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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jen

The Dangers of Yellow Dye #5

Food dyes have long been a subject of discussion and debate, especially when it comes to their effects on our health. One dye in particular, Yellow Dye 5, also known as Tartrazine, has been linked to several health issues, including asthma. Tartrazine is considered as a cheaper substitute for natural food colorants like curcumin and saffron and is the second most used food dye, generally derived from coal tar.




A number of studies have indicated a potential connection between artificial food colorings and asthma. While the results are not conclusive, and the incidence is relatively rare, there is a concern that certain individuals may be more sensitive or allergic to these dyes, leading to asthmatic reactions.


1. A study from The Lancet suggested that some food additives, including Yellow Dye 5, might exacerbate hyperactivity in children and could possibly be related to asthma.

2. The European Food Safety Authority conducted a review and highlighted that in certain sensitive individuals, Tartrazine could trigger asthmatic symptoms and skin reactions.

3. A decision of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) certified ANVISA competence to issue regulations on the labeling of foods that contain the food coloring tartrazine.

4. Another study showed associated to mutagenicity in the form of gene mutation and chromosomal abnormalities and tartrazine could cause gut dysbiosis.


Nothing speaks louder than personal experiences, and this is where Emery's story comes into play. I finally linked his breathing problems/flares with every time he consumed products with food dyes, especially Yellow Dye 5. This was something that was never brought up even by a pediatric pulmonologist.




While not everyone might experience such severe reactions, Emery’s story is a testament to the importance of awareness and understanding the ingredients in our food.

What can you do to avoid food dyes? (Move out of the USA- haha joking)


1. Natural Coloring Agents: Many companies now use natural coloring agents derived from plants, fruits, and vegetables. For example, beet juice, turmeric, and spirulina can serve as replacements for synthetic dyes.

2. Read Labels: By being a diligent label reader, you can easily avoid products with Yellow Dye 5 or other synthetic dyes.

3. Home Cooking: Preparing homemade meals and treats allows for control over every ingredient that goes into the food.

4. If there is an exposure to food dyes. Have your child take a binder to help absorb it.

While the scientific community continues to study the exact relationship between Yellow Dye 5 and asthma, it's essential for us to be informed and make choices that align with their health concerns. Emery's story is a stark reminder that everyone's body is biologically different, (not all cookie cutter or a medical study) and what might be harmless to one person can be harmful to another. By seeking alternatives and being mindful of ingredients, we can make safer choices for ourselves and our loved ones.




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