Salicylate Sensitivity

What are Salicylates?

Salicylates are a group of organic substances (chemicals) that occur naturally in many fruits, vegetables and herbs. 

Where are salicylates most commonly found?

Natural Salicylates are most commonly found in healthy wholesome foods with many high and very high salicylate containing foods being popular fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Salicylates act as a natural preservative to delay rotting and protect the plant. They are higher in Organic plant foods, than non organic plant foods

Salicylates are also created synthetically and used as preservatives in processed foods and common products include toothpastes, flavoured sweets and chewing gums etc.  They are also found in perfumes and in a variety of medicines such as aspirin, cough mixtures and analgesics.

What is salicylate sensitivity?

Salicylate sensitivity is the inability for the body to process an excessive amount of salicylates at a given time.  The amount of salicylates a person can handle at any period varies between individuals and there can be a cumulative effect in the body.  In people with salicylate sensitivity foods and substances that are normally considered anti-inflammatory and pain reducing (including Aspirin,NSAIDS, Cox2 inhibitors), may become pro-inflammatory and pain amplifying.

Common symptoms of salicylate sensitivity

Symptoms vary between individuals as can the severity of the reactions.  A salicylate sensitivity may show itself at any time throughout a person’s life.  Common symptomatic reactions include

·         Rashes, hives, tingling /rash on lips·         Anxiety, panic attacks
·         Symptoms of ADHD / ADD·         Sleep disturbances
·         Asthma·         Nausea
·         Eczema·         Flatulence
·         Sinusitis·         Irritability, restlessness
·         Rhinitis·         Rapid heart beat
·         Headaches and migraines·         Tinnitus
·         Stomach aches·         Constant clearing of throat
·         Bloating·         Joint pain

If you are suffering from some of the above symptoms and feel you may have a salicylate sensitivity, the best way to assess the situation is a trial for two weeks avoiding foods containing very high and high levels of salicylates from the list provided.  Symptoms will disappear or greatly reduce if salicylates are a causative factor. Low salicylate foods include all fresh meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, shellfish and grains and cereals.

If you have salicylate sensitivity you may also have amine and glutamate intolerance. This is common, but does not apply to everyone with salicylate sensitivity. If you suspect that you also have amine and glutamate intoelrance, it is best to do the Low Chemical RPAH Allergy Unit Elimination Diet, for a period of 4 weeks.


Other Sources of Salicylates

Acne products
Air fresheners
Alka seltze
Breath mints
Bubble baths
Cleaning products
Essential oils
Fabric conditioners
Fragrances and perfumes
Hair sprays, gels and mouse
Lotions and creams
Muscle and joint pain creams
Razor’s with aloe strips next to the blade
Shampoo and conditioners
Shaving cream
Cleansers and exfoliants
Sunscreen and tanning lotion 
After sun lotions
Warts and callus removers

Salicylates may be labeled as:

Acetylsalicylic acid
Coal tar derived dye
Artificial flavorings
Artificial colorings
Azo dyes
Benzyl salicylate
Beta hydroxy acid
Choline salicylate
Ethyl salicylate
Eucalyptus oils
Isoamyl salicylate
Magnesium salicylate
Methyl salicylate
Oil of wintergreen
Phenylethyl salicylate
Red dye (#40)
Salicylic acid
Sodium salicylate
Yellow dye (#5 and #6)

What non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) contain salicylates?

EtoricoxibMefenamic AcidPiroxicam

What food additives contain salicylates?

E102 TartrazineE123 AmaranthE210-219 BenzoatesE622-623 Glutamates
E104 Quinoline yellowE124 Ponceau 4 RE220 Sulphur dioxide
E107 Yellow 2GE132 Indigo carmineE221-227 Sulphites
E120 Cochineal, CarmineE127-180 Other food dyesE250-251 Nitrites, nitrates
E122 CarmoisineE310-312 Gallates
E320-321 BHA and BHT
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