What a red dye sensitivity means for our family

What a red dye sensitivity means for our family

Red No. 40 Food Dye

We’re traveling this week and next, so I’m sharing some of my favorite posts from the archives. This one seemed especially timely with Valentine’s Day, and all of it’s pink and red food, coming up this weekend.

It happens every few months.

As our oldest daughter rages and screams, one of our other girls will lean over and quietly say, “She had red food dye.”

Without fail, we discover that the rages are linked to that insidious dye…and yet, if I’m honest, it continues to catch me off guard.

We first made the connection between Red No. 40 and her emotional outbursts four years ago, when her rages were happening once or twice a week. For a while, we did our best to regulate what she ate without avoiding it completely. And then, one day—after she had eaten a red lollipop and after she had screamed hysterically at us, equally upset by the perceived injustice and her own out-of-control emotions—we explained our theory that red dye was the cause. From that moment, she took ownership of it, working with us to avoid red dye.

Occasionally our hypervigilance wears off. The intensity of the rages fade from our memory, and we begin to doubt whether red dye could really cause such reactions. She asks to try something with red dye (typically a treat from a holiday, birthday party, or special occasion), and we say yes. Inevitably, the results are the same, and we all end up paying for that yes.

Then there was the time the rages started up again, almost every day during school. I initially attributed them to a bad attitude (she’s our most precocious child but our most reluctant schooler), then to tween hormones. As they continued, I began searching for some hidden red dye source.

It wasn’t until I was helping our 4-year-old brush her teeth that I realized I had accidentally bought hot pink toothpaste when they were out of the natural stuff we normally buy. It had been so long since I’d purchased conventional kids’ toothpaste that I had forgotten that it came in such colors. The tiny amount of red dye in her twice-daily toothpaste was enough to send her spinning out of control. Within a few days she was back to her normal self.

These days, she almost completely self-regulates, knowing that the way it makes her feel inside is just not worth that red lollipop. If I’m honest, she’s better at spotting the red dye in unexpected places than I am—quietly reminding me of its presence in rainbow sprinkles and checking the juice carton at a family get-together or the back of the Cheetos that a friend offers her at the park. She’s not afraid to tell a teacher or camp counselor that she can’t have red dye, and she does her best to choose to be happy even when she has to turn down treats.

I know red dye doesn’t affect all children the same, because our other three daughters don’t have any trouble with it. And if you’ve never experienced a red dye rage yourself, you might think I’m exaggerating.

But I’m not, and I’m increasingly frustrated by it.

Red No. 40 Food Dye

I’m frustrated that Red No. 40 is found in everything from the candy and flavored yogurts (where you might expect to find it) to baked goods, medicines and salad dressings. It’s even found in some chocolate, cheese products and peanut butter-flavored snacks.

I’m frustrated that I have to read every single label of every single thing we buy just to check for this dye and that we can’t occasionally do a fun treat or enjoy food at a party or get-together without worrying about it’s presence.

I’m frustrated that “we” have bought into the idea that all food should be brightly, artificially colored instead of letting it maintain its natural colors. I mean, really, the chocolate isn’t “chocolate-y” enough on its own, so we need to add red dye?!

I’m frustrated that while manufacturers substitute natural dyes or eliminate the dyes altogether in many products in Europe (where they’re required to add warning labels to products containing food dyes), they have not been eliminated here. It’s possible to do so, but it’s not the most profitable option, so they just don’t.

I know from conversations with other people that we’re not the only family who deals with this. But I don’t have any solutions except to keep avoiding it and keep talking about it in the hopes that the manufacturers will get the message.

{Shared with Peyton’s permission.}

***

Has your family experienced a reaction — rages or hyperactivity — associated with red dye?

**originally published in August 2014

This Post Has 105 Comments

  1. My oldest daughter seemed to react badly to it when she was younger, but her reaction came in the form of night terrors (which are so different from nightmares). She seems to have grown out of it now, and though we don’t consume much in the way of dyed food, she does have something like a slushie here and there and it’s all good.

    1. That’s encouraging to hear that she’s grown out of it; I really never consider that possibility! And while we likely won’t go crazy eating things with red dye anyway, it would be nice for her to have a little more freedom of choice!

  2. I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be for your family, especially for Peyton! I think the kids gluten allergies really has given me a deeper understanding of reactions to food and food additives and how difficult it is to avoid the offending ingredients.

    1. Haley, three of our six kiddos have Celiac Disease (have to be gluten free), too. I was wondering if anyone else with gluten issues was reading this. Mandi, It’s true, food issues can be a real downer when it comes to social occasions. I’m glad that kids are so resilient, my kiddos have taken their health into their own hands, too, and are amazing at reading labels now. Thanks for giving a voice to those with food issues!

  3. My kids do not seem to be affected by food dyes, but I have a nephew who is. I am forever frustrated by all the people I meet who perpetually DOUBT the impact that foods, and additives, have on people, most specifically children. If you really LOOK at this child’s face, you can see he is equally bewildered and frustrated– it’s not the same as willful disobedience (though there’s plenty of that, too. 😉 )

    1. Do you avoid all red she’s or just 40? We have been battling the red dye also, the reaction my child had with the red dye we avoid all red.

  4. I lived this with my ten year old! It took several years to find out what was causing her random intense emotional outbursts. A friend pointed out that it might be red dye, I thought that sounded a bit unlikely but decided to start tracking it. I could not believe that red dye was exactly what was causing all these years of problems! Her worst things to eat were Hawaiian Punch and Twizzlers, it seemed to have the most dramatic effect on her. We dont eat much junky food so I was amazed that I didn’t figure it out earlier. In my defense, It is in many things that you would never think! She has almost completely outgrown it now but we still try to avoid it anyway. I can tell by looking at her if she has eaten artifical dyes, her checks get red and slighly puffy and her eyes get slighly red. Red dyes do not effect my younger daughter at all.

  5. I have six children and until number five, I thought people were just over dramatizing the effects of “colors” (which is our word for dyes). We can definitely tell when we have fallen off with our diligence. She is way more grumpy and defiant. She is eight now and has learned to look for colors and avoid them. Now if I can teach her great grandparents the same thing. Lol

  6. Yes, I’m so glad people are becoming aware of this problem. I had found out the correlation between my son’s rage fit and blue dye many years ago. I talked about it to his doctor and he just poo pooed me. I truly believe it is a fact and very difficult to avoid since it is everywhere. It seems that it is lessening as he ages, he is now 17, or maybe they better learn to control their emotions.

  7. I have a red dye sensitivity myself. Depending on the particular dye, I can have mood swings, hyperactivity, upset stomach, and even burning lips and itchy tongue. When my tongue itches and my lips burn, my husband automatically asks me what I ate and starts reading labels. The last time it happened bad was an orange chocolate stick at Christmas. My tongue was itching, my lips were burning, and then started swelling. He started reading candy labels and realized it was an uncommon red dye. I didn’t eat any more of that candy. I’m starting to see the signs in my 3 year old. We try to get gummies and other treats with natural dyes, but sometimes we forget.

