Sulfur compounds: From plants to humans and their role in chronic disease prevention

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24 Citations (Web of Science)


Sulfur is essential for the health of plants and is an indispensable dietary component for human health and disease prevention. Its incorporation into our food supply is heavily reliant upon the uptake of sulfur into plant tissue and our subsequent intake. Dietary requirements for sulfur are largely calculated based upon requirements for the sulfur-containing amino acids (SAA), cysteine and methionine, to meet the demands for synthesis of proteins, enzymes, co-enzymes, vitamins, and hormones. SAA are found in abundance in animal sources and are relatively low in plants. However, some plants, particularly cruciferous and allium vegetables, produce many protective sulfur-containing secondary metabolites, such as glucosinolates and cysteine sulfoxides. The variety and quantity of these sulfur-containing metabolites are extensive and their effects on human health are wide-reaching. Many benefits appear to be related to sulfur’s role in redox biochemistry, protecting against uncontrolled oxidative stress and inflammation; features consistent within cardiometabolic dysfunction and many chronic metabolic diseases of aging. This narrative explores the origins and importance of sulfur, its incorporation into our food supply and dietary sources. It also explores the overarching potential of sulfur for human health, particularly around the amelioration of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, and subsequent chronic disease prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8616-8638
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number27
Early online date5 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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