Sulfur Intolerance (AKA Poor Sulfur Oxidation) -ever heard of it?

by 4067 · August 22, 2014 1:48 PM

Ever heard of Sulfur Oxidation problems? My well-known Osteopath has not and doesn't appear inclined to do any research on her own. (Her treatments have not helped me so far, 4 months in).So now, Dr. Google has diagnosed me and I am thinking of buying in.

Although I believe my tummy troubles started with a over the top dose of the antibiotic Levequin (thanks mother in law!), my symptoms really hit the fan when I started paleo (I was mostly vegetarian SAD:mac and cheese/toast for 5 years before). I started eating tons of meat, tons of greens, and tons of broccoli, onions, garlic, etc. (Basically a ton of sulfur rich foods).Basically I have leaky gut, leading to food intolerances, leading to gas/bloating/constipation/rumbly stomach/inflammation/joint pain from hell). Yes, I have been tested for damn near everything and tried everything from probitiocs (good bye 1K$) to autohemotherapy to acupuncture and much more.

So why on earth do I think I am having a poor sulfur oxidation problem? (often confused with sulfite intolerance). I have an allergy to sulfa drugs, a hair test showed sky high levels of sulfur, and not eating the high sulfur foods (except meat..which apparently comes with all the necessary stuff to make the oxidation process go well) had been the very first improvement I have seen in 3 years. (0 inflammation, for the first time I can touch my ribs and stomach without pain, 50% less on other symptoms).

So why not just stick with it and let the results speak for themselves? Sulfur, unlike gluten, is necessary and healthy. By avoiding those foods I could risk further health complications. Any feedback would be great!! Thanks!!

Here is a link to the foods I have been not eating at all. Here is a link to more information on the issue.

Here are the two tests I want to take: Not sure which one to choose for finding out if I have this issue. Test 1 and Test 2

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21 Replies

25197 · July 14, 2011 at 11:25 PM

Sulfur intolerance is a misnomer. Most with this issue have a problem with foods with a high level of free thiol groups. It also tends to walk hand and hand with Hg toxicity and Selenium deficiency and severe thyroid dysfunction.

The thiol groups allow the Hg to become free in vivo and cause the symptoms. The food does not have to have high sulfur levels to cause this. The most common causes of this in the USA are coffee and chocolate in my experience.

The diagnosis is suspected in those with high Mercury levels. Chelation is the best treatment for this.

We used to have an easy screening test called a plasma cysteine test but it is no longer available to my knowledge. So now you have to do a sulfur exclusion test. Pain in the ass too. In the old days when plasma cysteine was up we would just put you on glutamine and glycine supplements and this would convert the cysteine to glutathione in vivo and it worked real well.

The real reason this is a big issue for paleo folks is many of the foods advocated in paleo 1.0 books have to be eliminated due to the sulfur intolerance. For example, and milk of any kind, kale, sauerkraut, artichokes, eggs, cream, turmeric, spinach, whey, garlic broccoli, cauliflower, onions and all cheeses of any sort.

Kinda sucks.

Good Luck.

0 · August 22, 2014 1:47 PM

Check out the logic around Andy Cutler's chelation protocol and high cystein thiol sensitivity (add search term onibasu and Cystein, and also livingnetwork chelation protocol and thiol sensitivity).  I seem to have similar symptoms to you and I believe chelation is proving to be my answer.  I still have several months to go before I expect my sulfur sensitivity to decrease significantly but I do seem to have made some progress although it increased initially as reserves of mercury were mobiilized, which actually confirmed the theory in my mind.

Will try and add update here if and when sensitivity goes away completely


0 · April 06, 2014 5:40 AM

I recently had an HTMA hair analysis done which indicated a problem with copper. From what i have been told my sulfa allergies stem from excess unbound copper. Some will say you need to take zinc but if you dont detox slowly from copper first theres a chance like me that zinc can make you feel incredibly nauseous. Gene mutation happens because of metabolic dysfunction and metabolic dysfunction begins with mineral deficiency. The focus on MTHFR gene should be refocused to addressing mineral status.

