Halloween can be scary indeed — particularly the day after as attested to by every teacher I’ve ever met. You’ve heard the stories — or perhaps you’ve even witnessed them personally. Why is it most young children behave so badly: Allergies/hypersensitivities to the chemicals called “salicylates” that permeate the candy they’ve been given, along with a whole lot of sugar. Both salicylates which include food coloring (especially yellow dye #5 and #6) and flavorings spike a chemical in the brain called “glutamate”.
Here’s an excellent peer-reviewed journal article entitled Sensitivity to food additives, vaso-active amines and salicylates: a review of the evidence
Here’s some information from http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/salicylates:
What are salicylates?
Salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants – they’re a kind of natural pesticide – to protect the plants against insects and diseases. Salicylates are just one group of the hundreds of compounds in foods that can have varying effects on us, depending on how much we eat and how sensitive we are.
Salicylates are found in foods from plants: most fruit, some vegetables, herbs, spices, tea and flavour additives. For example, citrus fruit, berries, tomato sauce and mint flavouring are naturally high in salicylates and so are processed foods with those flavours.
Salicylates are also found in medications, fragrances, industrial chemicals, plastics and some pesticides, and can cause adverse effects when inhaled as well as eaten.
- headaches or migraines
- itchy skin rashes such as hives (urticaria), eczema and others
- irritable bowel symptoms – reflux in babies or adults, nausea, vomiting, stomach bloating and discomfort, wind, diarrhoea and/or constipation
- bedwetting, cystitis
- asthma, stuffy or runny nose, nasal polyps, frequent throat clearing,
- behaviour problems such as irritability, restlessness, inattention, oppositional defiance, symptoms of ADHD
- sleep disturbance – difficulty falling asleep, night terrors, frequent night waking, sleep apnoea
- anxiety, depression, panic attacks
- rapid heart beat and arrythmias
- tinnitus, hyperacusis, hearing loss (hyperacusis is a sensitivity to noises)
- joint pain, arthritis, and more ….
As you can see from the last list, uncorrected salicylate sensitivity can result in many profound changes, and can continue into adulthood with many serious effects long-term.
The Feingold Diet Program has a great deal of information on this problem, especially in relationship to ADHD. For more information, go to their website – www.feingold.org. A good piece of information to download is their “Blue Book”.
There is also a connection between salicylate sensitivity and sulphite sensitivity, as noted on this youtube channel.
One of the worst salicylate food colorings are yellow dye #5, also known as tartrazine, which is known to produce symptoms of ADHD and other bad effects.
So, if your child gets any symptoms noted above, even after Halloween, you should bring them in and have them checked for salicylate or sulphite sensitivity.
PS. For more information on food colorings and other food chemicals, this Slate article entitled “Food Doesn’t Have to Wear Makeup” is worth a read.