Last updated March 21, 2023
Low Sulfur Foods List: Sulfur Intolerance
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How do you know if you are sulfur intolerant?
Is there a low-sulfur foods list that’s accurate?
I’ve lived with chronic migraines, joint pain, mysterious rashes and a slew of other symptoms for most of my life.
Many tests and doctors that were left shaking their heads and I’m left with more questions than I started with.
Unfortunately, sulfur intolerance is not well researched and most people end up figuring out on their own what they can and can’t eat.
Although I’m following as many doctors as I can who are interested in sulfur intolerance, I am not a doctor and I am speaking solely out of personal experience.
This article is not a medical study but a sample of my journey in dealing with sulfur.
What are the symptoms of Sulfur Intolerance?
I have found symptoms to present shortly after eating sulfur or at least within a few hours for myself.
- Loose Stools
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Stiffness
- Brain Fog
- Eye Pressure
- General Swelling
- Ammonia on Breath
- Feeling Toxic
- History of Steven Johnson’s Syndrome
For me personally, I notice almost immediately after eating sulfur that my neck thickens up and I’m under a dark cloud of brain fog with a headache that turns into a severe migraine. It also causes extreme irritability, bowel problems, itching, and flushing.
As I have mentioned above there is very little research in the field of sulfur for those who are suffering.
Having a sulfur intolerance seems to stem from a number of different things including:
- CBS mutation
- Sulfur producing bacteria in the gut
- Ammonia producing bacteria in the gut
- Nutritional deficiencies
Although I do have a CBS mutation, I also feel better while on antibiotics which lets me know I probably have some bad gut bacteria contributing to my sulfur intolerance.
So what foods contain sulfur and which ones are “safe”?
Low Sulfur Foods List
It’s easier to point out the foods that are high sulfur than the ones that are low. Some people may tolerate foods on the “no” list because of their individual bodies’ chemistry.
Some people may be sensitive to thiols, oxalates, silicates, Fodmaps, amino acids, and so many other chemicals and nutrients.
Please, keep a journal or list of what you are eating and how you feel afterword. Individual needs vary so much and there isn’t one “list” for everyone.
That being said, here is a list of relatively low sulfur foods.
Low Sulfur Fruits
- Pumpkin Seeds
Low Sulfur Vegetables
- Romaine Lettuce
- Bell Peppers
- Bamboo Shoots
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potato
- Water Chesnuts
Other Low Sulfur Foods
- Long Grain Rice
- Meat in moderation
- Macadamia nuts
- Pea Protein
- Dark Poultry
An excellent place I get these foods is Thrive Market. You have to try it.
High Sulfur Foods to Avoid
I think it’s easier to avoid the very high-containing sulfur foods and go from there with your meals.
Any cruciferous vegetables will be high in sulfur such as cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, onion, garlic, bok choy, and greens such as kale.
I also avoid large amounts of protein, bone broth, collagen, and amino acids because it can cause ammonia overload.
It’s so deceiving if you have a sulfur sensitivity because you will likely add these foods into your meals thinking you are getting healthier when you are actually making yourself sick.
Many people told me my symptoms were just detox and to push through. Unfortunately, pushing through these foods just doesn’t work with sulfur sensitivity.
The only way I could get relief was to dramatically lower my sulfur intake including protein.
Supplements and Sulfur Intolerance
It’s not well known what supplements can help sulfur intolerance other than Molybdenum which helps the body process the sulfur.
I see good results with Molybdenum if I pulse it, for example, to take it for a few days then take some days off before I start again.
If I take it continuously I get uric acid issues.
Chlorophyll can be helpful for mopping up extra ammonia in the system and I take that every few days.
I spent years buying different supplements I thought were healthy like SAMe which helps so many people but just gave me a migraine.
Many supplements contain sulfur so please do your research before you purchase one.
Please leave your symptoms of sulfur intolerance and your own foods list below in the comments so we can all learn together.
