Synthetic food dyes – long blamed for causing hyperactivity in children – may have a good side: some of them may protect against cancer.
Gayle Orner at Oregon State University in Corvallis added the carcinogens dibenzopyrene (DBP) or aflatoxin to the feed of trout for one month, with or without the food dyes Red 40 – one of six recently linked to hyperactivity in children – or Blue 2.
Nine months later, trout that had been fed either of the dyes in combination with aflatoxin had 50 per cent fewer liver tumours, compared with those that had been exposed to aflatoxin alone. Trout that had been fed DBP in combination with Red 40 had a 50 per cent lower incidence of stomach cancer and a 40 per cent lower incidence of liver cancer.
“The public perception is that food dyes are bad, but some of them may have good points as well,” says Orner, who presented her results at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, California, last week. While the amounts of dye eaten by the fish could be matched by eating a lot of sweets and soft drinks, Orner advises against this strategy. Instead, she says the next step is to understand the mechanism by which these food dyes exert their anti-cancer effect.
From http://www.New Scientist.com