The No-Fenol File
Copyright June 14, 2002. by Kd. last updated 3.5.06

No-Fenol is a product developed by the company Houston Nutraceuticals. There are currently other 'phenol-targeting' enzyme products on the market as well as other products focusing on fiberous foods that may give the same benefits as No-Fenol. Phenol Assist by Kirkman and V-Gest by Enzymedica have also been reported by families to reduce the phenol problem in the same way. Althought this file was initiated and named for No-Fenol, the information and science applies equally to the entire category of phenol-targeting enzymes.

It is not currently known how or why these types of enzymes are helping to alleviate the problems associated with highly phenolic food. However, years of experience have demonstrated they can help at least some people with this issue. A description of how these products works is given first, followed by personal stories.

Using one of these products, many people are immediately able to re-introduce basic fruits and vegetables back into the diet. They may also helping with artificial colorings, flavorings, and other phenolic compounds. This may be a major help to those following the Feingold Program (particularly going from Stage 1 to Stage 2), or those who cannot implement the Feingold Diet because of circumstances.

How it Works, Why it Works

It is not clear at this time exactly why phenol-targeting enzymes help with phenolic compounds but may be that the enzymes are breaking down the food in such a way that the phenol structure is disrupted, or the food is processed in a way that does not involve the detox or PST pathway. Phenols are a very large group or compounds of all different types. Salicylates are a sub-group of phenols that are characterizes by having a carboxy group. It may be that the enzymes in these products are removing this carbohydrate group which allow the compound to be processed by the body with out causing distress.

Phenol-targeting enzymes may also be working in a similar way as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet(SCD). This diet is intended for those suffering from bowel dysfunctions such as:

  • Crohn's Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet has helped some with autism conditions where other restrictive diets have not. This diet is based on the idea that carbohydrates have the greatest influence on intestinal microbes, such as yeast and bacteria. The SCD eliminates the availability of carbohydrates in an effort to severely limiting the energy source of these microbes. When carbohydrates are not digested and absorbed in the small intestine, they remain as a source of food and fuel for microbes in the small and large intestines. They produce harmful acids and toxins that injure the gut and pollute the body. This starts the cycle where further damage to the gut only promotes further lack of digestion and nutrient absorption, more microbial growth, and an increase in toxins.

The SCD specifically selects carbohydrates that require minimal digestion and are quickly absorbed. This leaves virtually nothing for intestinal microbes to feed on. As the microbes die-off, the harmful by-products are reduced. The gut heals and overall digestion improves, and this strengthens the immune system and good health returns. The fiber (pheno) targeting enzymes appear to be accomplishing the same thing as the SCD does with food eliminations. And as with the SCD, those starting phenol-targeting enzyme products noticed a surge in energy and feeling awake.

Enzymes such as these phenol-targeting products are commonly given to animals specifically to counter this exact same situation of 'wasted' or unused food. This is a very standard, well-studied practice in animal science. The idea is to maximize the breakdown of the harder to digest fiber in feed. This provides more nutrition and energy from the food and reduces the amount of waste moving through the system. This waste can promote harmful pathogen, toxins, and excess ammonia.

The nitrogen is used by the body as amino acids and this greatly reduces ammonia in the system and given off by the animal. High ammonia is a problem with some people with autism, so phenol-targeting enzymes may be something to consider for this subgroup. It may have a connection with amines sensitivity, amino acid deficiencies and high ammonia levels seen in some subgroups.

With these enzymes, some people noted a decrease in total quantity of waste (not to be confused with actual constipation where the waste is just too condensed and building up). Once again, there are very detailed and practical reasons why these enzymes are producing the benefits seen, and help a wide range of conditions.

Besides reducing the microbe's food supply, these phenol-targeting enzymes act as a yeast fighter directly. Within days of its release, a number of parents said they saw a jump in yeast control when these enzymes was added. Yeast have outer coatings made or protein and cellulose. Proteases and cellulase can break this coating down directly. The phenol-targeting enzyme products contains a lot of cellulase which no doubt contributed to eliminating some yeast. Once the cell wall is broken, other yeast fighting herbs or medications can also get in and more effectively conquer the yeast. Someone on a yeast diet may find any products containing high amounts of cellulases and proteases to be a helpful addition. Enzymedica makes an anti-yeast product called Candidase which contains just cellulase and protease. Pure Essence makes a product called Candex that contains carbohydrate enzymes and cellulase. These products are a in a similar class of fiber-digesting enzymes. If one does not produce good results a different in on the same class might work fine.

