Food coloring 30.11.2022

Food coloring

Common food dyes may provoke inflammatory bowel disease

The proliferation of dietary supplements has many scientists worried about the long-term effects on human health. There is growing evidence that diet plays a central role in the development of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Recently, researchers have shown that prolonged consumption of the commonly used food coloring Red Charm AC (E129), found in children's foods in particular, is a potential trigger for these diseases. Environmental factors play an important role in the development of many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, particularly inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These are serious chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that affect millions of people worldwide. Genetic predisposition, an inappropriate immune response to compromised gut microbiota, and environmental factors have been shown to contribute to their occurrence. Therefore, it is easy to understand that food plays a central role, especially in Western countries.
Typically, the Western diet is characterized by a high intake of food additives, fats, red meat and sugar and a low intake of fiber, which provokes chronic gut inflammation. Food additives such as emulsifiers, stabilizers and synthetic colorings are widely used to improve the texture, preservation and aesthetics of processed foods. A number of studies have reported that high levels of these additives, such as maltodextrin and titanium dioxide, as well as ingredients added during food processing, including food emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners, alter the gut microbiota. They increase gut permeability and decrease the thickness of the mucosal barrier, thereby contributing to inflammation. In this context, a team of researchers from McMaster University (Canada) found that constant exposure to Red Charm AC (E129) harms gut health and promotes inflammation by directly impairing the function of this barrier. Overused Synthetic Food Coloring
 The use of synthetic food dyes has increased dramatically in recent decades, but there has been little research on their effects on the gut and overall health. This is because these compounds are metabolized to form free aromatic amines in the gut lumen, some of which are potentially carcinogenic and mutagenic. Among them, Red Charming AC (FD&C Red 40 or E129) is the most widely used dye in many countries. It can be found in commonly consumed foods intended for children (e.g., breakfast cereals, beverages and confectionery).
Episodic consumption without consequences?

 Researchers have found that constant exposure to E129 is detrimental to gut health and promotes inflammation. The dye directly impairs the function of the intestinal barrier and increases the production of serotonin, a hormone (neurotransmitter) found in the gut, which subsequently alters the composition of the gut microbiota, leading to increased sensitivity. Valiul Khan, lead author of the study, professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and senior fellow at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, explains in a statement, "This study demonstrates significant adverse effects of E129 on gut health and identifies gut serotonin as a critical factor mediating these effects. These findings have important implications for the prevention and treatment of gut inflammation." Although intermittent exposure to mice (similar to typical human exposure) for 12 weeks does not affect susceptibility to colitis, early exposure makes mice more susceptible to colitis. Waliul Khan says, "What we found is startling and alarming because this common synthetic food coloring is a potential dietary trigger for inflammatory bowel disease. This study is a significant step forward in alerting the public to the potential harms of the food dyes we consume daily." He also added: "The literature suggests that E129 use also affects certain types of allergies, immune disorders and behavioral problems in children, such as attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity disorder." In recent years, significant progress has been made in identifying susceptibility genes and understanding the role of the immune system and microbiota in the development of inflammatory bowel disease. However, the definition of the role of environmental risk factors in this area remains rather weak. The discovery of a potential link between this commonly used food coloring and inflammatory bowel disease itself requires further and deeper research into food dyes.

Back to list