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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow HYPERACTIVITY FROM FOOD ADDITIVES
HYPERACTIVITY FROM FOOD ADDITIVES
Lancet 2007 September 6;doi:10.1016/S01406736(07)61306-3; e-pub
Yet another study, this time in The Lancet, found that artificial food additives, such as food coloring and preservatives, increase hyperactivity in children.

153 three-year-old children and 144 eight- and nine-year-old children were randomly assigned to receive a drink containing 45 mg of the preservative sodium benzoate and one of two mixes that contained artificial food coloring (active group) or a placebo drink. The three-year-old children received 300 ml per day of the respective drinks and the 9-year-old children received 625 ml per day.

The children's ability to concentrate and their behaviors such as restlessness, inattention, talking a lot, interrupting, and wriggling were rated by parents, teachers, and trained observers for three, eight-minute observation sessions each week during the six-week study.

The children were scored based on three measures of behavior including the Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale-IV, the Weiss-Werry-Peters Hyperactivity Scale, and a classroom observation code that assessed components of hyperactivity.

The children in both age groups who received the active drink had higher hyperactivity scores compared with children who drank the placebo. The authors conclude that their findings "lend strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate behaviors (inattention, impulsivity, and over activity) in children at least up to middle childhood."

It's not clear from this study whether the sodium benzoate preservative or the food coloring had more of an effect on the children's behavior. But it really doesn't matter. I always tell parents to eliminate all artificial food, colorings, and preservatives. Why not try this treatment before reverting to amphetamine drugs like Ritalin?

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