Sulfur Supplement and Food Lists

sulfur

Sulfur – So What?

Some patients have difficulty clearing sulfur (sulfites and/or sulfates) from their system, most often due to specific genetic inheritance from either or both parents.

We screen for this via genetic saliva testing and urine testing of sulfites and sulfates in the office.

An intolerance to sulfur can manifest as asthma/shortness of breath, hives/itchy skin, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, flushing, high or low blood pressure, brain fog, chronic stress (via elevation of cortisol and glutamate) and fatigue.  Patients who are intolerant to sulfa drugs should suspect an issue here and consider testing.

It’s important to keep in mind that limiting sulfur foods should be short-term since the body does need sulfur to make many critical compounds, such as glutathione and taurine. The length of time needed to lower urine sulfites/sulfates varies and is monitored with at-home urine testing of these levels.

There are many foods and supplements that are sulfur-containing, but we have had good success with limiting only those that are highest in sulfur, so keep in mind that many sulfur-containing items will not be included here.

It may take several weeks for urine testing to normalize to the desired level of <800. If you start out at >1600, keep in mind that your levels may actually be far above that since the strips do not reflect anything higher. In that case, it may take several weeks before your levels begin to shift lower on the testing strips.

In addition to lowering sulfur consumption through diet and supplements, we find Sparga Sulfur detox helps to assist in this process. (Use 10 drops in 4 ounces of water 1-2 times daily.) Some people require molybdenum or boron (or other nutrient support) since it gets used up in detoxification of sulfites.

Sulfur-Containing Supplements

  • *Alpha Lipoic Acid (or thioctic acid)
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • *Cysteine
  • DMPS
  • DMSA/*DMSO
  • Epsom Salts (baths)
  • Garlic
  • Glucosamine Sulfate
  • *Glutathione
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • *Methionine
  • Milk Thistle
  • *MSM
  • *N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
  • Sulfur-containing meds (antibiotics, sulfonylurea, etc)
  • Taurine

*These items are not only high in sulfur—they are high in thiols as well.

Medications that Increase Sulfur

  • Bactrim
  • All diuretics except spironolactone

Sulfur Containing Foods

  • Arugula
  • Coconut milk, juice, oil
  • Cruciferous veggies, including:  bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard leaves, radish, turnips, watercress
  • Dairy (except butter)
  • Dried fruits
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Legumes and dried beans
  • Lime/lemon juice in bottle
  • Meat and fish
  • Nuts
  • Onions (leeks, shallots, chives also)
  • Wine and grape juice

What About Thiol?

There are many who believe thiol content is more significant than actual sulfur content of foods. When a food contains thiols, it can cause elevation of sulfur. When foods don’t contain a high amount of thiols, it is believed the sulfur in these foods stays complexed with methionine and does not significantly raise sulfur levels.

Other common foods and supplements not listed on the high sulfur list that are high in free thiols are:

Supplements High In Free Thiols

  • Bromelain
  • Chlorella
  • Cysteine
  • Dairy sourced acidophilus
  • Papain

Foods High In Free Thiols

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Bean sprouts
  • Buckwheat
  • Carob and chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Green beans
  • Jicama
  • Papaya
  • Peas (split and fresh)
  • Pineapple
  • Rutabaga
  • Soy
  • Spinach

Turmeric is not high in sulfur or thiols, but has been found to raise  levels significantly. I have not been able to find an explanation for this. If anyone has heard of one, I would be grateful for the reference.

Finally, Food Additives

Also pay attention to these food additives:

  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Sodium sulfite
  • Sodium bisulfite
  • Sodium metabisulfite
  • Potassium bisulfite
  • Potassium metabisulfite

105 thoughts on “Sulfur Supplement and Food Lists”

  1. My daughter is dealing with CBS mutation and is struggling to get the ammonia down in her body. Is it normal to have issues as the ammonia leaves the body or as levels decrease. We were told by the Dr. that she has this mutation, was put on 3 supplements and told to go on a low/ no sulfur diet, but that’s about it. Is it true I can get test strips to monitor her at home and if so, where do I get them?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Susan
      I would highly recommend purchasing some sulfite, and possibly sulfate test strips to use at home. We have both available for purchase at our clinic. ($45 for 100 strips). Testing both will ensure the more toxic sulfite is being converted to less toxic sulfate via the SUOX enzyme. SUOX SNPs are rare; it’s more common to be missing nutrient cofactors that impair the enzyme’s ability to make this conversion.

      I find that restricting protein (often recommended for CBS mutations/high sulfur/ammonia) can result in negative symptoms, which can differ depending on the specific additional challenges of the patient. Protein provides amino acids that are necessary for blood sugar stability, healing, detoxification, neurotransmitter production, satiety and more, so restricting them too much can create other types of imbalance. There is likely a balance that should be sought so ammonia and sulfite/sulfate levels normlaize, but the body isn’t too deprived of the necessary amino acids to maintain homeostasis.

      I hope this is helpful.
      Patty Shipley

      1. Patty, is it possible to “turn off” the sulfur sensitivity associated with the CBS gene? I’ve read that it can be done if we deal with whatever is “clogging up the sulfuration pathway” – or something to that effect. For instance, there are those who believe that mercury toxicity results in difficulty with high-thiol (sulfur) foods/supplements. So if a person manages to eliminate the mercury problem, could their sulfur issues resolve? Are there other things besides mercury that cause the sulfur problems?

