Hydrogen Sulfide in Foods

Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic and flammable gas. It has an odor suggestive of rotten eggs. Hydrogen sulfide is found especially in many mineral waters and in putrefying water. It can also result from several industrial activities such as food processing. A hydrogen sulfide rich diet has many good effects in regard to human disease control. But it can also affect the appearance and taste of cooked foods. For example, beverages like coffee and tea made with water containing hydrogen sulfide can be discolored.


According to Prohealth.com, hydrogen sulfide performs a useful role in some of the more important functions of the body such as blood pressure, body temperature and cardiac function. The gas acts as a smooth-muscle relaxant responsible for causing erection of the penis. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, “H2S levels have been shown to be severely decreased in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients.” It is also known to be very effective in protecting the heart from certain types of cardiovascular disorders.


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Due to hydrogen sulfide’s physiological influence, many diet experts, including members of the WHO Expert Committee, are starting to recommend the inclusion of foods containing hydrogen sulfide into the minimum daily requirements of a diet. Dairy products like butter and cheese, and meat products like beef, chicken and pork are good sources of hydrogen sulfide. Processed foods like jellies and candies also contain some amount of H2S.


Garlic is very rich in H2S. Researchers say consuming garlic can lower your blood pressure and protect you from cardiovascular diseases. Researchers in the University of Alabama conducted specific experiments and found that garlic compounds impressed the red blood corpuscles to release H2S, which then worked on the smaller blood vessels and relaxed them. In rats, experiments indicated that garlic concentrate was able to relax up to 72 percent of the animal’s blood vessels. Other foods such as buckwheat and popcorn also contain hydrogen sulfide in varying amounts.


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How H2S does goes about relaxing the smooth muscles is not exactly clear. But further studies on the effect of garlic, and hence H2S, on the arteries have shown intensive protection of the vessel from platelet congestion. Also, considering the fact that it helps in the erection of penis, new studies into the field of erectile dysfunction are being vigorously pursued. According to Sciencedaily.com, “severe heart attack damage can be limited by hydrogen sulfide”.

Brain Function

Hydrogen sulfide is an important mediating agent in brain function. It also plays a role in memory management. Hydrogen sulfide based foods such as garlic help improve the conditions of patients suffering from disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. The answer to forgetfulness, lethargy, confusion and some minor psychological disorders like social phobias and anxiety may lie in the inclusion of a high dose of hydrogen sulfide in the diet.