Health Risks of Blue 1 and the Link to Allergies, Inflammation, Hyperactivity, and Chromosome Damage.

Blue 1 Health Risks

Blue 1 is used to color candies, hard drinks and some pharmaceuticals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest contends that it and other synthetic dyes are linked to ADD/ADHD.

Blue 1 has been shown to cause toxicity in enterally fed patients in some studies, when the dye tints nutritional solutions for people who must consume food through tube feeding.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies are a sign that your immune system overreacts to something that doesn’t bother most people, such as pollen, certain foods, latex, molds, pet dander, dust or insect stings. When you encounter these substances, your immune system produces antibodies that bind to cells and cause them to release chemicals, including histamine, which causes symptoms in the nose, eyes, ears, throat, lungs or lining of the stomach. Allergic reactions can range from mild, such as a runny nose or hives, to severe and life-threatening, such as anaphylaxis.

Antihistamines and decongestants can treat many allergic reactions, and some people with known allergies carry emergency anaphylaxis kits loaded with injectable epinephrine (Adrenaclick, EpiPen, Auvi-Q or Symjepi). This medicine speeds up the heartbeat and increases blood flow to the lungs, so you can get to a hospital fast. (92, 93)


Inflammation is your body’s natural way of protecting itself against damage to living tissue and infections. The inflammatory response involves changes in blood flow, an increase in the permeability of blood vessels and the movement of white blood cells (leukocytes) from the blood into damaged tissues. This process results in redness and swelling.

Acute inflammation, such as that caused by a banged knee or a cut finger, is vital to the body’s ability to protect itself from disease and injury. However, chronic low-level inflammation can become a serious problem that contributes to a host of diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Blue 1 has been linked to a number of adverse health effects, from allergic reactions to neurotoxicity. It has been shown to inhibit nerve cell development and to act as a potent inhibitor of purinergic P2 receptors in an in vitro system. It has also been found to induce chromosomal aberrations in cell cultures.


Often used as an alternative to Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, Blue 1 is found in beverages, candy, baked goods and other consumables. It’s also an ingredient in liquid antibiotics. The Feingold Association reports that when people are intolerant to this chemical, they may experience hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

This condition, called ADHD, is characterized by a lack of self-control. Children with this disorder are restless and have trouble sitting still, paying attention or following instructions. They may wiggle their feet or hands or talk excessively, even interrupting conversations. They also have a hard time waiting for their turn or playing quietly.

If you suspect your child or adult is showing signs of hyperactivity, talk to their doctor. Depending on the underlying cause, they might recommend medication or therapy. Mental health specialists can help with cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy, which work to change negative patterns of behavior. Physical illnesses that affect the nervous system or thyroid can also contribute to hyperactivity.

Chromosome Damage

In some cases, Blue 1 can cause chromosomal damage. This can be a sign of a number of health problems, including cancer and genetic disorders. This type of damage is usually caused by breaks and incorrect rejoining of chromosomal segments. The result can be a structural rearrangement, in which the entire complement of genes is present, but in a different order. This can also result in a deletion, duplication or fusion of chromosomal segments.

Chromosome damage can be measured by a traditional microscopic technique using bone marrow cells that have been arrested at the metaphase stage through administration of colchicine. Cells are then spread on microscope slides and scored for the presence of chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei.

The genotoxic effects of gardenia blue and its breakdown product, 5-sulfoanthranilic acid, have been tested in cell culture and in bone marrow assays in animals. Both induced chromosomal aberrations and caused the formation of micronuclei in cell cultures.

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