        It seems that the recommendation is to test sulfate/sulfite levels, go a couple of months without the high-thiol/sulfur foods, and then… what happens? Is everything supposed to work itself out? I have been off of high-sulfur foods for a number of months now and am still not able to eat them (I haven’t tested myself, but hoped that going without them for a couple of months or more would help, as that is the recommendation I had seen at that time). I feel stuck, as these are nutrient-rich foods I’m having to avoid, and they are important as you said; but I still have symptoms after eating them and don’t know how to move forward. I would appreciate any insights you can offer.

        1. Yes, there are many mechanisms to normalize sulfur elevations coming from the CBS genes. Here are several approaches:
          1. Address any BHMT cofactor needs since BMHT essentially acts as a CBS up-regulation by blocking the short-cut through the methylation/methionine cycle, thus pushing methyl cycle substrates down the CBS pathway (think TMG/glycine, zinc, phospholipids, serine, B6)
          2. Ensure that the long path around the cycle is also supported (MTRR and MTR: B2, B12, zinc, folate, NAD, methionine, MAT: SAM-e, magnesium, B12, ATP and AHCY: SAM-e, NAD, phospholipids)
          3. Don’t over-consume supplements, foods and beverages high in sulfur (wine, cruciferous veggies, glutathione, etc). Monitoring your sulfate levels while adjusting your diet and supplement protocol can help determine what items are most problematic for you (sadly, wine is hugely negative for me in this respect, and I continue to be among the worst I’ve seen with regard to CBS upregulation).
          4. Be sure to test sulfite AND sulfate to ensure that you are converting the more toxic sulfite to the less toxic sulfate. If you need test strips for these, we carry bottles of 100 for $45. If your sulfite is elevated, you’ll need to support the SUOX enzyme with molybdenum, and possibly Vitamin E succinate, boron, hydroxyB12 and/or iron.
          5. Keep in mind that stress can have a huge negative impact on CBS upregulations, negatively impacting neurotransmitter levels, which can lead to depression, anxiety, focus problems, further increasing stress. I often find that supporting the neurotransmitter levels supplementally, alongside yoga, meditation or other stress-reducing modalities can help to break the cycle.

          When doing genetic testing, I order a micronutrient test so we can see whether genetics or nutrient deficiency are the focus for each of the enzymes that populate the methylation, methionine, neurotransmitter and associated pathways. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of these biochemical pathways, there’s a wonderful cardiologist practicing in Toledo, Ohio who has taken many hours to outline his approach to balancing CBS and all of the other methyl cycle abnormalities. I’ve attended a number of Dr. Roberts’ conferences and shared several patients with him. To go directly to the CBS section, go here CBS overview.

          -Patty

          1. Hi. I have come across this excellent article searching “sulfur content of tumeric” because I seemed to be able to manage all my pain with either tumeric or MSM in my routine. You have given a glimmer of agreement to my personal observation! Thank YOU! Do you think the body would appreciate altering them by consume one for a few months then the other? That is what I have hit upon accidentally. No need for both.

          2. Hi Patty,

            This thread and months of research on this topic has absolutely saved my life. I was pumping so many sulphur/methylation supplements for CFS to boost glutathione. It was only after genetic testing did I realize that I am homozygous for MTHFR 677 and CBS. This explains why the supplements I took daily (alpha lipoic acid, NAC, glutathione, taurine, and standard b complex without methylated vitamins) were causing be so much heartache day in and day out. It was so frustrating I can even begin to describe. I eventually cut out every vitamin and slowly integrated Thorne Methyl Guard Plus and it has changed my life. Anyways, low-sulphur diet is important to manage, but I do not avoid healthy things like cruciferous vegetables, garlic, legumes, etc as they are vital for disease prevention. I also drink wine and I noticed your comment as for my entire life I never understood why wine made me feel so awful the next day. I know understand: sulfites. I highly recommend the new product Ullo as a solution to the wine woes. It is a aerator and sulfite removing rubber filter. Fits right into your wine glass and your pour right through it. You can even do a direct taste test with your partners wine and it does not change the profile at all. Thanks again to you and all of the people in the community who are shedding light on genetics and all the issues it can cause.

            Jeff

    2. Theres a product by Source Naturals called ‘Amino Night’, it is said to switch off ammonia.

      You might wanna look into it.

      Peace.

      1. Without knowing your specific situation, I can only say that you can absolutely improve a sulfur sensitivity. The reason for the sensitivity would dictate what type of approach would need to be taken. If you are missing the cofactors for the enzymes that rid the body of sulfites or sulfates, these would need identified and repleted. If it’s an inappropriate response by the immune system, immune conditioning (such as laser allergy elimination) or 4R gut repair program can help.

  2. Your question about turmeric is almost certainly because people do Not have an intolerance to thiol. but rather an intolerance to mercury! I have Ms and have been studying both the literature and
    my body’s reaction to various supplements for about a decade – especially – the medical community apparently takes it as an article of faith that there is no possible connection – which as an environmental science graduate with a long standing interest in things medical I find to be less about science and more about blind faith!
    Once you make this assumption, the problem with thiol foods and the apparent anomaly of turmeric become clear. BOTH kinds of foods act as chelating agents which – contrary to the common misconception do NOT remove metals from the body, but rather stir up those that are present (which, the theory runs)can/will be liberated from the body). In fact what actually happens is that mercury that is held in deep body tissues (basically minding it’s own business!) becomes mobile around the body and prompting something more like ACCUTE symptoms. I too have looked at the chemical structure of turmeric and, for the life of me, can’t see why it should be a chelation since it has neither thiol nor carboxylic groups (as an environmental science undergraduate. I came across chelators in soil science in the formation of a particular type of soil profile known as a poison, which is formed by naturally occurring organic acids causing iron to migrate down through the soil profile.

