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How to tolerate more salicylates?

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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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBCsFuoFRp8

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.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25488056

 

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Food intolerance

Some of the many symptoms of food intolerance that can be helped by diet:

Airways: Asthma, Stuffy blocked or runny nose/ nasal polyps, Frequent nose bleeds, Catarrh, chronic throat-clearing, Sinusitis, Frequent ear infections, Frequent tonsillitis, Frequent colds and flu, symptoms of Samter's Triad, hayfever, allergic rhinitis Skin: Eczema, Urticaria (hives), Cradlecap, Other skin rashes, Angioedema (swollen lips, eyes, tongue), Geographic tongue, Pruritis (itching), Rosaceae, Allergic shiners (dark circles under eyes), Pallor (pale skin), Flushing, Excessive sweating, Body odour, Sore vagina in children, Alopecia (patchy baldness) Digestive system: Irritable bowel symptoms (IBS), Recurrent mouth ulcers, Indigestion, Nausea, Bad breath, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Stomach ache, Bloating, Reflux in babies, adults, Constipation, Colic in babies, adults, Sluggish bowel syndrome (feeling of "more to come"), Encopresis, Soiling (sneaky poos), Dairy intolerance, Gluten and wheat intolerance, Eating disorders (ed), anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (BED)  Bladder: Bedwetting, Daytime incontinence, Urinary urgency, Recurrent inflammation (cystitis) Skeletal: Growing pains, Gout, Arthritis, joint pain, arthralgia Eyes: Nystagmus (involuntary movement), Blurred vision Muscles: Low muscle tone, Myalgia (muscle pain), Tics (involuntary movement), Tremor, Leg 'jiggling', Heart: Rapid heart beat, Heart palpitations, Cardiac arrhythmias, Pseudo heart attack (feeling of impending doom, chest pressure, pain down arm), Tachycardia (fast heart beat), Angina-type pain, HHT Central nervous system: Headaches or migraines, unexplained tiredness, Chronic fatigue, Feeling 'hung-over', Confusion, Dizziness, Agitation, Tinnitus (noises in ear), HyperacusisAuditory sensory processing disorder (ASPD), Paraesthesia (pins and needles), Dysaesthesia (numbness), Hypoglycemia, Salicylate-induced hypoglycemia, Epileptic seizures, Fits, Sensory symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Scents and perfume sensitivity, Symptoms of lupus Anxiety: Panic attacks, Depression, Obsessive ruminations (repetitively focusing on bad feelings and experiences from the past), Self harm, Suicidal thoughts, actions, teeth grinding (bruxism) Impaired memory: Vague or forgetful, Unable to concentrate, Won't persevere, Unmotivated, Disorganised, Easily distracted, Difficulty reading and writing Speech: Loud voice (no volume control), Speech hard to understand, Speech delay, Selective mutism, Stuttering, Repetitive noises, Talks too much (empty chatter) Coordination: Poor handwriting, Poor coordination, Frequent accidents, Vertigo Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, Restless legs syndrome (RLS), Persistent night waking, Insomnia, Nightmares/night terrors/sleepwalking, Sleepless babies, Sleep apnoea Mood: Brain snaps, Mood swings, Premenstrual tension, Grizzly or unhappy, Cries easily or often, Irritable, Uncooperative Oppositional defiance: ODD, Loses temper, Argumentative, Refuses requests, Defies rules, Deliberately annoys others, Blames others for own mistakes, Touchy, easily annoyed, Angry, resentful Other behaviour: ADHD, ADD, Autism, Aspergers, Inattentive, easily bored, unmotivated, 'Unable to entertain himself', Restless, fidgety or overactive, Head banging, Hyperactivity, Fights with siblings, Difficulty making friends, Destructive, aggressive, Unreasonable, Tantrums, Demanding, never satisfied, Disruptive, Discipline is ineffective, Pervasive Development Disorder

Some causes of food intolerance:

Food additives: Artificial colours: (food dyes, artificial colors) tartrazine 102 (E102, FD&C Yellow No.5), quinoline yellow 104 (E104), sunset yellow 110 (E110, FD&C Yellow No.6), azorubine, carmoisine 122 (E122), amaranth 123 (E123), ponceau, brilliant scarlet 124 (E124), erythrosine 127 (E127, FD&C Red No.3), allura red 129 (E129, FD&C Red No.40), indigotine, indigo carmine 132 (E132, FD&C Blue No.2), brilliant blue 133 (E133, FD&C Blue No.1), green S, food green, acid brilliant green 142 (E142), fast green FCF 143 (E143, FD&C Green No.3), brilliant black 151 (E151), brown, chocolate brown 155 (E155)  Natural colours: (colors) Annatto (annatto extracts, bixin, norbixin, 160b, E160b) Preservatives: Sorbates: (sorbic acid 200, E200, sodium sorbate 201, E201, potassium sorbate 202, E202, calcium sorbate 203, E203) Benzoates, hydroxybenzoates, parabens: (including benzoic acid 210, E210, sodium benzoate 211, E211, potassium benzoate 212, E212, calcium benzoate 213, E213, ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate 214, E214, sodium ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate 215, E215, propylparaben 216, E216, propyl 4 hydroxybenzoate 217, E217, methylparaben 218, E218) Sulfites, bisulfites, metabisulfites: (200-228, sulphites, sulphur dioxide, sulfur dioxide 220, E220, sodium sulphite 221, E221, sodium bisulphite 222, E222, sodium metabisulphite 223, E223, potassium metabisulphite 224, E224, potassium sulphite 225, E225, calcium sulphite 226, E226, calcium bisulfite 227, E227, potassium bisulphite 228, E228) Nitrates & nitrites: (249-252, potassium nitrite 249, E249, sodium nitrite 250, E250, sodium nitrate 251, E251, potassium nitrate 252, E252 Propionates: (bread preservative, mould inhibitor 280-283: propionic acid 280, E280, sodium propionate 281, E281, calcium propionate 282, E282, potassium propionate 283, E283, 'natural' preservatives in bread, cultured wheat, cultured dextrose, cultured whey) Synthetic antioxidants: Gallates 310, 311, 312 (E310, E311, E312), tBHQ 319, E319, BHA 320, E320, BHT 321, E321 Flavour enhancers: (flavor enhancers) glutamic acid and all glutamates, MSG monosodium glutamate 620-625, yeast extract, hydrolysed vegetable protein HVP, disodium guanylate 627 (E627, DSG, GMP), disodium inosinate 631 (E631, DSI, IMP), ribonucleotides 635 (E635, I&G, nucleotides)  Flavours: (flavors)  Natural food chemicals: Salicylates: salicylic acid, sodium salicylate, acetylsalicylic acid Biogenic amines: vasoactive amines (tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine and others) Glutamates:  Natural foods: Dairy: milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, lactose-free milks Wheat or Gluten: (wheat, rye, barley, oats) Soy: Sugar free sweeteners:Sugar free sweeteners: polyols, sorbitol, mannitol

On this website, failsafe refers to foods that are Free of Additives and Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers. Note that copyright applies to the commercial use of the term "failsafe" in the food and health context so as to control inappropriate use by the food and health industries.