Food, the struggle is real in my house, If my kids could just survive on air I think it would be fantastic! I spend my days and weeks constantly journaling their behavior and what they eat because sadly it seems like we cut one thing out and they begin to have issues with something new. We began going Gluten Free and Dairy Free last summer and it did help significantly, but I slowly learned my children have sensitivities to a lot more than just wheat and dairy. I began noticing every time my children’s behavior was extremely hyper and unfocused that one of three areas would turn bright red on their bodies, each child being different mind you! My son’s red flag was he had ONE EAR and the tips of his fingers would turn red, while my daughter was her fingertips and her toes, on occasion her ears! After speaking to tons of other mom warriors about what was causing this I was constantly told it was probably a Phenol Overload or Salicylate sensitivity/overload, which is common with kids who have severe ADHD symptoms like my children did.
What are the symptoms of Phenol/Salicylate Sensitivity?
People who eat large quantities of foods high in phenol or foods containing salicylates and/or additives may experience some of these negative side effects:
- waking in the night
- dark circles under the eyes
- laughing at inappropriate times
- self-stimulatory behavior
- red face/ears/toes
- head banging or other self-injury
- inappropriate laughter
- difficulty falling asleep at night
So when I realized my children had literally all of the symptoms of Phenol Overload I started to do some serious journaling and found like clockwork the behavior would always be bad after they would eat, and when I wrote down what they were eating I was shocked to see 90% of what they liked was high in Phenol. Months later we would do a food sensitivity test at our allergist and literally everything that was high in phenols came back that both children and myself has an issue with this. While I had battled this myself for years not knowing the things I loved the most were causing a lot of my brain fog and other issues over the years I just never put two and two together until I started treating my kids for it! For example, the sangria I loved to drink, not only did it give me a major headache every morning even if I drank one glass, but it would make my hands and feet bright red and feel like they were on FIRE, horrible dark circles but yet I never got the hyperactivity, just extreme brain fog (which I always blamed on the fact I was drinking wine…lol).
What foods are high in Phenol/Salicylates?
AVOIDING PHENOLS AND SALICYLATES IS SIMPLIFIED IF YOU REMEMBER THAT MOST OF THE TIME, ANYTHING THAT GIVES FOOD VIBRANT COLOR OR, IN THE CASE OF HERBS, A MORE STIMULATING TASTE WILL HAVE HIGHER LEVELS OF PHENOLS.
I also would suggest visiting this great food/product list as well! It even shows you the different cosmetics that have high phenols in it!
Of course like I said most of my children’s favorite food was all of these things, and while I would try to cut out most of these things throughout the day it became impossible to cut it out completely. We decided to try out a great enzyme to help my kids counteract the phenol sensitivity while we slowly began healing their gut issues, and I have to say it does work great when I remember to give it to them. They make a capsule form and a chewable form to make it easier for the child that doesn’t like to swallow pills. Click the picture above to read more about it and see if it something that might work for your family. The best way to really find out if your child is having phenol/salicylate sensitivity it to cut out all high phenol/ salicylate foods for at least 3-6 months, which honestly I feel like you will see a difference within a few days, I know I did! Sadly kids with ADHD, Autism and Leaky Gut have these issues and at times, it seems like everything and anything you feed them, even if it is healthy, is an issue. The big key is repairing and healing their gut, good probiotics, good digestive enzymes and making sure there are not issues with yeast and bacteria overgrowth as well!
I hope this post helped explain the world of Phenol/salicylate sensitivity and as always feel free to email or comment below with any questions you may have!