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red dye sensitivity

8953 Views 26 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  angelamclamb
I've suspected for awhile that my dd (almost 3) has a sensitivity to red dyes in foods. She becomes seriously tantrum prone immediately after having anything red. There have been very few occasions where she got something red...a party here or there, a sucker someone at a store gave I know we can avoid it, but what I want to know is 1) is this a pretty typical reaction (crying, yelling, zooming around the room, spitting, cannot listen, etc) and 2) are there other things we need to be sure to avoid?

We are on the path to consuming only whole and/or organic foods, but there are still some things we need to work on. I'm just wondering if alot of our "difficulties" (she's high needs) with her are related to what she consumes.

Thanks for any info or insight.

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Yes, IME, that is a very typical red #40 reaction. I have 2 siblings, myself, and my 7 year old son who all get behavioral reactions from red #40. On top of that, speaking for myself, I feel really out of it, I know I'm behaving badly, raging, actually, but have absolutely no control, my ears feel hot, I get tunnel vision (perimeter of what I see is black instead of just not focused), and when that passes, I have a HORRIBLE headache that leaves me cranky for hours.

We quit buying processed foods years ago. It gets easier the more you cook from scratch. Making sure you eat at home and bringing good wholesome snacks w/ you EVERYWHERE really helps the impulse buying.
red dye 40 causes horrible migraines in me. Really nasty horrible ones.
We actually thought our dd#1 was bipolar and we in the process of having her evaluated when we discovered the Feingold Program. IT eliminates all artificial colrs, flavors, and preservatives, along with other foods with a similar chemical makeup. Our child is a different person. We have been on it for almost 1 year and will never look back again. You can check out the link in my sig if you are interested in more!
Wow. This was more a hunch than anything else, but the more I read the more I realized I really need to step up our switch to better food. She also has random wetting accidents which I can't help but think are related to food additives as well.

Do organic foods have any of these dyes and/or additives or would they be a safe bet?

Thanks for the help and info.
My friends daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and she was advised to put her on meds for the condition. Since the little girl in question was just 6 my friend was not liking the idea of meds that mess with her brain. We did research and found that we could try diet improvement. The main thing we were advised was to remove all food dyes. With the removal of dyes, dairy, processed foods (white flour and non whole foods), sugar and the addition of Natural factors learning aid we found that the little girl was able to control her behavior. I personaly think that kids that we see as high needs and with behavior issues realy have allergies or intollerances. I also have heard that refined flour can act like sugar in childrens bodies giving them a sugar high and then crashing them later. I have all my kids on whole grains and no dairy, that and I add alot of nuts and seeds as snack food so they have healthy fats to feed their brains.

I have found that organic foods I buy don't have alot of dye's and coloring. The last "candies" we bought had blueberry juice to make them the color they were. As with anything though we have to read those labels.
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I had a student in my class year before last that was experiencing explosive outbursts of anger. After much work and monitoring mom suspected allergies and began to eliminate items from his diet. During summer camp, he had been eating sno cones and after every one of them he would have a terrible night at home with mom and dad. The consistent factor: Orange dye. They removed both orange and red dyes from his diet and there were no more outbursts.
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Originally Posted by Jessmcg
You can check out the link in my sig if you are interested in more!
You took the words right out of my mouth!!
We avoid ALL food dye colors, not just red. DD's reaction is a behavioral one - acts like she has ADHD.
I think I'm going to try Feingold after reading this. I had noticed a bad reaction to red dye which dd was getting from church, but we still have a lot of problems. DH is a special ed teacher and says she would be labeled ADHD if she were older.
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We've removed all dyes and artificial flavors from Ds's diet and it's helping. Next to conquer is high fructose cornsyrup and get rid of processed stuff all together (we buy very little processed stuff but when we do it's organic (annies, etc) We thought it might have been just red at first but also noticed that he was getting an exema reaction as well form eating pickles.. and Low and behold. yellow #5 in pickle juice. SO we cut out all dyes.
For the one who said orange dye was an issue.. as far as i have read there is no orange dye. It' s a combination of the red dye and yellow dye (red and yellow make orange).. so i woudl be careful with the yellow as well. (And encourage them to cut out all dyes to really help!
We are trying to do the feingold program but i jsut can't shell out that kind of $$ right now and I haven't found the program used anywhere. so we're winging it!

