Allergy, Digestion | February 4, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals which are present in a wide-range of foods. In plants they act as a natural pesticide—providing protection against disease and infection from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Salicylates can also be created synthetically and are found in perfumes, cleaning products, washing powder, cosmetics, creams and medications such as aspirin. In sensitive people, salicylates in the diet can lead to headaches, eczema, hives, digestive problems, allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps, worsening asthma and in severe cases anaphylaxis. If this is the case, salicylate sensitivity is usually managed by following a low salicylate diet.
In severe cases, a salicylate allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction needing immediate medical attention.
Exactly why an intolerance to salicylates occurs is not known. It is believed there may be an underlying burden within the body that affects its ability to detoxify. It might also involve underlying issues with the immune and digestive system such as autoimmunity, leaky gut and dysbiosis.
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There are no reliable skin or blood tests for the diagnosis of food intolerance, especially to salicylates.
The only way to accurately diagnose a salicylate sensitivity is through a process of dietary elimination and challenge testing. This should always be done under the supervision of a health professional.
Upon diagnosis, the easiest way to treat salicylate sensitivity is by limiting salicylate consumption with a low salicylate diet.
The aim of a low salicylate diet is to keep the intake of salicylates to a minimum. Salicylates occur naturally in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices, jams, honey, yeast extracts, tea, coffee, juices, beer, wine and natural flavourings (e.g. peppermint). Salicylates are also frequently used in medications, perfumes, botanical oils, acne creams and toothpastes.
Fruits: peeled pear, banana, lime, paw paw, pomegranate
Vegetables: bamboo shoots, cabbage, celery, lentils, iceberg lettuce, swede, green peas, leek
Pulses: dried beans (excluding borlotti), or canned varieties with no added ingredients
Grains: barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, rice, rye, wheat
Nuts and seeds: poppy seeds, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds
Sweeteners: maple syrup
Meat: red meat, poultry, fish, prawns (not processed meats)
Herbs, spices and condiments: malt vinegar, saffron, sea salt, soy sauce, dried fennel, fresh parsley and coriander
Dairy: butter, cheese (not blue vein), natural yoghurt and milk
Beverages: decaffeinated coffee, dandelion root tea, soy milk, rice milk, water, home-made pear juice
Achieving a low salicylate diet can be complicated. Individuals with salicylate sensitivity are therefore recommended to seek the advice and guidance of a health professional.
There are a range of supplements that may be helpful to increase a person’s tolerance to salicylates and to reduce the symptoms.
One small 2008 study found that fish supplementation in three patients with disabling salicylate-induced intolerance experienced complete resolution of their symptoms which included urticaria, severe asthma and anaphylactic reactions.
Participants supplemented with 10g a day of fish oil for 6-8 weeks and were able to discontinue their systemic corticosteroid therapy. Unfortunately, when the dose was reduced then they experienced a relapse of their symptoms.
In this case fish oil was believed to be effective due to it’s ability to reduce inflammation which is triggered in an allergic reaction.
Having healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut is important in maintaining healthy digestive and immune function. They also provide protection against
Many different reactions or imbalances in the body can be traced back to the gut. With food intolerances and allergies, it is important to restore the function of the digestive system. In naturopathy this is known as heal and seal—which involves protocols to repair leaky gut and to support digestive processes. It may involve making changes to your diet and taking supplements such as glutamine, slippery elm, goldenseal and zinc. After intensive gut repair, you may be able to better tolerate salicylates in the diet
Nutrients and herbs which help to dampen inflammation and reduce reactivity include quercetin, albizzia, vitamin C and zinc. They may be effective in reducing allergic reactions and support a healthy immune system.