  8. It was only about 10 years ago that discovered the connection between my emotional meltdowns and artificial scents. So I can believe that adding colors to food could also cause emotional and hyperactive issues. I can wear a face mask around scented candles and room fresheners but will have to watch more closely to see if any of the “colors” are triggering my emotional meltdowns or migraine headaches.

  9. My kids are all sensitive to dyes, and I can tell by the way that they melt down and the rages, and the completely lack of control over their emotions – especially with my 5 year old son. It makes me so mad and frustrated too that these poisons are still in our food supply. And I cannot even imagine how my sweet kiddos must feel – so out of control of their own bodies and emotions – it makes me so sad for them. And because my hubs and I know about their reactions, I think we often come across to strangers or people outside our immediate family as too lenient and not disciplining enough, but it’s hard to discipline or punish a child when you know it’s not really their fault and that they really can’t control themselves.

    One thing that makes me really mad is the amount of food that is served at my kids’ school that has dye in it. Their school provides free breakfast and lunch for all of the students, and although my kids are rarely allowed to eat it (and they know to avoid the colored foods, but I’m sure there is dye hiding in foods they don’t even realize), I have to believe there are plenty of kids at their school who are dye-sensitive and labeled as “problem” students because of their behavior. This is a serious public health issue that especially affects our kids and our government is doing absolutely nothing to protect us, or the vulnerable children who’s parents don’t realize core of their kid’s problems. Super frustrating!!

    1. I totally agree. The research I read said they could not isolate from the experiment that was done whether is was the dyes themselves or the dyes in combination with the preservative sodium benozate (?) but I think all of the children who are being affected by this and how many parents are unaware of this….

      1. When we found out my son had a sensitivity to all food dyes, we went further with it and eliminated artifical colors/ flavors and preservatives too. Because after only removing the dyes we dound his behavior was affected by those things as well. I am tellin you, after removing these ingredients and seeing the remarkale change in his behavior it is worth all the headache. My son is totally different kid now.

  10. Our youngest has autism, and we have learned that dyes and raw dairy are huge triggers for uncontrollable behavior. It’s hard to believe that dyes are so insidious–we found them in a particular flavor of her favorite breakfast sausage!–but the hidden beauty of this discovery is the power she has attained by taking control and reading package labels herself. She is now 11 and about to start middle school, where the cafeteria selections are more varied and less regulated, so this article is a timely reminder to us to have a little review session on making good choices.

  11. How very timely. I just came back from Walmart, where I was going to buy an OTC med that my son’s GI prescribed for him. I read the ingredients and discovered that it is loaded with artificial colors. WHY? We are going to have to do something else, because I refuse to give him that garbage. I feel your frustration in a big way. My son is allergic to corn, soy, rice, and all nuts. We changed our whole way of living after this discovery, and now it sickens me that so many people don’t have a clue, or just don’t care about what they are consuming.

    1. I hate that it is almost impossible to find kids cold medicine w/o dyes

      1. I have had luck at Wal-greens and Rite Aid with their brands offering a dye free version. Not sure if in all types of medicines but at least for cough medicine and benadryl.

    2. You can request dye free medication preparations.

  12. My son has a similar problem with yellow #5. We did not figure it out until this past Christmas when my MIL gave us some cheese balls – the kind in the big tub. That weekend he was beyond control and severely hyperactive and we could not figure out why. He was diagnosed with ADHD but it was worse than usual and we could not figure it out. On the way to brush his teeth on Sunday night, he asked me “Mommy, how do they get the cheese balls that color? I replied food dyes and it clicked with me right there that I had read an article a few months earlier about research concerning food dyes causing hyperactivity. He had been diagnosed with ADHD earlier in the year and we had been working with our doctor on strategies to help him. I started reading more about food dyes and behavior issues. A week after that on a Wednesday night after church we had to stop by the grocery store and he was again hyper and not listening to us. I started questioning him about if he had snacks in children’s church and he said yes. I casually asked him what kind and he said orange drink and the alarm bells went off in my head. We were walking down the juice aisle and he pointed to a juice bottle and told me that was it. Sure enough yellow 5 and yellow 6. We started checking and like you did with red and it is in almost everything including baked items to give it a gold look and most cheese that is yellow also has yellow 5. We check all labels and after that my 6 year old started checking the labels himself. He has already leaned to advocate for himself and tell his teacher and other adults that he cannot have it. We now cook at home a lot and make almost everything from scratch. I make his lunch for school and any treats so I know what is in them. He has been much calmer now with the diet changes.

    You cannot control it all the time and his grandmother took him out to eat a couple of weeks to ago and when he got back he was hyper off the walls. I asked him what he had to eat and he said he had some french fries and chili and after a few minutes I asked him curiously, was there cheese with those fries and he looked at me and his mouth dropped open and he said he had forgotten but yes there was cheese. I said yellow cheese and he nodded. Case solved! You are not alone as far as seeing issues with dyes and behavior.

  13. We also avoid red dye. My son is deaf, wears cochlear implants, and has ADHD. So sometimes, we are not sure whether his behavior issues come from the ADHD, or his difficulties with his hearing. Nevertheless, we discovered awhile back that red dye seemed to really make him unable to control himself in regards to his behavior. And he recognizes it too. He hates that there are things he “can’t” have, but doesn’t like how he feels when he has the red dye, so he cooperates really well with it. It also makes it easier for him because his brother cannot have dairy. So, there are things my oldest DS can’t have which contain the red dye, and there are things my youngest DS can’t have which contain dairy. Last year, they sat and traded and bartered with each other over their halloween candy. lol. It is frustrating though that other people just don’t “get it” and refuse to go along with it. We have family members who just ignore our requests for the dietary restrictions and think it is no big deal. But, in my experience, it takes a few days for it to clear their system. So even just a tiny bit of red dye IS a big deal!!! Glad to know that we aren’t alone in our quest to keep the red dye out of our child’s system!

  14. It started with my brother who is now 35. We didn’t notice it until he was an adult and it’s become a family joke. When he has red food dye he gets super hyper. It was funny and we’d all laugh at how silly he get on “red food coloring”. Now my 7 yr has the sensitivity and it’s not so fun. He cannot focus, get very hyperactive and has emotional outbursts. He’s like a completely different kid. We have been avoiding food dyes since he was 3 especially on school days. He still has food dyes but when he does I am extra patient with him. I know it’s not him that is acting out and extra grace is due. The US has a long way to go with food standards.

  15. I am wondering if my 53 yr old brother has this problem.

  16. I notice that rage response when I eat sugar (I have type 2 diabetes, so I expect some kind of response and therefore try to limit my sugar consumption), but after reading your post, I realized that the response isn’t the same after eating all kinds of sugar. I may start paying closer attention to see if maybe it is the combination of sugar and red dye that spins me out of control. Thank you for this post.

