A popular food dye, often aimed at children, could result in inflammatory bowel disease, according to new research.
Allura Red AC adds colour to soft drinks, dairy products, cereal and the texture of sweets, with the aim of attracting children.
New testing on animals has shown the dye disrupts how the gut barrier works, harming gut health, encouraging inflammation and potentially leading to serious conditions such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
McMaster University researchers found that Allura Red AC increases the quantity of serotonin produced by disrupting the gut barrier.
People are therefore more susceptible to colitis due to the altering of gut microphobia composition, another knock on impact.
Writing in Nature Communications, Waliul Khan said the findings are a significant advancement in public health.
He said: “This study demonstrates significant harmful effects of Allura Red on gut health and identifies gut serotonin as a critical factor mediating these effects.
“These findings have important implications in the prevention and management of gut inflammation.
“What we have found is striking and alarming, as this common synthetic food dye is a possible dietary trigger for IBDs.
“This research is a significant advance in alerting the public on the potential harms of food dyes that we consume daily.
“This literature suggests that the consumption of Allura Red also affects certain allergies, immune disorders and behavioural problems in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”