Does Red 40 Cause ADHD-like Symptoms In Your Child?

Mar 10, 2023

Does Red 40 Cause ADHD-like Symptoms In Your Child?

Each stage of a child's development comes with challenges. We've all experienced behavioral challenges with our children and know first hand this can be a very difficult thing to go through. If you feel like your child or your family is suffering as a result of your child's behavior, please bring him/her to their primary care provider or reach out to providers who specialize in these types of challenges.

The fact of the matter is that some challenging behaviors can be benign, often triggered by dietary choices or sleep hygiene, or the need for improved structure. Red 40 is a trigger found throughout the average child's diet, and its consumption has gone up FOUR times in the past 50 years! 

What is Red 40?

Red 40, also known as Red No. 40, Carmine, Red 3, FD & C Red 40, Red, and C.I. 16035 or Red 17, is a chemical compound made from petroleum combined with other things to add fragrance. These chemicals, like benzene, are carcinogens (cancer-causing agents.)

What Do We Know?

Though Red 40 doesn't cause ADHD, it can exacerbate symptoms that may lead to a child being diagnosed with ADHD. Some studies show up to a 60% decrease in ADHD diagnoses and learning difficulties with the removal of artificial dyes, like Red 40, from a child's diet. And it's not just ADHD: Other studies suggest there is a potential link between artificial food dyes and Autism. The ingestion of Red 40 leads to systemic inflammation, causing depletion of the absorption of many minerals, chemical changes in the brain, and hypersensitivity. 

Not All Additives are Created Equal

Buzzwords are used to sell products. Words like "All Natural" and "Healthy" do not usually mean safe and "Free of artificial colors or flavors" can be misleading. You need to GET COMFORTABLE READING THE LIST OF INGREDIENTS before considering if dietary changes are enough to help reduce your child's symptoms.

Is the Removal of Red 40 Enough to Make Positive Changes?

Studies show that both teachers and parents report positive changes after removing Red 40 from a child's diet: kids are sleeping better, snacking less, having fewer meltdowns, seeming calmer, and are less cranky. In turn, kids are better able to focus, learn, and receive constructive feedback, improving self-esteem and the ability to learn.

While removing Red 40 may not be enough to resolve all of your child's symptoms, given the above information, it is likely beneficial for ALL children to limit their intake of artificial food dyes.


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