It is interesting to note that a few people who did not see great improvement on other enzymes saw a burst of improvement and a happy child with the phenol-targeting enzymes. I suspect this is due to either phenolic foods or yeast. Yeast flare-ups have been responsible for masking the gains seen with enzymes in other cases, so that would be a consistent explanation.

At the moment, phenol-targeting enzymes seem most likely to benefit those with:

  • yeast
  • bowel disorders
  • phenol sensitivities (having difficulty digesting fruits and vegetables, highly phenolic foods, artificial chemicals and additives)
  • symptoms such as high ammonia

Those with slight phenol sensitivities may not need phenol-targeting enzymes, or may find best results with only a partial capsule at a time, one fourth, one third, or one half capsule.

For yeast, consider taking phenol-targeting enzymes alone or with a protease enzyme product between meals. Several parents are finding that phenol-targeting enzymes plus grapefruit seed extract is (GSE) or oil of oregano an excellent combination for fighting yeast. The cellulase enzymes can break down the outer protective yeast cell walls, and the GSE or oregano can work more efficiently. Also, the GSE is known to be a higher phenolic compounds and the phenol-targeting enzymes make this more tolerable in phenol sensitive people. Phenol-targeting enzymes may enhance the effectiveness of any anti-fungal used in control yeast in the same way.

More From Animal Science
(enzymes such as those in phenol-targeting enzymes are commonly used in animal science)

The article below also points out that these enzymes are used to improve a "sluggish" digestive system which favors adverse bacteria. Improving this promotes good intestinal flora, better nutrients absorbtion and all the other good stuff we are interested in.

The following is adapted from Enzymes for Poultry: Poultry Fact Sheet. Animals with one stomach such as poultry and humans digest starch with amylase, but cannot digest certain compounds known as NSP (non starch polysaccharides). Ruminants, animals with more than one stomach like cows, can digest these because that is the function of the other stomachs. The NSP is usually called roughage or fiber.

Non starch polysaccharides (NSP) have a structural function and are found in the plant cell wall. These are not digested by birds or humans and can interfere with digestion of other nutrients of the feed. Enzymes are used to break down the cell wall polysaccharides to lower weight molecules which can be absorbed by the bird (or human).

NSP of grains is usually associated with the hull and outer layers and are inversely proportional to energy levels. Corn-soybean diets have low NSP and are assumed to be highly digestible so there is no interest in using enzymes with these. Increasing the digestibility of various carbohydrate fractions of cereals and plant proteins has received the most attention. High fibre content of diet ingredients cause the bird to eat more, lowering feed conversions and returns (this means that poultry get more nutrition and energy from their food so it is cheaper). The fibre has an anti-nutritional component because of the NSP of cell walls. This factor limits feed intake, digestion of the food, and absorption of nutrients.

Current enzymes aid in the digestion of diets containing wheat, barley and rye where improvements are seen in dry matter digestibility and consistency of manure.

Enzymes work by:

  • Removal of the anti-nutritional factor
  • Increase digestibility of existing nutrients
  • Increased digestibility of NSP, formerly indigestible by the bird
  • Supplements the hosts' indigenous enzymes

With more undigested fiber in the intestines, you get:

  • Decrease in guts ability to stir contents
  • Prevents enzymes from getting to cell for breakdown
  • Decreases contact of nutrients with gut wall
  • Decreases absorption of nutrients into the blood
  • Undigested feed and water absorbed by NSP exits the animal
  • Poorer growth
  • Decreased feed conversion
  • Prolongs digesta passage rate limiting feed intake

Bacteria counts in the intestine is higher with wheat, barley, and rye diets than with corn based diets. The slower digesta passage rate prevents major dislocation of bacterial populations. The viscous digesta provides a stable environment for microbial growth
and proliferation allowing for the establishment of bacteria in the upper small intestine. High intestinal bacteria populations irritate and thicken the gut lining by damaging microvilli and decreasing nutrient absorption.

