Supplements Part 3: Dyes.

12 November 2015
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As you have read so far, the supplements we are consuming are full of fillers and sugars.  There are other hidden dangers within these capsules, tablets, liquids, and even powders: DYES.

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According to the FDA, in 2007 Americans were consuming five times more artificial food colorings than they were in 1955. That number in no way has decreased in the mast eight years. http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/banned-in-europe-food-coloring-linked-to-behavior-problems/

Artificial colors are being added to our vitamins, supplements, and medicines (as well as our foods, skin products, bath products, etc.) at an alarming rate.  Somehow the rate is increasing even though studies are linking these dyes to everything from cancer to hyperactivity in children. The risks can be deadly, and the benefits: a more appealing product to draw consumers in, to make a sale.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of these dyes, even as they are band in other countries across the world due to their significant side effects.  Countries throughout Europe have banned against food dyes and insisted on strong labeling with warnings including all health risks to these dyes.  But yet, here in the United States we not only promote the use of dyes, but they are included as ingredients within our health-boosting supplementation and medications.

The seven FDA approved food dyes include: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/

  • FD&C Blue No. 1 – Brilliant Blue FCF, E133
  • FD&C Blue No. 2 – Indigotine E132
  • FD&C Green No. 3 – Fast Green FCF, E143
  • FD&C Red No. 40 – Allura Red AC, E129
  • FD&C Red No. 3 – Erythrosine, E127
  • FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Tartrazine, E102
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Sunset Yellow FCF, E110

Some of these artificial colors (Yellow Dye 5 & 6) are derived from toxic coal tar.  Coal tar is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum. It is recognized as a human carcinogen, with the main concern of using it for individual colors (whether produced from the coal tar or synthetically) is the potential to cause cancer. These colors may also be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and even be combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain. Coal tar is used for purposes such as: roofing, outdoor sealants, exterior paints, and heating. This should obviously NOT be ingested. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics—coal-tar-dyes/

Current research is working towards providing the direct link from synthetic supplements and artificial dyes to autism, sleep disturbances and other chronic problems in children. Previous studies show links to artificial dyes and cancer, hyperactivity, ADHD, allergies, and sterility.  http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/Know-Which-of-Your-Vitamins-and-Medicines-Contain-Toxins

This research is eye opening, even for myself. I have a four year old son with sensory processing disorder, food allergies, food sensitivities, speech delays, and sleep troubles.  We were told by wonderful natural-minded pediatric doctors and chiropractors to keep toxins away from him.  This meant vaccines, chemicals, processed foods, etc.  We learned of a wonderful diet that removed all dyes, fillers, and chemicals from the body to heal the gut.  We have had great success on this diet, but hadn’t looked into the hidden details of his supplements (or ours!).  While we have been making smart supplement decisions, there were a few with hidden dyes that have since been eliminated.  I know that it sounds extreme to most people, but I am telling you from our personal four year journey that what you put into your body makes a world of difference.

Common ailments linked to these dyes include headaches, mood response, hyperactivity, skin rash, and swollen gut, trouble falling asleep, or breathing problems. An actual allergy to dyes may be difficult to diagnose. However, if removing dyes from the diet is linked to absence of symptoms, this may prove dye sensitivity. Allergy testing for dyes is not conclusive, but an IgG antibody test can be part of your investigation. (We had IgG testing done as early as 15 months of age with our son.)

Each dye can be traced to its own set of possible side effects: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm

Blue Dye No. 1 can cause hyperactivity, skin rashes, bronchoconstriction – especially when combined with other artificial colors- and chromosomal damage. It may also cause issues with the gastrointestinal tract while inhibiting cell respiration and lead to ADHD, asthma, and other allergic reactions. (This dye is banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway Switzerland, and Sweden.) New studies show that Blue Dye is also absorbed through the skin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23127598

Blue Dye No. 2 is a synthetic coal tar dye commonly added to pharmaceutical drugs and is also used as a medical diagnostic aid.  The dye, which is banned in Norway, has been known to cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, skin rashes, breathing problems, brain tumors and other allergic reactions.

Green Dye No. 3 is linked to tumors and gene mutations in test animals.

Red Dye No. 40 is a petroleum byproduct often used in medications and supplements that can cause allergy-like reactions, hyperactivity in children and potential cancer. Asthmatics and those intolerant to aspirin are at increased risk of a reaction to this dye, which is prohibited throughout Europe. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/30/134962888/fda-probes-link-between-food-dyes-kids-behavior

Red Dye No. 3 has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.

Yellow Dye No. 5 is one of the most dangerous artificial colors.  Derived from Coal Tar, the dye is linked to cancer and provokes asthma attacks, skin reactions, and hyperactivity in children. It has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Finland.

Yellow Dye No. 6 is linked to hyperactivity, allergic reactions, nausea, and nasal congestion. It is often used in medications and supplements Yellow Dye #6 is banned in Finland, Norway, and the UK.

Unfortunately, these reactions and their connections to artificial food dyes have largely been dismissed by the FDA.  In 2004, an analysis of fifteen studies found evidence that artificial colors worsen the behavior of children with ADHD.  Even after studies found that artificial dyes affect the behavior of children without behavioral disorders, the FDA continues to deny any significant link between food dyes and behavioral problems.

By eliminating food dyes and food additives, studies have continuously shown increased improvements in children’s behavior.

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The FDA has approved a number of natural dyes for use in products.  These dyes include:

  • Beet Juice
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Grape Skin Extract
  • Paprika Oleoresin
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices
  • Saffron

Some natural dyes can still cause adverse reactions to those with sensitivities.  My son, for example, reacts to annatto extract.  Annatto, caramel, and cochineal extract (known as carmine) have all been traced to allergic reactions.

A partial list of popular vitamins with toxic dyes: http://www.vaclib.org/docs/ToxicDyesVitamins.doc

  • One A Day – Red #40
  • One A day for Women – Mixed Berry’s  – Blue #1 Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
  • One A Day Scooby Doo – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
  • Flintstones (Children’s Vitamin) – Blue #1, Blue #2, Yellow #6, Red #40 and Aspartame Toxic Sweetener
  • Centrum & Centrum Silver – Yellow #6 and Red #40
  • Geritol – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
  • Prenatal from Nature’s Bounty – Blue #1, Yellow #6 and Red #40
  • Tums – Blue #1, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40