    What really annoys me about the absolute refusal to even CONSIDER mercury as an answer is that there is no explanation forMS – nor presumably for ‘thiol sensitivity ” UNTIL YOU PUT MERCURY INTO THE EQUATION and then IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

    Can I suggest that you are likely to find it VERY informative to compare the symptoms you are studying with the symptoms of mercury toxicity.

    I really hope that you find this helpful.

    Liz

    1. Thank you for this information. I had, want blood test show, a successful chelation of mercury but I’m more sensitive to turmeric now. I become emotionally unstable and the doctor who did the Mercury chelation does not get it. Now I will get EDTA. My husband us a Ph.D. Metalurical chemist. He said that to other metals are filling in spaces that Mercury once was. I wish I could see these things going on inside me. So much guessing , trial and error.

    2. I have a allergy to nickel sulfates. I can’t put anything metal in my skin or eat any foods that have a hint of nickel, sulfates, sulfa, sulfites, sulfur, all of it. I did text positive on a skin test for nickel, chrome, cobalt, Mercury, aluminum, titanium…these were the worse reactions. I had Mercury fillings and my entire mouth reacts as if it’s acid burning my skin. It literally ate my tooth. All replaced no issues anymore there. My gallbladder died….from eating protein!!! My body couldn’t handle it and began rejecting all protein….they removed my gallbladder saying it was that not an allergy but they were wrong. I still have the allergy. My allergy is so bad..I can’t eat even one ounce of Protein and I’m in full asthma respiratory distress. Needing solu metrol to open my airways…it’s that bad. My doctors can’t figure it out. I haven’t had genetic testing. But I’ve had anemia to a level of 9 and was given Iron fusions through IV and had a reaction!!! But I got better after a month or two of treatment. Also, I did get fibroids and there’s no reason other than its the metal allergy I have. Fibroids come from copper toxicity. Ask a homeopath and it’s true , ask my obgyn she says impossible. But my hormones don’t indicate I should have fibroids. The nickel allergy says I should have red blisters through my body…which I do…when I eat nickel sulfates..sulfa.etc. I believe the fibroids are really blisters. My stomach biposy also showed I had redness in my lining but no ulcers. I live in California…major city too and they act like I have a rare disease but can’t name it. Anyone can help me…my list of foods to eat is so short I can count it on one hand.

      1. Alicia, do you have folate-related mutations, by any chance? Your symptoms sound like mine. The local (Houston) university doctors were stumped. Mayo Clinic was stumped. I discovered I am homozygous for MTHFR c677T as well as many other methylation genes. I started the protocol on my own and am so much better that the doctors are now pumping me for information.
        I became increasingly allergic to everything, but even high dose Prednisone couldn’t stop the symptoms. It was so bad I couldn’t eat anything without reacting and couldn’t tolerate any metals-i started reacting to the same wedding rings I had worn for years. My skin was so blistered! Now, I am much better. I can eat most foods, and my rings don’t bother me at all.

          1. I also have MTHFR 677T and mercury, lead toxicity . Multiple food allergies. My Blood pressure spies very high. I’m taking folate and vitamin B group.
            Angela could you please tell me which protocol did you use. I’m going to try Andy Cutler’s protocol.

      2. Amazing story. Sounds like you are telling my story. I too lost my gallbladder to protein intake. I’m allergic to sulfa, have asthma, skin rashes, fibroid issues, had stomach aches my whole life UNTIL I turned vegetarian then recently went vegan. It fixed so many of my problems.

      3. Alicia. Look up Robert Morse on Youtube. I know he would say that your lymphatic system is blocked and you are having a result of too much acid in your body. You need to get your kidneys filtering, boost the health of your adrenals and start to drain your lymphatic system. This could take as much as a year, depends on how hard you hit it.

      4. For anyone and everyone that has allergies, I recommend seeing a NAET specialist. Go to http://www.naet.com and find a trained NAET practitioner in your area. To make a long story short, when my son was born, he was a very sick child with a list of allergies the length of my arm. We saw a NAET doctor, and today, 23 years later, is a picture of health. I’m so glad I found this doctor while he was young. I’d hate to think how sick he would still be at this time in his life. When desperation hits, you’ll do ANYTHING. NAET was my “anything”.

      5. The asthma and inability to eat almost every thing sounds very familiar. I’m dealing with extensive food intolerance s (not allergies) including Histamine Intolerance which is associated /caused by long term gut dysfunction….often associated with metabolic issues. Definitely try a no / low histamine diet for a few days…I could tell after one day. Use the Janice Jonja histamine list. Excess histamine flooding your entire body will aggravate every problem you have through the roof! There’s an abstract on it called “Histamine and histamine intolerance” by Maintz and Novak, plus many blogs / yahoo groups etc. It’s also associated with methylation defects. Considering the prevalence of gut dysfunction today I suspect this is a more prevalent disorder than realized. Well known over seas but virtually unknown here. I still struggle here but only three supplements helped here: goat colostrum, collagen and no histamine probotics…..infantis comes to mind. More and more diseases are being associated with gut dysfunction.
        I’m struggling with proteins now too and have had a gall bladder problem for decades. In my case I also suspect acute intermittent prophyria but there are various types of prophyria including one associated with gall bladder problems, problems with the sun, Celtic /Irish ancestry and hemochromatosis (genetic iron overload) which I have. Fibroids run in my family and I’ve had problems with anemia despite having deadly high iron levels. Always be sure to have an iron panel with ferritin run before taking iron. Anemia is often associated with b12 deficiency and may be caused by a methylation defect.
        I came across a set of highly technical papers at toxipedia where there was a list of diseases associated with sulfation defects, and ” prophyria?” was listed. You might want to check it out. Also if it has not occurred to you there is a genetic copper overload disorder.
        Do not assume that it is only one thing. Such things may manifest as a bunch of defects as in my case.
        Finally, I saw recently where a man could not get a handle on the diet until he totally eliminated all grains and legumes. After doing so he began to tolerate other foods much better. I am getting ready to try it. I do know that some people just don’t tolerate grains…other than gluten, I had no idea!
        Also be sure to categorise all the possible problems with each problematic food you can’t eat. I have problems with salicylates (which can really tear you up), gluten, oxylates, sulfur, thiols, grains, and phenols, plus more types I don’t have. Also, even without a gluten intolerance, gluten is highly inflammatory for everyone and especially bad for the brain! I hope this is helpful.

