What is Sulfur Cycle, the Effects of the Broken Cycle on Our Health?

smoke coming out of volcano

Are you getting enough sulfur in your diet? You’ve probably been told that we get all the sulfur we need from the foods we consume.

This statement may have been true in the days of our grandparents. But today, almost all of our foods are greatly deficient of this essential mineral as a result of the broken sulfur cycle.

In this article, I am going to explain what natural sulfur cycle is and the effects of the broken cycle on our health.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Yellow Sulfur vs Organic Sulfur

There are two forms of sulfur that exist in nature. Yellow sulfur and organic sulfur are both produced by volcanic activity. The difference between them is that yellow sulfur is formed in the atmosphere whereas organic sulfur is formed in the sea water.

The natural sulfur cycle occurs when yellow elemental sulfur, from mining, is present in a volcano’s lava that’s forced into the ocean floor through volcanic activity.

The yellow sulfur in lava from under-water volcanoes, also known as black smokers, then reacts with ocean water and is chemically changed into bioavailable organic sulfur.

Through evaporation, condensation, and ingestion by sea life, organic sulfur (MSM) would then end up on land as a part of the nutrient cycle for plants and animals.

In turn, people would get organic sulfur through consumption of these plants and livestock. This is a natural sulfur cycle that repeats itself until we decided to change the way we grow our foods.

Chemical Fertilizers

In the 1930s, Farben collaborated with Nelson Rockefeller and Prescott Bush to develop and aggressively market chemical fertilizers made from crude oil, which contains ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate.

Manufacturing chemical fertilizers require high temperature in which bioavailable sulfur is extremely temperature-sensitive of.

Production requires a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit above the vaporization point of organic sulfur. As a result, this essential mineral for our health was ignored and eliminated in the process.

These chemical fertilizers not only devoid of organic sulfur due to 380 degree Fahrenheit heat used in production, but they also bind up any free sulfur available in rainwater from the sulfur cycle.

In the early 1950's, farmers were encouraged to use sulfur-depleted chemical fertilizers, which are easier to apply and also a lot cheaper. And this has significantly interfered with the natural sulfur cycle.

what is sulfur cycle

Many experts in agriculture have proven that the sulfur cycle was broken decades ago when farmers switched from using manure as a fertilizer to chemical fertilizers. This means our soils are no longer supplying enough sulfur to our vegetables and fruits.

According to Linus Pauling, who was the only person in history awarded two unshared Nobel prizes said that “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”

After chemical fertilizers were mandated in the U.S. in 1954, the incidence of cancer and other major degenerative illnesses have increased by an astounding 4000 percent. Diseases we hadn't even heard of in the 1970's have become common.

Health problems such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancer, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and chronic fatigue, mood disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders have grown at an unprecedented rate.

According to West Coast Organic Sulfur Project, the lack of sulfur in the diet and the inability of the body's cells to regenerate are responsible for the greatest increase in diseases in the United States. The study also showed that countries using natural fertilizer have much lower rates of diseases than those that use chemical fertilizer.

Pre-industrial fertilizers were organic, which were created by the natural decomposition of organic materials, primarily manure. Our body does not store sulfur; it is passed every 12 hours which makes most forms of manure excellent sources of sulfur.

Finland Vs the United States

Let’s take a look at Finland. Finland was one of the few countries in the world to recognize the dangers of chemical fertilizer. In 1985, Finland was alarmed by the same astounding increase in diseases at similar levels to those found in the United States.

But only Finland chose to do something for its citizen. They banned the use of chemical fertilizers altogether fearing the levels of cadmium, yet they were totally unaware of the sulfur connection.

what is sulfur cycle
what is sulfur cycle

This resulted in their disease rates to drop to one-tenth of the rate in 1985. Interestingly enough, the United States chose not to ban chemical fertilizers. As the disease rate continues to drop in Finland, U.S. disease rate continues to climb.

Today, Finland is not only one of the healthiest countries in the world; it is also the leading supplier of organically grown foods in Europe.


