So you’ve cleaned up your diet, removed refined sugar, gluten, refined oils, processed foods, and junk food? You’ve even given up many high histamine foods. Yet, you are still experiencing symptoms, such as fatigue, joint and muscle pain, digestive issues, itching, skin problems, anxiety, depression, and so on. Oxalates and salicylates may be the culprit. They can both trigger histamine intolerance and lead to an array of unwanted symptoms. Let’s talk about oxalates and salicylates and what you can do about them.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about histamine, oxalates, and salicylates. You will learn about the symptoms of histamine, oxalate, and salicylates intolerance. You will get familiar with the list of high-histamine, high-oxalate, and high-salicylate foods. You will understand the connection between histamine, oxalate, and salicylate intolerance and your gut health. Finally, I will share my top recommendations to improve your health naturally.
What Is Histamine Intolerance
You are probably familiar with histamine from anti-histamine medications for allergies. Because of this anti-histamine context, many people think of histamine as a bad thing. Despite its bad rap, histamine is actually very important.
Histamine is a chemical responsible for a multitude of functions in your body, including getting rid of allergens as a part of your immune response, communicating with your brain, and triggering stomach acid release to aid digestion. While histamine is essential for your health, too much histamine can create a lot of problems. Histamine intolerance means that you have too much histamine which can lead to various health issues.
As a natural part of your immune response, your body releases enzymes to break down histamine build-up. Under normal circumstances, this shouldn’t present an issue. However, if you have too much histamine due to dietary, lifestyle, environmental, or certain health factors, your body won’t be able to keep up and won’t be able to break down the excess histamine properly. Histamine intolerance affects your entire body, including your gut, brain, lungs, cardiovascular system, and hormonal health. Histamine intolerance can manifest in a variety of ways, including hormonal issues, headaches, skin problems, digestive issues, sleep disturbances, bladder problems, anxiety, fast heart rate, seasonal allergies, and more (1).
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
Histamine intolerance may present itself in a variety of ways. Symptoms of histamine intolerance can often mimic other health issues making it easy to misdiagnose or miss.
Symptoms of histamine intolerance include:
- Migraines and headaches
- Eczema, psoriasis, and other skin issues
- Crawling sensations on your skin or scalp
- Congestion or runny nose
- Low blood pressure
- High blood pressure
- Tachycardia or racing heart
- Asthma attacks
- Abnormal menstrual cycle and menstrual issues
Sources of Histamine
If you are dealing with histamine intolerance, the most important part of your recovery process is to avoid high-histamine foods.
High-histamine foods include:
- Dried fruits
- Certain spices (eg. cloves, curry powder, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, seasoning packets)
- Fermented foods
- Canned and cured meats
- Hard cheese
Natural treatment of histamine intolerance involves carefully following an anti-histamine diet and avoiding high-histamine foods. But what if it’s not enough and you are still experiencing symptoms? It may mean that you are also dealing with oxalate and/or salicylate sensitivity or intolerance. High-oxalate and high-salicylate foods can trigger similar symptoms and can trigger histamine intolerance in your body. Let’s learn more about oxalates and salicylates and what to do about them.
What Are Oxalates
Oxalates are naturally occurring molecules that are found in plants and humans. Because oxalates help to get plants to dispose of extra calcium, many plant foods are high in oxalates. For some people, this can cause a problem. Oxalates foods travel through your digestive tract, bind with calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other extra build-ups of minerals in your intestines then leave your body through stool or urine.
Too much oxalate can lead to oxalate intolerance and consequent health problems. One of the most common issues that too much oxalate can lead to is kidney stones. However, it can lead to an array of other issues. In a healthy body, Oxalobacter formigenes and Lactobacillus are there to serve as oxalate-degrading bacteria. But if you have a compromised gut flora due to a low-nutrient diet, nutrient deficiencies, antibiotic-use, gene mutations, liver or kidney problems, or chronic stress, your body will have a difficult time eliminating oxalates properly. If you are eating too many high-oxalate foods, it can lead to a build-up of oxalates followed by a list of symptoms and health consequences (2 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
Symptoms of Excess Oxalates
Excess oxalates and your body’s inability to handle it can result in poor mineral absorption, inflammation, a compromised immune system, oxidative stress, poor mitochondrial function, cellular and tissue damage, and histamine release. This can result in an array of symptoms and health issues (8).
