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Sulphur (S, sulfur)

Sulphur (S, sulfur)Sulphur is essential for plants and animals. An adult contains around 175 grams of sulphur. The nutrient is found in the amino acids cysteine and methionine and is therefore also present in all the proteins and enzymes that contain these amino acids. Sulphur is a component of those enzymes that are responsible for ensuring that the hemoglobin in red blood cells is able to bind oxygen. Sulphur is also a component of the disulfide bonds that give strength to skin, hair, and nails. The reason why bird eggs have such a high sulphur content is that the nutrient is needed for the plumage of the developing bird. Sulphur is able to bind heavy metals and other toxins. Sulphur is chemically similar to selenium, but sulphur is not an antioxidant and has other functions in the body.


  • Amino acids, proteins, and enzymes
  • Red blood cells
  • Cellular oxygen turnover
  • Skin, hair, and nails
  • Tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue
  • The nervous system
  • Detoxification

Deficiencies and poor utilisation may be caused by

  • Lack of protein
  • Vegans who do not eat eggs and dairy products should pay attention

Deficiency symptoms

  • Rarely observed but may cause:
  • Poor metabolism and utilisation of protein
  • Hair and skin problems
  • Brittle nails
  • Weak connective tissue


Mainly beans, onions, garlic, cabbage, liver, low-fat cheese, horse radish, eggs, whole-grain, almonds, meat, fish, and other dairy products. Also found in several fruits and vegetables

Sulphur content in mg per 100 grams

Liver, low-fat cheese 250
Horse radish 220
Oats, rye kernels 200
Eggs, whole wheat 190
Broccoli 130

Recommended daily allowance (RDA)

Not established. Our sulphur intake is thought to be covered by dietary protein with sulphur containing amino acids (cysteine and methionine)

Increased need

  • In care of low dietary protein intake

Overdosing - side effects

High protein intake (e.g. meat, eggs, and dairy products) may cause a sulphur overload, which can be a burden on the kidneys and result in an acid overload.

Important information

Sulphur is a component of numerous compounds. This is even the case with industrial sulphur compounds such as sulphuric acid (fertilizers, oil refinery) and sulphites (preservation). Sulphur also shares many resemblances with selenium and is even able to displace this trace element. Acid rain that contains sulphur may cause selenium in the soil to convert into volatile gasses. Permitted sulphur compounds against fungus may also displace selenium.