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Healthy Moms Dictionary- Salicylate Sensitivity

Posted Jan 22 2009 3:53pm

My son is sensitive to salicylates. Certain fruits and vegetables make him have one of these reactions, vomiting, hives, red puffy cheeks, or eczema. No matter what we did we just could not get rid of the rashes. Once we eliminated the salicylates in his diet it cleared up right away. I touched on salicylate sensitivity a little bit when I explained multiple food protein intolerance, but many people are still not aware of this. If your child is having chronic rashes and you don't know what is causing it, it could be salicylate sensitivity.

So what are salicylates? According to, "Salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants, including many fruits, vegetables and herbs. Salicylates in plants act as a natural immune hormone and preservative, protecting the plants against diseases, insects, fungi, and harmful bacteria." Salicylates can also be created synthetically and are found in many medicines, perfumes and preservatives.

Salicylates can be harmful to everyone if eaten in high enough doses. Most people can handle the average amount of salicylates found in food, products and medication without a reaction. Some adults and children develop health problems if they are exposed to too much salicylates. This is called salicylate sensitivity and it is very different from a food allergy. The tolerated amount at items vary slightly from person to person. For example, my son has the hardest time with tomatoes and tomato products which are very high in salicylates, but he doesn't have a reaction to raisins which are also on the high list. An elimination diet will help determine which foods are giving you or your child a reaction.

Tomatoes are extremely high in salicylates.

Here are some symptoms to look out for. These have all been linked to salicylate sensitivity but if you are experiencing one or two of these it isn't necessarily due to the salicylates in your diet. I will just name a few. For a complete list visit Salicylate

Physical Symptoms:
  • Itchy skin, hives or Rashes
  • Stomach pain/upset stomach
  • Asthma
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Bed Wetting
  • Mouth Ulcers or raw hot red rash around mouth
  • Persistent cough
  • Frequent need to urinate/urgency to pass water
  • Wheezing
  • Changes in skin color/skin discoloration
  • Swelling of eyelids, face and lips
  • Fatigue
  • Sore, itchy, puffy or burning eyes
Food intolerance reactions can take up to 48 hours to occur. Experts believe that food intolerance is more common than food allergies. About 10 percent of the population have a food intolerance or sensitivity. Food intolerance is dose-related. This means that some people may have a reaction to only foods high in the chemical and some will react to lower doses.
Elimination diets are the only way to determine of you have a sensitivity to salicylates. Always talk to your doctor first before starting a new diet. For a complete list of foods high in salicylates visit Salicylate


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