Do You Have Neurologic Intolerance to Phenolic Compounds?

Phenolic food compounds (aromatic food compounds) give color and flavor to food, while also preventing premature decomposition of food.

Phenolic food compounds (aromatic food compounds) give color and flavor to food, while also preventing premature decomposition of food. These compounds are naturally occurring in many foods and although found less commonly in clinical practice, can be the culprit for a multitude of symptoms. What makes phenolic compounds so difficult to self-assess is that they are found throughout a wide range of different foods. This is not merely as simple as finding out you are allergic or sensitive to eggs, so you take all the necessary precautions to avoid ingestion of eggs in your diet. For example, if someone had an allergy/sensitivity to the phenolic compound Apiol and consumed the following foods together in a short period of time, symptoms could result – beef, cheese, milk, oranges, peas, black pepper, soybeans, tomatoes, almonds, carrot, celery, lettuce, parsley, walnut, bay leaf, and lemon. Symptoms could include inability to lose weight, obesity, itching of the skin, chronic fatigue, elbow pain, etc. You can see where these food combinations could become problematic – chocolate milk, salad eaters (tomatoes, almonds/walnuts, carrots, celery, lettuce), cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato toppings, etc.

An 8-year-old male patient of mine came to the office accompanied by his parents with the following primary concerns – struggling to learn in school, showing signs of hyperactivity/ADHD, extreme anxiety, depression. After a thorough examination and case history, we found through muscle testing a neurologic intolerance to the phenolic compound Gallic Acid. This compound was roughly 90% of this child’s diet as he would stick to the same foods daily, including grapes, apples, cheese, and wheat products. By simply making changes to his diet the parents reported a 75% improvement at home and school within one week. Dr. Ber concluded that “Gallic Acid is found in some 70% of all foods, including food coloring agents and is, unquestionably, the most important of all phenolics. Neutralization of gallic acid is the basis of the Feingold Diet which eliminates salicylates. Instead of making a child’s life miserable utilizing a restrictive diet, neutralization of gallic acid is less traumatic. Frequently, parents often report a marked improvement in their child’s school performance and a normalization of hyperactivity. It neutralizes the craving for sweets that is prevalent in so many of these dyslexic children. Gallic acid has effects upon the muscular skeletal system (14 out of 18 arthritics), the lower back, the main contributor to sciatica, and chronic severe chest pain which is non-cardiac and seems to originate in the thoracic wall and is non-cardiac in origin.”

One of the more common findings in the office with correlations associated to migraine headaches are sensitivities to the phenolic compound Tyramine. Tyramine occurs most in beer, red wines, some cheese, bananas, red plums, figs, raisins, avocados, some beans, aubergine/eggplant, pickled herring, canned meats, salami, yoghurt, soup cubes, commercial gravies, chocolate and soy sauce.

This is why it is so important for practitioners to always address the whole person and get to the root cause of the problem(s).  Daily food intake can be the cause of physical, biochemical and emotional symptoms throughout the body. For a full list of phenolic food compounds we muscle test for to determine neurologic tolerance at the office, please see below. If you know someone who would benefit from this article, please share it.


Jane Thurnell-Read @ Life-Work Potential Ltd © 2003-2018

Abram Ber “Neutralization of Phenolic (Aromatic) Food Compounds In A Holistic General Practice” The Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry Volume 12, Number 4

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