Sulfur & Garlic


As early as 1550 B.C., Egyptians realized the benefits of garlic (a high-sulfur food) as a remedy for a variety of diseases. Many epidemiological studies support the protective role of garlic and related allium foods against the development of certain human cancers. Natural garlic and garlic cultivated with selenium fertilization have been shown in laboratory animals to have protective roles in cancer prevention.[1]

Dr. Budwig fed terminal cancer patients a mixture of skim milk protein (a sulfur-containing protein) and flaxseed oil. The badly needed sulfur protein L-methionine is found in cottage cheese. L-methionine is the essential amino acid responsible for breaking down omega-3 fatty acids.

Sulfur is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates. Sulfur is required for proper assimilation of the alpha amino acids methionine and cysteine. There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sulfur, though it is believed that most of us ingest about 9 g/day from our diets with more needed in cancer treatments.[2] There are no known toxic effects from organic sulfur.

Cysteine, cystine, and NAC possess powerful antioxidant properties and work best when taken in combination with selenium and vitamin E. They promote liver detoxification by binding toxins and heavy metals such as mercury and lead and facilitating their removal from the body. These amino acids also reduce free radical damage and, in combination with their “liver repair” services, are important for detoxification and chelation.

The first scientific report to study sulfur-laden garlic and cancer was performed in the 1950s. Scientists injected allicin, an active ingredient from garlic, into mice suffering from cancer. Mice receiving the injection survived more than six months whereas those that did not receive the injection survived only two months.[3]

The National Cancer Institute found that individuals who ate the most allium vegetables (red onions, scallions, garlic, chives and leeks) had a nearly 50% lower cancer risk than those who ate the least.[4]

A large-scale epidemiological Iowa Women’s Health Study looked at the garlic consumption in 41,000 middle-aged women. Results showed that women who regularly consumed garlic had 35% lower risk of developing colon cancer.[5]


Sulfur-rich foods help to give you healthy hair, skin and nails. Sulfur foods are important as this mineral is present in every one of your cells. Sulfur deficiency is a big threat to vegans and vegetarians who do not consume any eggs or dairy food. Sulfur foods are primarily found in unprocessed animal foods and seafood. It is also found in great abundance in raw egg yolks.

Sulfur Deficiency Symptoms

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Hair loss and slow growth of hair
  • Poor growth of fingernails
  • Joint problems like arthritis
  • Skin problems like rash
  • Dermatitis and eczema
  • Skeletal and growth problems
  • Varicose veins and poor circulation
  • Increased aging of skin
  • Inability to digest fats
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Inability to digest food
  • Increased allergies
  • Parasitical infestations

Several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas and breast. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) concluded that higher intakes of onion and garlic were associated with a reduced risk of intestinal cancer.[6]

Several studies conducted in China centered on garlic consumption and cancer risk. In one study, investigators found that frequent consumption of garlic and various types of onions and chives was associated with reduced risk of esophageal and stomach cancers, with greater risk reductions seen for higher levels of consumption. Similarly, in another study, the consumption of allium vegetables, especially garlic and onions, was linked to a reduced risk of stomach cancer. In another study, greater intake of allium vegetables (more than 10 g per day vs. less than 2.2 g per day) was associated with an approximate 50% reduction in prostate cancer risk.

Evidence also suggests that increased garlic consumption may reduce pancreatic cancer risk.[7] A study conducted in the San Francisco Bay area found that pancreatic cancer risk was 54% lower in people who ate larger amounts of garlic compared with those who ate lower amounts.

In addition, a study in France found that increased garlic consumption was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk.[8undefined] After considering total calorie intake and other established risk factors, breast cancer risk was reduced in those consuming greater amounts of fiber, garlic and onions.

[1]                                                                                              J Nutr. 2006 Mar;136(3 Suppl):864S-869S.

[2]                                                                                             Daily intake is usually 800-900 milligrams of sulfur per day. Certain health conditions, such as arthritis and liver disorders, may be improved by increasing the intake of sulfur to 1,500 milligrams per day in supplemental form (most commonly as methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM). Sulfur-rich foods include eggs, legumes, whole grains, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage according to Dr. Michael T. Murray.

[3]                                                                                            Researchers once thought that the chemical called allicin was responsible for garlic’s benefits, as well as its distinctive smell. But we now know that it is the other chemicals in garlic, including the sulfur-containing compounds, that may help lower cholesterol, fight heart disease, and help prevent cancers.



[6]                                                                                           Gonzalez CA, Pera G, Agudo A, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of stomach and oesophagus adenocarcinoma in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-EURGAST). International Journal of Cancer 2006; 118(10): 2559–2566.

[7]                                                                                          Chan JM, Wang F, Holly EA. Vegetable and fruit intake and pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control study in the San Francisco bay area. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2005; 14(9):2093–2097

[8]                                                                                         Challier B, Perarnau JM, Viel JF. Garlic, onion and cereal fibre as protective factors for breast cancer: A French case-control study. European Journal of Epidemiology 1998; 14(8):737–747.