Let's talk about another potential cause of food sensitivity-type symptoms. You know the symptoms - brain fog, hives and rashes, headaches, nausea, hot flashes, flushed face, constipation or diarrhea, reflux and even anxiety. It quickly becomes a big, confusing mash-up of seemingly random and unrelated symptoms.
If those symptoms sound all too familiar to you, consider looking into sulfur sensitivity.
Sulfur is actually a good guy!
We all have and desperately need sulfur in our bodies. It helps keep joints lubricated and the tendons and ligaments strong, it plays a primary role in several different kinds of detoxification and it helps in DNA repair. It even makes your hair curly!
But when something interferes with biochemistry in your body, there can be a shift in sulfur metabolism and you may end up with too much or too little - both extremes will cause symptoms! It's a little like Goldilocks - you're looking for the balance that makes it all "just right".
Ultimately, we're looking at your body's unique metabolic capacity to deal with sulfur. And, truth be told, that may change a bit from day to day, meal to meal, situation to situation!
Causes of high sulfur
Many times, sulfur levels are pushed higher by food choices. Some examples of foods high in sulfur are asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, eggs, garlic…the list can be pretty extensive. Eggs and animal proteins are also higher in sulfur.
Along the same lines, hydrogen sulfide SIBO can cause a high sulfur situation. All of the bugs you have in your gut, the good guys and the not-so-good guys, leave behind waste. There are many which create sulfur and sulfur gas which is then absorbed into your system. Your body wasn't built to deal with your own sulfur plus that of the potentially billions of gut bugs!
Those are the two big ways to assess your food sensitivity symptoms - take another look at what you're eating, but with a different suspect this time, and pay attention to your gut. And then there are genetic and epigenetic impacts on sulfur. There are definitely other causes of sulfur imbalance, but managing them can be a little tricky and I do recommend you find a knowledgeable provider to guide you.
What about molybdenum?
Quick example - if you go hunting out info on sulfur sensitivity you will definitely see recommendations for a mineral supplement called molybdenum. Molybdenum helps to clear sulfur from the body. Sounds great, right?! It is…but it has many other effects, too, not the least of which is lowering copper. Copper is another mineral which needs to be in the "just right" window or it can cause symptoms like low blood count, weak bones, thyroid issues and irregular heartbeat. You don't need those issues. Be careful with molybdenum.
So what can you do about sulfur sensitivity?
But you know, or I hope you do, that I try to put you in control of your body, your health and your situation. When we're talking about managing sulfur sensitivity, we are not talking about a strict diet to last a lifetime. In fact, because sulfur is so important, most folks struggling with elevated sulfur do well with a shorter sulfur "reset". Think more like a couple weeks and then you start introducing sulfur foods back in.
For many, minimizing the sulfur going in will help decrease symptoms pretty rapidly. There are some folks who may have worsening symptoms for a few days due to what is called "sulfur dumping". But even they report feeling better once it's all settled out.
If you're curious and want more information about sulfur sensitivity, look for Dr. Greg Nigh out there in multiple podcasts and blog posts. He also has a book available on Amazon called The Devil in the Garlic.
Maybe this is part of your answer to solving your food sensitivity puzzle! But even if it's not, we're not done yet!
Sixty-second Self-care Tip…
In the food sensitivity and allergy world we talk a LOT about food. The good foods, the bad foods. The foods to avoid forever and ever. How to manage when you don't avoid the food forever and ever.
We get a little obsessive. And then food becomes the enemy and we become victims. That's not the goal.
Ayurveda says "When food is wrong, medicine is of no use. When food is correct, medicine is of no need."
We could spend a few days unpacking that one but ultimately you have to remember food is here to serve your body and your spirit. You control the what and when and how much. And sometimes that means you choose to eat the one food that is going to cause you the most physical discomfort (aside from anaphylaxis) because in that moment, it's worth it to you. No one else needs to understand or agree or approve what you eat.
You know the consequences to eating it. You (hopefully) have some tools for managing the symptoms. You make the choice.
Then food is no longer an enemy. It's simply a tool to be used.Speaking of tools…wish you had a few more ideas on how to get started on your food sensitivity journey? Heard about histamine intolerance but no idea what to do about it? Click here to request a copy of my FREE resource, 7 Steps to Minimize Histamine Intolerance.