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Why You Should Eat Sulfur Containing Foods

Updated on August 7, 2013

When you think sulfur, you might think of the corrosive sulfuric acid, or the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfur. True, these contain the sulfur atom, which is atomic number 16 on the periodic table. However, certain food compounds also contain the sulfur atom.

For example, the organosulfur compound allicin is the active component of garlic. Organosulfur just means organic compounds that contain the sulfur atom.

Why is the sulfur atom so important? Did you know that sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in the body? [reference]

Sulfur supports the energy-producing organelle known as the mitochondria in our cells. Sulfur helps with toxin removal. The brain, liver, and kidney are just a few organs that need sulfur.

Methionine is an essential protein amino acid that contain the sulfur atom. Lipoic acid which is an essential cofactor to certain mitochondrial enzyme complexes also contain the sulfur.

Anyways, you don't need to know all this biochemistry. Just know that some healthy sulfur-containing foods are from the cabbage family, onion family, and mushrooms.

Example of sulfur-rich foods are cabbage, rutabaga, broccoli, brussels sprouts, radishes, collards, turnips, cauliflower, kale, onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, chives, and asparagus. And eggs of course.

These foods were some of the sulfur rich vegetables mentioned in Dr. Terry Wahls talk (video on right). They were part of the brain healthy diet that she adopted to treat her multiple sclerosis.

Because of the sulfur, some of these food may have a bitter-like taste. That is why some people do not like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. But they will taste better with some butter and salt and if they are not overcooked. It's better to eat them with butter and salt rather than not eat them at all.

Sulfur needed to make glutathione

The body also needs sulfur to make glutathione, the primary antioxidant and detoxifier. Read about gluathione in another article linked here.

Dr. Mark Hyman says in his HuffingtonPost article that glutathione is "the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease...."

One way to boost glutathione is to eat sulfur rich foods that includes cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and onions.

That is because if you look at the gluthathione molecule, there is an sulfhydryl group consisting of a sulfur atom and a hydrogen atom. And it is this sulfhydryl group is responsible for the biological activity of glutathione.

Sulfur Needed for Sulfation

In his book The UltraMind Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman writes ...

"Besides B12, B6, and folate the body also needs a continual source of sulfur for the sulfation train specifically. This comes from foods like broccoli and garlic as well as fish, eggs, sunflower seeds, and poultry, which are high in methionine" [page 125]

Recall that methionine contains the sulfur atom. Sulfation is part of the liver's detoxifying processes.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff talks about Sulfur

If you want to learn more about the importance of sulfur on the body, watch the YouTube videos where Dr. Mercola interviews Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

She talks about how the deficiency in sulfur can have implications to heart disease and other issues.

Have you heard of vitamin D sulfate? What about cholesterol sulfate? Not many people have. Not even so doctors. The news media don't often talk about it, because it is too complex for a 30 second sound-bite.

If you want to dig deep in the biochemistry, take a look at the article Cholesterol sulfate in human physiology: what's it all about? where it writes ...

"Cholesterol sulfate is quantitatively the most important known sterol sulfate in human plasma..."

If you don't have the patience to verify these scientific findings, then just trust what some of these experts are saying. As for me, I'm going to eat more sulfur-rich foods.


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is great. I'm fortunate, I already eat the sulfur-rich foods. Great hub.

    • BlissfulWriter profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      I like writing about nutrition. Another article that people may find interesting is why vegetable oils are not really healthy:

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Bliss. Thank you for all the information. It's wonderful that some of these foods are what we eat everyday, yet many of us are so unaware of the benefits. Very bright hub. So glad I made it by. Voting up! :=)-Tonette

    • BlissfulWriter profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing and voting up.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      This was a very informative article on the benefits of foods containing sulfur. You learn something new every day. Thank you for sharing! (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Ruchira profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      great advise and I am glad to know that my fav foods make that list.

      Sharing it across


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