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Sulphate (sulfate)

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I’ve recently been researching sulphur metabolism in the body. It’s a fascinating topic and one that may be relevant for some people here. Sulphur amino acids are processed through transsulfuration which is connected via homocysteine to methylation. The end products of transsulfuration are taurine, glutathione and sulphate. If this pathway gets blocked/slowed then the end products aren’t made in the required amounts. Sulphate is particularly susceptible. 

Although most of my symptoms have resolved on the low vA diet, I started to get increased food intolerance symptoms after about 2 years. I started reacting to salicylates and to amines. Some Margaret Moss articles led me to suspect that sulphate could be an issue as it is required for processing both these food categories via sulphation. I was also reacting to sulphur foods (thiols) and Greg Nigh in his book ‘the devil in the garlic’ details how a blocked sulphur pathway leads to sulphur intolerance. The end product of the sulphur pathway ( transsulfuration) is....sulphate. So if I had a blocked pathway I would expect to see intolerance to sulphur foods and supplements. Tick. And a lack of the end product sulphate. Tick. 

Lack of sulphate is a huge problem for the body and the body will do workarounds to provide enough. Some of these ‘workarounds’ cause symptoms (Greg Nigh, Stephanie Seneff) such as SIBO. The body has to have sulphate. If you can’t sulphate you become toxic (Anne Pemberton). I’ve found Epsom salt baths very helpful. They provide sulphate directly across the skin. My food intolerances to salicylates and amines have gone. Vitamin B6 is a cofactor for many of the enzymes in transsulfuration (see Margaret Moss and Rosemary Waring paper ‘The plasma cysteine:sulphate ratio’, below). I was not addressing my genetic pyroluria so this probably explains why my pathway got so slow, although there are other reasons detailed in the mentioned paper (an excellent read imo, contains a useful diagram of the pathway). All in all learning about sulphur metabolism has sorted out the food intolerances I was suffering. 

I have various theories as to why the vA detox could have made me require more sulphate/slowed my sulphur pathway. It could just be competition for molybdenum (required for both the enzymes SUOX and ALDH) or just more requirement for sulphate for phase 2 pathway sulphation, as vA is taking up all the glucuronidation resources (a related phase 2 liver detox process). Or it could be my particular genetics of pyroluria/porphyria resulting in a vicious cycle of ever depleted B6 resources (that’s another rabbit hole). I don’t know. However, if you are reacting to sulphur foods or feel you are developing worse food intolerances it is worth looking at this imo.  


Articles/references I’ve found helpful:





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Curious ObserverBeataOuraniaHermeskathy55woodДаниилCelia

@jaj Thanks for this Jenny.  How often did you epsom bathe, and how much epsom did you use per bath?

Hi @orion I did a protocol from my NT Anne Pemberton based on Rosemary Waring’s work. The protocol is 4 cups of Epsom salts every night for a week soaking for an hour. I didn’t quite stick to this and did more like 3 cups every day for 10 days. Now I’m doing 3 cups every other day. This is meant to replete sulphate levels. Greg Nigh also mentions this protocol in his book. ‘Sulfate levels, though, rose every night for an average of seven nights. After that, even with continued baths, sulfate levels stayed steady. This suggests there is a “pool” of sulfate in the blood that needs to be filled, and once filled it stays at a steady concentration even if more sulfate is available. These baths allow both magnesium and sulfate to be absorbed through the skin so that they bypass the digestive tract.’

I didn’t dive straight into this amount. I did some baths with less. Starting with half a cup and slowly working up. I did this because I’d read and heard that some people react negatively to Epsom salts. There could be issues with an oxalate dump as sulphate and oxalates use the same receptors (Susan Owens) or it could be something else. I didn’t react even though I know I have an issue with oxalates, so that was good. I do really feel the baths have helped with my food intolerances and my digestion is good. Greg Nigh reports on them ‘Many dozens of patients and people around the world have emailed me to let me know that taking Epsom salt baths nightly for seven nights in a row has made an enormous difference to their digestion.’ 

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@jaj Hey Jenny, thanks for this, will start testing this today, I have tried hundreds of ideas, but high dose Epsom is not one.

Also you are a treasure on this and Garrets forum, we are so lucky to have you posting and investigating, really appreciate it 🙂

Jenny, Ourania and 3 other users have reacted to this post.

Thanks @orion, that’s very kind of you to say. I really appreciate it 😊 I’m not sure my posting goes down too well on Garrett Smith’s forum anymore. My ideas on sulphur and B vitamins don’t align with his at all! I’m combining the ‘golden’ vA toxicity knowledge with the expertise from other people such as Anne Pemberton and Margaret Moss, who I know personally (Margaret has known about vA toxicity for years). Along with reading/listening to Greg Nigh, Stephanie Seneff, Steven Rochlitz, Dietrich Klinghardt, Beth O’Hara etc etc. I’m putting together the puzzle pieces of my own health decline and if they can help anyone else I’m happy to share.

