Halloween Can Be Very Scary — If Your Child Has Allergies or Hypersensitivities!

Halloween can be scary indeed — particularly the day after as attested to by every teacher I’ve ever met.  You’ve heard the stories — or perhaps you’ve even happy_jack_o_lanternwitnessed them personally.  Why is it most young children behave so badly:  Allergies/hypersensitivities to the chemicals called “salicylates” that permeate the candy they’ve been given, along with a whole lot of sugar.  Both salicylates which include food coloring (especially yellow dye #5 and #6) and flavorings spike a chemical in the brain called “glutamate”.

Here’s an excellent peer-reviewed journal article entitled Sensitivity to food additives, vaso-active amines and salicylates: a review of the evidence

Here’s some information from http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/salicylates:

What are salicylates?

Salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants – they’re a kind of natural pesticide – to protect the plants against insects and diseases. Salicylates are just one group of the hundreds of compounds in foods that can have varying effects on us, depending on how much we eat and how sensitive we are.

     What kinds of foods/products are they found in?

Salicylates are found in foods from plants: most fruit, some vegetables, herbs, spices, tea and flavour additives. For example, citrus fruit, berries, tomato sauce and mint flavouring are naturally high in salicylates and so are processed foods with those flavours.

Salicylates are also found in medications, fragrances, industrial chemicals, plastics and some pesticides, and can cause adverse effects when inhaled as well as eaten.

     What are some of the symptoms of salicylate sensitivity?

  • headaches or migraines
  • itchy skin rashes such as hives (urticaria), eczema and others
  • irritable bowel symptoms – reflux in babies or adults, nausea, vomiting, stomach bloating and discomfort, wind, diarrhoea and/or constipation
  • bedwetting, cystitis
  • asthma, stuffy or runny nose, nasal polyps, frequent throat clearing,
  • behaviour problems such as irritability, restlessness, inattention, oppositional defiance, symptoms of ADHD
  • sleep disturbance – difficulty falling asleep, night terrors, frequent night waking, sleep apnoea
  • anxiety, depression, panic attacks
  • rapid heart beat and arrythmias
  • tinnitus, hyperacusis, hearing loss (hyperacusis is a sensitivity to noises)
  • joint pain, arthritis, and more ….

As you can see from the last list, uncorrected salicylate sensitivity can result in many profound changes, and can continue into adulthood with many serious effects long-term.

The Feingold Diet Program has a great deal of information on this problem, especially in relationship to ADHD.  For more information, go to their website – www.feingold.org.  A good piece of information to download is their “Blue Book”.

There is also a connection between salicylate sensitivity and sulphite sensitivity, as noted on this youtube channel.

One of the worst salicylate food colorings are yellow dye #5, also known as tartrazine, which is known to produce symptoms of ADHD and other bad effects.

So, if your child gets any symptoms noted above, even after Halloween, you should bring them in and have them checked for salicylate or sulphite sensitivity.

PS.  For more information on food colorings and other food chemicals, this Slate article entitled “Food Doesn’t Have to Wear Makeup” is worth a read.

The Spring Season Was Horrific for Many!

Sneezing Girl

iStock Photo

The spring season of 2015 was certainly, to my recollection, the worst sinusitis and rhinitis (nose dripping) season ever!

I saw more people, especially children, with runny noses and sinus infections than I can ever recall in any season.

Weather.com has an article which explains the “perfect storm” of environmental conditions that preceded the season.

I noted especially those sensitive to grasses — you know, kids who play in the occasional parks and on various team sports, and people who like to hike in nature — were affected the most.
Of course, not everyone actually developed problems. What was the difference, and how can you avoid the next season’s problems?


First, the symptoms we ascribe to seasonal allergies are actually the result of too much histamine in the body for starters, as a rule.

Histamine is a natural chemical produced, mostly, by the stomach — which stimulates the digestive process — and secondarily by cells that lie under the skin and in the mucus membranes of the sinus and nasal cavities, as well as the lining of the gut, called “B cells” that turn into “mast cells” when there is damage. These mast cells liberate histamine in response to injury.In the stomach, gut histamine is released to protect the gut from damage.There is also a small amount of histamine used by part of the nervous system., particularly the part of the brain that relates to staying awake (which is an ANTI-histamine makes one sleepy).  Here’s a summary of what histamine does normally in the body.

There is an excellent article on “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance” by Laura Maintz and Natalija Novak in the 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that describes the problem of “histamine intolerance” and it’s relationship to certain foods we consume on a regular basis. It identifies a chemical that regulates histamine in the body called “DAO” — diamine oxidase — and secondly another called “histamine N-methyltransferase” which neutralize histamine, and when there is a lack of these chemicals, we end up with the following symptoms (1 or more):

“The ingestion of histamine-rich food or of alcohol or drugs that release histamine or block DAO may provoke diarrhea, headache, rhinoconjunctival symptoms, asthma, hypotension, arrhythmia, urticaria (swelling), pruritus (itching), flushing, and other conditions in patients with histamine intolerance. “

You can find a good list of histamine-rich foods, histamine-inducing foods/drugs, or DAO-blocking foods here.”

As one consumes more of these substances, it uses up the DAO leaving a deficit. Additionally, the two organs that normally help break down histamine are the liver and the spleen, and they get overloaded so the histamine has to be ported to a “secondary emunctory (outlet)”, which is usually the skin or the nasal/sinus areas.

Once you’ve loaded up on histamine foods, over used your DAO, you’re ready for the left hook:  environmental activation by inhaling pollens and the like, which triggers off the release of histamine and all the yukky symptoms that go with it.

So, what’s the best thing to do to prevent the next “seasonal allergy” response?  Well, one thing is to limit high histamine foods.  To re-regulate the histamine in the gut, porcine DAO is available.  Usually I find a capsule with every meal for a week restores regulation in the gut.  We use a product called HistDAO from Xymogen.

Secondly, there are numerous nutritional supplements that will help prevent, one of which is vitamin B5 — pantothenic acid.  Additionally, vitamin C will reduce histamine levels in the body.  Quercetin, a flavinoid which is associated with Vitamin C is also a great antihistamine.  Stinging Nettle is also an excellent anti-histamine.

The Body Ecology diet also recommends probiotics which have Bifidobacterium infantis and B. longum.

The most important thing I recommend to you is make sure you have been desensitized to environmental allergens through NAET.  Also, many foods cross-react with pollens of various kinds, so making sure you have no food sensitivities is important as well.  But it’s best done BEFORE the season begins, rather than waiting until you’re in the middle of it and having all kinds of symptoms!

For more information on the subject of histamine and histamine intolerance, we recommend you to this blog: http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/11/14/histamine-intolerance-update/