our journey of hope and healing through autism

Science Saturday: Gut Bacteria and Phenol Production

If your child had phenol sensitivity or is benefiting from the Feingold Diet (a diet that often helps reduce ADHD symptoms), you might want to know more about the role gut bacteria plays in phenol levels in the body.

We have  been using the Feingold diet and managing phenol sensitivity for years.  Despite our best efforts (regular Epsom Salt baths, molybdenum, Phenol enzymes, etc ), E. is quite sensitive to phenols.  Low and behold, when E. was on a course of antivirals + antifungals, his phenol sensitivity improved.  I found that fascinating, and it hints that there are viruses or fungi that also produce phenols.

It came to my attention recently that one aspect of a phenol sensitivity is how much phenol is produced by gut bacteria.  What?  Gut bacteria produce phenols?  Yup!  It turns out there’s been quite a number of studies that explore the role of gut bacteria and phenol production.  Scientist have determined some of the bacteria that produce phenols, and under what conditions, etc.

Of gut bacteria  that produce phenols, it’s thought that perhaps phenols are formed from converting the tyrosine in meat  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/826152

-Reducing meat consumption doesn’t appear to make that much of a difference in which bacterial strains are found in the gut, as the body uses the gut to break down worn out cells, and that creates an sufficient food for protein fermenting bacteria.  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2180/13/6  (I found this really gross when I thought about it!)

In this paper, many of the strains of bacteria that produce phenols have been listed, The pH and the availability of carbs influences how these bacteria  “The significance of pH and carbohydrate availability with respect to aromatic amino acid metabolism was shown in batch culture fermentation studies, where net production of phenolic compounds by mixed populations of intestinal bacteria was reduced by approximately 33% during growth at pH 5.5 compared to pH 6.8, and by 60% in the presence of a fermentable carbohydrate. Experiments with 16 species of intestinal bacteria belonging to six different genera showed that environmental factors such as low pH and high carbohydrate availability markedly reduced dissimilatory aromatic amino acid metabolism in some organisms, but stimulated this process in others.”

I’d noticed that when E. does consume high phenol foods, the skin on his cheeks gets a bumpy rash.  I found it interesting that they have observed a similar phenomena in mice:  Phenol production by gut bacteria affects the skin in hairless mice.  http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08910600802688910?journalCode=mdi

An increase in phenol production, which was produced by feeding the gut bacteria specific carbs-polydextrose (a soluble fiber)  and galacto-oligosaccharides(found in beans) caused skin cell changes.  http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/47137084/gut-bacteria-producing-phenols-disturb-keratinocyte-differentiation-human-skin

Overall, I was impressed by the amount of info in the scientific literature that suggests that phenol sensitivity can be improved by improving gut flora.  Seems worth a try, hey?




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This entry was posted on June 15, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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