Let’s take a look at Iceland.  Is it a coincidence that this country enjoys some of the world's lowest rates of chronic ailments that have afflicted so many other countries?

what is sulfur cycle

Perhaps not. It is possible that Icelanders’ remarkably low rates of diseases be attributed to the line of volcanoes.

The volcanic eruptions that occur periodically help to blanket the soil with a sulfur-containing volcanic rock. Iceland’s soil and water are full of sulfur ash, which is tremendously beneficial to the plants and animals. In turn, when people consume these plants and livestock, they will also experience great health benefits.

It was once thought that the Icelandic diet was so protective against chronic illness due to a high intake of fish. In fact, this theory does not hold up, as Icelanders who moved to Canada and continued consuming a lot of fish did not continue to enjoy the same low rates of disease.

It seems that the Icelandic soil and water which are unusually rich in sulfur plays an important role in the residents’ good health and the low rates of disease.

My Opinion

Our body uses up to 750 mg of organic sulfur daily. Organic sulfur is found in the water we drink, and ideally in fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products.

what is sulfur cycle

But because of sulfur depletion in our soils, unless you mostly consume organic raw foods and drink natural water, you are likely not getting enough sulfur to keep your body at its optimal level of health and vitality.

I think it's very sad that when I asked my doctor about sulfur, her response was that we get all the sulfur in the foods we eat. This may have been true until we changed the way we grow our foods.

Organic sulfur or Methylsulfonylmethane is such an essential mineral for the body. Surprisingly, very few doctors even know about it.

Why is that? Because the American Medical Association does not endorse natural remedies and doctors are trained to only suggest conventional therapy, which are drugs, radiation, and surgery.

So What Can You Do About It?

A diet high in sulfur is important for optimal body function. In fact, of 20 amino acids present in your foods, only two contain sulfur, which is methionine and cysteine. 

Methionine is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized by your body and must be supplied through diet. Cysteine is synthesized by your body but requires a steady supply of dietary sulfur in order to do so.

Neither of these amino acids is stored in your body. Any dietary excess amounts of methionine and cysteine are either eliminated through the urine or in the feces or stored in the form of glutathione.

Glutathione is comprised of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. These are your body's most potent antioxidants, which also keep all other antioxidants performing at peak levels.

Since these amino acids are not normally stored in the body, consuming foods containing sulfur on a daily basis is one of the ways to keep your body at its optimal level of health and vitality.

If there is too little sulfur in your body, it could lead to reduced protein synthesis. Common health complaints associated with low concentrations of sulfur in our body include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression 
  • High sensitivity to physical and psychological stress
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Acne
  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Convulsions
  • Memory problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Rash
  • Slow wound healing

Sulfur deficiency in the body may also contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and chronic fatigue.

I truly believe that the best way to obtain sulfur is through diet. However, this may be challenging for so people. Unless you consume mostly organic raw foods and drink natural water, then you are likely not getting enough sulfur in your body.

Sulfur is readily obtainable from the diet. Excellent sources of sulfur are organic, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy, onions, coconut oil, olive oil, wheat germ, garlic, legumes such as beans, pastured eggs, grass-fed meats, nuts, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

If your diet is primarily refined and processed and thoroughly cooked food, you are likely to be sulfur deficient. Refined and processed foods barely have any nutritional value. Additionally, cooked foods destroy much of the sulfur in vegetables and fruits due to heat.

I understand not everyone likes vegetables, If the above option is a challenge for you, you can also take organic sulfur crystals to defend yourself against the modern poisoning of our soil, water, and air. 

There are numerous health benefits associated with taking organic sulfur. This mineral helps to detoxify our body by oxygenating cells, alkalizing the blood, removing toxins and heavy metals, speeding up healing, and keeping your body cells running at optimal efficiency.

Another option to help your body obtain sulfur is to soak your body in a warm bath with magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt. Epsom salt is made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen.

While most of the benefits associated with Epsom salt baths are related to magnesium, however, its sulfur content also plays an important role in health. This type of bath can help your skin absorb sulfur. Take bath with Epsom salt twice a week with about ½ -1 cup in your bath to help compensate and counteract sulfur deficiency.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to leave them in the comment down below. 





