I'm a mother, environmental scientist & former Covid contact tracer who does research on a variety of health-related topics. Copyright 2021
Harmful Artificial Dye in Vitamins and Medication
Many popular pediatric and adult nutritional supplements, over the counter and prescription medications contain harmful food dyes. It is popular knowledge that eating organic foods and following whole foods nutrition reduces your intake of pesticides and chemical food additives, but did you know there are toxins you can avoid in your vitamins and drugs? This article outlines dangers of food dye, food dye side effects and how to avoid the most toxic vitamins and medicine.
Copyright © 2018 Melis Ann
What is Toxic in Vitamins and Medicine?
Much like our food system, vitamins and medicine in the United States are laced with poisonous substances known as artificial dyes (these are FDA approved folks). Many of these dyes have already been banned from products in other countries around the world. Simply put, companies make products with cheap materials and hope consumers don’t look into the details. Let’s just figure out a way to work around it and stop allowing these toxins into our bodies!
The bad news is that artificial dyes are not the only useless artificial ingredient in our vitamins and drugs. However, focusing on one thing to eliminate from our diet makes things manageable, so let's start with dyes.
These toxic dyes, in addition to other artificial additives, mean that taking daily supplements may cause more harm than good. Artificial coloring alone has been linked to a host of diseases and disorders.
What Disorders Are Linked to Dyes?
There is ongoing research at The University of Rochester to prove suspicions that exposure to synthetic supplements and artificial dyes is linked to autism, ADHD, and sleep disturbances in children. From other studies there is also mounting evidence that ingestion of artificial dyes is linked to cancer, hyperactivity, ADHD, allergies and sterility, among other problems. Many parents see a difference in their children upon removing dyes from their diet and can then conclude their children have hyperactivity from food dye.
Do I Have A Food Dye Allergy, Food Dye Sensitivity or Food Dye Intolerance?
For some individuals there is a noticeable, physical response after exposure to dyes in food or drugs (from both artificial and natural sources). Examples of these symptoms include headaches, mood response, hyperactivity, skin rash, or breathing problems. An actual allergy to dyes may be difficult to diagnose. However, if removing dyes from the diet is linked to absence of symptoms, this may prove dye sensitivity. Allergy testing for dyes is not conclusive, but an IgG antibody test can be part of your investigation.
Chemicals to Avoid in Food and Medicine
At the very least, if we were all to make one simple change in our approach to taking vitamins and medicine, we could avoid exposure to what is totally unnecessary and linked to so many disorders. The good news is that we can avoid many artificial dyes quite easily by looking at the labels of vitamins and over the counter medicines.
FDA Labeling Regulations
The FDA regulations around labeling color additives in the U.S. are quite complex. Some additives are exempt from labeling. For exact details, refer to their website FDA labeling regulations.
In simple terms, most synthetic color additives in food, drugs and cosmetics will appear on labels. Colorants are either in the dye form (soluble in water) or lake form (used to disperse in oils). Most artificial coloring in food is labeled with the prefix FD&C which means it is certified for use in food, drugs and cosmetics. The colors with prefix D&C are allowed for use in drugs and cosmetics, but not suitable for food. The list of D&C colors is more extensive than the FD&C list. The pharmaceutical industry has an additional list of available dyes.
For products where we have access to study the labels, we can avoid specific colors such as FD&C Blue #2 Lake, FD&C Red 40, and FD&C Yellow #6 Lake.
Which Over the Counter Medicines Contain Dye?
Multiple over the counter medicines contain artificial dyes. Today, however, there are many over the counter medicines for children available in dye-free form, including pain, cold and allergy medicines.
By checking the label you can confirm this, but the front of the label may also say “Dye-Free”. Be sure to check the inactive ingredients section of the label for a listing of specific artificial dyes or colors.
For us adults, the options are out there. By looking at a few different brands of decongestants (active ingredient Pseudoephedrine HCl), I filtered through some with dyed coating and some white tablets with dyed print before I found CVS brand which was white with no artificial dyes.
Example of Dye Free Acetaminophen
- CVS Pharmacy Dye Free Children's Pain Relief Suspension Liquid
For ages 2 to 11. Children's pain relief. Alcohol & sugar-free. Non-staining. Dye-free. Fever reducer - pain reliever. 80 mg per 1/2 tsp (160 mg per 5 ml).
What About Prescription Drugs?
This is where things can get tricky. You will want to make sure your doctor understands your position on dyes and that the pharmacy is capable of providing what you want. In the end, there is still some question as to if your medication is actually dye free. Even white medications can contain dye to make them appear white so it’s not always obvious. Amoxicillin and azythromycin are two examples of antibiotics that are typically dispensed containing Red Dye 40, especially in the liquid form.
If there is a prescription drug that you regularly fill, such as an allergy medication, and it is available in a dye free option, look for a pharmacy that will keep it in stock for you. For medications you fill on an as-needed basis, like antibiotics, the pharmacy will probably not have dye free in stock. The pharmacy might try calling other locations to find it for you or can probably order it for you. Ordering is not ideal since your need for antibiotics probably trumps the need to avoid dyes. Perhaps filling the first couple of doses right away and then ordering the remainder of your prescription as dye free will work. If dye sensitivity is a serious issue, contact your pharmacy for options and ask your doctor about how to make specific preparations for this instance.