    3. Lyme has been found in many with MS. Myself included. Even the plaques that show on a MRI are almost the same as is the oligoclonal bands.

    4. I am so happy that some one else is mindful that the drug admin. doesnt have all the answers they never study food just drugs and our body is made up of food compounds that help us or break us..I have been sick for 13 yrs constant nausea no one would look at the problem just that my bp was high so many pills test 4 colonscopys and Endoscopys in 16 months all was well and when I ask about foods they all replied the same we don’t study food we do drugs to help well if food makes us sick then we need to know what food so after 13 yrs I went to a Holistic Dr. and with one 2 hr session I was sent for blood test for Celiac disease and sure enough I was gluten resistant Praise God I have a new diet and off most of my bp meds but one they kept telling me my proteins were not digesting and that was it off all meat salt and so much more but didn’t help with my food sitting there it was rotting in my stomach and making me sick I now take enzymes to digest the food and off all grains and I am feeling so much better along with Bone Broth 3 cups a day my stomach is healing it self I owe it all to God and Dr. Maggie Out of all this I have learned that Dr.s don’t know how I feel or how to fix U…..But God does and he has special people to help Dr.s either want to operate or chemo or Radiation or give U a band aid to cover it up along with a big bill. But God didn’t make it the worlds way but His way is the right way He made us to begin with!
      Thank U
      Carly

  3. On my comment, my autocorrect function has caused a bit of nonsense, for which I apologise! In the little part on soils they do NOT cause a’poison” but a PODSOL! Don’t you just love technology that thinks it is more intelligent than you!

  4. Hi, This is interesting information that I just come across. I recently had food sensitivity test done on my hair sample. The results said I am sensitive to sulfites (food additives) and am deficient in sulphur. I do suffer from the symptoms mentioned in the article (but they are also symptoms of other things, eg histamine intolerance, which is I thought is the problem.) Not sure how to interpret my test results in light of this information. Does it mean I am sulphur sensitive?

    1. Dawn, I would need to look at your test results and gather more information about your history and current health challenges before I could make any meaningful comments here. Please feel free to call and schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, I think my first available appointments right now are in mid-July, but I’m happy to help. Have a great Memorial Day weekend! -Patty

    2. Hello, may I ask – where did you get your hair tested for sulfite sensitivity? I have a wicked sulfite intolerance ( suffered chronic daily headaches for 20+ years until I figured it out). No real doc has ever helped me. I have an identical twin with the same symptoms and I would love to hear about a possible hair test to convince her of the issue. Thanks so much!

  5. How do I call to setup an appointment? I don’t know where to begin, but having chest pain and told through muscle testing that sulphur is an issue. Limited information. Do I buy the test strips? I don’t even know what to eat anymore.
    Thanks,
    Jenna

    1. Jenna, you can call us at (614) 888-HERB (4372) for scheduling information. Part of our new patient intake is a urine sulfate and sulfite test. You’re also welcome to purchase the test strips, but most patients aren’t certain how to apply those results. We are happy to help! Patty

    2. go see Dr Rea in Dallas for skin testing and antigens it helps with the reactions if you can get an endpoint it is not allergy treatment but rather turns off the mast cell response for your own body

      environmental health center dallas

    1. It’s completely up to you. Even if you choose not to purchase the strips, we will check your urine sulfur on your first visit to our office. I don’t think Amazon carries the strips. We get them through Quanto-Fix. -Patty

  6. I didn’t realize it was in-office, so I’ll call n see where you’re located. I’m curious if you can answer. I just bought some detox products that have chlorella and milk thistle in them. Will I ever be able to use them again? I hadn’t even opened….or am I not allowed to, ever again? This is hard…

    1. Once we are able to determine what layers we’re working with and we prioritize where to start, I think you should be able to reintroduce the milk thistle and chlorella. WIthout knowing much about your medical and personal health history, it’s hard to answer specific questions. The best thing to do now is schedule some time so we can get you started. I look forward to meeting you! -Patty

  7. Where can I get tested? I live in the Detroit area? I think my allergic reaction to sulfa is the cause of my urticaria. All the foods I thought I was “allergic” to are high in sulfa. An allergist told me months ago I had dermotographia but I think the culprit is sulfa. Suffering this week from my eye being swollen and missed several days of work. Thank you.

