Are Food Additives the Cause of ADHD?

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 5, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH

Did you know that some candy products have as many as 10 dyes? A possible link between ADHD and certain foods — including food dyes and preservatives — has been suspected since the 1970s, though many researches still believe the cause of ADHD if primarily genetic.

Here’s a list of food preservatives and colorings that could aggravate attention problems:
•Red No. 40 – the most widely used food coloring in the U.S.
•Red No. 3
•Yellow No. 5 – studies have been done on Yellow No. 5 as a single agent, which did link it to ADHD. It’s the second most commonly used food coloring, after Red No. 40
•Blue No. 1
•Blue No. 2
•Green No. 3
•Orange B
•Sodium benzoate
•Yellow No. 6

The European Union has already acted to place warning labels on foods containing six artificial colors that “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Britain’s Food Standards Agency (the equivalent of the U.S. FDA) is also trying to get companies to phase out these additives.

The bottom line? Get the colors in your diet from fresh fruits and vegetables!

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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