I was diagnosed allergic to sulfonamides in 1987. A few years later, I was covered in hives from head to toe, and no one knew why. With me keeping a food diary, I realized the likely culprit was caramel coloring (yes, there’s sulfur in caramel coloring, and it’s in SO MANY FOODS). I started eating organic and was relatively fine, but in my later years when I was in perimenopause,I could no longer eat peanuts or almonds (guess what? They are high in sulfur). I now have type II diabetes and a fatty liver. Recently, I started having gastrointestinal issues. I cut out coffee, but that didn’t help too much. I had to go back to a food diary and removed eggs from my diet. That was it. Guess what? Eggs are high in sulfur. It wasn’t until recently that I started to understand that I am likely sulfur sensitive/allergic. I’d like to get tested for the CBS mutation but don’t know where to start. I wish there was more research out there on sulfur sensitivity/allergies.
Anyone here suffer from asthma symptoms? My gut seems to be ok…no noxious gas, no bloating. I just seem to have breathing issues when I eat high sulfur foods like garlic, onion, broccoli, etc.
I see most people talking about intestinal issues, but not the breathing issues. My doc seems to think my issue is sulfur sensitivity, but no one seems to address asthma as a symptom of the problem. This is very frustrating! Ack!! Thanks for listening!
Does anyone know of a list of Doctors and Nutritionists that work on SIBO, IBS, mold toxins and all of these problems? Or an Association were such professionals have a membership? It’s so difficult to find providers that “believe” in these problems and/or want to order the tests and refer to knowledgeable nutrition people ..
Look for a Shoemaker certified Dr for mold
After 6 years of suffering with symptoms of bloating, belching/ gas, brain fog, joint pain, nerve pain etc I’ve come to realise I’m extremely sensitive/ intolerant sulphur & sulfide foods especially Onions, garlic, all allium foods, beans, legumes, pickles, wine, beer & I believe I have hydrogen sulfide sibo. Im extremely low in oxalate producing bacteria. Mold toxins came back normal. B12 was low so I take prescription b12. But I don’t seem to react to meats, eggs & dairy so much. Are some of us able to tolerate methionine compound sulphur but reactive to cystine compounds & visa versa? If anyone can give me any advise of how to best manage & what further tests would you recommend. Thanks I’m advance
I’ve spent years trying to stay on a low Candida mold diet. Think it helps in some ways but still really struggling. I have the CBS gene. I’m thinking of excluding high sulfur foods, but it sure doesn’t leave much left to eat. Just cutting garlic, onions, dairy and eggs may help. Perhaps less meat too. That’s a tough one when trying to keep sugar and starchy foods low. If anyone reads this, what are some symptoms you’re experiencing and has a low thiol diet helped?
WHEN MY B6 LEVELS WERE EXTREMELY HIGH .I WAS TAKING THE WRONG TYPE OF B6. I SWITCHED TO PYRIDOXAL-5-PHOSPHATE p-5-p
All my life I noticed I was sensitive to Sulfur foods like Cabbage and Nitrates like wine and also Lectins like tomatoes. (My lymph system has never worked properly since I was born so that explains some of it.) But after having toxic mold exposure a bunch of times from work these past couple years it’s gotten exceptionally bad. I’ve been gluten free for almost 20 years, that helped my acne a lot. But now after the mold exposure with my last allergy test I’ve had to cut out all Lectin foods, all the night shades, and all high sulfur foods. My acne was getting insanely bad, my head would get so itchy, I had constant stinky gas, my body was always puffy and swollen, tons of brain fog and fatigue. I didn’t make the connection to mold until I was telling a friend how bad things were getting and she put the two together. She also suffered from toxic mold exposure as it sent to the hospital after one big exposure. She gave me the protocol her Top Mold Toxicologist Dr gave her. Basically you need to suck it out of your body and the best things to use are Activated Charcoal or Bentonite Clay. I take the activated charcoal and he says to use 1.5 tsp mixed with a glass of water at least ever 12 hours, or 3x daily. The hard part is you must take it at least 1.5hr before or after taking any supplements or meds or the charcoal will suck them up and you will not get their benefits. The whole idea is to keep charcoal continually in your gut (12 hrs is all things stay in there) so that it filters out the mold and keeps the mold levels down in your fluids so your body can heal. It takes years to get it all out of your cells where it is stored, but as long as its getting removed from your fluids your gut and body can heal. My brain fog has gotten a bit better. When I was first exposed it was so bad that I was forgetting how to drive, part my hair and where to put my tooth brush! Things I should never have to think about. The mold destroys the gut and just perpetuates all the food intolerances. So I have to stay away from everything my body can’t tolerate right now, suck out the mold and hope one day I can eat foods like Brussels sprouts and eggs again.