0 · March 28, 2014 4:45 PM

Patrick Jordan. I am interested in your experience with arsenic poisoning leading to sulfur intolerance. I know someone with both of those. How are you doing now and what has worked?

0 · March 02, 2014 at 12:43 AM

So--I have had problems for years-horrible vomiting and nausea from garlic is how it started, but now I can't eat onions, (and everything in garlic and onion family), eggs, dairy, broccoli, and beets. I am very careful to eat organic fruits and veggies, and all grassfed organic etc meats. this all started after a ridiculously long prescription of antibiotics that was based on a misdiagnosis of bronchitis (i'd just moved to NYC and was responding to the air there--allergy meds took it away in two days). ANYWAY i am a health nut and a great cook now because of all of this, so that's the silver lining. However, I"d love to solve this, and I've just come across this stream and related ones re high thios, sulfur oxidation, mercury poisoning etc. It is so much info. Can someone help me? Here's what I've got:

1. do a genetic test on 23andme and then put results through geneticgenie or the other similar website. what am i looking for here?

2. test for mercury. blood? urine? hair? where do i test hair?

3. test for other metals? which?

4. test for cysteine? is that right?

5. is there a probiotic i can take that helps with sulfur oxidation?

6. what do i do if any of these are positive results?

7. is there anything else i should test for?

i extend my gratitude in advance for a comprehensive and organized answer so I can start this part of the process.

ps i went to a western dr who told me my severe bloating was due to swallowing air. I went to a hypnotherapist who specializes in food allergies who told me that i def had a biological problem, not a psychological one. I went to an acupuncturist/chinese herbalist who told me that he found evidence of garlic/onion allergies in ancient texts and there was NO recommendation for it except not to eat them. I have not tried NAET. But I have a feeling that this oxidation thing might be the root of my problems.

Best to all and best fortune with nourishing yourselves in every way!

0 · February 21, 2014 1:52 PM

On another note i do NOT self treat it only got me to a point..., I see Dr. Jess Armine via Skype and he is sending me to get 23andme as well so we can treat this the right way (via foods etc) but the right steps at the right times :) He has had great success treating illness from IBS, GERD, Toxin, and MTHFR in people.

0 · February 09, 2014 5:38 AM


https://www.facebook.com/groups/230824260340671/ Is a MTHFR gene mutation grp on facebook that is very informative , antibiotic resistance I went to this one:


Each person is like a snowflake :) But i suspect if you have metals toxin you more than likely have Candida overgrowth too. I am working on my GI, all organic I use marhsmallow root, monolaurin for the candida w Olive leaf and 1o strain probiotic. Ah, Ox bile and enzymes for digesting and gallbladder. I also use Liposomal Vit C daily. As for the SUOX CBS sulphur issue in progress :)

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0 · January 12, 2014 at 10:11 PM

@meghurley - this is so interesting. I was quite healthy until I picked up an amoeba in Malaysia and there followed 6 or even 7 courses of antibiotics, including Cipro and Metradinazole amongst others. From what I have read sulphate reducing bacteria are resistant to both those antibiotics, so I think they have massively overgrown in me causing huge problems. I would be INCREDIBLY interested to hear how you are reversing your issues. I suspect I also have CBS and MTHFR mutations but not tested yet - in process. I'm also mercury toxic - unknown if this was also the case prior to antibiotic deluge. Plus I had a raised ALA liver enzyme for years afterwards, which is somewhat helped by hydroxocobalamin injections.

Hope to hear from you! Best wishes, Carolyn

0 · January 05, 2014 4:12 PM

I have this too along with mthfr mutations and I can prove, I did NOT have this prior to taking an antibiotic. When your system is shocked in such a way, scientists have proven genes pathways are blocked, and can cause mast cell issues, allergies, toxin build up etc. Sulphur CBS issues is one that is COMMON after taking statins, antibiotics etc. You can also be born this way, in which case it is permanent. You CAN reverse the obstructions via diet supplements. I am working on mine now and am 70% recovered. Not easy but so worth the cost. Heavy exposure to metals, toxins etc can turn off genes that use vitamins minerals and foods to support your system, never doubt it, if you do, google it or call a genetics dr.