26 Comments on “What is Sulfur Cycle, the Effects of the Broken Cycle on Our Health?”

  1. This is awesome information I had no idea about “sulfur”. I know they made it for hair products but it all makes sense now. Wow your site is full of plenty insights. I will book mark this page and visit more often. I need to take better care of my health as well. Thank you Nurse for this website.

    1. Hello Jaye, thank you for visiting and for your comment.

      I am glad my article has offered you some insights. Let me know if you have any question.

      All the best,

  2. Thank you for this post. I do a lot of weightlifting and I did not know anything about sulfur. I am going to study more into this as this may benefit my weightlifting and diets. 🙂


    1. Hey Patrick,

      Thank you for stopping by. Organic sulfur can help boost our ability to heal and bounce back from exercise, stressful events, injuries and even surgeries. Taking organic sulfur before exercising could help to reduce muscle damage, reduce oxidative stress, and increase endurance.

      Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to detoxify these harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants. You can check out this research article “Effect of Single Dose Administration of Methylsulfonylmethane on Oxidative Stress Following Acute Exhaustive Exercise“for more information.

      Good Luck,

  3. I am happy to come across this nice article on the significance of sulphur in our body. To be frank I have never heard anyone talking about the importance of
    sulphur in our diet. I have always heard of different vitamins, magnesium, calcium, minerals but nothing on the topic sulphur. I will try to include it in my daily life and see the difference!! Thanks

    1. Hey Shalini,

      I am glad that you stopped by. Sulfur is hardly mentioned anymore, but it is so critical for the proper functioning of our body. Gold Standard organic sulfur is by far the best sulfur product that I have used so far. I have an article that talks about gold standard organic sulfur review; you can check it out for more information to find out if this product is suitable for you.

      If you decide to try other brand, just be very careful. There are a lot of advertising hypes and misconceptions out there that have led to many conflicting claims about organic sulfur, which is usually perpetuated by untrained resellers.

      I also wrote an article called sulfur FAQ, it provides you more information that I think will help you make a more informed purchasing decision. I am confident that you are going to receive amazing benefits from gold standard organic sulfur and you are going to love this product as much as I do.

  4. I NEVER KNEW ANY OF THIS! and i like to consider myself pretty health conscious but no one ever talks about sulfur being important… all i hear about is vitamin c and d and b and magnesium, and omega and dha…. sometimes i feel like they keep info like this from us on purpose here in the US. I’m definitely sharing this on facebook.

    1. Hello Vee,

      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate that you shared my article to your facebook.

      Sulfur is often referred to as somewhat a forgotten mineral because there are not that many people know about it. But this mineral is so critical for our health.

      I agree with you that it seem like our country is purposely suppressing helpful health information from the public. It seems like there are always medications being advertised heavily on television, but you rarely see supplements on tv. And when you go to a hospital or a doctor, you almost always guaranteed to get prescription medications, and not supplements.

      It is truly sad that natural alternative medicine that have been used as medicine long before modern medicine took over, and yet fail to be acknowledged by mainstream medicine. Many natural remedies are so inexpensive, yet safer, healthier and can at times be even more effective alternative solutions to most, if not all, the health problems out there than conventional remedies.

      I remember when I worked at the hospital, I have never ever seen a doctor prescription natural remedies, it’s always drugs. For every problem out there, they have a drug to cover up the symptom, and ignore the underlying cause.

      In fact, doctors are actually unable to suggest any natural health therapies to patients due to their employment contract. Another reason is that doctors are trained to only suggest conventional therapy, which are drugs, radiation, and surgery and these are the best “legal” medical approaches to treatment. If doctors start to prescribe or recommend natural remedies instead, the medical giants would not have the patents to profit from, which would likely put them out of business.

  5. Alot of good information here. I have often wondered about sulfur levels in my body, and have read some bad information in the past. This was very informative!

    1. Hello Kevein,

      Thank you for stopping by. A lot people tend to think sulfur is bad for the body.

      Many people think sulfur, sulfa drugs, and sulfites are same thing, but they are actually completely different things. I can understand why it’s confusing, because these compounds have very similar sounding names.