Broilers respond well to feed enzymes as their rate of feed intake is more than other poultry. This consumption of feed overwhelms the broilers ability to produce sufficient enzyme either from its own tissue or the micro flora in the gut. Feed enzymes used in wheat and barley diets improve energy availability, improve nitrogen retention, and significantly effect protein digestion( diets with enzymes require less crude protein). Enzyme supplementation has the potential to improve the nutritive value of feedstuffs.

Enzymes can be used to:

  • Improve nutrient utilization
  • Maintain performance on poorer quality diets
  • Decrease formulation costs
  • Widen range of raw materials
  • Overcome inconsistency and anti-nutritional factors of raw material
  • Decrease nutrient and water excretion

World Poultry 12:111,1996
Poultry Oct/Nov 1989
Poultry Sci 75:285-238
Shaver Focus: 24:2
Poultry Dig. April, 1996
Written by Alex Oderkirk, Poultry Specialist, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing, P.O. Box 550, Truro, NS, B2N 5E3

Personal Stories
The following are reports from parents using various phenol-targeting enzymes,
names were changed for the privacy of the family

From Debbie:
Chelating with ALA basically guarantees that my kids will have a yeast issue at the end of day two and on day three, which then takes one to two days to get rid of again. I use GSE (grapefruit seed extract), and I have to increase it during the round to the adult level of 15 drops three times per day for my #2 son, scaled for the other two kids, just to keep "even" with the yeast. I also give HNI enzymes, Peptizyde and Zyme Prime. At this dose of GSE, my #3 son does get a slight "acne whitehead" rash on his body, which is his typical "bad food" reaction, plus #2 does have some visual stims. So I know the enzymes do not completely help with the GSE, but the yeast control is worth it. I have been trying to find an acceptable compromise quantity of GSE/enzyme for this situation.

Several months ago, my family was the initial family to try out the precursor enzyme formulation for the new product called No-Fenol. This original product worked very well for my family. After several rounds of chelation, my son no longer has a phenol sensitivity, but the No-Fenol does work for actual food intolerances for fruits and other foods, so I still use it.

I received my first bottle of the new product a few days ago. My kids are currently on round 23 with ALA, and in fact I began this round when they still had a small lingering yeast issue from the last round. I gave the new No-Fenol enzyme along with the Peptizyde and Zyme Prime, plus the regular chelation protocol etc.

My kids have no yeast issue. None at all. Zero. My #3 no longer has his acne. My #2 is no longer waving his hands. This is ON DAY TWO of a round of chelating, when they are generally regressed anyway because they are on-round. Yesterday was better than any day previously!

So I sent Mr. Houston an email asking if the new enzyme was helping the GSE be more effective, or if it in fact was acting directly on the yeast.

He said both, it can be breaking down the GSE better, plus it also does act on yeast.

Now don't everyone go ordering this stuff, at least not until I get my OWN stockpile sufficiently established. I sure do NOT want him to run out of this stuff for MY order!!

I have no financial interest in this product OR in this company, but I sure wish I did!!

Just passing along a piece of GREAT news, at least for my family. NO MORE YEAST!

From Rachel:
I also just got our phenol enzymes yesterday. Jordan took one and ate AN APPLE with his lunch, which is one of his favorite foods, and which guarantees in a few hours he'll have chewed huge holes in his shirt, gone to the bathroom on the floor (and spread it around), stopped making eye contact, and be up until at least 2am. NONE OF THESE THINGS HAPPENED. He was exactly the same. Later with dinner I gave him another No Fenol and let him have a banana (another one of his favorites, with even worse symptoms). Same thing, NOTHING happened. Before bed he "read" me a book which consists of counting numbers 1- 10 (he can say numbers). Then he had me spell out a bunch of words and when I said "M-O-O-N" he repeated, "Moon," same with M-A-M-A, several others. Like every 3 year old can read, no big deal. (He still can't talk but if he could teach himself to read at 3 that would be a big help.) The whole night I was bursting into tears. He has always had huge PST and yeast problems, which nothing could get completely under control. This stuff is like a miracle.

