Researchers Say Popular Red 40 Food Dye, Could Trigger Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

bowel disease

Scientists warn that a food dye found in dozens of family favorites may cause severe bowel diseases. They warn that a food dye found in dozens of family favorites may cause severe bowel diseases.

Red 40, also known as Allura red, can be found in a variety of popular candies, sodas, and chips, such as Doritos, Skittles, and Pepsi, as well as baked goods and cake mix.

Allura Red AC is commonly used to add color and texture to sweets, soft drinks, dairy products, and cereals in order to attract children.

McMaster University researchers discovered that disrupting the gut barrier changes the composition of the gut microbiota and makes people more susceptible to colitis.

Behind the Scenes

They believe that weakening the body’s defenses may make people more vulnerable to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Despite the fact that the study was conducted on mice, the researchers claim that the findings apply to humans in Western countries, where diets typically contain a lot of food coloring.

Lead researcher Dr. Waliul Khan said, “These findings have important implications in the prevention and management of gut inflammation.” He further added, “What we have discovered is striking and alarming, as this common synthetic food dye is a possible dietary trigger for IBDs.”

Nature Communications Study’s Findings

Inflammatory bowel disease, also known as colitis and Crohn’s disease, is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract that affects approximately three million Americans.

A major limitation of the study is that a human’s diet would have to contain a higher-than-recommended amount of Red 40 to achieve the results seen in the mice.

Mice that only consumed Red 40 on an irregular basis did not develop colitis, implying that only humans who consume Red 40 on an irregular basis would be affected. Food coloring use has increased over the last century or so, but there has been little research into its effect on the gut.

Researcher Perspective

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits the amount of food coloring in food and cosmetics, with a daily limit of 7 mg/kg body weight recommended. Nonetheless, the chemicals in the dyes have been linked to a variety of diseases.

The McMaster researchers fed Allura Red coloring to mouse models for 12 weeks as part of their research. They discovered that the additive increased serotonin production in the colon and disrupted gut bacteria, resulting in colitis, a chronic condition that causes ulcers and sores in the digestive tract.

Serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone”, is frequently discussed for its effects on the brain. Low levels of the hormone are commonly found in people suffering from depression. However, the gut is responsible for producing 95 percent of the total serotonin in the body.

Serotonin regulates the normal rhythmic movement of the gut muscle and aids in the movement of contents in the intestines. It is also in charge of nutrient, electrolyte, and water absorption.

In a model of human enterochromaffin (EC) cells, the researchers looked for several common synthetic colorants. It affects the colon and the rectum and can cause a variety of inflammation-related symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, dehydration, and blood stools.

Words of Experts

According to an April 2021 analysis of studies commissioned by the state of California, 16 of the 25 studies found some link between food coloring and neurobehavioral problems, ‘particularly exacerbation of attentional problems, such as in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other behavioral outcomes’.

Mr Khan said, “The literature suggests that Allura Red consumption affects certain allergies, immune disorders, and behavioral problems in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

Final Words

In 1985, the FDA calculated that ingesting free benzidine raises the cancer risk to just under the ‘concern’ level, or one cancer in every million people. Several studies have found a link between food coloring consumption and hyperactivity in children.

Red 40, as well as Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, contain benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen allowed in dyes at low, presumably safe levels.

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