Sulfur Exclusion Diet

Cysteine is an essential amino acid and helpful for many body processes including (along with glycine and glutamic acid, the formation of glutathione (essential for detox).  Sulfur foods are rich in the amino acids methionine and cysteine.  Some children need to be fed more sulfur rich foods while others have to much free cysteine and need to restrict dietary sources.

Sulfur is a monothiol meaning that, when in excess, it can attach to heavy metals and “bounce them around” without actually causing them to exit the body in any significant amount.  This creates some behavior issues and lots of yeast issues.

Unfortunately there is no longer any lab testing available to evaluate plasma cysteine status .  This has nothing to do with cysteine status, plasma sulfate status, or liver sulfation status.  These can be independently high low or normal.  The only effective way of determining whether your child would benefit from high or low dietary sulfur intake is through a sulfur exclusion diet trial.

Difficulty controlling yeast even with large amounts of anti-fungals and probiotics.  Yeast seems to acclimate to any anti-fungal used within a short period of time (this does not apply to Rx anti-fungals).  A lot of hyperness, poor behavior, meltdowns, self limiting to sulfur foods, etc…

The sulfur exclusion trial is done as follows:

All high sulfur/thiol foods and supplements containing thiol groups (see list below) are strictly avoided for a 5-7 day period to allow the effect of the last ingestion to wear off. The negative effects of sulfur occur over a 4-7 day period after the last sulfur ingestion, which means you need to exclude all sulfur foods AND sulfur supplements for at least a week before you know what is going on.

Then, after 5-7 days the high sulfur/thiol foods are added sharply back to your diet and you eat a lot of them for a week, noticing what happens to your health over this time. If you feel worse soon after introducing sulfur foods, you do not need to do this for a week as it indicates you are better off eliminating sulfur foods.  (

If your health improves while off the sulfur foods and regresses after adding them back, you have an intolerance to them and should avoid them.

(To make the most of your diet trial and test for a dairy intolerance too.  First reintroduce general sulfur foods, but not eggs, dairy, or soy.  Next bring back eggs. After a few days bring back dairy, and finally soy).  If your child reacts negatively to the general foods there is no need to continue.  If you child does fine on the general foods but reacts negatively to eggs, remove them for a few days then reintroduce dairy separately.  By this you should be able to determine if your child has a sulfur sensitivity or a casein intolerance.

This list is copyright Andrew Hall Cutler Phd, reproduced with permission.

For more information get the book:

Amalgam Illness Diagnosis and Treatment

Foods/supplements high in sulfur/thiols:

artichokes, Jerusalem but not French
bakery products containing whey, cysteine, eggs or enzymes
bean curd/tofu milk
bean sprouts
beans of all sort
bok choy
brussels sprouts
cheese of all sorts
collard greens
dairy products
green beans
lentils of all sorts
milk from any animal
miso soup
papaya (slightly)
pineapple (slightly)
turmeric (though not high in thiols, it  is really good at raising thiol levels)
yeast extract
NAC- N-acetyl cysteine
bromelain and papain
methionine (converts down into cysteine)

Foods low in sulfur/thiols:

acorn squash
almond milk
artichokes (french)
nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.. (not peanuts or soy they are legumes)
brown sugar
grains – wheat, rice, corn, bulgar, buckwheat, barley, oats
Poultry dark meat/ liver
coconut dried/fresh
cod liver oil
corn (sweet)
cottonseed oil
ginger root fresh
herbs fresh – basil thyme, rosemary
lettuce – but not other greens
seeds – sunflower, linseeds, pumpkinseeds, flax (not sesame)
sesame oil , but not  seeds
spaghetti squash
squashes – acorn, butternut, spaghetti, summer, winter, yellow crooked neck, zucchini
sweet potato
vinegar (white)
whole-wheat flower
winter squash

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8 thoughts on “Sulfur Exclusion Diet

  1. Was also wondering about the buckwheat on high thiol list, and beets (related to turnips…)on low thiol list. Wish there was a sulfur list and cysteine list as when tried the thiol exclusion for no more than 5 days felt so flat/blaw(need cysteine’s?). What did help after 2 days was way reduced motion illness.

    • I did not create the list. It is from Andy Cutler so I can not fully explain individual components. However, I dont believe beet root is related to turnip. It is related to Swiss Chard and I believe the beet greens are high thiol while the root is not. Turnip is in the broccoli family. Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and sorrel.

  2. Okay, but what if you are also sensitive to salicylates and benzoates in addition? What is there to eat aside from meat?

  3. Before answering you I wanted to do some research to be sure my answer was correct. As you did, I found a bit of contradiction. So I tried to search buckwheat’s “family tree” and still I did not find conclusive information. I believe it is a low thiol food, and my son did not have in reaction that I can recall from eating it, but am awaiting answer from one more knowledgeable than I am to be sure. In the meantime I will pass on something in the way of advice take it or leave it. 😉

    If you want to test the theory to be sure, stay very low sulfur in every other way and avoid buckwheat for 5-7 days. On day 6 or 8 eat as much buckwheat as reasonable (at least with every meal that day) and see if you feel worse. If you see no reaction then I would say you needn’t worry about including it in your diet.

    I don’t know of any place to find calculations as to the degree of thiol in each food. Probably a food chemist somewhere would have the answer of course like you said it isn’t the amount of sulfur it contains, but how it metabolizes that we are concerned with. I can tell you that eggs, peanuts, chocolate, and sesame where the biggest issues for us. I know onions and garlic are extremely high in thiols, but I think that the amount we use in food is so much smaller than other things that it was less of an issue. Beans were tolerated sooner, as were fermented dairy products (could have just been that he ate less of them or perhaps that the other supps we were using helped). We also remained very strict on round but I could allow him to have ice cream as a treat in between rounds after a year or so of being strictly low sulfur. After a couple of years of steady chelation he is fine with everything, even sesame sticks no longer bother him lick they used to.

  4. Hi again! I’m sorry, I got the nuts wrong, they are not on any high-thiol list (thankfully!). I got it mixed up with the fact that many nuts are high in sulphur, but that is, I understand not the same as high in thiols. But I’m still puzzled about buckwheat.

    • Oh, sorry again. I see that my first comment got lost somehow, so my last comment was perhaps not very intelligable. I posted the question on nuts and buckwheat. On some other webpage, buckwheat was on the high-thiol list (here it’s on the low). And at that time I thought the same about nuts, but as you can see in my last comment, I noticed I was mistaken. Since I like buckwheat I would like to know weather or not it’s high in thiols. I also asked weather it was possible to know the amount of thiols present in the foods (on the high-list)? Just in case one would like to reintroduce some food or other on the list after some time of exclusion? And not happen to chose the worse culprit of them all?

    • P.S. If you left a message for Dean (living network) I would be very interested to hear his response. I have no issue with being corrected if I am wrong and would like to keep my list as close to correct as possible. 😉

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