      I have written an article “What Is Sulfur Allergy? The Difference Between Sulfa, Sulfite, Sulfate, And Sulfur” that explains such difference in detail; hopefully it will give you more information about the differences.

      I used to think sulfur was bad, not anymore. In fact sulfur is very crucial for proper functions of the body. Nearly half of sulfur is concentrated in our skin, bones and muscle. Sulfur is important for detoxification and regeneration for all cells. And without sulfur, our body simply can’t mobilize toxins, these toxins will then start to accumulate and stay embedded in our cell, which will eventually make us sick.

      I have written a review on gold standard organic sulfur which has transformed my health and my family’s health, you can check it out for more information.

  6. Wow I sure learned a whole lot reading your article, and I came to find I might be Sulfur deficient myself. I will consider your recommendation of the Gold Standard Organic Sulfur Crystals. Thank you for all the information.

    1. Hello Madelyn, thank you for checking out my article and I am glad you learned something. You are very welcome for the information. If you ever have any other questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment box below or send me an email. My email is hong@organicsulfurforhealth.com, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Thank you


  7. Interesting. I actually don’t eat lots of vegetables but I like raw fish. Is there other fish besides salmon that contains sulfur?

    1. Hello Juan, thank you for check out my article. I am glad that you found my article interesting. If you like to eat fish, I recommend tuna, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, mackerel and halibut, which are higher in sulfur content. Other fishes such as smoked fish, sardines and pickled fish are low in sulfur. The higher the fat content of the fish, the lower the sulfur.

      If you ever any more questions or comments, you can leave them in the comment box below or send me an email. My email is hong@organicsulfurforhealth.com, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Thank you


  8. Thank you for a very informative article on the importance of getting enough sulfur in our diets. It was quite enlightening on how sulfur is formed from the volcano and then how the ocean plays a role in its production too.

    I personally do like to eat many of the vegetables that contain sulfur, mainly broccoli and I also consume a lot of wild caught Alaskan salmon. But I realize that I still do not get enough and have been taking MSM supplements to help increase my intake.

    I find that just taking MSM helps to keep my joints more lubricated and it reduces the pain from any kind of physical exercising. It is amazing how something so simple as sulfur can have a dramatic impact on overall health.

    1. Hi Robert, thank you for taking the time to read my article. I am glad that you have found my article informative. Before I started this website, I had no idea that volcano and sea water have anything to do with sulfur production.

      I used to suffer from severe acne, rosacea, and lots of food allergies. It is this mineral that has transformed my health completely, now I no longer have any of these problems. I think it is sad that we don’t hear sulfur being mentioned often, it is all but forgotten as a critical nutrient in recent decades. I agreed with you that it is amazing how this forgotten mineral can help improve one’s health dramatically.

      I personally also like to eat vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Bok choy, cabbage, and cauliflower. I realized that after chemical fertilizers have broken the sulfur cycle, we no longer receive enough sulfur in the foods we consume. And external sulfur supplementation is crucial in order to keep our body at its optimal level of health and vitality.

      I am glad that MSM supplements have been working for your arthritis. In fact, My dad also suffered from arthritis, and since he started taking organic sulfur crystals, he no longer has any more complaints.

      If you ever have any questions, just leave them in the comment box below or send me an email. My email is hong@organicsulfurforhealth.com, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Thank you


  9. Hi your article is really an eye opener and firstly I would like to mention 2 editing mistakes that will make your article better. 3rd paragraph: There are two forms of sulfur ‘that’ exist in nature. In my opinion section : This may have been true until we change=changed the way we grow our foods.
    Also I think It would be great if you could talk more about ‘what can we do about it section’

    1. Hi Saeed, thank you for checking out my article. I am glad that you found my article eye opening. I appreciated the suggestions, I went back to the article and corrected these errors. I also added more content to “what can you do about it” section.

      If you have any more questions or comments, just leave them in the comment box below or send me an email. My email is hong@organicsulfurforhealth.com, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Thank you


  10. Wow, very informative. I certainly learned something I was not aware of. But I always said that these days are way different than when I was growing up in the 60’s as far as health goes. And before my time there were even fewer health issues. Now I have been taught about something that is responsible and I wonder what is next? Thanks for the article.