Symptoms of excess oxalates may include:
- Chronic pain
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Muscle pain and burning
- Interstitial cystitis
- Oxalate arthropathy
- Kidney stones
- Urinary pain and bladder/urethral irritation
- Headaches and migraines
- Itchy skin, rashes, and skin issues
- Digestive issues
- Insomnia and sleep troubles
- Bone loss and teeth weakening
- Mineral deficiencies
Sources of Oxalates
There are two kinds of oxalates your body may encounter: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous oxalates come from within. Your body’s capability to create oxalates depends on your genetics and nutritional deficiencies. Deficiencies in vitamin B1 and B6 can increase oxalate production making it very important that you reduce your risk of vitamin B deficiencies.
Exogenous oxalates come from food that you eat and from your gut microbes. If you are experiencing symptoms of oxalate intolerance, it is important that you remove high-oxalate foods from your diet. Oxalates are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, but not all of them are equally high in them (8).
High-oxalate foods include:
- Purple grapes
- Swiss chards
- Sweet potatoes
- Soy products
- Wheat germ
- Bran flakes
What Are Salicylates
Salicylates are a group of chemicals. They are derived from salicylic acid. In natural forms, they are found in plant foods. They can also be found in cosmetic products, aspirin, toothpaste, medications, and food preservatives, usually in synthetic forms. They act as natural pesticides defending plants. In their natural forms, they are very important as they help to protect your body from fungus, insects, and other harmful elements.
High-salicylate foods and products don’t cause a problem for everyone, but in some, they can lead to salicylate intolerance and consequent symptoms and health issues. In a healthy body, your liver helps to detoxify excess salicylates, however, sluggish liver function may increase your risk of salicylate intolerance. Salicylates work similarly to oxalates. If your body reaches a high salicylate load and your body is unable to break all the excess salicylates down. Excess salicylates can also lead to an overproduction of leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are inflammatory mediators that can increase your risk of a variety of health issues, including asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. This can also lead to the inhibition of cyclooxygenase production. Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that regulates leukotrienes production. This vicious cycle caused by salicylates can lead to an array of symptoms (9, 10, 11).
Symptoms of Excess Salicylates
Excess salicylates work very similarly in your body as excess oxalates. They can lead to inflammation, a compromised immune system, oxidative stress, poor mitochondrial function, cellular and tissue damage, and histamine release (more on that soon!). This can result in a list of symptoms and health issues (8).
Symptoms of excess salicylates may include:
- Sinus infections
- Stuffy nose
- Abdominal pain
- Hives and skin issues
- Tissue swelling
- Gallbladder problems
- Breast pain
- Yeast infections
- Blood sugar issues
- Racing pulse and heart palpitations
- Chronic sweating
- Muscle and joint pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Depression and anxiety
- Insomnia and poor sleep
Sources of Salicylates
Salicylates are found in plant foods, however, not all plant foods are high in salicylates. Some high-salicylate foods are also high in oxalates and/or histamine (8).
High-salicylate foods include:
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens
- Most herbs and spices
- Most other fruits
- Food preservatives
Other than fruits, many commercial cosmetics and body products, including skin exfoliators, facewash, acne products, perfumes, and toothpaste contain salicylic acid, which is high in salicylates. If you have salicylate intolerance, it is important that you pay attention to these products as well. Since commercial cosmetics are high in toxins and promote histamine intolerance, even if salicylates are less of an issue for your body, I recommend that you remove all conventional body and beauty products, and replace them with organic, natural, and home-made alternatives.
Moreover, certain medications, including aspirin and over-the-counter drugs for digestion like Pepto-Bismol are high in salicylates. I recommend that you rely on safer natural support strategies to reduce your symptoms. Working with a functional medicine practitioner, like myself, can help you navigate this arena, uncover the root causes of your symptoms, and help safe and natural options to support your health and well-being.