Medium avatar
0 · November 05, 2013 6:02 PM

@Senneth Okay, I might be able to help. I am 31yrs old Male. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when I was 19 and that was after having surgery to save my life. I know for a fact that you need a decent amount of vitamin C to absorb sulfur and I know that a good Whey Protein or just some good Amino Acids but more than just the BCAA's will get you mostly back to whole. I can tell you from my own experiences that this works. AND I can say I am so happy that you realize sulfur is so important. I take a ton of it, I mean like 20-30 Grams a day. Yes, Grams not mg. And I have gone from almost dead (not in the least bit exaggerating) to healthier than most around me. And for almost 10 years have been off all meds and I continue to get healthier, and have no signs of disease. After you recover from this (and while) make sure you eat the right amount of calories for your day and make sure that you balance your diet. The food pyramid works. A balanced diet is key. My suggestion would be if you do have food allergies that you supplement what you cant or wont eat. And 1 last tip, our bodies have a spiritual side as well do not neglect it. You can contact me (or anyone who needs help) at jakeishere2help@gmail.com

I have been diligent in studying health and nutrition for over a decade and I have a friend who knows stuff I dont. So one way or another you can get help. And you would not be the first person out there to overcome a disease many have gone before you and overcome. Dont lose hope.

0 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

What 'food' could possibly have elemental sulfur in it and what kind of assumption is there that ingested thiols are never degraded into their elemental components? If thiols can mobilize any toxin and that is making you ill that means that Phase I oxidation/reduction pathway is either slow or impaired. If it is slow you can augment by supporting Phase II conjugation via amino acids. If it is impaired then from my point of view you are at an impasse. I was poisoned with Arsenic in my job. For years I could not even tolerate the SMELL of garlic or onions cooking. With slow, steady introduction of sulfur containing foods, use of excipient free NAC, amino acids and other detox methods I now eat sulfur containing foods with impunity but that does not mean that my impaired sulfoxidation was ever corrected.

The easiest test that doesn't cost anything except the price of asparagus is to eat asparagus. If your urine stinks you have sulfoxidation impairment. Send me the thousands of dollars you just saved on ridiculous tests to tell you something that would end up having no therapeutic value after the knowledge was gained. Jeffery Bland and the Institute for Functional Medicine has an excellent outline of the different kinds of sulfur metabolism derangements, I read them and was more confused than before I read it. Taking too much Molybdenum can make you puke. You will never know how much is too much until you puke. Suffice it to say that if your loss of sulfoxidation wasn't from a prescription drug then it was genetic mutilation from a vaccine. I've tried every reasonable supplementation to ease the defect, but unless you know how to correct chromosome damage, you are pretty much stuck with that problem. Unless, of course it is deeper than just holding religiously to a single diet (or two). The Blood Type Diet by D'Adamo explains why eating cauliflower can make a Type O deathly ill while broccoli is actually beneficial. Of course the viruses in cauliflower make it one of the most dangerous plants on the planet; and you should NEVER eat cruciferas raw because they contain goitergens, but that never stops raw food eaters from stumbling down the road to bad health. Even more interestingly Hulda Clark says that broccoli is high in Malonic Acid so we are getting into territory where you don't know if it is Food or Doof. Mice nibble on everything in their environment. If it doesn't make them ill they eat the whole thing. If it kills them, well----. I eat everything that does not cause me pain or is not on the AVOID list for my blood type. Scanning down some of the suggestions in other posts: Eggs from chickens would make anybody post 1950s sick because they use eggs to make vaccines so it may never have had anything to do with sulfur but antigenic cross-reaction. Try duck eggs unless you've had a Rabies vaccine. Turmeric is a gene silencer, but it does wonders for the liver. I pour it on so thick that people who eat ethnic food say that it is too strong. No one person or diet guideline can tell you what your epigenetic reactions might be.