  17. It took me awhile to figure out it was the red dye that made my daughter’s temper flare so quickly. The revealing culprit at the time was fruit roll ups (yes, I did quit buying them when we figured it out…I really don’t know why I bought them in the first place!). Anyway she is 30 now and does not react like that anymore, but I’m not sure if it’s because she just doesn’t eat those sugary dye filled treats anymore, or because her body is bigger now or what? It was terrible to go through until we figured out what the problem was.

  18. I thought red food dye reactions were a myth. Until we had my now 4yo. Any red food dye, and she gets violent and aggressive. I do forget,and we pay for it. She is getting better about stuff now though and if I say it has red in it, she says OK and stops asking for that ite. she even brought me a yogurt recently and asked if it had red!

    1. My son not only has the behaving reactions but gets chemical cystis (inflamation of the bladder which causes spasms resulting in involuntary urination). Antihistamines reduce his symptoms significantly and eliminating Red 40 has resulted in their complete disappearance. In fact instead of wanting him tested for ADHD his teachers now want him tested for giftedness as he has advanced from grade 1 tasks to end of grade 3 tasks in the last 2 weeks

  19. When my youngest child (now 3) was 1yr old, she would act like a monkey, running into traffic, pulling things off the shelves, jumping around hitting and screaming it was like she couldn’t even hear me literally. My brother in law was ranting constantly about conspiracies and GMO’s etc etc… I went on the internet and researched these things for myself and decided then after many hours of research, not only was the world a lot bigger and scarier than I had once thought but food dyes were the likely culprit in my child outbursts…. so I did an experiment: I cut her off all unnatural foods for 2 weeks, then post valentines day I let her have one sweet tart type dollar store candy before they were thrown out (my family thinks I am nuts and buys the children candy from the dollar store, nice huh?) my husband (who also thought I was nuts) and I observed the behavior. Within 8 mins she was running the length of the house screaming and jumping all over the furniture like a rabid animal… it was a real eye opener for my husband and we decided to limit food dyes. fast forward to this week. I also have slip ups, I do not allow the children pop/soda/etc. the other day while out and about I said yes to Dr. Pepper 6oz cup (I am struggling with the whole I hate you mom because [insert unsupportive extended family members name here] lets me have candy and drink pop!) they didn’t drink it all, but afterwards we went to the grocery store and they literally ran the isles screaming and chasing each other for 30 mins. It was a real eye opener for my mother-in-law who got to witness the behavior first hand. Hopefully the sugar/colors free for all can be kept to a minimum at their house now….

  20. If I had read this article a year ago I would have thought you were nuts, but this is my son to a T. He is 4 1/2 and he has these episodes of seeming lack of emotional control/rage – he’s a completely different kid if I am vigilant about it. He is learning too that artificial dyes are ‘chemicals that hurt his brain’ – he turned down fruit loops on his own accord at a day camp and he avoids things like sprinkles and cherries at the fro yo place. I have eliminated buying anything personally but trouble finds us with things like parade candy and birthday parties. I wish more parents made this link! I need to be more accommodating for him when we are in social situations because there are plenty of alternatives out there!

  21. I have a 5 year old who goes through the same thing. We have gone to “real food only” in our household but had hoped to allow them the freedom of treats at other places like bday parties, AWANA, etc. It’s tough. Because you’re right, most people don’t understand. Or even worse…people just think that’s “normal” life and live with it, not knowing the cause and that it’s completely avoidable for them and their children.

  22. My son is allergic to red dye. In addition to horrid behavior, he looses all good judgment. He would run in traffic if we didn’t hold him back. He’s 8 and it’s very difficult for him to pass up goodies, snack foods, etc. He’s also allergic to other things like sodium benzoate. Try to find a liquid allergy medicine without red dye and it will have sodium benzoate. I have noticed a small trend to eliminate artificial colors in some foods since we identified his problem. Some yogurts that used to be filled with artificial colors are now natural. I hope more and more companies decide to remove artificial junk from their products. On the plus side, most of the food items with artificial colors are filled with other questionable ingredients. So, my entire family has benefitted from getting what i refer to as “food paint” from our diets.

    1. For the allergies, look into a nettle tea. It was wonderful for my nephew who has severe red dye reactions as well as seasonal allergies. Check Pinterest

  23. I sure have. my oldest son who is now 12 has been taking off red dye since he was 7. not only did we see an increase in his emotions but also he had an allergic reaction as well. His lips would turn blue and his body would start to show these weird streaks down his neck and his torso. So now the whole family is off the red dye. What a difference in my other boys. not as many outbursts plus I think our bodies are healthier for it….. but yes I have to be very mindful with our grocery shopping… after a while it becomes second nature. we also have to ask what’s on the menu when we eat at picnics and church gatherings and make sure we bring our own drinks. I’ve had people tell me I’m nuts and I have people tell me that’s awesome that we don’t part take in red dye…..

  24. I also have a child with dye sensitivity. He started complaining of stomach aches late in Kindergarten, then it got worse in First grade.
    The teacher kept saying it was his way to get out of work.He would go to the nurse crying, complaining of his stomach feeling “hot” and his intestines cramping. At home he would act out during the day and at night cry in pain wile I held him while crying and praying he would fall asleep.
    The family Dr. had me cut back to jello and breads for a few days (jello with DYE) and his complaining got worse. Then off to a gastroenterologist 2 hours away who said he was probably holing in his bm, 200.00 later and we leave the office with a note for school saying he can go to the bathroom whenever needed.
    Then one day after having a pack of nab crackers he was so out of control he was in his car seat yelling and bending his leg to hit himself in the head with his foot. (never did this before) I was at wits end. It was actually my husband who finally suggested it may be the food after many late nights surfing the internet. Off to the allergist we went, had the pin picks in his back to eliminate all other possibilities (there is no prick test for dyes) although it makes more sense than oysters on a kids allergy test. After they were neg. the Dr. suggested an “elimination diet” we went with it, no problems for a week. Then she said feed him nabs and Gatorade high in yellow dye. HE WENT CRAZY and wouldn’t get off the toilet because his belly hurt so badly. Dye Sensitivities was the diagnosis, red and yellow in particular. Fast forward and the last half of the school year had no problems, and the next, problem free. It has been a challenge, I get a headache from reading labels nearly every shopping trip. I try to avoid all dyes now, who would’ve thought blue dye in marshmallows?! Seems other kids see it as a weakness, which is heart breaking but then I think if their mothers knew some dyes are actually crude oil byproduct and banned in many countries, would they be sucking that red lolly either?!

    1. Glad your son is better. So sad to hear how kids have to suffer and it’s the parents, not the “expert” medical professionals, who finally find the solution. My kids love S’mores and we had to search all over for marshmallows without blue dye. It’s rediculous.

  25. My 7 yr old son (aspi, adhd, pandas) reacts to red dye the same. I hate hate hate red dye! I also discovered red dye in his spiderman shampoo & body wash that was making him rage. When we eliminate it we have our son back…. when he has it we all just try to get through the day. I have been trying to form a letter writing campaign for a while to show the manufactures that we don’t want the food dye. In all honesty it would probably cost them a minimal amount to change over and they can raise the food price by 5 cents and have it paid off in no time.