    1. Hello Ronnie, I appreciate that you took the time to read my post. I am glad that you have found my article informative. I agreed with you that in the 60’s, there weren’t as many health problems as we are seeing today. Nowadays, we are seeing more children that are much sicker than their parents.

      In my parent’s generation, back in the 60’s, they used to prepare their meals from scratch and ate much healthier. They also used to grow their own fruits and vegetables using manure as fertilizers. They got more than enough sulfur from the foods they consumed. And today, almost everything in the grocery stores is highly processed and refined foods, which barely have any nutritional value.

      There are thousands of food additives added to these processed and refined foods, such as high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic trans fats, artificial flavors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. It is sad that many of the food additives that are banned in other countries due to health concerns are perfectly legal in US. It is hard to predict what other chemicals or addditives they are going legalize in the future.

      I find it disturbing that vast majority of people in this country are eating far too many refined and processed foods and it is impossible to receive sufficient sulfur or other essential minerals and nutrients to ward off disease from these foods alone. And I truly believe that the lack of sulfur in the diet and the inability of the body’s cells to regenerate are responsible for the increase in diseases in this country.

      If you ever have any questions or comments, you can leave them in the comment box below or send me an email. My email is hong@organicsulfurforhealth.com, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Thank you


      1. Do you have a recommendation on taking some kind of supplement to help increase our sulfur intake?

        1. I personally take Gold standard organic sulfur crystals on a daily basis to increase my sulfur intake. I have tried many other organic sulfur or MSM products with no success. I highly recommend Gold Standard Organic Sulfur Brand, I believe this product is the safest, purest and the most effective on the market.

          Pills and powdered form of organic sulfur may not be as effective as pure organic sulfur in the form of crystals. Pills and powered form usually have flow agents like silica or sterate added, which can reduce the effectiveness of sulfur in the body. When choosing for an organic sulfur product, make sure you look for large crystals for maximum effect. In order for it to be biologically safe and effective, organic sulfur must be pure and free of all additives.

          It is estimated that 70% of organic sulfur products that are available on the market are imported from China and India where quality could be a concern. If you decide to try other brand, just be very careful. There are a lot of advertising hypes and misconceptions out there that have led to many conflicting claims about organic sulfur, which is usually perpetuated by untrained resellers.

          I have put together organic sulfur frequently asked questions that I believe you will find helpful. I think it will help you make a more informed purchasing decision.

          If you ever have any questions or comments, you can leave them in the comment box below or send me an email. My email is hong@organicsulfurforhealth.com, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

          Thank you


  11. Interesting and insightful article. My wife has been asking me to take sulfur tablets for my eczema, but I had been slack in doing so. I suppose I should pay attention more to being more regular in doing so to get the benefits.
    Singapore imports almost all our food from neighbouring countries. So probably we aren’t getting the sulphur we need in our foods.
    Thanks for the advice!

    1. Hello Solomom. You are very welcome. I am glad that you have found my article interesting and insightful. I can totally relate to you when you said you had been slacking. In fact, When I first started taking organic sulfur, I found it to be quite challenging. I didn’t like to drink the amount of water recommended for my weight, and in order for sulfur to work effectively, I had to drink about 2 liters of water a day. I was on and off and didn’t really put much effort into it. I finally pushed myself hard and got used to the regimen after few weeks. I took organic sulfur faithfully everyday and it was only four weeks before I experienced positive changes in my health. I felt good and became so motivated. Now I can’t imagine my life without it.

      I believe once you start taking it more regularly and experience the wonderful benefits, you will also be motivated to take it more regularly.

      If Singapore gets most of its imports from countries that use chemical fertilizers, it is very likely that most foods are sulfur deficient.

      I believe if you eat mostly organic raw foods and drink natural water or stay on top of your sulfur, you will get enough sulfur to keep your body at its optimal level of health and vitality.

      If you have any questions, just leave it in the comment box, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
      Good luck to you:)

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