From Joan:
I tried an experiment with the phenol enzymes last night. I gave my 6 yo. AS GFCF son (extrememly phenol sensitive) a regular amount of sauce on his spaghetti. Because he is so sensitive to tomatoes, I typically give only a little bit. I gave him 1 No-Fenol, 1 Peptizyde and 2 Zyme Prime about 20 minutes before I gave him his spaghetti.

About 1 1/2 hours later, sure enough he got red cheeks and red ears (until someone on this board mentioned it, I never really noticed, but one ear does get redder than the other!). BUT, we did not have the accompanying "druken sailor" behavior that typically accompanies our phenol infractions. No wild laughing or staggering gait. There was a slight increase in hyperactivity, tho. I think this just means I need to try giving him 2 No-Fenols next time and see if we can get rid of all the symptoms.

Other than that, the only weird thing that happened was right at bedtime, after his shower, he was laying in bed when he came to see me. He was sweating like crazy. His entire head was wet from sweat, his cheeks scarlet. I asked if his stomach hurt, he said no, he actually felt quite good, just very hot. I put a cold wet cloth on his head, turned on the fan and after a few minutes, he cooled down. Then he said he had to go to the bathroom. (WARNING -- Description of poop ahead) I noticed he had a faint red rash on his bottom. Then he had a bowel movement which was light brown and looked rather fluffy and yeasty, although fairly formed. He went right to sleep after that, had a dry pull-up -- the first one in a week -- and had a great day at school today. Rash on his bottom was gone, too.

From Kim:
I wanted to post some of the results we have seen so far:
First the background: GF/CF 2 years, limited soy, eggs and no nuts. 16 rounds of chelation, supplements as follows: ALA, Calcium, zinc, Vit C, Pro-Bio gold, folic acid, EFA powder, taurine, GABA, Chelation aid, MultMinerals, Lysine, Mag Sulfate(epsom salt)cream, Melatonion (as needed) Peptizyde and Zyme-Prime (every meal). Tried many others that did not work.

Working with my doctor we determined my son has PST phenol- sulphotransferase issue, we figured this out due to his amazing response to DMSA/ALA Epsom salt baths (now cream) and HUGE phenol problem (the sight of a banana made him crazy) We stretched out his chelation schedule to 9 days on lowered the dosage= big gains, added ALA more big gains etc. When we added no phenol it also helped with his PST problem. He has jumped in the areas of: eye contact, awareness of EVERYTHING around him not just in the direct line of vision, clarity of language, up to 3-4-5 words combinations, actually negioating for reinforceres with his therapists, and with me for chips. Screaming less. Overall happiness. I had to E-mail Devin, for his opinion, because I just was not sure this was possible, he has confirmed that No-Fenol can aid in that digestion process and therefore help in many areas.

So many times other parents have told me "just go with your gut in dealing with this autism package", you know your child better than anyone, and that there is no manual on how to deal with these kids complex issues. And so many times I've felt under qualified or unskilled enough to trust my own judgment when it comes to my son's health issues. But the results I (and others) have seen with no phenol are not to be ignored. We love these enzymes and Thank Devin for all his dedication.

Now I have been able to introduce bananas again and tomato sauce. I have gone very slowly, as I am scared to death of regression and totally going off the diet is a very scary concept. But I have lots of hope that he may actually see the inside of a Bakery someday.

From Kristi:
Most of the phenol enzyme products needed to be used with other enzymes, and we just couldn't afford much. I used V-Gest as a compromise because it had lots of enzymes for all foods and more enzymes for fruits and vegetables. It worked well for our son who is sensitive to phenolic foods. At last he could eat fruits without being up all night and getting really fussy. I didn't get those red patches on his body either. A big improvement was being able to tell people he could have fruit as a snack and buy other foods that included fruit. Our lives are changed! I feel so free. The best though is knowing my son is getting a good variety of healthy foods. He is happy and thriving.

From Mary:
My very phenol-sensitive son just passed the phenol test, with a heaping helping of ketchup for lunch!!! I know this is just too good to be true! Our enzymes came in today's mail as we were on our way to the bank. I opened them and gave him one capsule right then, just to see how he would tolerate the enzyme without a food challenge. No change. One hour later, gave him one more capsule, then fed him 15 minutes after that. He had a HUGE pile of ketchup on his plate to "dunk" his hot dogs in. He kept looking at me like "are you for real mom?". He had another pile of ketchup after he used up what he had dunking his FINGERS (once his hotdogs were gone - LOL).