      1. Neither did I until I was zoned out in the shower at midnight after a particularly bad day not wanting to get out of the relaxing hot water and started reading the label of it. When I found it a light went off and I took it immediately to the trash!
        Now my son scan’s the ingredients of everything before he asks for it haha

      2. Some hot sauces also have red 40.

    1. Artificial dyes are in clear liquid hand soaps as well as dish soap, laundry soap and softeners as well. My son has anaphylactic allergies to red and yellow dyes as well and opening Christmas gifts this year started a reaction from the red wrapping paper.

  26. I know this to be true of some friends. We were at a birthday party and it was the first time I saw this rage in the older daughter. They have since cut out the dyes and while there are tantrums that are typical of kids, I haven’t seen the rage that it had caused.

  27. My son began having pain episodes when he was two. He couldn’t tell us what was wrong he would just hurt for hours at a time and then sleep for long periods. When he was five he could finally express that he was having migraines. At the time he was also having episodes where his mouth and face would peel and get red like it was severely chapped. When he began reading he complained that his eyes were shaking and his teacher was scheduling him to be tested for learning disabilities, as though he was very disciplined and tenacious, he was struggling at age 6 1/2 to read. That same year he had 12 migraines in 3 months. I began keeping a food journal and noticed that all food dyes were the culprit. When we took him off food dyes his migraines ceased, his face cleared up and within 2 months his reading assessments went up 12 levels. Since then he has had migraines and we will find out that a food dye was in something he ate. It’s very easy to skip the obvious candy and treats because they are obviously colored. But we have found yellow and caramel coloring in barbecue sauce, lunch meat, bacon, cereal, chocolate flavored things. The list goes on. The three biggest frustrations are: 1. schools and churches use treats as reward/motivations and my son gets left out (one time he had a 72 hour migraine from one starburst) 2. as a society we assume we are buying meat but many times it is something else that is colored to look like meat. This goes for chocolate too. Many times it is just a foriegn substance that is flavored and colored with chemicals to appear and taste like chocolate. 3. Although many restaurants are coming to light as they have mislead or refused to show customers what they are actually consuming. One I can think of is Taco Bell who within the last 9 years stopped using ground beef to cut costs. Instead they began using some other substance and coloring/flavoring it to appear to be beef. Wouldn’t you know I got sick on tacos 3 times while I was pregnant? And up until a month ago, we didn’t know that their meat and sauces have red, yellow and caramel coloring. Something as simple as a quick taco made my son very ill. we didn’t know why until recently. 4. Many people who try to think of my son at parties etc. will make a white cake mix or a white icing mix but all pure white products have BLUE color in them to make them appear more white. I don’t buy anything boxed and my son has learned to read labels and avoid certain foods when he is away from us. But it makes me most angry that America is the only country that is allowing this. Companies such as Kraft and Kellogs leave the food dyes out of their products in Europe but the exact same products are sold to Americans with food dyes. I have read all of these comments and heard so many variations of reactions children have to these colors. Even in the children that seemingly seem to be fine eating these dyes, we may just not see how it is harming them yet. I tell my son his reaction is a blessing as he will stay away from these harmful chemicals. I know many nutritionists already attribute food additives to depression, autism spectrum and sensory integration, learning disabilities and adhd, sleep disorders, gastro issues, skin and sleep disorders. However, I couldn’t get any answers or assistance regarding this from my pediatrician.

  28. Thanks so much for sharing! I had a similar experience with a piano student of mine a few years ago. The normally sweet child was a terror that day, resisting everything I asked him to do. After the lesson his mom informed me that she had sent red and black tortilla chips in his lunch for the class’s Halloween celebration. (YIKES?!?!) I wish I’d known beforehand, but I will never discredit anyone who says dyes affect their children 🙂

    Also, I once saw Red 40 on the ingredient list for a bag of plain shrimp. Check everything, like you said!

  29. Amen…I took my son to the doctor to see about help with behavior and from my screening she states mostly he has ADHD and that she wants to start him out on Ritalin….. Which had dyes in it.

  30. I agree with you and wish all dyes were removed from all foods. I first noticed my daughter’s reaction to dyes when she was only two. On Halloween, I allowed her to eat a ring pop and that was the worse thing I’ve ever seen. It took several holidays of eating foods and candy with dyes for me to realize what was happening. She becomes irrational, says horrible things and wants to runaway. It is very scary to think what those terrible chemicals are doing to our brains. We have also eliminated preservatives too and my daughters are on the Feingold diet. It’s been a Godsend for us.

    -Shawn

  31. My oldest seems to be effected by red dye too. We first noticed it when she was a toddler and I unknowingly let her eat a red velvet cupcake. She went into a full blown rage. We have limited her red dye intake ever since.

  32. My 6 year old son has a different reaction to it… He gets quiet, slow, tired and then will end up vomiting 🙁 We finally figured out the link to the red food dye this summer and sort of had a trial on vacation (I even thought about it before he ate the very articifially colored buffalo sauce) but it confirmed the red dye theory 🙁 Guess we will avoid it at all costs.

  33. My daughter reacts to blue and red food dye. Usually with red she cries over nothing for hours. With blue, she is very angry and upset and screams and yells. We’ve eliminated them all from our diet and it is very apparent if my daughter has had one. Sometimes she gives in and do we can all tell. And it reminds her how awful it is and then she’ll avoid it for another 3-6 months. I am so happy you wrote this post! When I tell people, they think I’m crazy.

  34. Our child is dye sensitive also, although not to this extreme, but a noticeable change in personality and hyperactivity. We also discovered it in the toothpaste, when she would suddenly be very hyper at bedtime. The all natural brand we had normally used was out so we had chosen an alternative, name brand children’s paste. It is so frustrating that our FDA allows these ingredients when they are banned in other countries, ignoring and discrediting the overwhelming evidence of their harmful effects. Even more frustrating is that companys change their formulations in order to be sold overseas, but do not take the same precautions for their American consumers. We must do our homework to protect our families and let our dollars do the talking at the grocery store.

    1. Can I ask what you use now for toothpaste? Thanks!

      1. Mist white toothpastes are dye free. Just read the ingredients 🙂 we use sensodyne brand or Colgate now but have used organic brands like Jasons in the past too, which how have no flouride.

  35. I think Luisa might have this. How delayed might a a reaction be and still be connected to the dye, do you think? We’ve kept her off the dye for a loooong time, but last night she had some M&Ms and this morning she had a rage – and she hadn’t had a rage in forever. 🙁 Not sure if it’s really connected but she does seem to often have rages when she has the red dye.

    1. I would say 12-24 hours would indicate a connection. Sometimes ours are within the same day if she eats it early in the same day, but often they’re the next morning.

  36. My son struggles with ADHD. We realized when he was very young that artificial dyes and flavors caused his symptoms to worsen. He is a teenager now and can tolerate some artificial. We try to keep his diet as clean as possible, but that is sometimes hard to with a teenager!

