In 15 years of practice, I often have patients come to me with “unexplained illness” that conventional diagnostic tests, CT scans, MRI’s and Xrays do not seem to pick up. Conditions such as migraine headaches, autism, ADHD, chronic stomach or abdominal pain, IBS, chronic fatigue (CFIDS), fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivity, joint pain, asthma, eczema, insomnia, anxiety and many others, often have no known etiology. Conventional treatment attempts to help stop the symptoms with no real understanding of the true root cause. However, they may be hope for those suffering from these type of illnesses. Research conducted by Robert Gardner, PhD back in the 1980’s showed that many of these vague or poorly understood symptoms tended to be triggered by a group of compounds called “phenolics”. Phenolic is a chemistry term that refers to the chemical structure of the molecule. All phenolic compounds have a similar chemical backbone, with differing side chains. Phenolic compounds naturally occur in all foods and may also be found in pollens, chemicals and other non-food substances. They are tiny molecules that have the ability to stimulate the immune system, much like allergens such as dust mite or mold spores. While environmental allergens tend to cause runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing, food phenolics tend to cause delayed reactions, which can affect any tissue in the body. My clinical observation is that these reactions can occur hours to days after ingesting the compounds, unlike anaphylactic allergies which occur with minutes. Research by Dr. Joseph McGovern found that exposure to certain phenolic compounds lead to toxic damage to the immune system. He was also one of the first people to report on foodborne phenolics causing hyperactivity in children. It is unclear why these naturally occurring compounds cause immune dysfunction. I have successfully treated thousands of patients with sublingual desensitization immunotherapy to these phenolic compounds, so that they no longer become immune triggers. If you have been suffering from chronic health problems and are looking for solutions, getting evaluated for phenolic sensitivity may be the next step toward better health.