Thanks so much for this. I have sulphur intolerance which is much worse since covid- I have a question, how do you know if you have a toxic mood problem? Much appreciation in advance
You pretty much described all of my symptoms. First, I eliminated my favorite food (Rattatouille) due to high nightshade vegetables that irritated my joints! Now I’m trying to eliminate the biggest offenders (high sulfur/sulfite foods). Of course, they are my favorite foods. But I have noticed major improvements in my skin (acne at 64 ugh! and redness), brain fog, fatigue, and mood. I’ve had to give up coffee, but found I can appreciate the calming effects of chamomile and lavender tea.
I have the same issues. I’ve actually found that I can eat those foods ONLY IF I am eating and drinking a lot of astringent fruits to keep my lymphatic system moving. I juice the fruits myself. Dark grapes or mandarin oranges for juice. Watermelon (any melon) for snacking on. So, if I’m feeling like some brussels for dinner some night, I make sure I load up on fruit a day in advance, the day of and continue for a couple more days.
I have been dealing with all sorts of issues. This sounds so close to all of my symptoms. I have had allergy tests done, altra sounds, upper and lower GI, blood work and urine tests.
my symptoms: fowl egg smell constantly, headaches, bloating, high blood pressure, rash( unexplained) fowl smelling gas (like rotten eggs), Gluten makes my rash worse, dairy makes my mouth taste awful. I keep getting yeast infection in my mouth, I think they call Candida. I will be calling my doctor hopefully they might listen to me now, I am not crazy!!
Research hydrogen sulfide Sibo.
I’m curious what uric acid issues you had? I was taking molybdenum specifically for low uric acid a long time ago. I stopped because I was trying to cut back on supplements in general and didn’t feel it was making much difference. Now I’m curious what the correlation was for you!
Did you end up working out what it was? I think I’m going through similar issues based on everything you’ve described, and think it may be related to sulphur containing foods.
Aloha Cathy ,
This sounds like you may have SIBO . I’ve been dealing with hydrogen sulfide SIBO for 6+ months now
Hoping you have found some relief since posting this comment !
Thanks for sharing so helpful!💜
So thankful I found this article! I’ve been suffering from stomach bloating and discomfort along with overall joint pain, dizziness on and off and significant pins and needles in my fingers. It all started about 3 months after going vegan and plant based…my B-6 levels are twice the normal range according to blood work…I’ve tried the fodmap, low oxalate and low salicylate diets for the past few weeks but haven’t found major relief…so I suspect it may be a sulfur issue as my food sensitivity test showed sensitivity to eggs, mushrooms, multiple grains, garlic and onions and soy. Hopeful to get some relief from a low sulfur diet and sibo protocol…sigh.
I haven’t had time to update this article but I switched to Whole Food Plant-Based and it has helped a ton with my sulfur issues. I can even eat some garlic now. Normally garlic would take me out. I’m not eating any animal products at all, no cheese, no dairy, no meat, no eggs, and NO OIL of any kind. I’m hoping to get more plant-based material on my site soon. I would stay clear of sulfur and see if it’s helping you.
Im so glad to hear that you went whole foods plant based. My family is also ans so is my grandson whos in my care who is four and has ASD and DS and of course as the article mentioned its a CBS mutation with DS as its upregulated. SO i woud surely love and appreciate more whole foods materials and imput as im try to help him the best i can. Thank you
Sounds familiar, have you looked into EDS & other connective tissue disorders? I find Choline helps immeasurably with the nerve pain & tingling…but since it’s derived from eggs I’m nervous to try the low sulfur diet in case it works for everything but the nerve pain! I already had to stop taking curcumin (for joint pain) due to a Salicylate sensitivity!
