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Health news:
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Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0?

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution


December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects


November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet


October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women


September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?


August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?


July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives


June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's


May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains


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September 2007

Hyperactivity, attention deficit and food additives

If we were fruit flies, many of us would die within minutes from hyperactivity caused by consuming yellow food dye. Luckily, we're not that small, but it doesn't mean we can't be adversely affected. And, as you'd expect, it is children that feel it the most: food additives induced hyperactivity, attention deficit and their possible effects on self-image

can have serious impact on how their lives unfold.

Hyperactivity/attention deficit link to food additives is positively established more than three decades ago (Why Your Child is Hyperactive, 1975, by San Francisco's allergist Ben Feingold). But it was largely ignored officially, since there was never a large double-blind controlled study on the subject.

Not anymore. At the beginning of this month, the FSA (Food Standards Agency, an independent UK government agency protecting public health and consumer interest related to food) published - in Lancet online - results of the study it founded, which was carried out by J. Stevenson et al. from Southampton University.

The study observed effects of widely used preservative, sodium benzoate, in combination with most widely used artificial food colors, on nearly 300 children (153 3-year-olds and 144 8 to 9 year old). Over one-week period, the children were consuming the amount of preservative/dies typically found in an average child's diet. Following week they consumed lower amounts, and the next week they had no food preservatives/dies in their diet.

All symptoms of hyperactivity - restlessness, lack of concentration, over-active behavior - were significantly higher, on average, when children were consuming the additives. Some were strongly affected, others moderately, and some not at all. Also, the 3-year-olds were generally more sensitive than the older group.

Following the study, the FSA already had a meeting with the UK food industry representatives, to inform and consider appropriate actions. It also informed the European Food Safety Authority, which is currently reviewing the safety of all European Union permitted food colors. Hopefully, similar reaction to these most recent findings will be seen in the U.S. as well.

It should be noted that the study hasn't established direct sensitivity link to any single additive. In fact, it used two different mixtures, both containing the same level of sodium benzoate, but with different mixture of food colors.

Mix A consisted of sodium benzoate, Sunset yellow (FD&C Yellow No. 6, Food Yellow 3, etc.), Tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No. 5, Food Yellow 4), Carmoisine (FD&C Red No. 2, Food Red 3) and Ponceau 4R (FD&C Red No. 3, Food Red 7, etc.).

Mix B had sodium benzoate, Sunset yellow, Quinoline yellow (yellow, yellow 2G, etc.), Carmoisine and Allura red (FD&C Red No. 40, Food Red 17, etc.). One of the two mixes caused significantly higher hyperactivity response, thus either particular additives, or particular combinations, or both, are the culprits.

This points to the complexity of reaction to food, in general. A number of factors based in the genetic code or nutritional status, or both, can be  involved. Also, hyperactivity can be caused by other types of chemical sensitivity, not only by sensitivity to certain food additives. Other synthetic and natural substances linked to hyperactivity are aspirin, salicylates, ethanol, ascorbic acid, and others. Many foods are also indicated: cow milk, soy, sugar, chocolate, wheat, cow's cheese, hen's eggs, peanuts, etc.

And it doesn't make it any simpler that any of these can have different effect when combined, either among themselves or with other substances.

Hence, just avoiding food additives may not solve your problem - if you have it - but is likely to help, and is certainly worth consideration. R