Allura Red, A Common Food Dye, Might Trigger Inflammatory Bowel Diseases - medtigo



Allura Red, A Common Food Dye, Might Trigger Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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According to a study headed by Waliul Khan of McMaster University, long-term usage of the food color Allura Red may play a role in the emergence of inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

According to research, extensive exposure to Allura Red AC harms gut health and causes inflammation in experimental animal models of inflammatory bowel disease.  

As per the article published in Science Daily, Dye exposure affects the nature of the gut microbiota and increases vulnerability to colitis by directly affecting barrier function and increasing serotonin synthesis, a hormone/neurotransmitter found in the gut.  

According to Khan, the food coloring Allura Red (also known as FD&C Red 40 and Food Red 17) may be found in various sweets, beverages, dairy products, and even some cereals. To entice children, meals are frequently colored and flavored with artificial additions.  

Despite widespread usage in recent decades, synthetic food colors such as Allura Red have garnered less attention. Khan’s team’s findings were recently published in the journal Nature Communications. The study was written by Yun Han (Eric) Kwon, a Ph.D. student in Khan’s group.  

“This study adds to the evidence that Allura Red severely damages gut health and identifies serotonin as a key mediator of these harmful effects. These findings have significant implications for the treatment and prevention of intestinal inflammation” Professor Khan, a principal researcher at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute and a member of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, shared this viewpoint.  

“It’s unexpected and disturbing to hear that a commonly used synthetic food color might be a dietary trigger for IBD. Thanks to this study, significant progress has been achieved in educating the public about the possible hazards of the food colors we consume daily.”   

Children’s symptoms, particularly those associated with ADD and other behavioral issues, have improved when Allura Red is used. Khan argues that inflammatory bowel illness and irritable bowel syndrome impact millions of individuals worldwide, both of which can be deadly.

Environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, gut microbiome abnormalities, and dysregulated immune responses have all been suggested as potential causes of these disorders. Still, the particular mechanisms by which they appear remain unclear.  

As a result of current research on the involvement of the immune system and host microbiota in the development of IBDs, several susceptibility genes have been discovered. However, he noted that similar improvements in detecting environmental hazards had been delayed.  


According to Khan, the typical Western diet, which includes processed fats, red and processed meats, sweets, and a lack of fiber, is an environmental trigger for inflammatory bowel disease. He said that artificial additives such as colors and preservatives are widely used in processed and Western foods.

He said that the findings urge more investigation into the relationship between IBDs and food dyes in the laboratory, epidemiological studies, and clinical practice. 

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