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 each time you go to the doctor, he still can’t find anything wrong with you. Well, something has to be wrong, right? After all, it’s not just in your head!
If you feel you’ve exhausted (no pun intended) all of your options to find the cause of your mystery symptoms, consider salicylate (sal issa late) intolerance. Salicylates are pesticides that naturally occur in plants and are designed to protect them against insects and disease.
In a person with a healthy gut and immune system, these chemicals enter and leave the body with no ill effect. In someone with poor digestive and immune health, however, salicylates can 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 so doing, cause the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes.
The more leukotrienes in the body, the more likely you are to experience the symptoms of chronic inflammation, allergic reaction, and autoimmune disease.
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 very difficult to trace back to any one particular cause.
These symptoms include:
- Difficulty paying attention
- Emotional outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Panic attacks
- Poor memory
- Nasal polyps
- Post-nasal drip
- Runny and/or stuffy nose
- Changes in skin color
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Night terrors
- Sleep apnea
- Waking frequently in the night
- Hearing loss
- Hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sound)
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
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.
These fruits and vegetables include:
Kidney and other beans
Red delicious apples
Furthermore, if you drink tea, consider switching to coffee since coffee contains far fewer salicylates, with decaf having the least amount.
Personal and Household
If you’re experiencing mystery symptoms, chances are, something you’re eating, drinking, inhaling, or putting on your skin is causing your immune system to overreact.
This is why, in addition to changing your diet, replacing your commercial cleaning products and cosmetics with natural, fragrance-free alternatives can help significantly reduce your symptoms.
The goal is to have your immediate environment be as trigger-free as possible. So, if you use air freshener, get rid of it. (Many people forget about these, especially if they’re plugged into a wall.) Also, trade your scented carpet powder for baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. This combination works just as well without exposing your sensitive system to unnecessary synthetic chemicals.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you’re taking, and 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 food and compounds you’re allergic to is only part one of a two-step process. Once you eliminate as many sources of salicylates as possible, you need to move on to healing and balancing your immune system to stop it from continuing to overreact.
A crucial part of doing this is by healing 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.
“While the term “leaky gut” still draws skepticism and smirks from some in the media and medical community, its more precise medical term–“increased intestinal permeability”–has been thoroughly documented in the medical literature for over a hundred years, and more recently as a recognized risk factor for autoimmune disease.”
To learn more about how to reduce the symptoms of food and chemical sensitivities by healing leaky gut syndrome, pick up your copy of Dr. Axe’s best-selling book by clicking the book cover below!