Oxalate, Salicylate, and Histamine Intolerance
As you may notice, many symptoms of histamine intolerance overlap with symptoms of oxalate and/or salicylate intolerance. Certain high-histamine foods, such as spinach, are also high in oxalates and salicylates, but not all high-histamine, high-oxalate, and high-salicylate foods overlap. While many people notice improvements in their histamine intolerance symptoms after removing high-histamine foods, those with oxalate and salicylate intolerance also have to pay attention to high-oxalate and high-salicylate foods. But what is the connection between histamine, oxalates, and salicylates? It’s your gut! Let’s talk about it.
Gut health is critical for your overall health and well-being. It also plays a critical role in histamine intolerance. Leaky gut syndrome, gut infections, and nutrient deficiencies are some of the major causes of histamine intolerance. Moreover, histamine intolerance often manifests with gut health symptoms.
If you have a healthy gut, it will resist the absorption of oxalates and salicylates. However, if you are dealing with leaky gut syndrome and gut microbiome imbalance, it will be difficult. While a healthy gut microbiome has plenty of Oxalobacter formigenes to take care of excess oxalates, antibiotic use, a poor diet, and poor lifestyle choices can disrupt the healthy balance of your gut microbiome causing gut dysbiosis. If your body doesn’t have enough Oxalobacter formigenes, but has too many bad gut microbes, it won’t be able to get rid of excess oxalates.
Poor gut health may also result in poor digestion and inadequate bile flow. Bile is essential for fat absorption. In a healthy gut, oxalates bind with calcium forming calcium oxalate and eventually get released through bowel movements. However, due to poor bile formation and too much fat, calcium will bind to fat instead and your body will end up absorbing too many oxalates. Once oxalates are absorbed, there are two options. They either need to be removed with the help of your kidneys or your body needs to store them. The problem is that oxalates can bind to certain minerals, including magnesium, iron, copper, potassium, and calcium, and influence your metabolism, mitochondrial function, and inflammation levels.
Furthermore, yeast and mold can also create oxalates. An overgrowth of yeast and mold can lead to high oxalate as well. Mold and yeast can, however, also trigger histamine intolerance and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). It can also increase inflammation in the body, lead to poor gut health, and cause leaky gut syndrome. Inflammation and gut issues can further feed your body’s inability to take care of access histamines, oxalates, and salicylates.
Salicylate intolerance develops a very similar way to oxalate intolerance. Poor gut health may decrease your body’s ability to take care of excess salicylates. Poor liver function may inhibit the removal of salicylate buildup. Salicylate buildup, however, can trigger histamine inflammation, triggering further gut health issues, leaky gut syndrome, and histamine intolerance.
Leaky gut syndrome and gut health issues can lead to histamine intolerance, oxalate intolerance, and salicylate intolerance. On the other hand, histamine, oxalate, and salicylate buildup all lead to further inflammation, gut health issues, and leaky gut. As you can see, this can cause a never-ending vicious cycle, and it is important that you address all three issues to improve your health (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11).
Solutions for Oxalate, Salicylate, and Histamine Intolerance
If you have histamine intolerance, dealing with symptoms of oxalate and salicylate build-up, and want to improve your health naturally, I have some simple natural solutions for you. This is what I recommend to my patients with histamine intolerance, oxalate intolerance, and salicylate intolerance.
Follow a Low-Histamine Diet
To improve histamine intolerance, I recommend that you eat an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, and low-histamine diet. I recommend that you eliminate histamine foods for one to three months, then slowly re-introduce them one by one following The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan. Along with dietary changes, it’s important that you eliminate toxic personal care and cleaning products as well and instead use organic, natural, or homemade products.
The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan is a simple yet refined system, so it is critical that you understand and follow each step properly. To understand each step and guide your recovery, I recommend that you read my book, The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan: Getting to the Root of Migraines, Eczema, Vertigo, Allergies and More where I explain everything about histamine intolerance and each phase of the plan in detail and share delicious low-histamine recipes to nourish your body and support your health. Pick up a copy, today to learn more about the plan and my recommendations.
