Artificial Colors And Salicylates And The Feingold Diet



Are you or your kids sensitive to artificial colors and flavors?  Maybe you’re problem-solving rashes or highly, highly energetic kids?  Have you tried the Feingold diet and it’s helped you or someone you love?  These are linked, and oftentimes people can decrease their sensitivity to some of these foods or substances by supplementing a few nutrients that our bodies use to excrete these chemicals. 



More information


The Feingold diet limits/eliminates a wide range of artificial colors and flavors, including some that are fairly hidden (joining the Feingold organization gets you a list of prepared foods that are Feingold compliant, they’ve done the legwork to find a lot of hidden stuff), and at the beginning reduces salicylates, a naturally occuring food chemical in many healthy foods like berries, raisins, many fruits and almonds (lots more besides that).


Identifying the issues as salicylates is tough because the problem isn’t just one food, it’s that food in combination with other foods consumed on the same day or in the same week–it’s a bucket reaction as the body becomes depleted of the nutrients needed to deal with these foods.  And a lot of kid-friendly foods like grapes or blueberries are high in salicylates. 


Here’s the actual Feingold site…


And another site that has a nice explanation as well….


Some people are also sensitive to amines, a type of food chemical that’s even trickier to identify because amines increase in things like aged meat vs fresh meat, long-simmered stock is high in amines (when the fresh ingredients may not have been).  It seems like there are fewer people sensitive to amines than to salicylates.  The Failsafe diet limits amines as well–it’s very restrictive, but for people sensitive to amines, it can alleviate symptoms and provide a stable starting point for improving health. 


Figuring out that you or someone you care about is sensitive to salicylates or amines is helpful, but it can significantly reduce your dietary options, including cutting out some foods that are quite healthy otherwise. 



Reducing your sensitivity to this stuff

But by supplementing the nutrients that our bodies use to get rid of salicylates and other chemicals that are excreted the same way, namely magnesium, B6 and molybdenum, over the course of a few months, you may be able to increase the amount of salicylates your body can tolerate.  Which is important–that chemical pathway deals with other chemicals in your body, endogenous chemicals (ones your body makes just doing normal stuff). 


Sulfates & sulfation (Feingold)


This page discusses some of the links between sulfation (that’s the pathway that this stuff is excreted by) and salicylates and amines and artificial colors/flavors. 


So… dosage for magnesium, B6 and molybdenum? 


Andy Cutler (a guy involved in amalgam illness due to the mercury, a chemist by training) says up to 1,000 mcg of supplemental molybdenum per day is safe (for adults).  Legumes are good source of molybdenum as well, if you want to combine food sources and supplements.


Magnesium–the amount that people need seems to vary.  Magnesium’s relatively non-toxic, if you take too much in the short-term, you’re likely to just induce diarrhea in your kiddo (but it can take 12-18 hours for the diarrhea to hit, so step up a bit a day at a time–it’s not nearly as fast as the diarrhea from vitamin C).  Some people may need extra calcium to balance the magnesium, that’s not typical but it comes up as an issue occasionally. 


I’m hoping people can add in what types of dosages of magnesium their kids need.  I can say that in my kids, if they’ve eaten a food they’re intolerant of, it will deplete their magnesium, so you may need more mag, as a band-aid, til you figure out foods you’re intolerant of and any other sources of inflammation.  I’d guess 100 mg is a reasonable starting dosage–my kids do fine/well on more, but I don’t know how typical they are.


Magnesium citrate and glycinate are both absorbed and used pretty well, glycinate is more expensive but some people react to it better than citrate.  Avoid mag oxide, it’ll cause diarrhea before most of it is absorbed. 


B6 — This is my guess, basically a placeholder til someone more experienced can jump in– maybe 5x the RDA?  Some kids do well on really high doses of B6 but others don’t (high doses can inhibit some other processes), I’d suggest a B complex so that you’ve got some extra of the other B vitamins since there are, in general, a lot of ways that the B vitamins work together doing various other things in the body.  Thorne makes very nice B vitamins that include real folate instead of folic acid, that’s important for a solid subset of the people who end up on this page.  P5P is the ‘active’ form of B6, and so may be more effective.


Further problem solving


So… if you seem to be having unusual difficulties adding in some nutritional supps, you may want to consider why you’re not absorbing or using the nutrients well.  If you’ve got a lot of digestive issues (undigested food, mucous, like that), then absorption may be the place to start, and looking at gut health and healing your gut may be helpful.  If that doesn’t seem to be the biggest problem, considering things like heavy metals which can reduce your body’s ability to use these nutrients (I’m thinking especially magnesium, not sure about the other two).  Some people have improved their sals tolerance by addressing thyroid issues.


The biochemistry


Sulfur amino acids (found in grains and animal protein, mostly) are broken down into sulfite (which is toxic), then the SUOX enzyme convert sulfites into sulfate (which is a detox pathway).  If SUOX gets overloaded, you can get symptoms of both sulfite toxicity and sulfate deficiency at the same time.  SUOX is dependent on both molybdenum (Mo) and B6.


Sulfate is what clears salicylates out of the body, as does glucuronidation.  The sals that aren’t properly cleared then can cause reactions, especially with inflammatory processes.  Things that help reduce inflammation are then likely to help reduce the severity of sals reactions.  Things like working on balancing the essential fatty acids by reducing omega 6’s (veggie oils and nuts) or increasing omega 3’s (fatty fish like salmon), rebalancing gut bacteria, etc.  Sals slow methylation (another detox pathway).


Some links

Salicylate/Amine/Histamine Sensitive Tribe

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