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Detoxing is not about deprivation. To truly clean out cellular waste, strengthen the mitochondria, and help your organs to decipher what they need and what to release requires fuel. So, flip the “cleanse talk” on its head and celebrate abundance; make sure you’re getting enough and your body will return the favor by moving through the world at peak performance.  

One compound to be diligent about getting enough of is sulfur. As the third most abundant element in the body, it’s virtually present in all living tissues and is critical when activating antioxidants and detoxing properly. It’s such an important piece of physical vitality that it serves as one of our nine nutrition pillars. Below, learn why this under-the-radar mineral deserves your full attention. 


The Beauty Non-Negotiable

One source of organic sulfur is known as Methylsulfonylmethane, found in cruciferous veggies in the Brassica family (think: kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), raw milk, alliums (think: leeks, onions, garlic, and chives), nettles, tomatoes, tea, and coffee. Also known as MSM, this compound is sprinkled into a plethora of beauty supplements, because important structures surrounding the hair follicle are environments rich with sulfur. Several studies indicate MSM supports alopecia-related hair growth. This makes sense, as sulfur is essential in the production of two critical hair, skin, and nail building blocks: collagen and keratin. Keratin is a fibrous protein and protective shield around the hair shaft, and is also the key to building resilient, unbreakable nails. Collagen is composed of three chains of amino acids including glycine, lysine, and proline, that form a triple helix. These proteins also require vitamins B and C for synthesis, which sulfur-rich, leafy greens have in spades. Together, these compounds work to support the skin’s structural framework, elasticity, and strengthen the blood. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair luster and strong locks are related to the blood and kidney channel.

These compounds work to support the skin’s structural framework, elasticity, and strengthen the blood

The Superpower of a Cleanse

Sulfur is also critical since it’s the precursor to the “master antioxidant,” glutathione. Without sulfur, glutathione is rendered ineffective, yet it is the most important free-radical fighter in our body’s arsenal. It helps to recycle and maximize the benefits of other nutrients including CoQ10, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3s. It also serves to calm inflammation, bolster immunity, and heal tissue damage. Together, sulfur and glutathione help to oxygenate the blood and improve cell permeability. As we age, our cells can become dense and murky which leads to stagnation and chronic disease, making detoxification harder and potentially may lead to harboring certain carcinogenic material. Flooding the body with this pair of nutrients strengthens the body’s ease in ridding the body of cellular and metabolic waste through the liver and kidney’s detoxification process. On Sakara’s Level II: Detox program, we further accelerate the results of sulfur’s power with one medical-grade supplement. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, or NAC, is a modified, highly-absorbable version of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine that supports the liver and kidneys in cleansing the body of waste. NAC works to restore normal levels of glutathione in the liver, while also helping to heal liver damage resulting from a diet too high in refined sugar, alcohol and animal products, as well as common drugs like acetaminophen. Additionally, NAC reduces kidney toxicity, breaks down excess mucus (something you may be experiencing as a detox symptom) and has been shown to balance hormones and influence the activity of certain neurotransmitters that affect mood. 

flooding the body with this pair of nutrients strengthens the body’s ease in ridding the body of cellular and metabolic waste 

The Key to Metabolism Support

Along with its role in cleansing and promoting beauty’s building blocks, sulfur is instrumental in the metabolic process. Namely, it is responsible for building insulin, a hormone which uses glucose from carbohydrates and transmutes it into energy for the muscles, liver, and fat cells. Proper insulin sensitivity is critical for sustained energy, cognitive focus, and weight management. Another compound necessary for a thriving metabolism is taurine, a sulfur-rich amino acid that regulates appetite and alchemizes fat-soluble cells to water-soluble so they can be efficiently eliminated from the body. On the Level II: Detox, taurine is included in the medical-grade supplement pack to assist in phase II liver detoxification and protect your central nervous system and memory

One Note on Peak Bioavailability. When it comes to alliums, the beneficial sulfur compounds are at their peak when they are raw, and heat actually reduces their potency. Chances are you don’t eat an onion the way you would an apple, and are more accustomed to use it while cooking. One quick fix? Studies have found that if you slice your allium veggies and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before cooking, they release more sulfur compounds and they become more resistant to heat. When it comes to the cruciferous family, steaming is your best bet. Steaming actually increases their sulfur bioavailability, meaning your body is able to use and absorb more of its nutrient content. Just make sure you steam your green veggies until they turn bright green; If they become dull, you’ve gone too far! 


Here, you’ll find a curation of Sakara dishes, Clean Boutique pantry staples, and recipes to make on your own that feature sulfur-rich foods. Each day the Sakara signature nutrition program is designed with at least one serving of a sulfurous plant per meal. Our expert-level cleanse, Level II: Detox, features sulfur in abundance to intensify detoxifying results and work in tandem with the medical-grade supplements. 

The Maca-Mocha Metabolism Brew | Make the Recipe

Sulfur-rich boosts found in cacao and maca



Turmeric-Carrot-Ginger Soup | Make the Recipe

Sulfur-rich boosts found in onion and garlic



Winter Veggie Slaw | Make the Recipe

Sulfur-rich boosts found in Brussels sprouts, scallion, kale, and radicchio



Dandelion Herbal Infusion | Make the Recipe

Sulfur-rich boosts found in dandelion greens and weeds



Sweet Potato-Coconut Dream Parfait | Signature Sakara Program

Sulfur-rich boosts found in hemp seeds



Brasserie Roasted Vegetables | Signature Sakara Program

Sulfur-rich boosts found in watermelon radish, mustard seeds, shallots, and pumpkin seeds 



Dark Chocolate Granola | Clean Boutique

Sulfur-rich boosts found in cacao and Brazil nuts



Chia Tortillas | Clean Boutique

Sulfur-rich boosts found in golden onion



Heirloom Brassicas Flatbread w/ Rejuvenating Pesto | Signature Sakara Program

Sulfur-rich boosts found in celery root, purple cauliflower, romanesco, walnuts, and adzuki bean tempeh



Butterfly Bowl with Tie-Dye Carrots | Signature Sakara Program

Sulfur-rich boosts found in massaged lacinato kale, purple cabbage, and hemp seeds



We’ve reinvented what it means to “detox.” Learn more:

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Recipe: Smoky Bean Salad with Radish Gems and Sundried Tomatoes

Filed Under: 5 day cleanse, 5 day cleanse and reset, Best 5 day cleanse, Best cleanse for weight loss

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