  8. Christine, we do carry the sulfite and sulfate test strips here. They are $45 for 100 test strips. I would recommend checking both, and if sulfite is >10, start taking a mineral called molybdenum (500 mg 1-2 times daily) and in a few days, check again. If sulfate is >800, modify sulfur foods/beverages in your diet and check your levels every 3-4 days. Your goal for sulfate is <400. Sometimes it takes some time, even once sulfate/sulfite levels have normalized, before you realize the benefits. And sometimes there is other work to do...which can be done by phone, given your location. -Patty

  9. My husband had a bad reaction to bactrim a few months back, to the point that his kidneys were shutting down. He was told it was due to the sulfur in it. I am wanting to find the right supplements for him, for memory and focus and also joint /fibro pain. I am scared I will buy something that has sulfur in it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you so much!

  10. I’ve done research on this and found that since antibiotics cause an increase in Candida overgrowth in the body, the Candida and other types of fungus, especially exposure to mold (in your home for example) can cause poor conversion of sulfur to sulfate. The sulfate is necessary for preventing build up of sulfur in the body so Epsom salts are actually good because they provide sulfate through the skin. I read that suofate is hard to absorb in the gut but a person can try supplements with it such as glucosamine sulfate.

    1. Rachel, the oil of the seed is not high in sulfur, which is why sometimes flax oil is combined with cottage cheese when treating specific conditions that require sulfur AND essential fats. The seeds would contain more sulfur since they’re higher in protein, which means more sulfur-containing amino acids.

  11. I have a nickel allergy… tested. I also react to anything sulfa sulfates sulfur….foods and topical products… pain meds. I cannot get a test for this…my doctors say it doesnt exist. I cannot tolerate any protein. Is this related. I cannot get the allergist to do anything other than tell me to avoid the foods. I’m down to only eating less than 10 food items. When I eat anything kindly high in mickel, sulfa, sulfates, sulfite. I react with tiny blisters under my skin all over as if I got a sunburn. It can be food or on my skin I get the reaction. all blood tests are normal according to my doctor. But I feel terrible when I eat, I dont eat anything I feel great.

    1. Scarey info here…sulpha drugs and sulfites/ sulfates are not the same as Sulfur the mineral necessary for life?! Many people are allergic to sulpha drugs & sulphites….SULFUR is not the same and an essential mineral to sustain life….

  12. Other than not eating certain types of food. Is there another way to not have smelly gas? Everyone around is dying! lol

    1. Smelly gas is very often a symptom of imbalance in the gut flora, and/or digestive insufficiency. This typically resolves once the digestive/flora issues are identified and addressed. -Patty

      1. It may help, Danielle, to take something like Gluten Defense by Enzymatic Therapy with wheat/dairy containing meals, which helps to digest both. Dairy, of course, has sulfur in it, and sulfur is stinky stuff, so I’d suspect any sulfur-rich foods could contribute to the odorous gas, esp if you are not able to digest them well…and maybe regardless. I’m no expert. Just sharing my own experience here. Thank you, Patty, for your helpful info.

    2. Danielle, my craniopath once told me that “stinky gas” is related to wheat consumption…probably esp if you are intolerant to gluten, though she didn’t say that. I’ve sort of tested this theory and it seems to be true.

    3. If you didn’t see my reply to Patty re: the gas issue, here it is again. (Not sure if you’re getting replies to your inbox.):
      It may help to take something like Gluten Defense by Enzymatic Therapy with wheat/dairy, which helps to digest them. Dairy, of course, has sulfur in it, and sulfur is stinky stuff, so I’d suspect any sulfur-rich foods could contribute to the smell, if you are not able to digest them well…and maybe regardless. I’m no expert. Just sharing my own experience.

  13. Can having an intolerance to sulphur affect your sense of smell and taste? I changed my diet a few months ago (I cut out much fructose and sugar) and started eating more nuts, coconut, wine, coffee and dairy. Then suddenly my sense of smell went quite strange and some foods started to taste odd. Could this be sulphur related?

    1. The most common symptoms of sulfite intolerance are difficulty breathing/asthma, hay fever-like symptoms, hives, brain fog, fatigue and skin reactions. Anything that can cause allergic-type reactions can affect the sense of smell or taste, though another cause to consider is zinc deficiency, which can factor into any type of immune imbalance since zinc is so critical to proper immune function. Since Zinc and sulfur compete for uptake in the body, perhaps increasing sulfur intake in your diet has lowered your zinc status. -Patty

  14. I’d like to get information on ordering the urine test strips for measuring sulfate/sulfite. Can you tell me how/where/cost of ordering them? Thank you.

  15. Can Sulfur intolerance cause a burning sensation in the stomach when eating these foods? Also, I suffer from bad breath with smells comparable to stool, or passed gas. I notice my bad breath is worse when my stomach burns. I’m also allergic to many things including metals found on the zippers of jeans or buttons, except gold or silver. I also am allergic to Latex and laundry detergent containing fragrances or dyes. I found your article interestingand thought if maybe I wasn’t allergic to sulfer and its being expelled through my breath. I’ve also been to 3 dentists, 2 ENT’s (had my tonsils removed), a GI doctor (treated for H.Pylori which interestingly the smells disipated somewhat.) And to a general practice MD. I don’t know what to do. Its so frustrating not to be able to get rid of this bad breath. I did read about a girl who also suffered from the same thing and she cured herself through eliminating eating meat, dairy, “smelly foods,” taking digestive enzymes and vitamins. She said she read about people who have an over aboundance of yeast in their body produce this bad breath. I wish I knew what to do. All the doctors have not been able to helps me.

    1. I truly apologize for my slow response. It sounds like you need to find a good functional medicine practitioner to work with. I would highly recommend checking online here: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117

      There needs to be a comprehensive approach taken here that would no doubt include rehabilitating your digestive tract. I like the 4R approach: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate and Repair. All seasoned functional medicine practitioners utilize this type of approach. Best of luck!