VA toxicity was a massive piece of the puzzle for me. However, I think for me it happened because my liver was already compromised due to stress, medications, underlying pyroluria. I never really overdid vA intake, whereas other people massively overdid vA and even their reasonably healthy livers couldn’t cope. In the case of the former, where vA toxicity is the result of something else (and then goes on to be a cause of further declining health), as well as addressing vA toxicity, the other underlying causes need to be addressed imo. That’s where my thinking is at the moment. Stress/anxiety was and is a massive issue for me. This is what drives my current research as constant anxiety is life ruining and 3 years vA detox has not improved this aspect, although many many other things are completely resolved. 

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@jaj, Jenny my experience with anxiety is a strange one as I didn’t know I had it - until I lost it (albeit temporarily). 
Few years ago only 10 days into the carnivore diet - and I felt better than ever in my life! This constant underlying feeling of shyness, inadequacy, fear, nervousness, etc. was all gone. At that moment I actually realised that I had a life long anxiety but managed to cope and go through life thinking that it was “just the way I was”. 

Sadly, a while after starting the carnivore, I wanted to ‘improve’ it, adding salmon, cod livers in their own oil, organ meats and duck egg yolks…and the results were dreadful and I became physically worse than ever before. 

BTW, my diet before carnivore was “extremely healthy”, Paleo style, all organic and nutritionally dense…

I am not sure if going carnivore now would bring the same wonderful feeling of ease. I miss it and I am not sure if it was the removal of everything other than meat that did it or nutrients in meat that showed me what an anxiety-free life feels like.

I am now eating just meat and beans (following Karen Hurd’s research about beans being a great detoxifying  agent) but I might do another meat only stint just to see if I can once more be free of anxiety. 
PS. My anxiety is low grade, so I never let it get in a way of my life. But it does make is just a little harder. 




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@beata-2 that is so interesting. I wonder what aspect of carnivore did it? Thanks for sharing. 

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@jaj @beata-2 I always read that anxiety was linked to blood sugar, and that low PUFA intake and lower PUFA in fat stores was key, PUFA FFAs are what interfere.  I guess also magnesium and potassium intake are important.  Then low VA to make sure pancreas/insulin is OK.

What are both your thoughts/ideas?  Carnivore would initially stabilize blood sugar, but I think after time it gets ruined by it, too much cortisol and adrenaline used to keep it level day after day?

Started high dose epsom salt baths, will update after day 7!



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Quote from Jenny on January 24, 2022, 11:00 am

@beata-2 that is so interesting. I wonder what aspect of carnivore did it? Thanks for sharing. 

If I would make a guess I would say it was probably the beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), one of the ketones, that is responsible for that effect. It's very GABAergic, like benzodiazepines, like progesterone, like alcohol, like anti-narcolepsy/date-rape drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate GHB. Ketosis seems to be very therapeutic for some people who have neurological or psychiatric problems. For me personally it seemed to calm my nerves, improve my focus, but I also felt constantly on edge and agitated, maybe because of elevated cortisol levels.

I actually did do a short stint, earlier, a long time ago, with a carnivore diet a long time ago, and that time I did experience a profound calmness and a complete freedom from anxiety and nervousness, but I've never been able to recreate it... If I do ketosis/carnivore now I just get better focus and deeper sleep but with constant agitation, and actually worsened fatigue (although I seem to have more cognitive energy). Interestingly, the first time I did it, when I got great results from it, I ate copious amounts of cheese. But I can't retry that experiment, I'm not gonna eat massive amounts of cheese for 2 weeks, that would send me back like 6+ months in terms of VA detox... Not to mention those 2 weeks would be absolute hell because cheese itself gives me a ton of anxiety, because that's what VA does to me. And it probably wouldn't even end up working anyway.

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@orion and @salt thank you for these comments. Both ideas I’d not thought about. My blood sugar, as far as no longer being prediabetic, has vastly improved on the vA detox, so I hadn’t thought that was an issue. However, I’m probably still eating too many PUFAs. Maybe more than I was as I’ve taken out dairy.

I definitely think that low GABA is an issue for me so the connection to BHB is fascinating. I’ve been thinking that ever reducing vitamin B6 is behind my worsening anxiety as the glutamate to GABA conversion is B6 dependant. I have a theory about how the vA detox has made my B6 deficiency worse. I’m now addressing this, but it has to be done very slowly. At the moment I consider stopping my pyroluria protocol while doing the vA detox was a huge mistake. I should have done them in parallel. Big regret. However, I don’t yet have full evidence of this as I’m not out of this anxiety hole. 

Not claiming this information is 100% reliable but I found this link informative: https://return2health.co.uk/articles/thiol-intolerance-and-mercury-toxicity

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