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Some people write to me about having a possible histamine reaction. In fact, they could be having a problem with sulfur in their bodies.
Sulfur is a natural compound found in a whole bunch of different foods. It’s found in Alliums like garlic and onions. Sulfur is also found in brassica vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. Eggs contain a lot of sulfur. You can even find it in watermelon.
If we look at proteins and break them down, we’ve got 21 different amino acids. Two of these amino acids, cystine and methionine, contain sulfur.
Sulfur is very important in the body. It plays a role in detoxification. Methionine and cystine drive three main detoxification pathways in your liver. The liver has two main phases of detoxification: Phase One and Phase Two.
Phase 1 involves the enzyme system called P450 enzymes.
Phase 2 uses five different pathways to break toxins down. Three of these pathways rely on methionine and cystine to work properly. These three pathways are sulfation, glucuronidation, and glutathione-S-transferase.
If you have a problem with sulfur, you can have a problem with detoxification, and it can make you feel quite sick.
So, how do you get around this?
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You can’t entirely avoid sulfur.
It is very hard to get out of your diet. There are a couple of reasons why sulfur could be playing up with you. You could have a genetic mutation. We know for vitamin B12, for example, we’ve got the MTHFR gene, so that you can be homozygous for a bad copy of that gene. That results in a problem called CBS, or cystathionine beta-synthase.
You can do a test for CBS and then decide if you want to avoid foods with the highest sulfur levels.
One of the most common ways people get a sulfur sensitivity is through heavy metal toxicity. The four primary metals that can cause a sulfur problem are lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. These are sulfhydryl metals. These metals can make people with a sulfur sensitivity quite sick if they have a build-up of them, particularly a build-up of mercury. If you have high levels of these heavy metals in your body, working on getting rid of them will help sulfur work more effectively in your body.
You can do a hair analysis to find out the levels of heavy metals in your body.
You can test if you have a big sulfur problem by using an organic acids test (the O test). It’s a test that measures urinary metabolites. The markers that you could find include high sulfates, ammonia, orotate, citrate, isocitrate, or vitamin B6. These substances can be affected if you have a sulfur problem.
If you have confirmed that you have a sulfur sensitivity, I suggest doing an online search for the highest sulfur-containing foods. Try and eliminate some of them from your diet and see if it makes a difference. If it does, and that’s the only change you have made, you can put some of the higher sulfur-containing foods back into your diet to see if you start getting more symptoms again.
Some of the symptoms of sulfur sensitivity are itchiness, hives, asthma, headache, nausea, fatigue, flushing, and brain fog.
The last step in sulfur detoxification is an enzyme called sulfur oxidase. If you take a trace element called molybdenum, it helps that enzyme work effectively and excrete more sulfur from the body. The other thing you can do if you need to excrete sulfur from your body is to take chlorophyll drinks or other alkalizing and detoxifying green drinks such as green barley grass and spirulina. It also helps to eat dark, leafy greens like spinach.