Salicylate & Aspirin Sensitivity
Salicylates are chemicals found naturally in some plants, stored in the bark, leaves, roots, skin and seeds, where they protect the plants against insect damage and disease. In the human body, salicylate has been shown to have an effect on certain neuron receptors, to suppress some enzymes including the enzyme phenol sulfotransferase (PST), to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, etc.
Most people have no problem with salicylate-containing foods or salicylate-containing drugs except at high doses, but some people can be extremely sensitive to these chemicals.
- Who needs to worry about salicylate-sensitivity?
- Some products that may contain aspirin or salicylate compounds
- Ingredient label terms indicating a salicylate source.
- How can the Feingold Program help?
Another website for skin care products without salicylate can be found at Andrea Rose Cosmetics. Read the ingredients on products on these lists carefully and cross-reference with your Foodlist & Shopping Guide. When you find some products that seem to be both salicylate-free and acceptable on the Feingold Program, add them to your personal list. If they do not already appear in our Foodlist then please submit them for product research through our Members Section. NOTE: If you have tried the Feingold Program on your own, from a book, article, brochure, or list from your doctor, you probably missed many hidden additives. Without the benefit of our materials, including the most current updated list of foods and products that meet our criteria, you cannot be assured of the maximum response.
Membership in the Feingold Association will provide you with the necessary materials, and a newsletter 10 times a year to keep the Foodlists up to date. When you have questions, you may call our Help-Line at 1-631-369-9340 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org to help you get started and to customize the program to your individual needs, as necessary.
The Feingold Association of the United States
11849 Suncatcher Drive
Fishers IN 46037
Who needs to worry about salicylate-sensitivity?
This information is not meant to replace medical evaluation and treatment
Salicylate sensitive individuals may have any of the symptoms in our Symptoms List and their health problems may be very serious. Any of the following may indicate salicylate sensitivity:
Salicylate-sensitive people may be particularly prone to eye muscle disorders such as nystagmus, nasal polyps, rashes, or asthma, and may complain of joint pain and fatigue. The physician should be consulted to rule out other serious medical situations.
- Anaphylaxis (rare)
- Breathing difficulties
- Changes in skin color
- Cognitive and perceptual disorders
- Itchy skin, rash, or hives
- Itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
- Lack of concentration or memory
- Mouth ulcers or raw hot red rash around mouth
- Nasal polyps
- Persistent cough
- Stomach aches or upsets
- Swelling of eyelids, face, and lips
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Urgency to pass water or bedwetting
Since the list above is very similar to the list of symptoms indicating a need for the Feingold Program in general, it is usually easier to try the regular Stage One Program first. If, however, you already have a diagnosis of severe salicylate sensitivity, or you have tried the Stage One diet with only partial improvement, it may be worth your while to try avoiding also those items listed on pages 51 through 57 in the Handbook.
Some products (besides food and aspirin) that may contain aspirin or salicylate compounds
Adapted from the About.com Guide
- Acne products
- Breath savers
- Bubble baths
- Fragrances and perfumes
- Gums - mint flavored
- Hair shampoos, conditioners, or sprays
- Herbal remedies
- Mouth washes
- Muscle pain creams
- Pain medications
- Razors with aloe strips adjacent to the cutting edge
- Shaving creams
- Skin cleansers or exfoliants
- Sun screens or tanning lotions
- Supplements derived from rose hips or bioflavonoids
- Topical creams
- Wart or callus removers
When reading labels be sure to also watch out for these terms indicating a salicylate source.
Adapted from the About.com Guide
- Acetylsalicylic acid
- Benzoates (preservatives)
- Benzyl salicylate
- Beta-hydoxy acid
- Choline salicylate
- Ethyl salicylate
- Isoamyl salicylate
- Magnesium salicylate
- Methyl salicylate
- Mint not usually a problem
- Oil of Wintergreen
- Peppermint not usually a problem
- Phenylethyl salicylate
- Salicylic acid
- Sodium salicylate
- Spearmint not usually a problem
- Wintergreen flavoring
According to About.com, the following are also important to watch out for if you are salicylate-sensitive: (These items are all eliminated on the Feingold diet, too.)
- "Flavoring" may contain synthetic additives or salicylates.
- "Natural flavoring" may contain salicylate.
- Artificial food colorings
- Artificial flavorings
- Azo dyes
How Can the Feingold Program Help?
In addition to the Basic Feingold Program, we offer information and support for a dietary treatment for aspirin and salicylate sensitivity in children and adults in the SPECIAL NEEDS SECTION of our Program materials. Between our list of salicylates to avoid on Stage One, and the extended list included in the Handbook, you will find the most complete list available of salicylate-containing items, plus benzoate information since many salicylate-sensitive people are also sensitive to benzoates.
Research has shown that people sensitive to salicylates also frequently have cross-sensitivity to food additives such as azo dyes. Therefore, for your best results, we suggest using the entire Program, not just the listing of salicylates. Besides, many processed foods list "natural flavorings" which may include salicylate sources. The major salicylate sources are avoided in those products listed in the Stage One section of your Foodlist & Shopping Guide. However, if you are known to be exquisitely sensitive, it is prudent to call the manufacturer to get information about the actual items used in the flavoring, even in Stage One products.