Yeah, I said it. I'm not only firmly convinced that food coloring (and possibly artifical flavoring/sweetner) triggers worse-than-normal hyperactivity in both of my children, it will also produce defiance, attention problems and even physical aggression. I also had an uncle who had a traumatic brain injury & would become physically violent when exposed to yellow food coloring. They'd have to take him to the emergency room for a glucose IV and high doses of Benadryl. Currently we use dye-free Benadryl (not easy to find sometimes) to treat our kids when they've had food coloring. It doesn't completely take away the issues, but it helps some - although it takes almost a full 24 hours sometimes to get the chemicals out of their systems and Benadryl only lasts 4-6 hours.
I actually wrote an article on it based on several studies and my own personal experiences: http://special-ism.com/hyperactivity...ts-for-dinner/
The studies are quoted in there, but I will add links to the sources I used at the end of this post (including the one 'meta-source' I used to help me figure out what the heck the studies were saying.
Here's the short version of what is known:
1. Artificial dyes/additives bother ADD/ADHD kids more than non-ADD/ADHD kids.
2. Not all ADD/ADHD kids are affected, but a much higher percentage of them are affected than the general population.
3. The studies that were done were small-scale and were done on a group of kids ages 3-8 in England, which is why our FDA rejected the study as not large enough to be significant, although they DID acknowledge that food dye/additives do appear to create behavior problems for some ADHD kids and should probably be avoided in those populations. [insert eye rolling here]
4. Another study was done on these same kids to test for abnormalities in their hystamine receptor genes. Past studies have tested for anomalies in kids/adults with ADHD when it comes to dopamine, norepinepherine and GABA neurotransmiter systems but nobody has ever looked at the hystamine as a potential player in ADHD.
What they found was stunning IMHO: a huge percentge of the ADHD kids from both age groups had phyisical differences in their H3 histamine receptor - the one that tells your body to STOP making histmine once there's enough in your system. So, essentially it may not only be food coloring that messes with ADHD kids & adults - ANYTHING that triggers a histmine response can create behavior problems.
Why you ask? Awesome question, I wondered that myself. Answer: because histamine is more than just an alergic response - it's a neurotransmitter and impacts body function all throughout your entire system. There are actually 4 types of histamine receptors in your body which I think I detailed in the article. Here are some fun facts you probably don't know about histamine:
a) It's part of the sleep/wake cycle: your body produces it to wake you up & shuts it down entirely when you're sleeping. That's why anti-histamines like Benadryl make you drowsy. Too much histamine and you're going to have sleep problems. I haven't met a person yet with ADHD who didn't have some form of sleep disorder.
b) The H2 receptor controls release of acid into your stomach which is why stuff you're allergic to can make you nauseas (sp?). Anti-nausea meds like Phenregan? Yeah... they're actually potent anti-histamines.
c) Histamine is a neurotransmitter that seems to play a role in memory and learning, particularly in the learning of inhibitions (i.e. putting on the brakes on behavior). How this works exactly is still something I'm not clear on because reading these studies is like trying to translate legal jargon, it's super annoying.
Here are the original studies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17825405
And for anyone who would prefer to read a SENSIBLE doctor's interpretation of annoyingly-vague-but-significant studies, here are links to a wonderful blog I located that helped me make sense of these studies. She also covers other topics like BPA, etc.:
So, yeah... feel free to throw questions my way. Be forwarned there may be a lot of scientificly convoluted responses. Hehehe! Oh! And listen to Loving Radiance's advice - she knows what she's talking about.