How to tolerate more salicylates?


A reader asked:

I was told in my 30s that I had genetic salicylate intolerance but given no more info. About 10 years ago I found the Australian salicylate list (I'm in the U.S.) I'm now 71 yrs and my gut intolerance is getting worse. Can you give me any suggestions about how to tolerate more salicylates?

We support the RPAH elimination diet from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit in Sydney. According to their researchers, food intolerance runs in families but it can also be triggered or made worse by stress, illness, exposure to medications or chemicals such as pesticides, female hormones, and age. Symptoms can come and go and change throughout life. Here are some suggestions for increasing salicylate intake. 

First: guided reintroduction

Some failsafers say that going back to a strict low sal diet all the time can actually make symptoms worse:

Thought I would let you know I am a lot better. Seeing RPAH Allergy Clinic directly made the difference and now I am having symptom free days. The key was the chart they gave me that showed how to add foods back in. That has made the difference. Every time my symptoms increased I had been going back to elimination and I was becoming more and more reactive. I started with 1/2 serve of amines (salmon or banana) every second day. Then introduced half a serve of sals once a week ... then I stuffed up and had to go back BUT NOT to the beginning (one step back) so you build up the base no matter how small it seems to be. I am now on 1/2 serve of moderate sals or amines each second day ... and I am so much better.  The problem is with rushing ... you can't help it ... you end up further back but not at the beginning - Sheridan from story [1504]

You can request the RPAH "liberalising diet" document  from us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) - though it's best done with the supervision of a dietitian who has long experience with the RPAH diet, see our dietitians list

See an important opinion about this issue from Dr Elizabeth Pickford who worked at RPAH for 20 years and now runs her own practice.

Second: the "holiday effect"

It is acknowledged by RPAH researchers that people with food intolerance can handle more sals etc when they go on holidays because stress is reduced.

My (failsafe) sister recently spent a week in Fiji and was puzzled that she was able to eat a lot more of the foods/chemicals that she would normally avoid when living in Sydney without ever reacting …”
Howard and I have found this to be very true, so our conclusion is: go on more holidays.

Third: the "exercise effect"

We have also noticed an "exercise effect"  - that we can manage more sals when doing long distance hiking, such as trekking in Nepal or walking the Camino. Of course, the holiday effect is there, but it seems to be stronger while hiking, presumably due to the stress reduction effects of walking all day every day in scenic surroundings.
Fourth: stress reduction

We meditate regularly. It definitely helps. A  failsafer in his 30s recently reported feeling "more focused than I've ever been in my life" after starting TM meditation. The relaxation response from Professor Herbert Benson is probably the quickest and easiest way to achieve this result - see

Fifth: brain rewiring

I did the Annie Hopper brain rewiring course two years ago to get rid of my fragrance sensitivity but also found it useful for stress reduction. Two of our long-time failsafers report that a similar course with Ian Cleary in Aust/NZ reduced their food intolerance. One says she can now eat everything except when stressed. The other is a closed order nun:  

A dietitian put me on a simplified version of the RPAH diet 9 months ago. I'm fine on a very restricted diet, but am finding that fumes (strong flowers and incense) are immediately producing the same symptoms. As a nun, there are times when I can't avoid them  … I’m currently having to sit outside our part of our Chapel for Mass when the priest uses incense …Even so, I can still smell the fumes in the room almost 24 hours later, and it is affecting my health for the rest of the week ­ brain fog, fatigue and sometimes a migraine too … from story 1208 - UPDATE 5 years later: … somebody told me about a training programme called The Lightning Process which uses neuroplasticity to resolve some health issues including food intolerances and sensitivities.  As I was down to only 12 food items I thought I had nothing to lose. Since completing the 3 day programme I have been able to eat everything again, and have had no problems with smells either - from story [1208] and more information on my blog on brain retraining.

Sixth: chili trial

My husband Howard (he has a doctorate in food science) and I looked at the idea that eating chili first - before salicylates - may make us more able to manage salicylates because they fill the same receptor. We tried to get a research study going, but we found that most Australians couldn't eat anything like the doses we eat in Nepal. If you like chili, it may be worth a try. See factsheet on capsaicin for management of salicylate intolerance.

Seventh: Saccharomyces cerevisiae

A new probiotic called saccharomyces cerevisiae (boulardii) has been shown to be helpful for gut health and irritable bowel symptoms. After a failsafer with gut issues reported that one of our listed dietitians recommended taking these probiotics every day during a 30 day trial of the strict RPAH diet (including DF/GF), I tried it myself. Not only did it help the failsafer - it has also helped me. See my blog on Saccharomyces boulardii.

Pineton de Chambrun G et al, A randomized clinical trial of Saccharomyces cerevisiae versus placebo in the irritable bowel syndrome, Dig Liver Dis. 2015;47(2):119-24.


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