  16. I am allergic to these medications\
    zantac
    bactrim
    lasix
    imitrex
    sulfadene shampoo

    I am also finding out that if I avoid eggs, my skin does not feel as if I have rolled in itching powder.
    I also know that when powder sulfa (used in gardening sulfur in pure form) gets on my skin, it looks as if its been sunburned.

    I am allergic to both

    1. I also cannot tolerate iron supplements or combo meds with iron in them. If I take one my stomach feels as if I have swallowed fire.

  17. Hi there – have really enjoyed your information and site. Thank you 🙂 I apologize in advance for the “stupid” questions but,

    1. I saw that Sparga Sulphur (the said supplement to take with the elimnation diet) is from asparagus root. But just as you listed, asparagus is high in thiols. So would this still be advised to take if we suspect thiol sensitivity?

    2. We’re in the process of working with our naturopath on getting the genetic CBS mutation and MTHR test but I think it’s a new topic for her. We have used Genova for our recent Heavy Metal test and saw they had something for genetic. Is this comparable to Dr. Yasko/23andme in your opinion?

    3. Would you advise doing the elimination diet and sparga sulphur before genetic testing or would that alter the results?

    4. We were going to the Genova Stool Analysis to test for parasites and gut permeability as well (which I know plays into sulphur issues) as we’ve done a combination of modified GAPs and Paleo low-FODMAP over the past three years and still have been unable to introduce root vegetables and the majority of greenery to my husband and child.

    Hoping genetic testing will be the missing link to our ongoing journey and puzzle of health.

    Thank you for your time 🙂

    1. Danielle, there are no stupid questions. 🙂
      1. Sparga is a homeopathic, therefore is not high in thiols or sulfur, but triggers a clearance from the body of sulfites and sulfates. Here’s a video explaining its actions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OLzyNc6GU0
      2. Genova genetic testing only gives you select sections of genetic data, but their reports provide a very thorough explanation of the results. You won’t be able to get anywhere near the amount of genetic data as you get with 23 and me, but 23 and me’s reporting is extremely basic, so you’ll need to take their raw data through another reporting feature. My favorite is Sterling’s App, found at http://www.MTHFRsupport.com
      3. Your genetic data won’t be altered by anything since it’s your genetics. That’s also why you only ever have to test it once!

      Good luck on your journey to health!
      -Patty

  18. P.S. Our sulphur and molybdenum was in reference range on our heavy metal test (but this was with my husband on the heels of the elimination diet).

    Don’t know if that factors into anything.

    1. Avoidance of sulphur should only be necessary if you’re not clearing it well, and in that case you would modify it until you correct the metabolic and/or genetic error that is preventing its clearance. -Patty

  19. I have a sulfa allergy. I’m trying to take Cardiovascular Research Magnesium Taurate. I also have thyroid issues. I believe it has sulphites in it, but can’t find a way to get a response. Would that be a problem? I was taking a large dose, and felt short of breathe, but was having other health issues. I was thinking of trying again, at half the dose. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Patricia
      If shortness of breath is your typical response to sulfites, I would be suspicious as well. However, you say you took a large dose, so possibly you would tolerate better if you took a small dose. Or it’s also possible your reaction was coincidence. Typically if a person has a lot of sensitivities, I will gently introduce new supplements at a low dose and allow the patient to observe before proceeding. Any suspected reaction, if the supplement seems important to their recovery, I will have them stop it and allow the symptoms to resolve, then reintroduce it again at a smaller dose. If the symptoms recur, the supplement is out, at least for now. I hope this is helpful.
      -Patty

  20. Is it possible for me to be allergic to Enzymatic Therapy GLUTEN DEFENSE?
    Every time I have had 2 pills, shortly after I have experienced shortness of breath, high blood pressure and massive headaches, blurry vision…

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    1. Virginia,
      The enzymes in Gluten Defense™ are produced through the fermentation of fungal organisms, including Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and Saccharomyces. It’s possible you have a sensitivity to fungus/mold and even the trace amounts you’re encountering in this product could be an issue. Do you know if you have a mold sensitivity?

      Another possibility is that if you’re consuming it when you eat gluten containing foods, it isn’t breaking the gluten down sufficiently for you, or it’s producing metabolites that you’re sensitive to.

      Hope this is helpful
      Patty

      1. Thanks for replying so quickly Patty.
        I am allergic to many things including Penicillin, Fluvax, Dust mites, Chloroquine, highly sensitive to gluten and dairies…so perhaps mold is just another thing to add?
        I have to take medications daily which include lactose and a little gluten…which give me bloating and upset stomach. What else could I then use to diminish those symptoms?

        Thanks Patty.

        1. Virginia, without knowing more about your specific case, it’s hard for me to give advice that feels solid or meaningful. I’m happy to “co-consult” by reviewing all the information I usually gather on a new patient, alongside all your recent labwork, and give you my assessment of the things that still need addressed. If that sounds interesting to you, please contact my staff at info@leavesoflife.com and they can explain how that works and discuss fees to see if you want to proceed. Hope you have a great weekend….Patty