There was NO change in his behavior. NO flaming red cheeks or ears. It has been over an hour since he finished eating, and I even took him into the bathroom where the light was better, trying to FIND red cheeks & ears. Nada.

From Hannah:
Well, I don't know what happened, but after 3 months of hellish diarrhea, Josh's bowels have settled down! Here are the changes, tell me what you all think. Added the new enzymes with all meals on April 10 (yes! it works! Jake is loving my homemade spaghetti sauce again! ) Whatever the reason, I am psyched! Whoo-hoo! (never though back in my single days that I would get this excited over a formed bowel movement, but who knew...)

From Laura:

I came into enzymes as a three year CF/GF diet dropout with my two boys, both of them have ASD, although one is considered "congitively normal" after three years of ABA. But...he still has issues, mostly behavioral and obsessiveness.

However, when No-fenol came out, I had to lay down my anti-dietary intervention feelings and give it a try--I'd long noticed that my sons diets pretty much consisted of nothing but phenols, but implementing another restrictive diet with them--that might not work--just seemed too harsh.

I decided to start the enzymes first with my son Daniel, who at the age seven, has been on No-Fenol for about two weeks now, along with the AFP Peptizide (we noticed a long time ago that traditional enzymes like Serenaid made him very ill--not in the exorphin die off kind of way, but in the "this child is going to croak if I keep this up kind of way." :c( .

Well, wouldn't you know, my sons making a liar out of me! :c)

What we are noticing:

1) The worst case of allergies in his life let up by day three. We discontinued his flonase simply because his nose was clear. It has stayed clear.

2) By day five- The allergic shiners he's had since the age of two and a half are GONE. Nothing we've ever tried, even prescription allergy meds and steroids have ever impacted the shiners.

3) By day eight- Daniel is labelling flashcards. This is after three years of trying to teach him to label even one. Now--eight days later, he knows apple, bus, car, juice, chips, pasta, cat, bear, truck, (yes, he likes vehicles, lol), plane, train, cup, cereal and soda. He's picking them up at two a day.

Granted, he's been requesting these with PECS (picture exchange, a program I LOVE) for several months, but now he's just verbally labeling anything I show him.

4) Today, Daniel is sitting in the kitchen. The cat walks in. Daniel looks at it and says...its a cat, with no prompting.

On the down side--he's hyper as all get out and very stimmy. The red patches on his cheeks and upper arms seem to be brighter and bumpier. The meds he's taken for the last six months seem to be making him "overmedicated." I'm slowly reducing dosage to see what he still needs, so his doctor is going to wring my neck when we visit this week.

Also, he is begging me for apples all day long. Like he can't get enough of them? Anyone else seen such a thing?

I'm hoping the hyperness/fussiness/stimminess passes over time?

We love the No-Fenol so far. We're mixing it into Hypoallergenic Vanilla Alpha ENF powder (an amino acid/fatty acid medical meal replacement formula), then shaking that up with orange juice--it tastes like an orange Julius that way and mixes like a dream.

My son is doing no other supplements. I'm a long time supplement drop out, other than the ENF which is often all that's kept him alive when he refused to eat.

From Kathi:
I have been wanting to write for a while now on my daughter's progress, so I will use this opportunity to do so, because my daughter acted a little bit like you describe your child. She too, would get really giggly and kind of out of control, after eating certain foods like sugars and especially red dyes. She was also casein and gluten intolerant, and the only thing that worked thus far was to have her be gfcf.

I started her on Peptizyde, and Zyme and kept her casein-free/gluten-free, and had little improvement. I kept reading the list, and decided to try the afp pep (cause it was a struggle to get her to take her enzymes cause of the smell) and No-Fenol. When I tried these two, I couldn't believe the difference. She seemed so calm, and focused. She had no "reaction" to the no fenol, like some kids have. I am wondering if this is because she is pretty reactive to sugar normally, and I wonder if the no-fenol does anything for that?

Slowly, I began "testing" her with maybe one meal a day a normal meal with either casein or gluten added. No negative reactions. Then I slowly kept adding the things she previously had been reacting to with no reaction at all!!! I can't believe that it is working, but it is.