The last time my 6 year old needed amoxicillin for strep throat, I originally got the prescription for the liquid form. I started calling pharmacies to see what my options were for dye-free. One was a small local pharmacy who said they could 'compound' the prescription which means to make it from scratch without the artificial additives (which could be more expensive). The other pharmacy I called suggested I get the doctor to re-write the prescription for capsules instead of the suspension, then I could empty the contents of the capsule into some food for him to take. We opted for this and although the taste wasn't great, he did well with adding the powder from the capsule to a few bites of applesauce, ice cream or pudding. By calling around, you may find pharamcists who can help you get creative.
A Practical Plan
· Eliminate your everyday exposures to toxic dyes by finding a vitamin that does not contain artificial dyes.
· When you can, choose dye free medications, both over the counter and prescription.
· Share this message with everyone you know. The more dye free options we purchase and the more we request them from our pharmacies, the more options we will have as consumers in the long run.
Synthetic Vitamins vs Natural Vitamins
In the vitamin industry, there is a debate between the effectiveness of synthetic supplements (most major brands) versus whole food nutrients in supplement form and regulations behind supplement claims. However, it’s logical that supplements that contain nutrients from actual food that have been concentrated into a nutrient dense pill would be more beneficial to our bodies than synthetic chemicals and additives. The Whole Food Supplement Guide is a great place to start your research.
Natural Supplement Guide
Check out this Whole Food Supplement Guide.
What Vitamins Should Kids Take? Whole Foods Nutrition Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Children
Reading Material on Food Allergies and Supplements
Best Vitamins for Kids: Whole Food Nutrition Taste Test
Disclaimer: Note that this website portrays my opinion. I want to help others consider a new or different view. Any action taken based on these opinions is the responsibility of the reader.
Copyright © 2018 Melis Ann
Original content written by Melis Ann published only on HubPages at the following web address: http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/Know-Which-of-Your-Vitamins-and-Medicines-Contain-Toxins
Choosing Vitamins and Medicine
The best way to take supplements and medication is to minimize toxic ingredients. This is our best chance of avoiding potential side effects of food dyes. Focus on whole food based natural vitamins vs synthetic vitamins. Choosing vitamins and medicine without artificial dyes is one way to be more healthy.
© 2012 Melis Ann
Melis Ann (author) from Mom On A Health Hunt on November 20, 2013:
Great cause Die, Food Dye! Together we can make a change by keeping awareness up on artificial food dyes removed from medicines, vitamins, etc. I'm signing the petition now....
Die, Food Dye! on November 20, 2013:
Thanks for spreading awareness. Folks can find a compounding pharmacy near them at www.ecompoundingpharmacy.com.
Please sign and share my petition to get dyes out of kids' antibiotics, ADHD medications, allergy meds, cold remedies, pain relievers, vitamins and toothpaste. Hospitals don't often offer dye-free options for kids in surgery, etc. Many families have to pay ten times as much to get an Rx compounded, or travel a couple of hours to find a dye-free version of antibiotics quickly. www.DieFoodDye.com/petition
Melis Ann (author) from Mom On A Health Hunt on March 17, 2012:
Thanks so much toknowinfo!
toknowinfo on March 17, 2012:
Well written and informative hub. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Welcome to Hub Pages. Your hubs are a wonderful asset to our community. Voted this hub up and useful.
Melis Ann (author) from Mom On A Health Hunt on March 03, 2012:
I'm glad you found this information about dyes in vitamins informative Flickr.
Flickr on January 29, 2012:
Very informational articles. Nicely done!
Melis Ann (author) from Mom On A Health Hunt on January 26, 2012:
Thanks Kris! That is important information to know. I'll look for your hub and add to mine as well.
Kris Heeter from Indiana on January 26, 2012:
Nice job! Welcome to hubpages - great information here that will hopefully benefit many readers to come!
It's just recently been published that some vitamins and supplements also have a same class of chemicals that are used in plastics (phthalates).
I just reported on that in a hub this past week and will gladly add a link out to you hub here since both of these address the dangers of different additives in drugs and supplements!
Debby Bruck on January 25, 2012:
Good information, Melis ~ with you all the way. Blessings, Debby
ACQHealth on January 25, 2012:
Information I will continue to go back to and read, enjoyed learning more than what I thought I knew. Thank you for sharing and writing such an articulate and informative hub!!!
Jason Menayan from San Francisco on January 25, 2012:
Important information. I know that lead, mercury and other heavy metals can be an issue in fish and krill oil pills, and I've bought ones that claim to be micro-filtered to keep them out. Since supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, you really have to do your research.
Melis Ann (author) from Mom On A Health Hunt on January 25, 2012:
Thanks for the warm welcome. I am excited to be writing about many topics related to toxins in our everyday living. Glad you found it helpful - that is my purpose!
Dawn A. Harden from CT-USA on January 24, 2012:
Very good article. Appreciate the research!
Luis E Gonzalez from Miami, Florida on January 24, 2012:
Welcome to HubPages. Very informative and helpful article