The mineral sulfur is needed for the manufacture of many proteins, including those forming hair, muscles, and skin. Sulfur contributes to fat digestion and absorption, because it is needed to make bile acids. Sulfur is also a constituent of bones, teeth, and collagen (the protein in connective tissue). As a component of insulin, sulfur is needed to regulate blood sugar.
Most of the body's sulfur is found in the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine
, and cysteine
. Vitamin B1
, and pantothenic acid
also contain small amounts of sulfur.
Actual deficiencies of sulfur have not been documented, although a protein-deficient diet could theoretically lead to a deficiency of sulfur.
Treatment and Prevention
Most dietary sulfur is consumed as part of certain amino acids
in protein-rich foods. Meat and poultry, organ meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy products are all good sources of sulfur-containing amino acids.