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Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Red Dye

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs)—like Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis—affect millions of people around the world.

They cause lasting structural damage—such as inflammation, ulcers, and sores—to your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Until now no one could really pinpoint exact causes behind IBDs.


However a new study made an eye-opening discovery: Some very commonplace and “colorful” foods may actually TRIGGER these debilitating diseases.


For this study, researchers fed lab mice a normal diet—or a diet that included something called Allura Red AC (FD&C Red 40 or E129) for 12 weeks.


To the researcher surprise the Red Dye caused new inflammation in their GI tracts.

It also disrupted the gut barrier.

It even increased serotonin production in the gut, which, in turn, increases susceptibility to IBDs. In fact, the researchers said there's enough evidence to suggest Allura Red AC may “trigger” IBD in otherwise healthy subjects!

These results offer a serious warning about the potential dangers of food dyes in our diet.

Perhaps worst of all is the fact that we've known about the problems with Allura Red FC for almost 50 years! And one of the most long-standing concerns involves its effect on behavior in children—which is why many countries in Europe (including France, Germany, and Switzerland) banned it years ago.


Avoiding these “colorful” foods could be instrumental in aiding patients suffering with IBD.



How to Know If Red Dye 40 Is in Food


It would be hard to determine if restaurant food contains the red dye. But on packaged food, the FDA requires food manufacturers to list ingredients, including color additives. Look for the following on packaging labels:

  • Red 40

  • Red 40 Lake

  • FD&C Red No. 40

  • Food Red 17

  • Allura Red AC

As you might have guessed, Allura Red AC is one of the most widely used food dyes in the world.

You commonly find it in breakfast cereals, soft drinks, dairy products, candies, and even vitamins!


Now, since you'll find Allura Red FC in countless products in the United States, it's up to YOU to keep it out of your diet.



Compliments from Functional Medicine University



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