One of the worst things about having mystery symptoms is the fact that they are just that, a mystery. You may have stomach problems, weird rashes, mouth ulcers, and fatigue you can’t explain, but every time you go to the doctor, he still can’t find anything wrong with you. Well, something has to be wrong, right?
If you feel you’ve exhausted your options on the cause of your mystery symptoms, consider salicylate (‘sal issa late’) intolerance. Salicylates are naturally-occurring pesticides designed to protect plants against disease and insects.
In a person with a healthy gut and immune system, these chemicals enter and leave the body with no ill effect. In someone with salicylate intolerance, however, they act as a type of slow poison.
Salicylates are thought to work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like chemicals responsible for pain and inflammation, and in doing so, cause the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes.
Causes of Salicylate Intolerance
The exact cause of salicylate intolerance is unknown. However, it has been linked to the prolonged use of aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as a condition known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’.
Symptoms of Salicylate Intolerance
The symptoms of salicylate intolerance are wide and varied, making them difficult to trace back to any one particular disease.
- Itchy rash, hives, and/or eczema
- Swelling in hands, feet, eyelids, face and/or lips
- Change in skin color
- Stuffy or runny nose, postnasal drip, asthma, nasal polyps, persistent cough
- Nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation
- Anxiety, depression, panic attacks
- Poor memory and concentration
- Trouble falling asleep
- Waking frequently throughout the night
- Sleep apnea
- Night terrors
- Bedwetting (could be neurological)
- Inability to pay attention
- Symptoms of ADHD
- Tinnitus, hearing loss, hyperacusis (over-sensitivity to sound)
- Joint pain, arthritis, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue
Most Common Food Sources of Salicylates
Salicylates are found in most plant foods, especially those that have been concentrated, such as jams, syrups, pastes, sauces, powders, and flavorings.
Furthermore, berries, melons, plums, grapes, kiwi, tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, avocados, broccoli, and silverbeet are all high in salicylates.
Genetically engineered foods contain increased salicylates for the purposes of disease resistance.
Flavored yogurt, dried spices, and dried fruit are also high in salicylates.
Other Sources of Salicylates to Watch Out For
Aspirin, ibuprofen, industrial chemicals, certain pesticides, cosmetics, cleaning products, plastics, and fragrances can all put you at risk for salicylate exposure.
How to Reduce Your Salicylate Intake and Exposure
Food and Drink
To limit your exposure to salicylates, choose produce that contains the least amount of them. These fruits and vegetables include traditional pears, golden and red delicious apples, kidney and other beans, carrots, butternut pumpkin, potatoes, leeks, cabbage, and garlic.
Also, if you’re a tea drinker, you may consider switching to coffee as coffee is much lower in salicylates, with decaf having the least amount.
Personal and Household
If you’re experiencing mystery symptoms, chances are, something you’re eating, drinking, or inhaling is causing your immune system to overreact. In this case, the best thing you can do is replace your commercial cleaning products and cosmetics with natural, fragrance-free alternatives.
You want your immediate environment to be as trigger-free as possible. If you use air freshener, get rid of it. A lot of people forget about them, especially if they’re plugged into the wall. Also, trade your scented carpet powder for baking soda. It works just as well without exposing your delicate system to synthetic chemicals.
Talk with your doctor of pharmacist about the medications you’re taking. Ask if they contain salicylates.
Two Critical Ways to Treat Salicylate Sensitivity Naturally
According to findings in an open trial, capsaicin, the ingredient that gives chili peppers their hot flavor, can help reduce the bioavailability of salicylates in the blood of both humans and rats.
Furthermore, capsaicin and salicylates compete for access to a nervous system receptor called TRPV1. Taking capsaicin before consuming anything containing salicylates seems to significantly diminish their effects.
Heal Your Leaky Gut
Avoidance of a food or compound you’re allergic to is only part one of a two-step process. Once you eliminate as many sources of salicylates from your life as possible, you need to move on to healing and balancing your immune system, so it stops overreacting.
“In a normal body, one with the correct levels of sulfates and liver enzymes, phenols and salicylates are easily metabolized. The body utilizes what it needs from the chemicals and properly disposes of the rest through the bowels. In those whose levels are abnormal, or in the case of leaky gut syndrome, intolerance to this chemical family can occur rather quickly.”
That’s why it’s so important to be aware of and to treat leaky gut syndrome. In leaky gut syndrome, the lining of your intestines is more porous than it should be. This allows bacteria, viruses, and undigested food particles to leak into your bloodstream, triggering an autoimmune response.
In this video, Dr. Axe discusses 7 foods to heal leaky gut syndrome (just avoid the broccoli if you’re salicylate sensitive):
For a more comprehensive, step-by-step guide to healing leaky gut syndrome, visit LeakyGutCure.com.