0 · July 11, 2013 at 10:20 PM

I would love to correspond with people about this. I had years of taking anti biotics, steroids and pain killers. Then when I tried to eat some raw garlic it totally knocked out my stomach and gave me awful headches and nauseau (i take allicin capsules with no problem). Then my stomach felt weak and dodgy for a bit and then I had some raw cabbage juice for a few days and got a terrible cramp in my stomach (maybe coincidence) but I ate nothing else that could have caused it. I feel as if I have a stomach ulcer but my doctor said she thinks not. I would like to drink cabbage juice to help it but dare not. Unless I drink small amounts during the day. The glass I consumed last night was bigger and it was this morning I had the terrible stomach aches. So maybe it is important to have a smaller "dose" and always follow it with some food and never before bed. Please share your thoughts. You can write to me at rychhmo@aol.com.

0 · July 10, 2013 2:17 AM

Levaquin, cipro, etc cause the issues you describe. I personally am 3 years out of a cipro reaction and still suffer from aches, muscle and joint pain, and twitching. I don't know if the sulphur oxidation is related, but I know many sufferers of FQ damage have similar issues.

75 · July 03, 2013 5:55 PM

Interesting not sure how the whole cause and effect thing comes into play here.

Ie: just because my farts reek of sulfur does it mean sulfur containing foods are the problem or is it actually the bacteria themselves that our the problem and if so what is "feeding them" - is it necessarily sulfur rich foods?

Ie: i seem to get bad farts from high fibre foods so can't be certain sulfur is a factor or not.

0 · June 08, 2013 4:03 AM

The best and most effective test you can take is a genetic test thru 23andme.com that will give you all your genetic codes and then you can download this into geneticgenie.com and it will explain your mutations in detail. Then you will be able to piece together what is happening. I'm a natural health professional and I've struggled with bits and pieces of the sulphur groups for years. Getting this test has given me such greater understanding and now I have a clearer picture of where to start first. It would be easy if just one thing works but if your detoxification pathways are involved then be prepared to invest time and energy to feel better. The test is all of $108.95 with shipping and it's the best test you can take for the money!!! Chances are you will then need a few other tests but recommendatons are made by genetic genie. I'd find a knowledgable local naturopath to work with (and no I am not a naturopath so I've nothing to gain by saying this).

0 · May 06, 2013 1:19 PM

I think your problem is related to an epigenetic mutation in You methylation pathways. Test for MTHFR at spectra cell labs The genes are called 1298 and 677.

0 · April 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Hey....Please contact me! Your story has touched me and I want to talk to you about the levaquin that you took. HAve you ever come across the FB Groups Fluoroquinolone Toxicity? Email me at cherbabe78@gmail.com. I've been suffering ever since taking Cipro, and there are thousands of people together with support groups to help each other. Levaquin, along with cipro, are devestating drugs. I am also just starting out the low sulfer diet, after working with a new doctor regarding Genetic Mutations. He started us on the low sulfer diet and are working to get our genetic mutations working again. IF you have a CBS pathway malfunction, sulur isn't tolerated.

0 · January 04, 2013 9:24 PM

I suffer from a sulfur intolerance as well casusing me extreme gas bloating and very bad skin out breaks. I am fairly convinced that this is due to an overgrowth of sulfate reducing bacteria in my intestines like Tyson mentioned.

I am at the point where I am considering a fecal transplant to reconsitute the flora in my intestine.

0 · November 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM

I have similar issues as you do, but mine started with a dose of Cipro (same family as Levaquin). It is possible that these drugs somehow alter our ability to process sulfur(?).

8 · June 27, 2012 5:40 AM

Have you ever been tested for a CBS mutation or a SUOX mutation? Both can cause your body to not tolerate sulfur, it breaks it down to sulfite and sulfates and causes more ammonia in your body.

0 · October 23, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I've been suffering the same symptoms for years, you may need to get rid of (or reduce) the sulphur reducing bacteria in the large intestine/colon. Try Bismuth Subsalicylate [Kaopectate doesn't have added aluminium like Pepto-Bismol], while you continue on your low thiol diet. Make sure you supplement with the molybdenum, it's required for Sulfite Oxidase, try the liquid form: Ammonium Molybdate.

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