  37. Most food dyes affect my daughter and Red #40 is by far the worst. We discovered it at age two because of the Benadryl we have to keep on hand for her peanut allergy. Thankfully Benadryl now makes a dye free version. When she was six we went through a period of a month where she would rage and sometimes physically attack me. She had been getting a piece of her Halloween candy each day, usually one that did not have red dye, yet she was still losing it. We finally removed all dyes and eat as much unprocessed food as possible. We suspect there are some preservatives that affect her as well. She’s 8 now and is getting better at self regulation. We too fall into that lull of “Ok, give it a try” and live to regret it. Just recently she said “Mommy, I feel different when I have red dye.” It can be a crazy road.

  38. I think I’m going to have to start making notes and watching for this. When our littlest was a toddler, just eating real food, she had a lot of sensitivity to foods and it would make her cheeks bright red. Red dye seemed to be a big cluprit- no strawberry stuff for her. She also was affected by kidney beans. Some things didn’t have a dye in them, like potatoes and green beans, but I think she was sensitive to them as well, and to this day, will not eat potatoes- she used to eat a fry here and there, but doesn’t like them anymore. So some things were not dye related, but I’m kind of thinking I better watch for a connection with moods.

    1. Some doctors think that having dyes in your system increases general food sensitivities. My doctor says he has seen people lose their other sensitivities after eliminating dyes.

  39. is there a test to find this out? what is it called? im pretty sure mine has it.

    1. There’s not a test; for most people, it’s tested through exposure and evaluating the reaction.

    2. You eliminate all dyes for a week and then give them some water with that particular food dye in it. You may have to do this with multiple dyes. They should react within an hour very few take longer then this to react and most react quite quickly. My son reacts to Red 40 within a few minutes

  40. We have a daughter who goes into rages, but we haven’t yet figured out what good sensitivity, if any, might be causing it. Sometimes they’ll happen a couple times a week, and the. We can go for longer periods of time without them. Some have suggested we take her off wheat and dairy, but e thought of such a radical diet change without knowing for certain it will help is very overwhelming for me. Maybe I need to keep a food diary for her to see if we can find a common link.

  41. That’s very interesting. I’d heard of dye sensitivities before but I’d never heard anybody’s story. I’m glad that you were able to make the connection between the dye and the behavior. It took me awhile to make the connections to what causes me problems. I also think it’s really awesome that your daughter took ownership and cooperates with you in eliminating the dye. Thanks for sharing your story!

  42. My daughter has had an intolerance to red 40 since she was a toddler. It didn’t take us long to figure it out when she threw up anything red or pink. With her it is only liquid red 40. We avoided it as much as possible reading labels and having a health form at school so she could get substitutions for jello, etc. She is now 14 years old and self monitors. She doesn’t throw up these days, but does get an upset stomach if she has something red. I have been sensitive to red 40 myself since childhood, it gave me headaches and sometimes stomach aches and I still avoid it as much as possible. It’s crazy how many products it is in!

  43. My seven year old daughter has this same problem with red food dyes. It seems to take days to get her acting back to normal again. She becomes argumentative, moody, and not able to focus on anything.

  44. Our sin is the same way, in addition to the screaming and the inability to control his emotions that follow he also has night terrors and wakes up screaming more times than we can count. We discovered red 40 and yellow 5 on our own. Almost over night it all changed. Dr.’s and teachers still look at me as if I’m crazy. I even recently visited a new dr. who asked if that allergy had been “dr. diagnosed”. However, she did write the antibiotic perscription for dye free medicine and that required us to return to walgreens 3 times to complete the perscription. I wish it wasn’t used in almost everything.

    1. Oops son, not sin

      1. You can edit your original post

  45. My daughter does not have a problem with dyes but we avoid them solely for the same reason we avoid many additives/ chemicals/ gmo ingredients in our food. These things are harmful to our health even if our body tolerates them. There is no reason we should not be regulated the same way as other countries and have food manufactures put a warning label on the food that contains dyes and label the gmo in the ingredient list also. This is the only way manufactures are going to limit putting these in our foods!

  46. I have 2 out of 3 confirmed allergic – for them red upchuck ensues with a horrid headache. We are really health conscious so it works out for us to avoid it anyway and mine want nothing to do with it. My first known one started at about age 2, she will still ask if certain foods are “red fake dye” (like strawberries) if she is unsure 🙂 glad it’s been easy to avoid. Makes you wonder what kind of awful stuff they are trying to feed us!!

    1. We also have to avoid soaps, finger painting with certain colors, and play dough that has red or she will get a rash.

  47. Oh my! It took me a year to figure out my daughters dye allergy. My pediatrician said her blinking and eye rolling was going to resolve it self, neurologist said Tucs, need therapy or meds, then the forehead started twitching and head started hurting…… The story is too long to tell, but thank God for Internet I found her problem…. She reads everything and will not eat anything that us not natural….. God help us all… Our food industry is failing

  48. This sounds so much like my son. He’s like a different child when he eats artificially-dyed food/candy. Red dye bothers him the most, but others do as well. When he eats bright, artificially colored food, it gives him terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. I too am frustrated that red dye especially has to be in EVERYTHING. He is only three years old but already knows that “colors” make him sick, especially red. The trouble is he can’t quite differentiate yet between what is good or bad red food. The other day, I heard him tell someone, “I can’t eat that apple because it’s red.” Little cutie… I wish the poor kid didn’t need to worry about that sort of thing. 🙁

  49. Your article described my three year old daughter to a “T.” She is so sweet and tends to be a bit feisty at times, but this summer, we made the undeniable link between her hyperactivity / rage / emotional sensitivity to dyes in food (red and yellow in particular). I started reading more about it this past spring and suspected it was the culprit but wasn’t positive until we started eliminating it and then she had some again. It was complete insanity and proved the theory perfectly. Let’s just say I do a LOT of my shopping at Trader Joe’s now since they don’t have artificial colors in any of their foods (none that I’ve found at least), though I still always scan the labels to be sure. This school year, I felt confident enough in our self diagnosis to write “food dye” in the allergy section of all her school registration papers. I’m not happy about the diagnosis, but I am glad to hear that it’s more commonly suspected than it used to be by parents whose kiddos seem to have the same outbursts. Hopefully, all of that will lead to some more cautious manufacturers in the future. Also, I read somewhere that for those with a food dye intolerance, it can have some developmental effects as well, which just gives me more motivation to avoid it… for everyone, intolerant or not!

    1. My son gets chemical cystis. This results in incontinence. He also has bravioral issues when on Red 40 but the incontinence in particular made it very difficult to make friends. We are now dye free and he only experiences these problems if someone gives him something with Red 40. Fortunately Reactine chewable dye free tablets help within an hour and lets him feel normal and not have bathroom problems while the dye gets out of his system(which takes about a day and a half)

  50. I don’t have children, but the red dye sensitivity reared its ugly head on myself. At the ripe old age of 38, I began getting migraines. After some research on the net, I concluded it was the dye. I completely eliminated it from my diet….and guess what???? No more migraines!

