Sulfur is a mineral that has been known since ancient times. He plays a role in protein metabolism and detoxification; Excess in the body can cause problems. Sulfur is found in many protein-rich foods. Sulfur has different functions in the human body. It is contained in amino acids from which the body's own proteins are produced. It is an important component of connective tissue; especially rich in sulfur are hair and nails.
Sulfur also occurs in several substances of the human body: for example, in the - inhibiting the blood coagulation - heparin and coenzyme A, which is indispensable for the production of energy in the cells. In addition, the salts of sulfuric acids (sulfates) play a role in detoxification - harmful substances such as alcohol are bound to it and excreted in the urine.
Supply of sulfur via food
Since sulfur is normally ingested in sufficient quantities through the diet, there is no data for a recommended daily intake. Sulfur occurs in most proteinaceous foods because two common amino acids (cystine, methionine) contain sulfur. Among other things, he puts in the following foods:
- Cheese (Parmesan)
- roast Chicken
- roast pork
- chicken egg
- Roasted peanuts
Sulfur is present in virtually every food, so deficiencies are not expected with reasonable nutrition in adults.
Overdose of sulfur
An excess of sulfur may occur when eating large amounts of sulfur-containing foods or foods preserved with sulfur compounds. This can inhibit the activity of some enzymes. However, some people already react to small amounts of sulfur dioxide with headaches, but also nausea, bloating or diarrhea. Also intolerances or allergic reactions up to asthma attacks can occur.
Special about sulfur
Sulfur dioxide destroys vitamin B1 and biotin. If it is taken simultaneously with the trace element molybdenum (especially in innards, cereals), these two substances together with copper form insoluble compounds - with the possible result of a copper deficiency. Already in the late Middle Ages sulfur compounds were used to preserve food. Even today, sulfur dioxide (sulphurous acid, E 220) and its salts, the sulphites (E 221-228), are used as antioxidants and preservatives - for example in dried fruit, wine, fruit juices or potato dishes.
Sulfur has long been known for its healing properties. So it is mainly used as an additive in baths or preparations for external use in skin diseases such as psoriasis and joint disorders. In natural medicine, sulfur-containing amino acids are used to form complexes with heavy metals and thereby detoxify the body.