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Embargoed by Nature Communications until
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, at 11 a.m. ET
Common food dye can trigger inflammatory bowel diseases, say McMaster researchers
Hamilton, ON (Dec. 20, 2022) – Long-term consumption of Allura Red food dye can be a potential trigger of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, says McMaster University’s Waliul Khan. Researchers using experimental animal models of IBD found that continual exposure to Allura Red AC harms gut health and promotes inflammation.
The dye directly disrupts gut barrier function and increases the production of serotonin, a hormone/neurotransmitter found in the gut, which subsequently alters gut microbiota composition leading to increased susceptibility to colitis.
Khan said Allura Red (also called FD&C Red 40 and Food Red 17), is a common ingredient in candies, soft drinks, dairy products and some cereals. The dye is used to add colour and texture to foodstuffs, often to attract children.
The use of synthetic food dyes such as Allura Red has increased significantly over the last several decades, but there has been little earlier study of these dyes’ effects on gut health. Khan and his team published their findings in Nature Communications. Yun Han (Eric) Kwon, who recently completed PhD in Khan’s laboratory, is first author.
“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 implication in the prevention and management of gut inflammation,” said Khan, the study’s senior author, a professor of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and a principal investigator of Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.
“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,” he said.
“The 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.”
Khan said that IBDs are serious chronic inflammatory conditions of the human bowel that affect millions of people worldwide. While their exact causes are still not fully understood, studies have shown that dysregulated immune responses, genetic factors, gut microbiota imbalances, and environmental factors can trigger these conditions.
In recent years there has been significant progress in identifying susceptibility genes and understanding the role of the immune system and host microbiota in the pathogenesis of IBDs. However, similar advances in defining environmental risk factors have lagged, he said.
Khan said that environmental triggers for IBDs include the typical Western diet, which includes processed fats, red and processed meats, sugar and a lack of fibre. He added that the Western diet and processed food also includes large amounts of various additives and dyes.
He added that the study suggests a link between a commonly used food dye and IBDs and warrants further exploration between food dyes and IBDs at experimental, epidemiological and clinical levels.
The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Pictures of Waliul Khan may be found at: https://bit.ly/3jdynps
The paper is available post embargo at: https://go.nature.com/3hALLDA
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Faculty of Health Sciences
Method of Research
Subject of Research
Chronic exposure to synthetic food colorant Allura Red AC promotes susceptibility to experimental colitis via intestinal serotonin in mice
Article Publication Date
The authors declare no competing interests
安大略省漢密爾頓（2022 年 12 月 20 日）——麥克馬斯特大學的 Waliul Khan 說，長期食用誘惑紅食用色素可能是炎症性腸病 (IBD)、克羅恩病和潰瘍性結腸炎的潛在誘因。 使用 IBD 實驗動物模型的研究人員發現，持續接觸誘惑紅 AC 會損害腸道健康並促進炎症。
Khan 說誘惑紅（也稱為 FD&C Red 40 和 Food Red 17）是糖果、軟飲料、乳製品和一些穀物中的常見成分。 這種染料用於為食品添加顏色和質地，通常是為了吸引兒童。
在過去幾十年中，誘惑紅等合成食用色素的使用顯著增加，但早期很少有人研究這些色素對腸道健康的影響。 Khan 和他的團隊在 Nature Communications 上發表了他們的發現。 最近在 Khan 實驗室完成博士學位的 Yun Han (Eric) Kwon 是第一作者。
“這項研究證明了誘惑紅對腸道健康的顯著有害影響，並將腸道血清素確定為調節這些影響的關鍵因素。 這些發現對預防和管理腸道炎症具有重要意義，”該研究的資深作者、病理學和分子醫學系教授、法恩科姆家庭消化健康研究所首席研究員 Khan 說。
“我們的發現令人震驚和震驚，因為這種常見的合成食用色素可能是 IBD 的飲食誘因。 這項研究在提醒公眾注意我們每天食用的食用色素的潛在危害方面取得了重大進展，”他說。
Khan 說，IBD 是人類腸道的嚴重慢性炎症，影響著全世界數百萬人。 雖然其確切原因仍未完全了解，但研究表明，免疫反應失調、遺傳因素、腸道微生物群失衡和環境因素可引發這些情況。
近年來，在鑑定易感基因和了解免疫系統和宿主微生物群在 IBD 發病機制中的作用方面取得了重大進展。 然而，他說，在定義環境風險因素方面的類似進展卻滯後了。
Khan 說，IBD 的環境誘因包括典型的西方飲食，其中包括加工脂肪、紅肉和加工肉類、糖和缺乏纖維。 他補充說，西方飲食和加工食品還含有大量的各種添加劑和染料。
他補充說，該研究表明一種常用的食用染料與 IBD 之間存在聯繫，並值得在實驗、流行病學和臨床水平上進一步探索食用染料與 IBD 之間的關係。