IBD: Common Red Food Colouring may Result in Colitis and Intestinal Irritation

According to a recent study, a common red food colour may result in intestinal inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In a recent study, scientists looked at the potential link between an all-purpose food dye called “Allura Red” which can cause colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They discovered using an experimental model that chronic Allura Red consumption, but not intermittent consumption, caused moderate intestinal inflammation in mice. The scientists are hoping that people will be made aware of the risks that food dyes may pose by their findings.

Chronic inflammation of the digestive tract is a hallmark of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Globally, there were about 6.8 million cases of IBD in 2017. Trusted Source Around 3 million adults in the United States, or 1.3%Trusted Source of the population, had IBD in 2015. mounting evidence According to a reliable source, nutrition has a significant impact on the emergence of IBD.

The gut flora and intestinal function may be impacted by food additives like titanium dioxide, which is used to give food an opaque, white hue. More investigation on the effects of food additives on intestinal health could raise public awareness and influence dietary guidelines. In a recent study, scientists evaluated the impacts of the red food dye “Allura Red” (AR), one of the most popular food colourants globally, particularly in the United States.

Chronic intestinal inflammation has been linked to Western diets that are high in additives, fats, sugar, and red meat and poor in fibre.

Food additives, emulsifiers, and artificial colourants are frequently used to enhance the flavour, texture, and appearance of food.

Allura Red is a colour additive that is frequently used in processed foods like candy, snacks, soft beverages, dairy items, and cereals, including:


Strawberry Fanta

Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips

Froot Loops

Nabisco Oreo Winter Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

The following popular food colourings were tested for the study to see how they affected serotonin synthesis include AR, Brilliant Blue, FCF Sunset Yellow FCF, Tartrazine Yellow.

Although all of the colourants stimulated serotonin production, they discovered that AR had the strongest impact. Thus, they conducted additional research on AR in mice fed various diets for 12 weeks:

  • standard chow diet
  • daily AR-infused diet
  • AR-infused diet 1 day per week

The amount of AR consumed was determined using human daily consumption guidelines. Seven days after the diet, exposure to a chemical was used to cause colitis. They discovered that intermittent AR exposure, which is the closest thing to human exposure, did not raise colitis susceptibility.

The researchers discovered identical results from subsequent studies, regardless of whether AR was ingested in food or drink.

They also looked into the results of young mice being exposed to AR. For 4 weeks, they gave 4-week-old mice either a regular chow meal or an AR through diet.

They discovered that early AR exposure caused low-grade colonic inflammation and changed the expression of genes associated with antimicrobial responses.

Further research revealed that in animals lacking tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1), an enzyme needed for the gut’s serotonin synthesis, AR did not increase the susceptibility to colitis. As a result, they concluded, AR influences the gut microbiota by way of the serotonergic system.