Follow a Low-Oxalate Diet
If you suspect that oxalates may be one of the culprits behind your symptoms, removing high-oxalate foods is very important. However, it is critical that you decrease your oxalate intake gradually. Removing all high-oxalate foods and lowering your intake too suddenly can lead to something called ‘dumping’, which means that oxalates are exciting your body too quickly. ‘Dumping’ can lead to increased symptoms. Lower your high-oxalate food intake slowly until you eliminate them. Once you’ve removed high-oxalate foods from your diet, stay on a low-oxalate plan for 2 to 3 weeks. Pay attention to your symptoms and see if you notice any reduction of symptoms or notice your symptoms disappearing.
After this eliminating phase, you may try to reintroduce high-oxalate foods into your diet, similar to the reintroduction phase in my The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan. If you notice that your symptoms have reduced or disappeared during the elimination phase but are returning during reintroduction, it means that oxalates are a problem for you, and you need to remove high-oxalate foods.
Follow a Low-Salicylate Diet
If you suspect that salicylates may be one of the causes of your symptoms, removing high-oxalate foods is very important. Unlike oxalates, salicylates don’t cause ‘dumping’ and you can remove high-salicylate foods right away. Stay on a low-salicylate meal plan for 2 to 3 weeks and watch your symptoms. If salicylates are a problem for you, you should notice your symptoms decrease or disappear.
After this eliminating phase, you may try to reintroduce high-salicylate foods into your diet, similar to the reintroduction phase in my The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan. If you notice that your symptoms have reduced or disappeared during the elimination phase but are returning during reintroduction, it means that salicylates are a problem for you, and you need to remove high-oxalate foods. Along with these dietary changes, it’s important that you eliminate toxic personal care products with salicylic acid as well and instead use organic, natural, or homemade products.
Support Your Liver
Your liver is critical for supporting the elimination of excess histamine, oxalates, and salicylates. This is why I recommend Optimal Reset Liver Love. This supplement is a powerful blend of botanical and mushroom extracts and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), a derivative of the amino acid cysteine. It supports healthy liver function, allows optimal estrogen detoxification, and supports your hormonal health naturally.
Support Your Gut
Since histamine intolerance, oxalate intolerance, and salicylate intolerance are all connected to your gut health, microbiome imbalance, and leaky gut syndrome, supporting your gut is essential for your recovery and well-being. I recommend my Low Histamine Ultimate Gut Support Kit, which includes a list of gut-supporting supplements including Microbe Synergy Complete for a healthy intestinal terrain, Probiota HistaminXhttps://shop-dr-becky-campbell.myshopify.com/collections/products-for-everyone/products/probiota-histaminx-new for histamine friendly probiotic support, Optimal Reset Ultimate Gut Support for your intestinal lining, Optimal Reset Digest Care for healthy digestion with the help of digestive enzymes and betaine HCI, Ultimate Reset Immune Gut Support for microbial diversity and tight junction (gut lining) support and Lauricidin® for your digestive tract and immunity, and a Low Carb/Low Histamine ebook with gut-healthy recipes.
Reduce Histamine Intolerance
To improve histamine intolerance, I also recommend HistoRelief, a synergistic blend of nutrients that provides natural support to balance your immune response. This supplement includes Tinofend®, a patented and clinically researched extract derived from the plant Tinospora cordifolia, which is used for its powerful ability to support immune regulation and immune response. It also features quercetin, nettle leaf, vitamin C, and bicarbonate salts. Quercetin is a fantastic bioflavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that naturally inhibits histamine release.
Histamine intolerance, oxalate intolerance, and salicylate intolerance have several common symptoms. They are also connected as they may all be all triggered by an unhealthy gut and lead to one another. To regain your health, it is important that you are addressing all three issues at the same time. Follow my tips to repair your body, improve your health, and reclaim your life.
If you are dealing with symptoms of histamine intolerance, oxalate intolerance, or salicylate intolerance, I invite you to schedule a consultation with us. We can help to identify the root cause of your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan to repair your body and regain your health and well-being. Schedule your consultation here.
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