Worried About Arthritis and Acne? Low Sulfur In The Body Might Be The Reason

Worried About Arthritis and Acne? Low Sulfur In The Body Might Be The Reason

Are you the one who is concerned about acne, brittle nails, gastrointestinal problems, and depression? Your body might be missing an important mineral known as sulfur. Let’s learn about the key role this forgotten mineral plays in our body.

Why our body needs sulfur?

Most of us hardly talk about sulfur, which is an important mineral present in every cell of our body. Sulfur is critical for numerous biological process of the body including the regulation of metabolism and functioning of the nervous system. Below pointers will clear more about this third most important mineral after calcium and phosphorus.

  • Nature’s beauty mineral, sulfur promotes keratin production which is responsible for healthy hair, nails, and skin.
  • The amino acids present in sulfur boosts anti-oxidants including glutathione which promotes immunity and prevents toxic build-up.
  • Sulfur aids in joint repair and accelerates the brain defensive system against degenerative process.
  • It detoxifies pathways to the liver.
  • Sulfur is needed for insulin production.
  • It makes up essential amino acids needed to create protein cells, hormones, and antibodies.

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How much sulfur we need?

Although, there is no specific recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for sulfur, experts say daily intake of at least 800-900 mg is vital for a healthy body. Sulfur contains two essential amino acids methionine and cysteine obtained from the diet. According to United States Food and Nutrition Board, the RDA of adults regarding these two amino acids should be 14mg/kg of body weight per day.

On the other hand, SAA (sulfur amino acids) recommendation of WHO is 13mg/kg of body weight per day, nearly the same as mentioned above.

Sulfur and treatment of acne in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a phase in which change in hormones and oil production can cause the skin to break out. Use of sulfur is usually considered safe during the pregnancy, however, one should consult the doctor before using it. Sulfur for acne treatment comes various types including lotion, cream, bar soap and ointment.

Make sure you consult a dermatologist before using sulfur and use as directed.

How can lack of sulfur and too much of it causes health problems

Sulfur maintains elasticity of the skin and helps in keeping muscles and bones in shape. Deficiency or toxicity of sulfur can lead to various health issues.

Sulfur excess – Our body processes two sulfur amino acids and turns them into sulfur compounds for adequate functioning. Excess of sulfur-containing foods may cause the compounds to excrete in the urine leading to strong smell in urine. Too much sulfur can also cause stomach problems and can cause serious damage to eyes and kidneys.

Sulfur deficiency – Lack of adequate sulfur in the body can make arthritis, acne, memory loss, depression and gastrointestinal problems worse. The deficiency of sulfur may also contribute to Alzheimer’s, heart disease and obesity. Insufficient sulfur in the body may also cause insulin resistance which may lead to abnormal blood sugar levels.

Are there any foods to fill up sulfur deficiency?

There are several foods which are high in sulfur. Most of these are everyday foods easily accessible. For omnivores, getting adequate sulfur won’t be a problem, however, for strict vegans, there are also various options to choose from. Below are mentioned veg and non-veg food high in sulfur.

Veg-foods rich in sulfur


You must have experienced irritation in eyes when you cut the onions. Yes, that stinging sensation is because of the presence of sulfuric acid. Besides sulfur, onions also help boost anti-oxidants, fight cancer and prevent liver damage.

Tip – Many people enjoy raw stuff chopped in salad or soup, but most of the people prefer onion in cooked form.


Both onions and garlic are from the same family of vegetables. Sulfur present in garlic offers various health advantages including improvement in digestive system, cardiovascular system as well as help in detoxification. Garlic, besides high in sulfur content, is also an excellent source of vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C and copper.

Tip – The zesty spicy food can be added to salads, but likewise onions, garlic too, is relished in cooked form.


Many researches suggest that cabbage contains organo-sulfur compounds. This vegetable from the cruciferous family is also rich in vitamin C and a natural cholesterol reducer.

Tip – Steamed cabbage is considered more beneficial than cabbage cooked at high temperature.


Uncooked foods are considered best for obtaining sulfur. And as nuts are consumed uncooked, they have an added advantage. Walnuts are best among the nuts that are also rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Tip – Munch a few walnuts at work or toss them in your yogurt or oatmeal for a healthy breakfast.


Most dairy products contain sulfur. Cheese is one of the dairy foods in which sulfur amino acids are found in abundance. Some researches show high sulfur compounds in cheddar cheese.

Tip – Cheese can be added in a variety of daily meals. Anything from cheese slice to cheese spread will give good amount of sulfur.

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Non-veg foods rich in sulfur


Eggs are not only rich in protein, but also have high reserves of sulfur. The white or albumen part contains the maximum amount of sulfur. As per B. Srilakshmi, the author of the book ‘Food Science’, eggs contain about 0.195 mg of sulfur.

Tip – To get the most sulfur out of the egg, prefer boiled or raw eggs overcooked ones.

Red meat

Most animal foods contain sulfur and red meat is considered to have a dense supply of this mineral. Besides, you also get high protein content which is not present in vegetarian foods.

Tip – Avoid beef liver as it contains low levels of sulfur.


As sulfur is a mineral, the dietary sulfur present in water, salmon (rawas) that is popular seafood containing loads of sulfur. Besides, you get protein and the power of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy hair and skin.

Tip – Beware of overcooking, as it can ruin this vital nutrient.


Among the non-veg sulfur-rich foods, chicken also holds a place. Chicken also promotes healthy hair growth as it contains healthy dietary protein. It contains 0.801mg of methionine, an important sulfur amino acid.

Tip – Add chicken in your diet once or twice in a week and you will never fall short of sulfur.

Sulfur is an important mineral which is not known to many of us. If you are suffering from any of the conditioned mentioned above, check with your doctor and know if sulfur deficiency is the reason behind your problem.


1. Nimni ME, et al.(2007, November 06). Are we getting enough sulfur in our diet? read more
2. Dr. Mercola (2011,September 12).Sulfur: The Mineral That Helps Fight Fatigue, Stress, Pain, Cancer, and Wrinkles, Too read more
3. Dr. Jockers (n.d.).The 12 Best Food Sources of Sulfur 
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