  51. Night terrors and gastro pain are the result of red dye in our home. My daughter has scars behind her ears from tearing at them in terror. We scour every label – even “clear” medicine can have red dye and it is not limited to Red No. 4…it goes by so many names and is so completely insidious that it is exhausting to monitor.
    Because she doesn’t have an anaphylactic reaction, people assume she is not allergic (including *SMH* her grandparents GRRRRR!!!!)

  52. I know your pain. In the last 6 months our house hold has been flipped upside down. My oldest daughter is now 15. Every time she has something with red dye 33 red dye 40 or red dye 56 she goes into anaphylaxis shock. We are now reading everything on labels calling the manufactures just to make sure it is not in the stuff we purchase. The has been in and out of the hospital so many times. Her pediatrician knows that this is what is causing it. The hospitals say no she has vocal cord disfunction. The sad part is she has been to the allergist and there is no test for red dye. The FDA does not make it forced to be put on the labels of everything they don’t even recognize it as an allergy. I feel like my world is falling apart and there is just know hope. You can’t even touch her if you had something with red dye. That is how bad it is. Her body has now stopped getting the bad rashes or the puffy lips or swollen tongue. We just go straight to anaphylaxis. Well from my family to yours I pray for your daughter. I just wish the would ban it like Europe did.

  53. Hi

    I’m an adult mom and experimented strong allergic reaction to red dye 2 years ago. I had a bad sinus infection so I was treated with some penecillin (red dye), sinus medication (red dye too). I start having a rash and the pharmacist told me it was the penecillin.

    We were going on a vacation, so I bought some M&M (red dye). In the plane, my fingers were tingling, my lips too. So I took Benadryl. (Pink Benadryl, obviously).

    I got worse before the Benadryl kicked in. I could have actually die.

    My family and even my doctor thought it was imagination/anxiety, because the symptoms would fluctuate day to day or even in the same day. I realized by chance it was related to the red dye, number 40.

    Avoiding medication with red dye is really hard, sometimes it llooks red but there is no dye and sometimes it is yellow but with red dye. Be careful!

    1. Wow, Anne – that is really scary! It’s so frustrating how many places it’s found, isn’t it? What’s wrong with white or clear medicine anyway?!

  54. I suspected that my sons nightmares and behavior problems were caused by dyes, but when I eliminated them from his diet, the symptoms just seemed more eratic and unexplainable. Until I realized that the temporary tattoos that he had been wearing for the last six months (a book of them given at Xmas) was the source! Now we only have trouble after holidays when they give out the candy in school. (?!?!)

  55. My daughter, now 21, suffered terribly from food dyes as well. I could have written the article myself. We made the connection when she was 2, and we promptly followed the Feingold Diet. (google it) We were able to narrow down her sensitivities to just food dye, but let me share some points:
    *don’t forget purple and orange food items also contain red dye.
    *don’t dismiss other food dyes for affecting your children’s behavior; the results may just not be as dramatic as red. Yellow in particular has been linked to autoimmune in some studies.
    *red dye has been proven to affect the nervous system
    *someone mentioned personal care products, but also consider temporary tattoos, kiddos who draw on themselves with markers, face paint, etcetera.
    *as an educator, I personally saw the effects of children’s attention in the classroom based on what they had for breakfast. I would ask particularly inattentive children what they had for breakfast and created my own not-so-scientific research.
    Someone else mentioned the link to Coal Tar extractives and other chemicals in our food dye – it is truth. Think about what we are feeding our children.
    There is a wealth of all-natural fun things (cupcake sprinkles, lollipops, etc.) available now. Even Benadryl and children’s Motrin make dye-free versions; you just have to be willing to hunt (and pay.) Believe it or not, I found many store brands tended to be more natural than name brands, and they were less expensive.

    1. Has your daughter out grown this?

  56. Oh Mandi!! Our 7-year old has red dye sensitivity and it leads to violent coughing outbursts.. She coughs for like hours and it’s SOO tough to watch. We’re hypervigilant too, but here labeling isn’t as “open” as it should be and we’ve often had it sneak into our home.

    Thanks SO much for sharing this.

    1. Interesting, my daughter coughs from eggs and corn syrup. From red dye we have the anger emotional and temperament issues. I guess it affects different people different ways

  57. Yep, except it’s not just red dye for us, it’s anything artificial.

  58. I’ll tell you what “red dye sensitivity” means to your family….it’s means you’re a moron. You’ve linked two things that don’t have a correlation like a pretentious suburbanite mom with too much time on her hands and an internet connection is prone to do.

  59. Somebody please help..

  60. I am new to this red dye sensitivity but wanted to share my story in case it helps someone. I’m still trying to figure out if red dye is to blame but having just spent hours researching this, I’m convinced red dye is affecting me. I’m 46 and have a series of allergies to all sorts of drugs, pollen and other chemicals. I also have hypothyroidism and take Synthroid. I have taken Synthroid since 1997 and in various dosages. In 2014, after a bad reaction to a steroid shot, my doctor put me on a high dose of Synthroid at .150 mg. I tolerated it. When I went back in six months, he said I was getting a bit too much and lowered it to .125. That’s when the problems started. Granted, a lot of issues go with thyroid but I have never experienced anything like this. My hair started falling out, my heart rate escalated to 120, my blood pressure went haywire, my periods were all over the map. I had massive heat intolerance, which I had never had. But it was the rage and craziness I felt. Pure rage. I would have these uncharacteristic tantrums. It was crazy. Finally, thinking I was overmedicated, I demanded the doctor lower my medicine to .100 mg and I found a new doctor. I chalked it up to thyroid hormones. In August 2015, this new doctor increased it my medicine to .112 after a test showed I needed more. Within days, I felt the rage return but not the other symptoms. In November, he increased it again to .125 and I had the same symptoms I had in 2014. I randomly mentioned this to a neighbor who saw me outside gasping for air while I was trying to calm down. She asked if I had a red dye allergy. I said I had no idea. I had vaguely heard of red dye allergies. But after she asked me, I forgot.

    Today I went to the doctor and I told the nurse that I really thought something was wrong with the batches of .125. That I had had the same symptoms on it before. My 84-year-old mother went to explain this crazy rage that she had only occasionally seen in me as a child. The nurse asked what color the pill was. I said grey. Then I asked her if it could be a red dye allergy. She said yes but there was likely no red dye in a grey. pill. She was wrong. I immediately started researching it. I’m a reporter so that’s what I do. The .125 has FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake. The .112, which also reacts oddly with me but not as badly, has
    D&C Red No. 27 & 30 Aluminum Lake. Two weeks ago, I lowered my own dose to .100 and I have not as much rage or anxiety or the physical symptoms. I didn’t mention the dye to my doctor but it would not have mattered. He dismissed my rages as a female hormone problem. Maybe so. I’m going to go get that checked out. But I went to my trusted pharmacist, who knows all of my allergies, and she agreed that it could be the dye. She has flagged my profile with a red dye allergy. I post this in case there are any children / teenagers or adults who may not be aware of Synthroid and its dyes. I’ve spent all night looking at labels and fortunately, I don’t have much food or shampoos or cosmetics with red dye in them. But from now on I’m going to watch what I eat and I will refuse to take .125 Synthroid. If anyone has any research on this, please share it and I hope no one has to go through the hell I’ve gone through in the last two years. I feel for all of you who are having to deal with either your own reactions or your children’s. It’s truly horrible.

