Friday, April 27, 2012

Histadelia and Sulfurs: Part V-c: Sulfites to Sulfates

Another subset of high-oxidative-stress, undermethylated bipolars have problems converting sulfites to sulfates. Overloaded sulfites transform into toxic sulfur compounds which increase the burden on antioxidants and detox agents, using up glutathione. Moreover the sulfates which should have been formed are important antioxidant and detox agents, which help spare glutathione. So, again, we can have difficulty joining methyl to B12, impeding formation of methionine and SAM, thereby fostering undermethylation.

Difficulty metabolizing sulfites to sulfates can be due to
A simple lack of molybdenum.
Chronic overload of sulfur compounds.
Underactivity of the enzyme, SUOX (sulfite oxidase) which catalyzes the oxidation of sulfite to sulfate.  

The basic chemistry is 
Sulfite + molybdenum + B6 (P5P) + SUOX  yields  Sulfate
See Methionine cycle, step 4, lower half of diagram. 
Check for elevated urinary sulfites.
Doing okay with sulfates and taurine (which converts to a sulfate without using SUOX), but reacting to sulfur supplements and foods, especially eggs, suggests sulfite to sulfate conversion problems.

Sulfates are needed in nerve, bone and cartilege formation, mucin creation, liver detox, and catecholamine inactivation. Thus, the following conditions may be associated with low sulfate formation (or with low sulfation):

Overstimulation: Sulfation inactivates thyroid hormone and catecholamines (e.g., dopamine).  (Interesting overview at
— Inflammation.
—Arthritis and other joint/cartilege maintenance and repair problems (think MSM and glucosamine).
Digestive symptoms: leaky gut, irritable bowel, low stomach acid, gall bladder hypofunction (problems with fats), low digestive enzymes, constipation.

Molybdenum (in legumes) helps form sulfate (as well as BH4 -- see previous post). Low uric acid or intolerance to alcohol can also suggest low molybdenum.
P5P (a form of B6) may also be needed.
However, too much of either can be counterproductive.
Hydroxy B12, boron, and vitamin E (along with the molybdenum 2x/day) may help increase SUOX activity. (Roberts)
Restict/avoid sulfites. (An upbeat non-medical discussion of sulfites here).
Sulfates, if depleted, will be helpful: 
—Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).  Can be added to baths, but this is contraindicated if there is any danger of falling asleep in the bath, or if taking antipsychotics, anxiety or sleep meds, or consuming alcohol or other suppressants. An epsom salt foot soak, epsom sprays, or creams may be used instead.  Or a combo of sources.  E.g., see enzyme stuff, about half-way down the page. 

—MSM, glutathione sulfate, or NAC may or may not help.

Phenol and salicylate restriction is often indicated as sulfates are used up in their metabolism. More on phenols and salicylates next post.

Reminder: This information is presented for educational purposes only, and is not intended as diagnosis or treatment recommendations for the individual. Even within the histadelic subgroup, each person's biochemical requirements tend to be unique. So if you need treatment for depression, mania, bipolar, or any other medical condition, please consult a knowledgeable physician. 

For info on the role of histadelia in bipolar disorder, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder
   available at

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