital or in palliative care. It will only be then, from my experience with clients, that you realize how much more valuable your health, along with time, has become.
The problem with the research on human longevity is the realization that any controlled group study based on trying to determine a specific influence for a long life would take a very long period. Specifically, it would take validating extremely long lifetimes. It would require gathering a very large group of participants, paid researchers to keep track of the data and unfortunately, the financial promise of some kind of marketable success, to justify the cost of this kind of enormous study. This of course, would be unlikely for any unpatentable, natural compound, that couldn’t turn any profit.
The best solution we have is to make logical inferences, based on the information that already exists.
First, we need to find a collection of people around the world, that are all clustered together, already living very long, healthy lives.
Then we need to figure out what all these clustered groups of Super Agers may have in common.
Lastly, we need to narrow down at least one single commonality of these Super Agers that differs from the rest of the world and simply reproduce it.
I have already done this for you!
So what is this “Fountain of Youth”?
There are 5 regions of the world where a higher than average number of Super Agers thrive. They are called Blue Zones.
The 5 official Zones are in Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece and Ogliastra Region, Sardinia.
In March 2000, Michel Poulain and Giovanni Mario Pes, studying longevity in Sardinia, invented the term Blue Zone, simply because of a blue marker they used on their map to highlight areas of extraordinary human longevity.
Subsequently, they identified two other longevity zones; Loma Linda, California and Okinawa, Japan. Author and explorer, Dan Buettner, then made the Blue Zone term famous in a story for National Geographic Magazine in a 2005 edition, “Secrets of Long Life”.
In 2006, Buetner worked with Michel Poulain and Costa Rican demographer, Dr. Luiss Rosero-Bixby to identify a fourth Blue Zone in Nicoya Peninsula and then again, he worked with Poulain for the discovery of the fifth in Ikaria.
In all five places, the Super Agers ate a predominantly plant-based diet.
Beans are the cornerstone of their diet. Whole grains, vegetables and fruit round it out. This is important because, in my discovery, their diet is also a delivery mechanism for the compound needed for their great health!
Outside of these zones we can all eat plant based diets but still not reap the same benefits of longevity. I wondered why and searched for a plausible answer.
These communities are relatively isolated, so their food has to be grown locally.
Why is that important?
Because it’s not entirely about what you eat. More importantly, it’s really about what you eat, “eats” or consumes. Meaning, there is something very special about the environment in these Blue Zones that sets their food apart from the rest of the planet as a prime spot for helping its residents age extremely well.
Is there is something in the water?
Every Blue Zone is in a warm, mild and temperate climate. This means, that almost every food that is locally grown, is available year round.
All these regions are all also in the vicinity of hot-springs.
There are very few studies on the relationship between hot-springs and groundwater. I strongly believe that the mixing of ground water with hot-spring discharge and subsequently the plants’ utilization of this unique water source is the driving factor to the creation of these Super Agers.
This is their Fountain of Youth!
But what’s in that water?
Hot-springs contain high amounts of sulfur.
Sulfur is the third most abundant and important mineral element found in our bodies. Generally, the organic form is available in our diets, almost exclusively from some of the amino acids in the proteins we consume.
So where do the plants and animals get it from?
Sulfur in the Blue Zone soils and possibly the local drinking water may have sulfur present in a variety of organic and inorganic forms.
Sulfates present in soil, is drawn up by plants. When these sulfates are taken up by plants and microbes, they are converted into an organic form. The local inhabitants and animals eat these plants and thereby reap the supplemental benefits.
Hot-springs are the longevity source.
Why is organic sulfur such an important factor in Blue Zone longevity?
It’s not, actually. Maybe the Super Agers are just living a normal lifetime.
I believe the problem is that everyone else outside of these zones has a quality of life that is shortened because it’s deprived of an optimal amount of organic sulfur.
Even though, sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in the body, after calcium and phosphorous, there is no measurable recommended daily allowance (RDA) for it.
That makes absolutely no sense!
It is available in our diets in foods such as garlic, onion, broccoli, and only abundantly if it’s grown in sulfur rich soil. It is also present in just 2 out of the 20 amino acids present in protein – Cysteine and Methionine. Methionine cannot be synthesized and has to be supplied by our diet.
A study published in 2007 by Marcel Nimni, Bo Han and Fabiola Cardoba, concluded that a significant proportion of the population, disproportionately the aged, may not be receiving sufficient sulfur.
So even if we can adhere to a plant based Blue Zone diet and of course, an active lifestyle, we will not reap the full benefits of it unless it’s supplemented with organic sulfur.
How can we do that?
The answer is MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane.
It is a relatively new compound that is chemically identical to organic sulfur.
In 2008, the FDA gave MSM a GRAS status (Generally Recognized As Safe), allowing it to be added to meal supplements and meal replacement foods. It’s a white, crystalline powder found in Health Food stores or online.
I, myself, being over 50 years old, now take about 2.5 grams or half a teaspoon of MSM every evening with an overnight oats/protein mix. I’ve been taking MSM diligently for the past three years. As a powder, just by itself, it does have a slightly bitter taste that takes a little getting used to, but the benefits far outweigh the bitter taste. MSM capsules are available also. I recommend just 2.5 grams per day. You can have it on an empty stomach but even with food, like me, Its ok.
What are the Benefits of MSM?
I have personally noticed the elimination of inflammation and joint pain along with increased energy. Along with decreasing joint pain, MSM research studies show that supplementation also:
- has anti-inflammatory effects,
- can speed post exercise recovery,
- reduces arthritic pain and stiffness,
- decreases inflammation,
- boosts immunity,
- improves skin health,
- may inhibit the growth of some cancers.
These benefits of MSM supplementation are so similar to the attributes enjoyed by the Blue Zone Super Agers, one can deduce that the golden sulphur seeping from thermal springs has always been the balancing factor needed for long healthy life.
Organic Sulfur or MSM is generally cost efficient, safe and can be made abundant enough to benefit an entire planet’s population.
I believe that simple MSM supplementation would cause a result in the world’s cost in healthcare to drop dramatically. Our quality of life would definitely increase if more people supplemented with MSM daily.
I would personally urge our governments to assist their medical and scientific communities to develop studies on this theory and come to workable solutions.
Individually, I urge you to perform your own due diligence before you come to your own conclusions. Check out some of the research links included here and search your own as well!
- Are We Getting Enough Sulfur in our Diet?
- Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement
- The Island Where People Forget to Die – New York Times Magazine
- The Secrets of Longevity – Blue Zones, National Geographic
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In the meantime
and live well!
Personal Trainer specializing in Rehabilitative Exercise Training, Human Performance, Active Aging and Longevity Research ~Founder of Actions Speak Louder Fitness and Nutrition
2 thoughts on “Sulfur Theory: The Secret of the Fountain of Youth – by Eric Savva”
Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!
There is a lot of very good information here. All new to me and good to know. Thanks for sharing. I will be buying some MSM and taking it regularly!
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