The Effects of Red Dye #40 – Peer-Reviewed Studies

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Research on the potential effects of Red Dye #40, particularly its link to hyperactivity and allergic reactions, has been a subject of interest and debate. While some studies suggest a possible association between Red Dye #40 and certain adverse reactions, including hyperactivity and allergic responses, the evidence is not entirely conclusive.

Here’s an overview of some key studies:

Southampton Study (2007): A study conducted at the University of Southampton in the UK, often referred to as the Southampton Study, examined the effects of artificial food colors (including Red Dye #40) and the preservative sodium benzoate on children’s behavior. The study found that consuming mixtures of certain artificial colors and sodium benzoate was associated with increased hyperactivity in children.

This review article discusses the evidence surrounding the potential link between artificial food colors, including Red Dye #40, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. The authors summarize various studies and suggest that some children with ADHD may be sensitive to artificial food colors.

Stevens, L. J., Kuczek, T., Burgess, J. R., Hurt, E., & Arnold, L. E. (2013). Dietary sensitivities and ADHD symptoms: thirty-five years of research. Clinical Pediatrics, 52(3), 247-255.

McCann, D., Barrett, A., Cooper, A., Crumpler, D., Dalen, L., Grimshaw, K., … & Stevenson, J. (2007). Food additives and hyperactive behavior in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, 370(9598), 1560-1567.

Meta-Analysis by McCann et al. (2007): A meta-analysis published in The Lancet by McCann et al. examined the effects of artificial food colors and benzoate preservatives on children’s behavior. The analysis concluded that these additives might have a small but significant effect on hyperactivity in children.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Review (2009): The EFSA conducted a comprehensive review of the available scientific evidence on the safety of food colors, including Red Dye #40.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Statement (2019): The AAP released a statement acknowledging that some children may be sensitive to certain food additives, including artificial food colors like Red Dye #40, and may experience behavioral changes or allergic reactions. The AAP recommended that parents consider eliminating foods containing artificial additives if they suspect they may be contributing to their child’s symptoms.

This review article provides an overview of research conducted over several decades on dietary sensitivities, including reactions to food additives like Red Dye #40, and their potential relationship with ADHD symptoms.
Beezhold, B. L., Johnston, C. S., & Nochta, K. A. (2014). Sodium benzoate-rich beverage consumption is associated with increased reporting of ADHD symptoms in college students: a pilot investigation. Journal of Attention Disorders, 18(3), 236-241.

Arnold, L. E., Lofthouse, N., & Hurt, E. (2012). Artificial food colors and attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms: conclusions to dye for. Neurotherapeutics, 9(3), 599-609.

While these studies provide some insights into the potential effects of Red Dye #40 and other artificial food colors, it’s essential to interpret the findings cautiously. Individual responses to food additives can vary, and more research is needed to fully understand the impact of Red Dye #40 on human health, particularly regarding hyperactivity and allergic reactions.

Individual responses to food additives can vary, and more studies are necessary to understand the full scope of their effects on human health.

If you have concerns about food additives or suspect they may be affecting you or your child, avoid consumption.

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