  21. Hi. I’ve been severely ill for the last 6 months (2,5 years preceding that as well but was still mobile). I’ve seen many specialists but the more I saw the more ill I was getting. They said do this diet and avoid eating this and that. I’m currently diagnosed with histamine intolerance, as well as IC. There’s also some fibro going on. But 3 months ago, after 5 antibiotics my digestion started shutting down as well. I’ve now lost 20 kgs(already pretty slim then), currently can’t digest any foods, am eating only rutabaga, coconut, salt and even that makes me so ill. If I try little fish or egg yolks, I get such horrible digestion pains, that spread through my body like a grenade , that I have to be rushed to the emergency room. I feel better when I don’t eat, which obviously now is not acceptable. I have had stool analysis, sibo and OAT, neither revealed anything hugely worrying, awaiting genetics and heavy metals results. Can you please suggest anything else that could lead to some answers? Could this be related to sulphites/sulphates? Just looking at the foods list… I really feel at the end of the road, still getting worse every day, in tremendous pains. I live in Uk. Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. My heart goes out to you! Are you working with an integrative health practitioner? From some of the testing you mention, it seems so. I’m happy to do a review of your labwork, history, current symptoms, medications and supplements to see if there are any additional clues or input I could provide. If you’d like me to do that, you could contact my staff at info@leavesoflife.com and they can work with you on what to provide as well as discuss fees. We could do this by phone or email….assuming email is best given your location. It would be very helpful for me if you could make sure to include a somewhat recent (last 3-6 months would be best) CBC and comprehensive metabolic panel alongside any other testing you’ve had done. Until I can gather more information on your case, it’s hard for me to provide anything meaningful. Hang in there! -Patty

  22. Hello! This website has been very informative and helpful to me, thank you. I would like to share my story . . . I have had many health issues the last 7 or more years. I have multiple allergies and sensitivities especially to chemicals/synthetics. I have been fighting yeast overgrowth. My sulfur levels are > 1200 and I also have high cholesterol and could not tolerate statins ( they are very bad for you anyway). I have CBS gene mutation and MTHFR 677 mutation. I have been going through NAET allergy elimination technique via acupuncture and has helped alleviate allergy issues. However, the first 3 years of acupuncture, the sensitivity kept coming back. I tried a gluten- free, dairy- free, corn-free and soy-free diet and a lot of my food sensitivities went away after 4 months on the diet. I started feeling better and gained some weight to put me back in a healthier weight range today.

    I’m still trying to find a solution to regulate sulfur/thiol levels. I’m already on low sulfur diet but symptoms persist. My skin gets very itchy and have been very dry and might be due to dehydration from frequent urination day and night. I noticed more hair loss the last year. I have made an appointment with acupuncturist to open sulfation pathway. I’m hopeful this will help.

    Do you think the frequent urination could be tied to another issue? Or could it be tied to sulfur intolerance? My urine test is normal and sugar levels are normal.

    I would appreciate your insight. Thanks!
    Lil

    1. Lil, in my practice, after about 2 years of looking at urine sulfur levels on all of my patients at every visit, I find the best approach for addressing sulfur excess is to determine why the sulfation pathway (CBS-mediated) is upregulated in the first place. The body always makes the right decision in every situation, given what it has to work with, and I have seen MANY patients with CBS mutations who do NOT have elevated urine sulfur, and vice versa–patients with NO CBS mutations, with high urine sulfur.

      The typical reasons for the body to upregulate that pathway are heavy metals or other toxins, injuries or glutathione depletion (since that pathway makes glutathione, one of your body’s most important intracellular antioxidant and detoxification nutrients). My highest suspicion given your history of difficult to resolve yeast and other current symptoms would be some type of mold exposure. You can check out common mold exposure symptoms here Surviving Mold and order an ERMI test here Mycometrics to do at home if that seems likely to be your issue. Most integrative practitioners I learn from use this lab…they’re very helpful in interpreting your results when they come back. A damp basement, leaky window seals, previous flooding or water damage in your home are all high risk for chronic mold exposure, but some encounter it in their workplace. Not everyone is genetically vulnerable to mold sensitivity, so others in your environment are not necessarily a good measuring stick.

      If mold is not the issue, I would revisit your GI health. If mold IS an issue, nothing you do will resolve the GI issues until the mold exposure is identified and removed.

      I hope this is helpful. -Patty

  23. I ve been sick since 2015 been to all the doctors and cannot find out a diagnosis all blood works normal,but my body is not I fee sick all the time,abdominal pain, palpitation, brain fog,muscle pain was seen by a dermatologist on 2016 due to hive and went to allerginist/immunologist and still feelsome the same until I went to a Occupational dermatologist and had a patch testing, which I’m allergic to sulfites it’s been a week since I was diagnosed with sulfite allergy it’s been a struggle for me on foods that are sulfite free, I will eat food and if my stomach bothered me realized that the food that I ate has slow amount of sulfur…I’m so frustrated cause cannot live a normal life anymore.please guide me for a no sulfite foods/ vegetables….

    1. The sulfur list we’ve included on our blog seems to work well for most, but there is a more exhaustive list with a more thorough explanation that can be found here:
      Dr. James Robert, cardiologist

      You might want to look in your area to see if there is anyone doing laser allergy elimination. It’s a type of immune conditioning that we’re having good success with. This could not only help you heal your gut, but also help to deprogram some of those inappropriate immune responses (I’m certain sulfites are not the only thing you’re reactive to). Here’s a YouTube video link demonstration laser allergy elimination.

      You also need someone skilled in functional medicine to guide you through this process. Even as a practitioner, I am not objective enough to treat myself when I get into a tough spot. A functional medicine practitioner will have that objectivity, as well as the experience that you’ll need to navigate this process successfully. I hope this is helpful!
      Patty

    2. This website has an extensive amount of information on sulfites. http://www.learningtarget.com/nosulfites/index.htm
      The binder he sells has just a crazy amount of info on the subject. His personal trial and error, he is not a doctor. My tolerance is extremely low (@ 100 ug) as is his so I was able to follow his guidelines to be able to determine what I can and can not eat before getting a headache (sadly…. it is not much with a tolerance as low as that :/). I wish you well. I will say I feel a million times better now that I pretty much aim for a no sulfite diet (hopefully you can tolerate more than I can). The key for me is I have to pretty much do all my own cooking in order to have SOME sort of variety of foods to eat. Pretty much no eating out anymore.

