You know I literally wrote the book on Gluten-Free (my book, Gluten-Free in 5 Days, is still available on Amazon). But I also know as an alternative practitioner that one food sensitivity does not usually a healing make; you need to isolate as many sensitive foods as you can. And here’s one other problem that’s often overlooked by the medical community. I didn’t even KNOW about salicylates until it tested positive for one of my very sick clients. Addressing it through diet and with supplements enabled her to lose 40 pounds and regain her well-being; the last time I saw her she was glowing with health. Here’s more “food for thought” from Designs for Health, one of my favorite supplement companies.
Oh … and the pineapple … that’s a high-salicylate food. The guinea pig is just for show …
So what ARE Salicylates?
According to the article …
Salicylic acid (salicylate) is produced by plants as part of their internal chemical defense against pathogens and environmental stress. The willow tree was one of the first places it was identified, and this ancient discovery still resonates today, in the form of aspirin. The medical use of salicylate–rich preparations derived from willow bark as pain relievers and fever reducers–dates back thousands of years. Salicylate may also play a role in fighting cancer. Many vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices are high in salicylate, which may be a contributing factor in why diets rich in plant foods are associated with lower risks for cancer. However, estimates of dietary salicylate intake vary widely, from 0.4 to 200 mg/day, and it is unknown how great an effect salicylate might have on disease processes. Some ethnic cuisines rely heavily on plant foods and employ specific herbs and spices that are high in salicylate, while other cultural diets, including the standard Western diet, are generally lower in salicylate. Some researchers suggest that the known protective effects of aspirin may have resulted in an emphasis on the importance of dietary salicylate, when other bioactive compounds in plant foods may play a greater role in supporting health.
What is Salicylate Sensitivity?
The article goes on to say that, even though salicylic acid may be protective for some, which is why baby aspirin is widely prescribed as heart-protective, there are others who are salicylate-sensitive. Such sensitivity, just like the histamine intolerance we talked about previously, may result in a wide range of symptoms such as asthma, hay fever, nasal polyps, GI problems, hives and other skin issues. Salicylate, therefore, reduces inflammation in normal individuals, but in the sensitive can actually cause it. One of the ways to reduce reactions is to cut down on high-salicylate foods.
Among the foods highest in salicylate are fruits (especially berries and dried fruit), tea, canned and concentrated tomato products, and popular herb and spices, such as curry powder, paprika, turmeric, oregano and rosemary. As is the case for foods that are high in histamine, people following healthful and nutritious diets may be consuming these salicylate-rich foods on a regular basis … particularly berries, which are suitable for low-carb, Paleo, and vegetarian diets alike, and turmeric, which has received a lot of attention for its health-promoting effects. Individuals with undiagnosed salicylate sensitivity may be intentionally consuming large amounts of these foods, and be unknowingly stymying their efforts to achieve their best health.
How can you treat it?
Supplements can also help reduce salicylate sensitivity. When I started researching this, I found several lay forums and lots of professional information about salicylates. And put my client on a regime of Milk Thistle, probiotics, fish oil, a multivitamin with minerals and N-acetylcysteine, vitamin D, digestive enzymes, Acetyl-L-carnitine, and D-ribose. Others who take supplements state that one sensitivity is linked to others (and … functionally speaking … why am I not surprised), including histamine and other amines, sulfates, gluten, casein, favor additional things like Glucosamine Chondroitin and MSM. It’s also recommended that Epsom Salt baths twice a day sop up impurities and provide much-needed Magnesium Sulfate.
It took a year. But my client, by avoiding both sensitive and high-salicylate foods and aspirin as well as religiously taking the supplements I recommended, began to get better and shed weight. A far cry from the initial suspicious looks I got from her parents as some alternative charlatan had just bilked them out of thousands of dollars. And she had actually gotten worse. I hate hearing those stories as it casts aspersions upon those of us who just want you be well. By any way possible.
So I’m here to tell you that salicylate sensitivity is a very real thing, that it can also be linked to other sensitivities to food, gluten, amines, sulfites, and histamines. As far as I’m concerned, testing for these sensitivities can mean the difference between lingering illness and vital health.