Saturday, April 23, 2011

Will Food Colouring Help You Live Longer?

Amidst all the ranting about how food additives, especially food colourings, "poison" the food supply, I found this bit from Derek Lowe's blog In the Pipeline interesting:
... treating nematodes (roundworms, C. elegans) with the dye Thioflavin T (also known as ThT or Basic Yellow 1) extends their lives quite significantly - up around a 60% increase in both median and maximal lifespan. Several other related benzazole compounds were also tried, which produced lifespan extension of up to 40%, and at much lower concentrations.
Wouldn't it be hysterically funny given all the hue-and-cry about food dyes being carcinogenic, it ends up that the surprising extension to lives achieved in the 20th century comes down to putting food colouring into the food supply? Or as Lowe puts it:
... as my wife pointed out to me when I told her about this paper, the FDA was just making headlines the other day by recommending that more study be given to any possible links between food dyes and hyperactivity (though stopping short of recommending any warning at this time, due to lack of convincing evidence). On the basis of this latest work, though, I'm starting to wonder if we're not putting enough dyes in our food...
Lowe cites a paper published in the prestigious Nature journal that looks at dyes and their ability to attack and destroy amyloid plaques (the stuff that is believed to cause dementia). This might be a real advance in treating Alzheimer's.

I can't wait for food dyes to become all the rage among health nuts. That will mean we will see people with skin colours of blues, and greens, and yellows, and reds, and oranges, and pinks, etc.

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