  24. I have been taking huge doses of Milk Thistle, 35,000mgs a day, for over a year now and I am severely sulphur intolerant. It hasn’t affected me the way sulphur products do. Could there be a reason for this?

    1. It may have something to do with milk thistle’s ability to raise glutathione, which is one of the biggest goals/benefits of the sulfation pathway. Typically when sulfur urine is high, it’s an indication that the body is upregulating the sulfation pathway in an attempt to increase glutathione production. To know for sure, I’d need to learn more about your specific situation and do some labs to confirm what is happening. Also, don’t forget that sulfur is incredibly important in the body, so your body DOES need it. I’m assuming you arrived at such a high dose because you felt you needed it. It sounds like you need to work with someone experienced to help you get to the bottom of the underlying imbalances. I always think it’s best to work with someone you can see personally, but if you’re unable to find someone locally and you’re not close enough to my practice to commute, I am happy to work w/you by phone. Hope this helps. Patty

  25. Hi, in your list of symptoms re high sulfur foods, you do not mention GAS. My son has terrible issues with gas that smells really bad. He is 26 and works in a tight office and this is terribly embarrassing for him. He did a SIBO test and it came back negative. He went to 2 gastro docs and they did a few more tests (not sure what) and they came up with nothing concrete, just said he had IBS (a catch-all phrase which seems to mean they have no idea). He’s taken probiotics and enzymes to no avail. We can’t find the food culprit (he’s given up cruciferous veg, beans, onions, dairy, apples, etc). We tried to stay low FODMAP. I thought maybe high sulfur foods might play in because it smells so bad (a few times he had to open his windows in the AM because his room smells so bad – really hard to keep a girlfriend too). But you don’t mention high sulfur foods triggering gas. Do you think there could be a correlation? Thanks much.

    1. Hi Carol
      There are a host of issues that can cause smelly gas. The best way to determine the cause is to consult w/someone familiar with a more extensive type of stool testing. We are happy to do something like this via phone, or you may be able to find someone locally that can help. We use stool testing from Diagnostic Solutions and Doctor’s Data. The links show samples of the reports so you can see how extensive they are. We also look at IgG food sensitivities, because eating something he is sensitive to can have the same effect.
      Let us know if we can help!
      Patty

      Patty

  26. My 13 year old daughter has had stomach issues, constipation, diahrea, gas, bloating, headaches, nausea and paleness for more than 2 years now and cannot find the source of her symptoms. This morning she woke up with a black tongue and freaked out but after looking it up we realized it was a reaction to pepto bismol that she had taken last night because of her “eggy” gas and burps.
    We live in the Chicagoland area, anyone know of a specialist?

  27. Is it safe to supplement with folate if I have the cbs mutation? Also, I love coffee enemas which make me want to supplement with glutathione, but is that a no-no? I am vegan & my protein tends to run on the low side. It makes so much sense to me now why that switch made me feel so much better! The only sulfur problem you describe that I have is brain fog which is markedly improved since diet changes & start of coffee enemas. I also respond fairly well to molybdenum. Will the strips you sell tell me if my levels are such that I can take folate &/ or glutathione? Also, are they readable? Would love a visit & testing but I’m in Idaho. Thank You 🙂

  28. Assalam o alaikum.. i am from pakistan.. i have a question that what should i use for my hairs because my hairs was too curly and now a days my hair become straight and i read somewhere that hairs are curl due to sulpher so now what i use on my hair that become again curly ??

  29. Assalam o alaikum.. i am from pakistan and i have a question that what should i use for my small sister hairs ? first her hair was too curly and now became straight . i read somewhere that those hairs will be curly in which there is large amount of sulpher is present.. so now what should i do from which her hairs become again curly? she is 6 years old

  30. Can someone tell me if oatmeal is high in sulphur, sulphites and etc. My dd has one copy of the CB S gene and oatmeal cause her extreme gas. I don’t see it on the lists for sulphur, thiols and ect so just curious. Also, it only takes a small amount of oatmeal to cause her this amount of gas. I am almost wondering it its the processing of how they flatten out the oats to make the oatmeal flakes because this doesn’t happen to her when she has a cereal with oats in it that has been ground up.

  31. Is anyone aware of a correlation between metals in the body and allergy to sulphites? I became extremely ill immediately after a knee reconstruction. I have a metal screw and 2 clips in my knee. Hospital has no record of what type of metal these are, and have been extremely dismissive of the health problems since surgery. I also had a skin reaction to a sterling silver ring that had never been problematic prior to surgery. In Australia.

  32. Sorry if this is a dumb question but does exercise help with symptoms? I feel like when I get a good workout in where I really sweat and get my heart rate up that it helps clear my body of toxins, regardless of what I eat. Not that I can eat anything and everything but if I do have high sulfur foods they don’t seem to affect me as much. Just curious…?

  33. Hey!

    I just found out a couple months ago that I have a sulfur allergy. I found this out due to the acne meds I was taking. So I had to stop because it could have been fatal if I continued. I figured that sulfur could be the cause of all my skin problems. After some research, I had no idea how many foods and things we consume contain sulfur. How can I limit my sulfur intake in a healthy way and still achieve healthy skin??

    Thanks!

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