It should be no surprise when I say my son has a salicylate
allergy that people give me a double take. I often find myself
explaining over and over either virtually or in person what a
salicylate allergy is. I find it hard to explain myself as it is
I have luckily found myself in a couple of private Facebook
groups for kids like my son and suddenly I don't feel so alone. One
group in Australia is way ahead in truly understanding how
salicylates affect their kids not only physically, but mentally and
emotionally. They are working with bio-medical doctors and
dieticians who know and understand the impact of how foods affect
our bodies. It makes me want to move there... ok not really. But I
now understand salicylates even better than I did before. I will
try to simplify for you what is a salicylate sensitivity and its
common side effects.
A salicylate is part of phenol family. A phenol is a chemical
that occurs naturally as an immune hormone that protects plants
such as herbs, fruits and vegetables. The produce or plant herb
emit this chemical to help protect plants from bacteria, bugs,
animals and diseases. It is a naturally occurring
substance to protect these plants, it is found in 99% of fruits,
about 85% of vegetables and 95% of herbs and spices
Salicylates are also man-made and found in perfumes,
toothpastes, personal care products such as shampoos and lotions.
It is also found in food dyes, food preservatives such as BHT and
BHA, artificial flavors and artificial enhancers. This is the
foundation of the Feingold
Diet, which linked these foods additives and some foods
to hyperactivity back in 1967. Many still follow this diet today,
but there is a longer list of foods that are high in salicylates
than even he found back then.
Let's not forget medicines. You may be familiar with its cousin,
salicylic acid, which is in aspirin. It is also in many anti-aging
and acne based products. If one has a sensitivity to salicylates,
then you often cannot have anything with salicylic acid. I am
sensitive to salicylic acid that goes on my face, which I
discovered after I had a reaction years ago during a facial. My
father has a life-threatening allergy to salicylic acid (aspirin),
so for us there is a genetic component. However, there does not
have to be a genetic component either, just a disruption in our gut
bacteria can also affect our ability to digest certain types of
There are many signs and symptoms, many cross-over with other
sensitivities such as gluten, soy, dairy, corn, peanuts, etc, but
it is something to look into.
Also check this site called FailSafe
Diet based out of Australia
Remember this is just a list of possibilities. My son had clear
signs such as red cheeks after eating fruits, horrible diapers,
crying from stomach pains, psoriasis, he also had difficulty going
to sleep and staying asleep at night. He also has a Sensory
Processing Disorder and have noticed he much more organized, well
behaved and less whiny when he is off of "sals."
I first started my journey in May 2012 when my son had the
stomach flu. He didn't eat for about four days and his psoriasis
cleared right up. I knew it was something he was eating, it took
another year before I finally figured it out. That was a whole year
of seeing whole host of doctors and alternative doctors.
I did an elimination diet in April and learned the connection
and had the discussion with our allergist. I am still learning and
finding new things about salicylate sensitivity. Unfortunately
there is not true blood test to verify this, it has to be done as
an elimination diet, which our allergist approved.
I know from my own work experience and helping others to get
healthy, the foods we crave the most are the ones we tend to be
intolerant too. My son's favorite foods are really high is
Right now we are doing a very modified GAPS program, getting my
son to eat anything lately has been challenging as I slowly take
out many of his favorite "safe" foods. I will stay persistent and
consistent. The Facebook support group has been an amazing source
even for me.
I came across this quote and while I am being challenged in ways
that I could not even imagine. I break down and cry, but I know
there are better things that lie ahead.
"An arrow can only be shot by
pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with
difficulties, it means that it's going to launch you into something
great." ~ Unknown
Jasmine blogs to inspire you to make positive, healthy changes.
See more of Jasmine's stories here.
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