Do you have sulfur intolerance? Many people mistake a histamine intolerance for a problem with sulfur foods in fact.
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Greetings. Eric Bakker, naturopath from New Zealand. Thanks for coming back. I often get asked by people about histamine reactions, about feeling sick or flushed in the face or nauseous and brain fog and many people think that they've got a problem with the histamine reaction. In fact, they could have a reaction with sulfur in their body. Sulfur is quite a natural compound found in a whole bunch of different foods. It's found especially in foods like garlic and onions. It's found in brassicas. You find it a lot in cauliflower and broccoli. You can even find it and watermelon. A quick Google search will show you a whole list of sulfur-containing foods. Eggs, for example, contain a lot of sulfur in them.
Some people know that they react to these foods, other people don't. If we look at the structure of amino acids, or if you look in the amino acids, protein break down to building blocks. We've got carbohydrates, we've got proteins, we've got fats. But if we look at proteins and break them down, we've got 21 different amino acids.
Now, two of these amino acids contain sulfur, methionine and cystine. All right? If we try and understand this, we're gonna go a little bit into chemistry here to explain, by chemistry to explain a few things to you.
Sulfur's very important for the body, particularly for detoxification, because methionine and cystine drive three main detoxification pathways in your liver. Your liver has two main ways how it breaks foods down to detoxify, two filtration stages, phase one and phase two. Phase one works by virtue of a whole bunch of different enzyme systems called P450 enzymes. Phase two works with five different regulatory systems, five different pathways, I think, how it breaks foods down, or breaks toxins down. Three of those pathways rely on methionine and cystine to really help to drive them properly.
Let's just have a look at those three systems. I wonder if you can see my chart here. Here we've got phase one and phase two.
Sulfation, glucorodiation, and glutathione as transference. Those three pathways rely on cystine and methionine. They plug into that system. If you've got a problem with sulfur, you can have a problem with detoxification, and it can make you feel quite sick.
How do you get around this? What are we gonna do about all this?
What's the solution? Well, you can't really completely avoid sulfur.
It's very hard to get it out of your diet. There are a couple of reasons why sulfur could be playing up with you. Let me just go back to my notes here. What you could be looking at, for example, is a genetic mutation. Some people have this. We know that, for example, with B12, we've got the MTHFR gene, so you can be homozygous or have two bad copies of the gene and that can cause a problem called CBS, or cystathionine beta-synthase. You can actually do an online search for CBS to see if you've got a problem with this particular pathway. And then, if you have, you can do that test, I believe, online, and it will allow you then to make up your mind if you wanna avoid the highest sulfur containing foods or not, which is probably not a bad idea.
But, one of the most common ways people get a sulfur sensitivity is through heavy metal toxicity. If we look at the four main metals that affect people, if they've got a sulfur problem, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. These are sulfhydryl metals. These metals, in particular, can make some people really sick if they've got a buildup of them, due to their sulfur sensitivity. You can do a hair analysis to determine what your level of heavy metals are like in the body, and particularly mercury can be a really big problem if you got a sensitivity towards sulfur. That's something that you might wanna have a look at.
One way you can test, if you've got a big sulfur problem, is through the organic acids test, so the O test, that's a urinary metabolite test.
That will give you an idea. And the markers you're gonna find that could come back could be high sulfates, ammonia, orotate, citrate, isocitrate, or vitamin B6. These could be really affected if you've got a sulfur problem.
I mentioned about the genetic test. You can do those.
What do you do if you got a sulfur sensitivity? How do you get this fixed up? Well, go to Google and then do a Google search for the list of the highest sulfur-containing foods, and then try and eliminate some of those from your diet to see if it does really make a difference. If it does, and that's the only thing that you've done, you can put some of the higher sulfur-containing foods back in to see if you get aggravated and feel sick again.
I hope that answers a few questions. Thanks for tuning in.