Sulfur is a mineral needed for the manufacture of many proteins, including those forming
hair, muscles, and skin. Sulfur contributes to
fat digestion and absorption, because it is needed to make bile acids. Sulfur is also a
constituent of bones, teeth, and collagen (the protein in connective tissue). As a component
of insulin, sulfur is needed to regulate blood
sugar. Sulfur is present in methylsulfonylmethane
(MSM), a naturally-occurring substance available as a supplement.
Who is likely to be deficient?
Deficiencies of sulfur have not been documented, although a protein-deficient diet could
theoretically lead to a deficiency of sulfur. Low levels of cystine, and therefore possibly
sulfur, were reported many years ago in people with arthritis, but this association is far
How much is usually taken?
No recommended intake levels have been established for sulfur. Since most Western diets are
high in protein, the majority of diets probably supply enough sulfur.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
No side effects have been reported with the use of sulfur.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
1. Augusti KT. Therapeutic values of onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic
(Allium sativum L.). Indian J Exp Biol 1996;34:634–40.
2. Sullivan MX, Hess WC. The cystine content of the finger nails in
arthritis. J Bone Joint Surg 1935;16:185–8.