Food Allergies Symptoms and Phenol Sensitivity How They Can Affect Children

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Food Allergies Symptoms and Phenol Sensitivity How They Can Affect Children

Phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are organic chemicals that are naturally occurring in some foods and are also associated with food additives, so can lead to food allergies as well. Phenols are found in other household products as well, forming the basis for drugs (such as aspirin), nylon, detergents, weed killers, and epoxy resins.

Dr. Ben Feingold is credited with discovering that phenols can have an adverse effect on some children’s behavior. Another problem with it is that it is often associated with autism. Some of the symptoms of this sensitivity include:

* Hyperactivity
* Dark circles under the eyes
* Unexplained rashes and/or hives
* Night waking
* Inappropriate laughter
* Headaches
* Dyslexia
* Tics or seizures

Parents who are concerned about their children’s exposure to phenols usually focus on diet to eliminate such exposure. But phenols are also found in a lot of cleaning products and other materials, as noted above. So some parents decide to stop using chemical cleaners, pesticides, weed killers, and so forth around the home, too.

For children with this affliction, the following foods are generally avoided.

- Cocoa
- Almonds
- Peanuts
- Oranges and tangerines
- Apples
- Berries of all sorts, including cherries
- Cucumbers
- Red grapes (green grapes may be eaten in moderation)
- Tomatoes
- Plums
- Prunes
- Raisins
- Tea

Phenol-sensitive individuals also avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Even “natural” flavors are avoided, because so many substances can be listed under that term.

Why Are Some Children Phenol Sensitive?

Like allergies, sensitivities to substances are an immune system issue. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what causes a child to develop this type of sensitivity, just as it’s often hard to pin down what causes different allergies. Phenol sensitivity is an immune response, creating inflammation and the above-noted symptoms. A lack of a key enzyme – or a lack of the body chemical needed to synthesize the enzyme – may play a role in this sensitivity as well.

How Is It Treated?

Phenol sensitivity is often treated by dietary changes, as noted above. The problem, though, is that the above list (and it is only a partial list) has many foods that are very healthy. Tomatoes, red grapes, and berries, for example, contain important nutrients and antioxidants. So does tea.

Therefore, some sensitive individuals may decide to undergo a treatment that involves desensitization so that they can resume eating the healthy foods that contain phenols.

Enzymatic therapy has proven helpful in some cases. As noted above, a lack of certain enzymes may play a role in sensitivity to phenols. Supplementing with these enzymes may help, but the tricky thing is that a sensitive person may actually be allergic to the enzyme itself. Thus, some people choose to combine enzyme therapy with desensitization.

Still other avenues of treatment include addressing the underlying conditions that may be present in the phenol-sensitive child. Allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism have been associated with this type of sensitivity, and treating one or some of these often brings relief to the other conditions.

We hope that Food Allergies Symptoms and Phenol Sensitivity How They Can Affect Children helps you to better understand the potential dangers of these organic chemicals.