Fitness & Nutrition

It’s not Mellow Yellow When It’s Poisoning You

Tartrazine, also called FD&C Yellow 5 is a dye that is commonly overlooked.  I feel like we’ve all been warned at this point of the affects of red and orange dyes, but yellow 5 is one that is just as common and just as bad for you.  Especially if you are a child.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral your body needs.  It metabolizes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and is a necessity to heal properly.  Zinc plays a critical role in the sense of taste and smell, immune system function, bone strength, thyroid function, blood clotting, cognitive functions, prenatal development, and sperm production. Even a mild deficiency can create a wide range of physical and mental problems.  When you eat things with Yellow 5 in them, it depletes the amount of zinc in your body through your urine and saliva.  If you have ADHD, you lose zinc faster than someone who does not have the condition, therefore Yellow 5’s affects are more damaging.  In 1978, the dye was found to be directly related to aspirin sensitive asthmatics, causing the FDA to require listing it as an ingredient in food and drink labels.  In 1985, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found the side effects of Yellow #5 to include allergies, thyroid tumors, lymphomas (cancer), chromosomal damage, asthma, and urticaria (hives).

Yellow 5 has been shown to damage the nerve cell’s ability to send and receive signals.  A properly functioning brain has the ability to remember, reason and learn, only through healthy nerve cells being able to communicate.  It also has been shown to be an immunosuppressive agent, meaning that it inhibits the activity of the immune system.  You’ve probably heard the old myth (or maybe truth) that Mountain Dew reduces sperm count.  Despite its makers denial in the matter, Yellow 5 has been linked to reducing the sperm count and in lab mice, and it increased sperm abnormalities.  In various lab-rat studies, research concluded Yellow 5 interacts with other foods and that when consumed by rats that ate a low fiber diet, not only did it cause growth retardation, but it was also lethal.

Yellow 5 seems to cause hyperactivity in some children. The Food Standards Agency, FSA, which is UK’s equivalent to the FDA, issued a warning in 2008 about certain food dyes, including Yellow 5, can cause behavioral changes in children that included loss of concentration and impulsive, hard-to-control activity.  This food coloring is illegal in much of Europe, yet is used extensively in the U.S.

Yellow 5 is used in chips, candies, jams, yellow and green drinks, macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, gelatin, instant pudding, breads and cakes, butter, boxed cereals, some beers, pet food, and even shampoo.  Be sure to examine any food you have that are bright in color, because if they don’t have Yellow 5 (which they probably do) there is another additive making it appear as it does.  We need to retrain our brains regarding the colors of what we consume.  We are so used to foods being attractive, and most times, in it’s natural form, it is anything but that.  There is no need to have our cosmetics altered with colors.  Your skin is your largest organ and whatever you put on it, is absorbed into your blood stream.   Read your labels, people.  The FDA is very clever in tricking you, especially with practically no shortage of names for any certain ingredient.  When reading labels, look for Yellow 5, Tartrazine, or E102.  Most organic foods don’t contain this dye.  And if you have asthma, yellow 5 can actually worsen or even be the cause of it!  Try being very in tune with how you feel after consuming something containing Yellow 5, as its effects can last up to 72 hours…you never know if maybe it is causing the respiratory problems, feelings of anxiety or depression, vision problems, and migraines.

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