Are you Allergic to Fruits and Vegetables? It May Be Salicylate Sensitivity

By Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS

Nina came to us as a patient knowing she had salicylate intolerance. She had researched it online and it sounded exactly like what she was experiencing whenever she ate certain fruits and vegetables. See Foods can make you ill.

Her adverse reactions to eating foods containing salicylates had become very difficult for her because strawberries, cherries and spinach where some of her favorite foods! Plus she knew eating lots of fruits and vegetables are important to her health but salicylates - as she discovered – are in so many foods that it’s practically impossible to completely eliminate them, nor is it recommended!  (For a complete list of foods, see the chart “Common Foods Containing Salicylates”). Naturally Nina was feeling frustrated because the problem sure took the fun out of eating, both at home and at restaurants.  

Then, through a chance conversation, Nina began to share her symptoms and salicylate problem with Dr. Patrick. She explained that she experienced stomach pain, and depending on what and how much she ate, her skin may itch, swelling occurred at times in her throat prompting coughing spells for a few days and she felt tired and headachy.

Once Nina learned Dr. Patrick could treat her sensitivity to salicylates with just a few treatments, she was able to eat cherries, strawberries and a variety of vegetables again.

Today, life for Nina has become a bowl of cherries again, literally. She is delighted she can now eat her favorite foods with enjoyment instead of dread.

She was surprised to learn that Dr. Patrick’s approach did not make it necessary to desensitize her to eat food that contains salicylates - which could be a long and arduous process - just to the substance itself. 

Today, life for Nina has become a bowl of cherries again, literally. She is delighted she can now eat her favorite foods with enjoyment instead of dread.

For those who think this sounds familiar or want more information about salicylates, here’s a quick primer. 

What are salicylates?

Salicylate is a naturally occurring derivative of salicylate acid found in plants. The acid protects the plants from harmful bacteria, fungus, pests and other disease to which plants are susceptible, acting as a preservative and immunity booster. While salicylates are a benefit to plants, it’s unfortunately not the case for humans who have sensitivity to salicylates. 

Salicylates are made synthetically and can be found in preservatives, medications - such as aspirin, and perfumes. This may explain why a person with salicylate sensitivity may also have adverse effects that go beyond eating certain foods.

Common Foods Containing Salicylates

Foods differ in the amount of salicylates they contain, from trace amounts to very high concentrations. While fruits and vegetables consistently contain the most salicylates, other types of food categories also have amounts that may create adverse effects, such as coffee. 

This list is not meant to be exhaustive but to provide a picture of how prevalent exposure to salicylates can be.

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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Salicylate Sensitivity?

Nina experienced mostly respiratory symptoms after eating salicylates. But there are quite a few other symptoms that may appear that seems as if they have nothing to do with the digestive system. The following list is symptoms that have been found to occur in those who are salicylate sensitivities:

Of course if you experience these signs and symptoms after eating certain foods, it does not necessarily mean you have salicylate sensitivity but they may be an indicator that you are experiencing some other type of food sensitivity or intolerance. Learn More

How is Salicylate Sensitivity Diagnosed?

At the time of this writing, the medical establishment has no known lab to test for salicylate sensitivity directly. One method currently in use is ‘to rule in or out’ by exposing the patient under medical care to increasing doses of salicylate to observe the symptoms. 

When Nina looked into methods of treatment, she was quite certain she did not want to be any part of the traditional drug treatments for salicylate intolerance. If this procedure does not appeal to you either, Dr. Patrick’s approach can potentially spare you much pain for a much bigger gain.

How Do We Treat Salicylate Sensitivity?

Here at the Digestion Relief Center we use a very different method that can be both a time and money saver. Instead of desensitizing the patient to an exhaustive list of foods that contain salicylates, we simply desensitize you to the salicylate acid. In so doing, we eliminate the culprit and the cause for most people who are sensitive. For the ultra sensitive, specific desensitizations may be necessary. Dr. Patrick’s approach uses a combination of neurology, mechanical structure and biochemical processes to reprogram your body to no longer see salicylate as an invader ‘allergen’.  

If you have tried the elimination diet or other approaches to this problem that have not worked, please call our office at 530-899-8741 to schedule a consultation. The consultation provides you the opportunity to share your concerns and receive an initial test and exam. Through his preliminary testing, Dr. Patrick’s work can determine which foods you are reactive to regardless of what foods you are eating. 

If eating some of your favorite foods again is important, you owe it to yourself to see if our approach is right for you.  

Click here to see how Nina overcame salicylate sensitivity and now can eat cherries again!

Related Articles

The Weird Reason Some People are allergic to Fruits and Vegetables

What is a Salicylate Allergy?

Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS, has helped Chico, Redding and Northern Sacramento Valley residents by using a whole-body systems approach to health. He specializes in providing natural relief for food and environmental sensitivities, intolerances and digestive problems. For more information contact Dr. Patrick in his Chico California office at 530-899-8741 or visit

© 2018. Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS. All Rights Reserved

Digestion Relief Center 

2639 Forest Avenue, Suite 120 Chico, CA 95928


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