  61. I have 3 kids. My 5 year old son has sensory but is very smart. He has had night terrors since he was at least 2. Up until the first of this year. I seen a article talking about red 40 and what the side effects are. So i tested it. Kept him off anything with red 40 for 3 weeks. 4th week gave him fruit punch and he had 3 night terrors in 1 night. So i now know that he cant have food dyes. I agree with your statement about reading the labels. Its taking more time to shop for stuff now. But luckily there are companys that are finally taking the artificial colors out. So there is stuff he can enjoy and not have the weird taste. Now the only time he doesnt sleep good is if he is sick or went to bed late. No more terrors here. Thanks for sharing your story. I totally related to it.
    Andrea

  62. I found out that my son had an issue with red dye when he was about 4. He had a square of red jello – 2 hours later he was nasty, awful, yelling, uncontrollable – then a crying sobbing blob on the floor. 4 days later a “reward” at the end of a class was a dum-dum lollypop that was – RED! Same reaction. He is now 14 and went to Boy Scout camp a few weeks ago. He decided to have some fruit punch. 2 hours later he was – you guessed it (there had been some teasing and bullying going on before this) nasty, awful, yelling, uncontrollable (and now he knows more words) and was sent home. (sigh) Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Sorry that happened. I’m 47 & still have this type of reaction to red dyes. My husband, kids 18 & 12 also suffer if we accidentally get some at a restaurant or party. Luckily not often. But kids will push limits, test, and get sick of having to pass on things all the other kids have. It happens.

  63. We have a 4 year old (Asbergers, ADHD, OCD) and we eliminate dyes. He is a completely changed child. But I need help. What do you do once a family member or the school gives him back and has unknowingly givens him Red dye?

    We’ve tried large amounts of water. We’ve tried trying to calm him in a quiet places. We’ve tried giving him objects that would normally distract him. But nothing works. He literally is in a complete panic, screaming, kicking and flailing.

    It eventually wears off, but as it is happening, looks to be the most miserable way to live, but I know accidents happen, even though we try to prevent them.

    But how do you handle the aftermath oder Red dye 40?

    1. First of all, get your doctor or therapist to document the allergy in his file. Put it in his scool paperwork (health card, I.E.P., or 509) drop an email to his teachers, counselor, and copy the nurse, vp, and principal. Do this proactively and ask that up be notified in writing (email is fine) before any reward parties, birthdays, holiday parties, special projects that might include food, candy, or art materials, etc) so you can provide alternative treats or project ingredients. Get a rubber maid storage box and label it with your child’s name. Stock it with organic treats. Health food stores and even some grocery stores now have organic gummies, lollipops and other pre-packaged treats like chocolate chip granola bars jelly beans, & organic chocolate bars. Leave this in the classroom & restock it as needed.

      As far as what to do after an oops? Document in writing what happened (unplanned party / treat from bus driver / sharing lunch items etc) you might need to reschedule activities for a few days, be supportive, talk to the child about how it feels and how hard it is to feel this way. We take dye free Benadryl, which only helps slightly. Drink Lots of fluids (flush with vitamin C but read more about it first – Google it). And rest. Don’t ask too much of them or yourself for 2-3 days. That’s how long it lasts for me.

  64. Hi all! I found this info for the first time and its interesting to me. I, myself am allergic or intolerant of red 40. As a child my mother pin pointed it . it took a few years. But with my intolerance, red dye 40 would make me vomit and start having an asthma attack. So for years I was not able to have anything red, and in some cases even other colors contained the red dye 40. Which as a kid i can tell u, it sucks. U cant drink the red koolaid all ur friends r drinking, and candy, popsicles, and other stuff was alot of the time out of the question since most blues, purples, oranges and such also contained red dye 40. I am now 27. Just a couple years ago I decided to try to drink something red.. A red Gatorade. And to my suprise i didnt vomit or have an asthma attack. So I decided to share this with u, as maybe some hope for the parents and children that they may grow out of it when the child gets older. Thats the only thing i can figure is that as i got older, my body no longer wanted to reject the red dye. I was very suprised to see so many other children r still have problems with red dye, and specifically red dye 40. I hope this gives someone a light at the end of the tunnel. In the 90s when i was growing up alot of people and even doctors kept telling my mother that me being intolerant of red dye 40 wasnt something very believable. Im glad its become more recognized now. Also, I only had a reaction when I ingested the red dye 40 (food, drink, medicine). Good luck to all!!)

  65. A thousand times YES! We’ve dealt with this for so long. The rages are so uncontrollable and horrible. Red 40 is a common word in our house and all the kids know it’s a no-no. It has become a no-no for all 3 kids even though it only affects 2 of them (and the worst for our oldest.) For years I didn’t know what was causing these rage sessions until one day it started happening in the car after we left my parents house. I had an intuitive moment that this was a chemical thing. This wasn’t natural, something was set off in her brain and I finally knew it. Then I saw the bag of red peppermints my daughter had eaten in the backseat that my parents had (lovingly)given to her as a treat. I looked at the ingredients and looked up red 40…that was our answer…

    1. So glad you found out. The overly emotional, angry, short tempered reaction is hard to take. For the sufferer as well as friends & family. Like Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde, it feels terrible to behave in shameful ways and hurt those around you but not be able to stop.

  66. As a 37 year old woman I found out that my G.I. issues and severe swelling of joints was due to red 40. Even a purple eyeliner with carmine (the beetle used to make foods red “naturally”) caused a pink eye reaction. I just wanted to my frustration of having to constantly check labels and one failure to do so causes me to pay the price for at least two weeks.

    This is all new for me, as I never had issues with red 40 or any other dye in the past, but my 72 year old father is also experiencing issues after consuming red 40. So it makes me wonder what or if it’s being made the same.

    I blame the FDA for ignoring the health of the consumers and caring more about the profits of the companies who manufacture the dyes and the ones who use them. I’m hopeful that something will change soon.

    Thank you for sharing your story and awareness, it’s something I never thought to look for in my own daughter but will from now on.

  67. I lye in bed in pain today because I crossed yellow 5 & 6 in restaurant food yesterday. I get gout like joint pain from Red 40, Yellow 5 for sure, but I also find 5 & 6 used together in foods so I am not ruling out 6. It only takes a few hours for a random joint swelling up, today it’s in my left foot. I have had my left knee, right knee, right elbow, left wrist all swell up.

    My sister was always sensitive to red, she would vomit up hotdogs or kool aid when we were kids. I had my first outbreak with gout like symptoms when I was 29. I am now 47 and looking back this has been an issue for quite some time. When I was younger red colored food or pop would cause migraines, just never associated it.

