You can pretty much be sensitive to anything, but in this section I will try to put some info for you on the various known food groups that can cause problems.
Nightshades or Solanaceae
I first came across this type of food sensitivity in relation to arthritis pain and it does indeed seem to make joint pain worse. They contain alkaloids, saponins and lectins which, for some people, especially those with leaky gut and/or autoimmune disease, can wreak havoc.
Main symptoms tend to centre around joint and muscle pain, digestive problems, headaches and mood issues, especially erratic swings and depression. Insomnia and poor healing have also been linked.
- Potatoes (not sweet ones)
- Peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers, jalapeno, cayenne pepper, paprika, pimento etc, but not black, pink or white peppercorns.)
- Goji berry
- Tamarillos and Tomatillos
- Ashwaganda (a herb)
For more information, see the round-up of articles on Nightshade Allergy on FoodsMatter:
By rights, this should really be termed histamine excess as that’s what it actually is. I have come across this more and more recently. In many, it is caused by not having enough of the required enzymes like DAO (diamine oxidase) to break histamine down in the body, but it can be a lot more complex than that.
I have written a Histamine factsheet for you which will take you through what HIT is, how to test and I’ve given treatment protocols for you too.
You can test for histamine blood levels and DAO enzyme levels if you need to here.
Histamine testing is far from perfect yet but we can at least see what level of histamine you have in your system and if you have enough of the DAO enzyme needed to break it down.
Some people have more of a problem than others absorbing fructose from fruit/fruit juice. It can cause lots of bloating and gut symptoms and is linked to gut pain/IBS, especially in children. It is linked to, but not necessarily the same as, FODMAP issues.
The main fruits involved are generally:
High fructose corn syrup
Although the list is a lot longer than that. You can read a great Fructose Intolerance and FODMAP Primer here, which gives the longer list too.
You can test it nowadays using a hydrogen breath test. Note that, as Janice says in her primer above, it is important that tests do not give too much fructose as everyone would then have a problem with digesting it! This test I have linked to gives 25mg fructose, as she suggests.
MSG/Monosodium Glutamate Intolerance
Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is a good website that will help explain the issue and give you all the sneaky names used for MSG on labels.
The MSG Truth website is also a good resource, and they have a useful facebook group too where you can ask questions.
For some interesting articles, put ‘MSG’ or the whole words into the search box at www.foodsmatter.com and several research reports and articles will come up.
Maybe a bit less well-known than some other forms of sensitivity, some people do well on a low oxalate diet. In short, oxalates appear in a lot of foods and some people have a sort of toxicity reaction to them.
I am no expert on this one so refer you to some excellent sources for reference.
GPL has a good page on oxalate and oxalate testing. They do an OAT (Organic Acids Test) which I have done for several people. You can get that on the Functional Tests section of the shop here. And I can get TDL to do a 24 hour urinary oxalate test, which you can find on the Allergy Tests section here.
Here, too, is Loving Your Guts’ list of possible related conditions:
- Kidney stones
- Urinary pain
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- Vulvodynia/genital pain
- Thyroid disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Join Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Chronic Candida
Salicylates can be found in almost every food and it can be very difficult to follow a salicylate free diet.
In fact, there is no real test for this except seeing if a person reacts to an aspirin tablet, which is pure salicylate – or white willow herb I believe is high salicylate too – we used to give it as an aspirin alternative. Obviously manage testing like this with your chosen health practitioner, but essentially if you react to that, you are likely to be salicylate-sensitive. If not, it could be other things going on.
Dr Joneja, an allergy specialist, has the same way of detecting as she explains in a Q&A response she gave recently about Salicylate Intolerance.
Other resources you might find useful (thank you Facebook Group people who provided these for us!):
And this book was recoommended to me as a good one:
Sulphur sensitivity can often be because the person has a genetic SNP on the sulphur/sulphite converting enzyme, CBS and sulphite oxidase. It is worse if you also have issues with COMT and MTHFR methylation, which will all compound each other.
It’s the build up of sulphur that causes the issue in most cases. It’s not something I’ve come across very often – although it does mimic histamine reactions, so maybe I have!
Heavy metals are also linked to causing it. And I have come across where klebsiella bacteria in the large or small intestine causes excess sulphur as hydrogen sulphide, so that might be worth checking out.
Margaret Moss is the guru on sulphur problems. Here are a couple of her articles that might help:
And here’s a useful rundown of possible causes/mimics of sulphur sensitivity.
So, an approach would be to improve methylation as much as you can and ensure you are eliminating sulphur from the body as effectively as you can with molybdenum, calcium d glucarate etc as well as avoiding the sulphur compounds in foods, meds, supps etc.