My dizzines was due to POTS, associated with the EDS. It’s where your pulse rate jumps more than 15 BPM after standing up (after 10mins). You can chart it yourself without seeing a doctor if you are curious. Technically it’s tachycardia which sounds scary but it’s not a big deal.
I don’t know if this helps but I went Whole Food Plant-Based eating (like Forks over Knives documentary) and it has helped me tremendously. I am actually eating some onion and garlic again and that used to be a sure way to get a migraine. I cut out all meat, dairy, and animal products plus oil.
Low sulphur foods are definitely helping me ( actually, cutting out high sulphur foods), but I am concerned about getting enough protein. Cutting out almost all plant based protein ( lentils, beans, etc) and keeping animal protein to a minimum seems to leave a potential gap. I would like to hear from someone who has done this for a year or so and hasn’t had symptoms of protein deficiency ( hair, skin, nail issues) Thank you for this welcome (and rare!) resource.
Hi. It seems that high B6 levels may be an indication of low cellular B12 levels. I say cellular, because if B12 cannot be converted to its active forms – methylcobalamin & adenosylcobalamin, whilst blood levels of B12 may appear to be normal or even high, it may not actually be getting into the cells.
Dr. Lonsdale discovered that IV B12 lowered high B6, suggesting that B12 & B6 have a working partnership and the body may retain B6 in anticipation of the B12 being converted to its active forms so the interaction can occur. Many cite B6 ‘toxicity’ as a cause of neuropathy, however neuropathy is a common symptom of B12 deficiency. If the seemingly adequate B12 in the bloodstream is not getting into the cells, the B6 ‘toxicity’ may actually be an indication of abject B12 deficiency.
B12 is not found in plant-foods. Many who become vegetarian or vegan unfortunately often base thei diet around highly refined & processed, nutrient-robbing wheat & sugar products, which also burn through B vitamins something awful. Although the body tends to store A certain amount of B12, once we are no longer consuming foods that contain it & are consuming foods that burn through it, eventually those stores will run dry. So it is imperative that those eating a (preferably whole food, unprocessed & unrefined) plant-based diet take a B12 supplement.
I have eaten a Whole Food Plant Based diet for 4 years & take B12 regularly. Whilst it should ideally be produced by gut microbes, many of us have decimated gut biomes from antibiotic use, exposure to other biome-wrecking drugs & chemicals such as Glyphosate, etc, so have no way of producing or metabolising it other than to get it from animal foods or take supplements. I take ‘active’ sublingual B12 drops as I find they work far better for me than tablet or capsule forms, & I also take a good B-50 complex because B vitamins are synergistic & all support each other in various ways, so taking one in isolation may potentially deplete others.
Active B12 drops? Can I ask what brand? Methyl ?
Some people do wonderful with methyl vitamins and others do not. I personally don’t use methylated since I am sensitive. I love Seeking Health brand vitamins.
Hi could you please share what you have done to tackle the SIBO issues? 🙏🙂
Unfortunately some of us have conflicting needs for food; a problem with cruciferous vegetables because the thiols stir up mercury; a problem with high histamine foods; and problems with lectins. That pretty much eliminates ALL foods. For me, the thiol foods cause the least problems because I can take DAO for the histamine and lectin help for the lectins.
I think many people develop problems the same way I did, through a toxic mold exposure. Most do not know they have a problem because doctors are still woefully ignorant and it simply does not occur to them, especially since response is genetic and only 1/4 of the people in the dwelling will have a problem.
Hi Pam, do you know if you have salicytate or oxalate issues due to the mold exposure? Did you have any metal amalgams in your mouth?
I know how you feel…I’m low Salicylate & Oxalate. Throw sulfur into the mix & I’m basically living on iceberg lettuce & pumpkin!
Pam! Thank you so much for posting this! Myself and my kids have been dealing with some crazy issues and we all seem to react differently to different kinds of foods. It makes making meals a challenge. I just recently found out that we have been exposed, for many years to toxic mold. I’m now trying to figure out how to get our bodies function again. Do you have any recommendations?