Originally Posted by Ruthla
You took the words right out of my mouth!!
I saw you had not posted yet, so I thought I would

cam&kat's_mom - be carfull buyinh the program used. The information is updated monthly, so an old program will not help you much. That is one fo the best things about the program is the constantly updated food shopping list.
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hey guys, besides the behavioral improvement, did any of your kids previously have tummy or poop issues from the dyes?
So what do you all do when your child is going to a party or given something at school? Several times after having a bad day I'll ask him what he ate at school. His responses have been: cheetos, blue cupcakes, red vines, etc. I send him with his own snack and I've spoken with DS' teacher a couple times about his sensitivity to dyes, even made my own cupcakes to keep in the school freezer for days that parents bring colorful treats (so he won't feel left out). Well during their holiday celebration she gave each child a little box with a note from her and skittles
. I got to school to pick him up and there he was sitting next to her eating them!!!! I couldn't believe it. I'm going to talk to her again after school starts up again but OMG she said she understood that he can't have that crap!!
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Glad someone posted and brought this thread to my inbox so I can give an wouldn't believe the difference in my child. She still has "fits" sometimes when she doesn't get her way, but they are much more managable, she's much more reasonable, and the wetting incidents have all but stopped. She got some strawberry yogurt at my mom's that had red dye in it (the peach in the same package did not
and was a wild child for several hours.
I still think there's another additive that's bothering her...something that's apparently in Rolos

To answer Moochie's question, my best helper in keeping dd dye free is dd herself. She asks if things have dye and flat refuses anything that does. She doesn't like the way it makes her feel...and she's 3 and a rule follower right now, so those are definitely in my favor. The rest of the family isn't as diligent about reading labels and sometimes accidentally give her something she shouldn't have, but everyone is trying. It might help to tell the teacher and others that it's an allergy...might garner more "respect" than "sensitivity" does.

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Moochie, if you are having problems getting the school to comply, you might qualify for a 504 accomodation plan. You will need a doctor to fill it out, but it will have more teeth than just a verbal request with the teacher. I found this by searching Google:

I would think that if your child's behavior would be something teachers would push to medicate if they weren't on the diet, that it might be considered enough to get the plan in place.
Yes, we call it an "Allergy" also. I have found lots more people respect it that way. I also have a cute little one page list that explaines exactly what she can't and can have and send it everywhere with her (I had DH print a bunch of them on posterboard type paper at work, so it does not blend in with regular sheets of paper).

DD is also very good about reading labels and telling what she can and can't have. Although at 8 she will sometimes have something she should not. We deal with it the bast we can and talk about consequenses and making proper desisions, even if it is not the fun thing. She goes to a very small school, so she or the teacher will call me if there is a question about something she can have a school. I also try to have a few snacks that are saved up in the freezer at school.

The best thing as for dd's teacher respecting nad understanding what happens was having the teacher as dd's soccor coach this fall. She saw exactly what happened when dd had something she was not supposed to :LOL, and she is much better about making sure she does not anymore!
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Can red food dye allergies can cause insomnia and sleeplessness? Also, can the allergy suddenly develop? DD's ped prescribed her a cough medicine containing CODEINE (so it should knock her out, right?) because she has had a terrible, intractable nighttime cough. The first few nights it worked like a charm. Last night (night 3) she "went to bed" at 8 and didn't fall asleep till 3 in the morning--was singing, yelling, jumping, and talking (not crying--she was quite happy, almost manic) all that time.
: This is utterly, totally atypical for her and we were in shock. The medicine is BRIGHT red.

DD has no other known allergies. She has been on a lot of OTC and RX medications this fall, however, because of an incredibly resistant ear infection and a series of bad colds
: (can you tell she started daycare this fall?) I am sure many of these meds must contain the dye, but she has never had a reaction to them before. Could it suddenly "kick in" like this? Again, I can't express how out of the ordinary this incident was. It seemed like it HAD to be something chemical or physical.
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I would imagine it's the medication itself. If I take decongestants for several days I get insomnia from it....the first few doses are fine, but I can't keep taking it. I've always imagined it kinda builds up in my system...I don't take them at all anymore. Some ppl, especially kids, have an opposite reaction to meds...supposed to knock 'em out, but they are bouncing off the walls instead.

It might not be a bad idea to call the doc and/or pharmicist to see if this is considered a "normal" reaction to the medication.

Hope she's feeling better soon.

Codeine usually knocks ANYONE out cold, no matter what cold med it's mixed with. I would guess it's the red dye in it causing the insomnia. Codeine is an opiate, so it should sedate anyone, it's not one of those meds that could go either way, like Benadryl or regular cold meds.
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