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Sulphur: foods and health benefits

Siski Green / 11 November 2021

Sulphur is found in protein foods and helps protect your cells against potential damage.

Eggs and onions on a chopping board
Sulphur is found in eggs and onions

Sulphur is one of three of the most abundant minerals in your body, along with calcium and phosphorus. It’s crucial for a wide range of functions.

What is sulphur used for and does it really work?

While sulphur can be the cause of some especially bad bodily odours (wind, for example) it’s crucial for your body’s health. Deficiency, however, is rare.

Sulphur is used by your body to maintain healthy connective tissues (ligaments and tendons for example) and for making and repairing your DNA, protecting your cells against potential damage, as well as processing protein and metabolising food.

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What’s the best way to take sulphur?

You should be able to get all the sulphur you need from a varied healthy diet. Good sources include various types of meat, such as beef, pork, chicken and other poultry. Fish and shrimps/prawns are also good sources, as are eggs, garlic, many types of beans and nuts, cheese, and vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and leeks.

Certain foods have sulphur added as preservatives – dried apricots and raisins, for example, are often high in sulphur for this reason. Fermented drinks such as beer and wine may also contain reasonable amounts of sulphur.

Where can I get sulphur?

Check with your GP before taking a sulphur supplement and instead focus on upping your intake of sulphur-rich foods.

What are the side effects or contraindications of taking sulphur?

Too much sulphur via a supplement (or via drinking water which contains too much, such as well water, for example) may give you stomach upset and diarrhoea. It may also increase the severity of symptoms of you have digestive disorders such as ulcers.

Some people have extra sensitivity to sulphur and may find they need to avoid certain drinks because of sulfites that have been added (as with dried apricots, see above). This sensitivity doesn’t seem to occur when sulphur is ingested via natural unprocessed foods, however.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.