She now is completly on a "normal" diet, with the use of enzymes and she has been doing great! Even her school is amazed.

From Susan:
My son and I have been taking no fenol since the begining of May. We have had amazing results. Thank you for this product. ;o)

From Jody:
I've been using Phenol Assist for several months. My son doesn't have any problems with phenolic foods when he takes this.

What to Expect with Phenol-targeting Enzymes
based on parent reports and science from other sources

1. Die-off - When starting phenol-targeting enzymes, you may see some die-off reactions especially if yeast is an issue. This may be due to fighting yeast directly, as well as reducing the yeast and bacteria food supply. Reducing the amount of undigested food in the intestinal tract will encourage die-off. This is similar in concept as the SCD. Die-off reactions can be a wide range of symptoms, but are usually not pleasant. You may decide to cut back a bit on the enzymes and go slower, or decide you have a pathogen problem you were not aware of and deal with it. Night waking, sweating, red cheeks and ears are common as signs of detox. If you or your child takes a phenol-targeting enzymes and then does NOT eat, you may have a detox reaction because the enzymes will then work on any yeast present.

2. Awakeness/Increased Energy – These enzymes will be breaking down tougher more tightly bound bonds from fiber. This will release more metabolic energy available to the body. A number of parents reported that when starting phenol-targeting enzymes, their child was awake later in the evening, woke at night, was a bit more hyper, and energetic. Reducing the dose may help with this if it is considered a problem, especially in the evening meal. Also, phenol-targeting enzymes appear to make more amino acids available to the body. Amino acids will usually cause more alertness as seen in high protein diets.

3. Fewer bowel movements – Phenol-targeting enzymes may be reducing the total amount of 'waste' material passed out of the body. This is because more of the hard to digest foods will be broken down and used as nutrients and raw materials by the body. More water will be extracted and absorbed by the body, so do not expect to see more urination as well. Some fiber is needed for regularity so if you feel that you or your child is not 'going' enough, then either reduce the enzymes, or increase the amount of fiber and liquid in the diet. This is a standard reason these enzymes are used routinely in animal science…to reduce the quantity of waste and increase nutrient absorption and energy from the food. If your child has a "sluggish" digestive tract, this should bring improvements. In addition, this tends to reduce ammonia levels – a standard reason these enzymes are commonly given in animal science. The amino acids are taken up by the body and used instead of ending up in the waste. If high ammonia is a concern you may wish to consider these fiber/phenol-targeting enzymes.

4. Sweating, feeling "hot", red cheeks or ears – this has been mentioned a few times after taking phenol-targeting enzymes. At the moment, there is no one particular thing to attribute this to. However, these are common symptoms of yeast die-off, of a "rush" of amino acids into the system, and also an input of extra energy. The symptoms are very characteristic of an increase in amino acids that affect neurotransmitters, such as tyrosine (more amino acids used by the body). Generally, reducing the dose of phenol-targeting enzymes works best. Then you may find you generally need less enzymes or you can build up slower. It might be that you are not taking enough enzymes and some phenolic compounds are getting through so you see a detox reaction (the body trying to process out the extra phenolic compounds). One parent found increasing the dose resolved this. However, another parent decreased the dose and also saw improvement and no sweating. So, monitor yourself or your child and adjust the dose as necessary.

5. Also, you may want to look at the File on basic reactions that can accompany enzyme use in general.
What to Expect When Starting Enzymes

These guidelines will be updated as more information becomes available.
last updated 4.1.06



Dairy - Multi-Faceted Food
Dealing with Die-off

Encopresis / Constipation
Epsom Salts
Flour Types
Healing the Gut/ Leaky Gut
MT Promoter / Pfeiffer
Milk Types
Opiate Receptor Mechanics
The No-Fenol File
Population Dynamics
Sensory Issues and Gut
Studying Stools
Cleaners and Cosmetics

Supplement Sources
Abbreviations - Special Needs

This independent site is for education and information about digestive enzymes. There is a large need to provide practical and general information on enzyme therapy for a wide range of uses.

Enzymes have been around a very long time. Hopefully this site will help reduce the learning curve.

Ideas, comments, and questions are welcome.

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