    The trigger that woke me to the fact these food colorings were affecting me happened three years ago, I was hospitalized for a few weeks, a few weeks in a nursing home, I lost quite a bit of weight. I was at Target and they had Red Vines on sale, picked up a package, and ate several pieces. Within two hours my right knee swelled up, with a visible welt above the knee cap. It took days to go down.

    I have since found that when I mess up if I catch it early enough I can take 1000mg of bromelain and 1500mg of quercetin will reverse the effects. I have also found if I skip my daily coffee intake it makes me more sensitive. I have ate the same foods and one time had a reaction and not another. Coffee seems to subdue the effects of dyes on me.

    I hope this information helps someone with this puzzle. I also have bad reactions to Levaquin. My uncle had a tendon burst while on Cipro.

  68. I just discovered today the cause of all my sensitivity to food problems, the 34 years of endless episodes of migraines that ended with terrorizing puking crises of 2-12 hours (bad ones lasted couple days/ they were no stomach flu), no doctor could explain because I had not plausible allergic reaction that could be the culprit. Over life medicines caused me more trouble than help. The more I read about food dyes, the more revelations I get, on your text I understood why most toothpaste and mouthwash either makes me feel nauseous or causes me the bitter taste 🙁 I can taste something wrong (bitter) in almost everything I ingest, even some fruits caused me to taste something weird too 🙁 I wish I did not have this sensibility but after having severe bad reactions on late may 2017 to a ice shaved syrup drink (no alcohol which I have to refrain from or I get sick *wink* (full of dyes I just learned too)), and this past Sunday after having a half Italian ice mango. I had severe stomach cramps, almost made a stop at a hospital, got faint spells later on (I ate the Italian ice and couldn’t eat for the next 4 hours due to nauseous feeling), the next day I had some out of this world diarrhea (sorry for tmi), and I linked the artificial culprit color to these episodes and everything else just makes sense now. I can’t eat most hotdogs brands, juices most of the time gets me bad headache, I guess I can figure why redbull gives me a very abnormal bad mood, all the bitter taste I always feel, the cause of most crises being in the summer (hello Gatorade), the toothpaste and mouthwash was really bothering me and I couldn’t figure why, and I always have issues with some mess that aren’t ‘old style white pills’ :-$ I’m happy that now I’m headed to better health and
    experiences 🙂

  69. My youngest has red dye rage, we knew something was wrong but assumed she was in her terrible 2’s, then 3’s and oh no it was now terrible 4’s… it was so frequent and bad that we even named it “Fitsy”. While on vacation a couple summers ago my cousin told us about her son who has red dye rage so bad he can’t have store bought meat because they inject it with dye to keep it looking pink. She described all the same symptoms my daughter had. We immediately ran into the cabin and took the Doritos away from her and tossed out all the non-white freezies. At first she was upset but when we explained what was happening and she had a couple days without chocolate milk she started to feel better. She now also self regulates very well and can talk about how it feels when she has red dye, which doesn’t sound fun at all. My oldest doesn’t seem to be affected but I read all the labels and limit her exposure as well out of fairness for all. There are still a lot of people out there that don’t think this is a real thing and it’s very frustrating. It is VERY real. It is VERY frustrating. And i am with you, why do we need to add these to our foods when they aren’t necessary at all. It is harming our kids and who god only knows what else.

  70. I had an intolerance test done and it showed red dye being my highest intolerance. I have wondered if it would show up to everyone in the same way since it’s an artificial ingrediant. My son is this way with anything articially colored blue. The red dye is in blue colored foods but he doesn’t react to red. I don’t know if it is the combinations of dyes to form the blue or a specific ingrediants. He luckily doesn’t rage but he becomes very hyper active to the point he will actually bounce off of walls. I try and avoid it but blue raspberry is his favorite flavor and he will eat it if I am not around at the time of him receiving it.

  71. I found this post online today, searching for new information about red dye allergy. It’s been many years since we found out our family is intolerant to red 40 and to a lesser extent other coal tar derived food dyes. We’ve been successful at eliminating all sources of red dye including in places like shampoos lotions soaps temporary tattoos finger paints when they were little, toothpaste, medicines, vitamins, even washing Red Clothing multiple times before wearing it. I want to share what works for us because I know how hard it was when we first discovered to put together all the pieces. We found it necessary to tell the people close to us like grandparents and siblings to make sure they understood how to check for red dye. I make sure to always stock alternative treats and keep them ready for when they’re invited to birthday parties or impromptu gatherings. I’ve learned to bake since red dye turns up most frequently for us in things like Bakery Goods and rather than just never have them, my kids appreciate having a version of a cupcake. Donuts make good substitutions for school birthday parties. We’ve gotten to be good friends with Organic sections in our grocery stores and frequent the all organic grocery stores like Whole Foods and independent smaller chains in our city. We have websites to order treats for the holidays things like candy canes and jelly beans used to be impossible to find locally although they’re getting more common these days.

    I found that it’s very important to be 100% vigilant. There’s really no excuse for slipping up and ingesting red dye because I’m too lazy to get out my phone and Google ingredients or too tempted by a treat to pass it up if I can’t figure out what’s in it. I suffer from three full days of reactions if there is an accidental ingestion or exposure. It’s just not worth it relationships with family and friends neighbors and even strangers on the street can be impacted by Reckless Behavior, insensitivity to others, anger, aggression, short-tempered and hot tempered reactions. I lose all patience with people around me and often times feel like I want to kick something. Thankfully I’m an adult and most times can stop from kicking anything. So you can imagine how hard it must be for a child to try to understand these raging feelings and not to feel badly about themselves when and if they over react to something or lose their temper and behave in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise behave.

    Things that work: please know that I’m not a doctor and I have no idea how universally these things will work for other people. Do your own resaerch. Try things carefully and see what works for you.
    1. Benadryl, dye free liquid. Works only partially but seems to help. Causes sleepiness so isn’t good for school or driving
    Or times you need to NOT fall asleep! Good to help calm down & sleep that first night when you realize there’s been a problem.
    2. Theanine. 1/2 capsule or tablet 2x a day. Helps with rage and impulsivity. Can be put in juice or applesauce or honey. Seems ok to take and ho to work & function.
    3. Flush with Vitamin c (ascorbic acid to bowel tolerance) helps with severity and duration by getting it out faster.
    4. Magnesium. Calms down and helo to sleep at bedtime, instead of Benadryl or in conjunction. Google it. It’s great for add add aspies etc. Helps with focus. I take daily along with vit c and niacinimide.

    ♡ hope some of this helps! Maybe you already know all of this … Maybe you’ve got better and different info to share? Please do! We need better understanding of this “intolerance” so all help is greatly appreciated!

  72. My daughter has a red dye “allergy” as we call it. It’s way too much to explain to school and other parents that it’s a mental reaction vs physical. My daughter’s sensitivity to red dye only began after coming off of a medication called Montelukast (Singulair). I’m really curious to know if your daughter has ever taken that medication?? Please let me know – you can email me at mrsbpc1 at gmail dot com.

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