How do you Diagnose a Salicylate Sensitivity?

by | Jan 26, 2023

The elimination diet is currently the only useful diagnostic tool health care professionals have in investigating salicylate sensitivity. The diet, developed by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) involves cutting down on a range of food chemicals that are known to cause symptoms in some people. Due to its restrictive nature, the elimination diet should only be applied short-term so as not to starve the body of essential nutrients.

After being on the elimination diet for at least 3-6 weeks and once symptoms have settled for at least 5 days in a row, the next step is introduced, which involves identifying which particular food chemicals are tolerated by the individual, and which ones are not. This food challenge process involves testing each food chemical one by one, usually done by eating foods that provide a high dose of each particular chemical. If no symptoms are experienced during the period where the food chemical is introduced, it’s assumed that foods containing that chemical are safe to eat. However, if symptoms are experienced, then a food trigger is considered to have been successfully identified and it’s now a matter of discovering what an individual’s threshold is for that chemical.

For me, I reacted quite strongly to salicylates after doing the elimination diet. It turns out my threshold for this chemical is quite low, which means I’ve had to limit the amount of salicylates I consume on a daily basis whilst still ensuring I derive sufficient nutrients from alternate food sources.

Elimination diet resource

The RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook is an excellent resource for conducting the elimination diet which outlines which foods you can and can’t eat during the elimination phase as well as which foods are low, medium and high in particular chemicals for the reintroduction phase. The resource also includes a handy elimination diet shopping list and recipe guide.

Please note

It’s very important to consult a dietitian or doctor before conducting an elimination diet as cutting out too many food groups may cause not only a nutritional deficiency, but stress and poor quality of life which can lead to negative health outcomes.

DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 


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