Sulfur Allergies vs. Sulfur Supplements

Something we hear a lot is “I have a sulfur allergy – I can’t use MSM (or DMSO, or glucosamine sulfate)!”. Hopefully this article clears up this common misconception about the difference between having a “sulfur” allergy and being “allergic” to sulfur-based supplements.

What is a Sulfur Allergy?

There is a big misconception when it comes to “sulfur allergies” – there is actually no such thing. Sulfur is one of the most abundant elements in the human body and is essential to life. Sulfur is found in many common foods that we eat every day including fish, poultry, eggs, milk, onions, garlic, and cabbage. Being allergic to sulfur is simply not possible because we cannot live without it.

When a person says that they are allergic to sulfur, what they actually mean is that they are either sensitive to sulfites, which are preservatives found in red wines and some foods, or that they are allergic to sulfonamides, found in sulfa antibiotic drugs. Sulfites and sulfonamides, even though they sound similar to sulfur in name, are very different from one another and have unrelated mechanisms of action. Being sensitive to either of these sulfur-containing substances does not mean that you will react to the other. The reason? It’s not the sulfur component that’s the issue.

Sulfite Sensitivities

Sulfites belong to a group of chemicals that include sulfur dioxide and sulfite salts. Sulfites can be found naturally in many aged or fermented foods including dried fruits, preserved meats, red wines, and pickled foods. In the body, sulfites are metabolized to sulfur dioxide, which can cause hypersensitivity reactions. People are not “allergic” to the sulfites, but instead have a sulfite intolerance. Symptoms of sulfite intolerance include headache, swollen or scratchy throat, rash, hives, nausea, stomach irritation, and breathing difficulties. Anaphylaxis is very rare but possible.

Sulfa Drug Allergies

A sulfa drug allergy is one of the more common drug allergies. Sulfa drugs, a class of drugs which includes certain antibiotics and diuretics, contain a chemical group called sulfonamide. It is an allergy to sulfonamide that most people are referring to when they say they have a “sulfur” allergy. When a sulfonamide molecule is metabolized in the body, it can attach to proteins and form a larger molecule, which becomes an allergen in the 5% of the population which cannot clear it from the body. A reaction to sulfonamides is a true allergy involving antibodies and histamine, and which can escalate with each subsequent exposure. Symptoms of a sulfa drug allergic reaction can include fever, rash, redness, swelling, blistering, hives, joint pain, and (rarely) anaphylaxis. Severe reactions have been know to cause life-threatening internal membrane erosion. But importantly, the sulfur component of sulfa drugs is NOT the allergen, it is he drug-protein complex.

Sulfur Supplements are Safe

Just because you are sensitive to sulfites or allergic to sulfa drugs does not mean that you cannot eat sulfur-containing foods and use sulfur-containing supplements. Remember, it isn’t the sulfur component that causes these issues. So yes, it is safe to use MSM, Glucosamine Sulfate, and other sulfur/sulfate-related supplements if you have a sulfa allergy or sulfite sensitivity.

Liquid Ionic MSM Supplement

Liquid Ionic MSM Supplement
Liquid Ionic MSM Supplement

With 500 mg of MSM per serving, our MSM Liquid Ionic Supplement delivers a quick and ready source of highly absorbable ionic MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound. Sulfur-containing hot springs and mud baths have been used through the ages to help relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Sulfur is used by the body to form collagen and keratin – the basic ingredients of skin, hair, and nails – and strengthens the structure of connective tissues. To ensure you are enjoying the benefits of MSM every day, just mix 1/2 Tablespoon of our MSM Liquid Ionic Supplement into fresh juice or your morning smoothie.


MSM Guide
Can a Person with a Possible Sulfa Drug Allergy Take Glucosamine Sulfate?
What Are Some Sulfur Allergy Symptoms?
The Difference Between Sulfa (Drugs), Sulfites, and Sulfur
Are You Allergic to Sulfur? Allergies to Sulfur, Sulfites, and Sulfates
Sulfa, Sulfite, Sulf-Whatever Allergies
MSM and Sulfite and/or Sulfa Drug Allergies

This article is copyright ©2017 Essense of Life™
All rights reserved. Do not copy without permission.

Beyond Bananas: 13 Potassium-Rich Foods

Potassium is More than Just Bananas

When looking to add more potassium to your diet, most people think of bananas as being the go-to, high-in-potassium, food source. One banana has about 420 mg of potassium, and is definitely a good source for increasing this important mineral in your diet. But, did you know that there are a wide variety of potassium-rich foods to choose from? Here are 13 foods with more potassium content than the average banana.

#13 Salmon (4 oz): 425 mg
#12 Cantaloupe (1 cup): 427 mg
#11 Pistachios (1.5 oz): 445 mg
#10 Carrots, raw (2 each): 460 mg
#9 Kiwi Fruit (2 each): 464 mg
#8 Coconut Water (8 oz) 488 mg
#7 Brussel Sprouts, cooked (1 cup): 495 mg
#6 Figs, dried (4 each): 516 mg
#5 Beets, cooked (1 cup): 519 mg
#4 Butternut, cooked (1 cup): 580 mg
#3 Lima Beans (1 cup): 700 mg
#2 Swiss Chard, cooked (1 cup): 960 mg
#1 Avocado (1 each): 975 mg

Liquid Ionic Potassium Supplement

Potassium Max Liquid Ionic Potassium Supplement
Liquid Ionic Potassium Supplement

When you need potassium quickly, or are having trouble eating enough of the right potassium-rich foods every day, our Potassium Max liquid ionic mineral supplement is the way to go. With 700 mg of potassium per serving, Potassium Max delivers a quick and ready source of highly absorbable ionic potassium. Just mix 1 Tablespoon into fresh tomato juice, orange juice, or another favorite juice and you are set. A great way to replenish lost electrolytes after a workout too!

Research Sources

Essense of Life Potassium Health Topic
Is There Fructose in Coconut Water
Foods With More Potassium Than a Banana
Banana Image Source: Bananas white background Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

This article is copyright ©2014 Essense of Life. All rights reserved. Do not copy without permission.

Budwig Quark Flaxseed Smoothie

Recipe source: The Budwig Diet & Protocol

3.5 ounces of quark
3 Tablespoons of cold-pressed flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon of raw organic honey, optional
2 Tablespoons flax seeds
1-2 cups fresh juice
Seasonal fruits and berries to taste
Add vanilla, cinnamon, and/or ginger to taste

Blend quark and flaxseed oil thoroughly until oil is fully emulsified. Add honey if desired. Grind flax seeds to a fine powder in a dedicated coffee grinder. Add powdered flax seeds, juice, fruit, and spices to quark-oil mixture. Drink and enjoy!

Featured Product: The Alkaline Balance Food Chart

Values for over 300 foods!

The Essense of Life Alkaline Balance Target Diet Food Chart is a great reference for those using High pH Therapy and for those starting an alkalizing diet to improve their health.

The Alkaline Food Chart package includes:
• Alkaline and Acidic PRAL Food Values
• Over 300 Foods in 5 Categories
• Full-Color Laminated 9-Page Chart
• Refrigerator Magnet: Foods to Eat / Foods to Avoid
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• Potassium-Rich Foods Chart
• High-Tyramine Foods List
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