Exposure to a commonly used food dye may significantly boost the risk of gut inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease. That was the alarming conclusion of a series of studies in lab animals observing how various levels of intake and exposure in early life to Allura Red (also referred to on food packaging as Red 40 and Food Dye 17) impacted the gut microbiome and the gut lining.
The scientists found that chronic exposures to typical doses of Allura Red in human processed foods incited alterations in the lab animal’s gut microbiomes. This in turn led to susceptibility of the gut lining to damaging inflammation.
What’s more, exposure to the dye in early life also predisposed the animals to future gut inflammation. The lead researcher commented, “This study demonstrates significant harmful effects of Allura Red on gut health.” Although this series of studies were in lab animals, it certainly raises major concerns for human gut health, particularly given the widespread use of this dye in processed foods and the record intakes of processed foods (75% of daily calories!) for the average American.
I urge you to focus on eating and providing your loved ones with foods that come directly from Mother Nature and not out of a factory, particularly as regards babies and young children.
Nature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-35309-y