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What about Sulfur?

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Updated 18 minutes ago
Created November 19, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Some dried fruit is Sulfited. Is this safe? Or should I stay away from it? I know some sulfur is naturally occurring, like in asparagus, and we obviously just pass the sulfur, hence the sulfur smelling urine. Is sulfited kiwi ok?

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1336 · November 20, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Reckoned you'd pop in here for some chem wizardy. Thank you.

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41422 · November 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Sulfites used in dried fruit can cause some problems with some people. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy731 It's not metabolically useful in humans, but it's not problematic either. Inorganic sulfur isn't all that important from a human nutrition POV.

Asparagus does contain some sulfurous compounds, which when metabolized cause the smelly pee. Specifically asparagusic acid, being metabolized into a cocktail of thiols/sulfoxides/sulfones (organic sulfur containing molecules) including the particularly malodorous dimethylsulfide. Non-vitamin, non-amino acid sulfur ultimately is just broken down an removed from the body.

Biotin and thiamine are sulfur-containing vitamins, essential for health.

Bioavailable sulfur comes from cysteine and methionine. Methionine is essential, but both are rather important to obtain from diet (which assuming you're not restricting protein, it's not an issue.)

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49
1336 · November 20, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Reckoned you'd pop in here for some chem wizardy. Thank you.

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1336 · November 20, 2013 at 1:16 AM

The urine smell you're referring to is actually from ammonia, which is a common byproduct of your metabolism, and not from sulfur. Sulfur is actually rather important in small quantities (which is the quantity we normally receive it via foods such as onions) and is not so casually thrown away by your body.

Sulfites are compounds containing the SO3(-2) polyatomic ion. These compounds are typically added as preservatives, but can also occur in food naturally. Bad reactions to sulfites have been known to occur, though they are apparently rare.

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