What if healthful foods such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower and cabbage made you break out in hives? Or that a salad of collard greens gave you joint pain so acute you were incapacitated for days? This is all to common for folks with sulfur sensitivity.

Foods rich in sulphur, such as the ones listed early, cause an inflammatory reaction for those affected by sulfur sensitivity. There is no known cause, by a number of theories behind its pathenogesis, including bacterial overgrowth, methylation issues and mercury toxicity. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of information for this condition and its treatment which is why I conducted the following interview.

In today’s interview, I speak with Riley Wimminger from Bridgetown Nutrition to discuss what causes sulphur sensitivity, the foods likely to trigger a reaction and avenues to overcome it. Riley is reversing her own sulphur sensitivity and her knowledge, insights and understanding of the condition are second to none. I thoroughly enjoyed our interview and I have a sneaking suspicion that you will too!

 

Riley professional-portrait

Riley Wimminger from Bridgetown Nutrition

 

 

SHOW NOTES

  • Intro (0.00)
  • What is sulfur sensitivity (2.00)
  • An intolerance to foods and supplements rich in sulfur (see resources section), often presenting as inflammatory symptoms such as migraines and skin issues
  • Sulfur is required in a number of crucial bodily functions but it can be difficult to get an optimal amount of sulfur into the body for those with the condition
  • Sulfur sensitivity may be attributed to methylation defects at the CBS gene (see resources), mercury toxicity and even Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Meet Riley (4.30)
  • Riley is the owner of the website SIBO with Hope and she is studying a Masters in Nutrition from the Natural College of Natural Medicine
  • Riley’s experience with SIBO and sulfur sensitivity (5.30)
  • Riley was diagnosed with IBS four years ago but has experienced digestive issues from when she was a child
  • Her digestive issues became so acute she developed a severe itching which lead her to a naturopath, where she was diagnosed with SIBO
  • Riley undertook a protocol that was very similar to Dr Allison Siebecker’s protocol
  • Riley discovered that she was experiencing acute symptoms to things such as eggs and broccoli – foods rich in sulfur
  • People with sulfur sensitivity need to eat more sulfur?  (9.30)
  • Dr Terry Wahls has suggested that people with sulfur intolerance need to consume more sulfur-rich foods
  • Riley tried to consume more foods initially but was unsuccessful
  • Eliminating sulfur-rich foods can cause a number of nutritional deficiencies
  • How Riley has improved her sulfur sensitivity (11.15)
  • Riley tried a variety of different dietary interventions but found that the best diet was to listen to your body’s reactions to foods and respond accordingly
  • The major lifestyle intervention for Riley has been to manage her stress levels due to her Type A Personality. Stress management is possibly the most important key to healing.
  • Riley has used these interventions to improve both her sulfur sensitivity and her SIBO
  • What kind of success has Riley experienced in reintroducing sulfur-rich foods (17.00)
  • Riley ate broccoli, green beans, and even gluten and dairy this week with only minor symptoms
  • She has been tolerating an every-increasing amount of FODMAP foods and sulfur-rich foods
  • Triggers for Riley’s sulfur sensitivity and symptoms of excess sulfur (19.00)
  • The sulfur symptoms are not that different from her SIBO symptoms but notices an excess of fluid in her small intestine. She also notices gas, constipation, acne a “sulfur odor” and a garlic taste lingering in her mouth for days on end.
  • Essential Amino Acids and Conditionally-Essential Amino Acids: You can also get sulfur-rich amino acids from meat consumption
  • Eggs are a common sensitivity for people. If you are intolerant to eggs don’t assume sulfur-sensitivity, it’s important to keep testing
  • Sesame is low-FODMAP but high sulfur
  • But can we eat chocolate?  (24.00)
  • Both Riley and Rory don’t react to dark chocolate despite it being listed on almost all high sulfur-rich food lists
  • The nuts and bolts of causes and treatments (25.15)
  • Obtaining reliable information on sulfur-sensitivity can be difficult. There are not many authoritative sources on the internet
  • Mercury toxicity: There are a number of different precautions which need to be taken. Riley has tried Dr Andy Cutler’s Mercury Protocol but didn’t notice much of a difference.
  • The probiotic VSL#3 has helped to improve her condition
  • Methylation and CBS: You may have the CBS polymorphism but not testing can tell you if the polymorphism is switched on or off.
  • Imbalanced Gut Flora: Riley noticed the largest improvement from when she incorporated the VSL#3 probiotic into her diet. Gut dysbiosis likely has a large influence on the condition, including gut bacteria which produce hydrogen-sulfide.
  • Riley’s improvement has been a slow process. Patience and diligence is key!
  • SIBO and sulfur-sensitivity (33.00)
  • Rory’s sulfur sensitivity is linked to his SIBO
  • Medical research suggests a strong possibility that SIBO and sulfur-sensitivity are linked.
  • New research has shown that hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria could play a role in intestinal motility (gastroparesis) and that it can cause abdominal pain for people
  • There is a test for SIBO and hydrogen-sulfide producing bacteria in the pipeline
  • Riley is unsure whether her SIBO is linked to her sulfur-sensitivity
  • Working with a medical professional to address sulfur-sensitivity (36.45)
  • Be willing to try what they recommend. Doctors have extensive experience are very well educated and may be able to see things you can’t
  • But don’t be afraid to tell your doctor what has worked and what hasn’t worked
  • Do your research to find a practitioner who is well versed in your condition
  • If you are looking for a practitioner or advice on how to work with a doctor, check out Rory’s guest post for The Paleo Mom
  • Final tips and advice (42.00)

RESOURCES