The Definitive Mineral Guide For Vegetarians

Chapter 7 – Sulphur and Phosphorous

Sulphur is the third most abundant mineral in your body, after calcium and phosphorous.


  • Increases cardiovascular health because it thins the blood and lowers blood cholesterol.
  • Manufactures taurine, an amino acid essential for a healthy heart.

Sulphur is needed for:

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  • The proper function of the mitochondria, the energy manufacturers inside your cells. It is even a part what makes up the crucial hormone insulin.
  • Cartilage and connective tissues contain proteins with supple sulphur bonds, giving those structures the needed flexibility and sulphur increases the body’s immune response, and is believed to inhibit the growth of some tumours.
  • Hair and nails that are made up of a resilient protein called keratin that has sulphur bonds that helps give it its strength and resilience.
  • Amino acids contain sulphur and are are excellent antioxidants that have cancer prevention properties. (1)

Sulphur-rich foods

  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts, kale, callaloo, spinach, asparagus, okra, lettuce, sweet corn, and eggplant.
  • Allium vegetables: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives. This group is an excellent source of sulphur.
  • Beans: Beans are high in sulphur and steamed soybeans have the highest sulphur content of all.
  • Fruits: The avocado is the fruit with the highest sulphur content, followed by kiwi, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, melons, grapefruit, grapes, oranges and peaches.
  • Meats: Turkey, chicken, goat, pork, most fish and beef are very high in sulphur.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a great source of sulphur. Chicken eggs, particularly the yolks, are rich in sulphur. One quail’s egg offers almost as much sulphur as a serving of meat.
  • Other foods: Other high-sulphur foods include dairy products, chocolate, coffee, tea, grains, sesame seeds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios and other nuts.

Phosphorous – Your Body’s Buffer

Phosphorus is the second most plentiful inorganic element in the body and is a part of many important compounds. Approximately 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in your bones and the rest is distributed through the soft tissues. (2)

It is crucial because it helps to maintain normal acid-base pH balance by acting (along with calcium) as one of the body’s most important buffers. Additionally, the phosphorus-containing molecule binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells and affects oxygen delivery to the tissues of the body. Phosphorous also acts as a temporary store and transport mechanism for energy.

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Up to 70 percent of absorbed and retained phosphorus combines with calcium to help form bone and tooth structure, while the remaining 30 percent combines with nitrogen to metabolize fats and carbohydrates.

As well, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), which store and transmit genetic information, are long chains of phosphate-containing molecules. A number of enzymes, hormones, and cell-signaling molecules depend on phosphorylation for their activation. Phosphorylation is the addition of a phosphate group to a protein or other organic molecule.

It is recommended that we get roughly 800 mg daily of phosphorous.
Bioavailability estimates of phosphorous range from 55 to 70% for adults.

Inadequate intakes or malabsorption of phosphorus include anorexia, anaemia, muscle weakness, bone pain, rickets, osteomalacia, increased susceptibility to infection, paresthesias (sensation of burning or tingling skin), ataxia (coordination issues), confusion and possibly death. (3) However, phosphorus is so common in the food supply that deficiency is rare.


Phosphorus Content of Selected Foods

Food Item
Portion size
Phosphorus (mg)
Cottage cheese
1 cup
Cereal, 100% bran
1/2 cup
Wheat bran
1/2 cup
Beef, sirloin, braised
3.5 oz
Yogurt, fruit flavored
1 cup
Milk, whole
1 cup
Chicken, roasted, light meat
3.5 oz
Rye bread
1 slice
Cereal, corn flakes
1 cup



The Definitive Mineral Guide for Vegetarians: Introduction
Chapter 1: Why Fuss Over Minerals? Chapter 2: The Many Helpful Hats of Calcium Chapter 3: Are We Getting Enough Minerals?
Chapter 4: Magnesium, the Soothing Mineral Chapter 5: Potassium — Can It Make You Smarter? Chapter 6: Chloride Carries Nutrients In, Waste Out
Chapter 7: Sulphur and Phosphorous Chapter 8: Trace Minerals — What Do You Need? Chapter 9: Could YOU Be Mineral Deficient?
Chapter 10: Supplements, Safety and Insurance Chapter 11: Organic vs. Non-Organic — What is the Difference? Chapter 12: Summary and Useful Links