Hanyang Med Rev.  2011 Nov;31(4):261-268. 10.7599/hmr.2011.31.4.261.

Food Additives and Allergic Diseases in Childhood

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. jaewonoh@hanyang.ac.kr

Abstract

Many different additives include preservatives, stabilizers, conditioners, thickeners, colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, and antioxidants. Despite the multitude of additives known, only a small number has been associated with hypersensitivity reactions. A number of investigators have suggested that a significant population of patients with allergic diseases has symptoms related to the ingestion of food additives. However, the incidence and mechanism of reactions to additives in patients with chronic urticaria, angioedema, and atopic dermatitis remain unknown. A few studies of monosodium glutamate is reported to be associated with atopic dermatitis, but their relationship remains unknown. The best known dye is tartrazine. The group of azo dyes includes ponceau and sunset yellow. Amaranth (FD&C red no. 5) was banned from use in the US in 1975 because of claims related to carcinogenicity. Most of them are reported to be associated with aggravation of atopic dermatitis. Parabens are aliphatic esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid. Sodium benzoate is a closely related substance usually reported to cross-react with these compounds. These agents, which are widely used as preservatives in both food and drugs, are well recognized as causes of severe contact dermatitis. Additives would have to act as haptens to create a response mediated by IgE. The majority of these reactions are not of the immediate hypersensitivity type. Many cases of additive-provoked urticaria or dermatitis occur as late as 24 hours after challenge, arguing against an IgE-mediated mechanism. In conclusion, the exact relationship between food additives and the allergic diseases still remains to be solved.

Keyword

Dermatitis; Atopic; Food Hypersensitivity; Food Additives

MeSH Terms

Angioedema
Antioxidants
Azo Compounds
Coloring Agents
Dermatitis
Dermatitis, Atopic
Dermatitis, Contact
Eating
Esters
Food Additives
Food Hypersensitivity
Haptens
Humans
Hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity, Immediate
Immunoglobulin E
Incidence
Parabens
Research Personnel
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Glutamate
Sweetening Agents
Tartrazine
Urticaria
Antioxidants
Azo Compounds
Coloring Agents
Esters
Food Additives
Haptens
Immunoglobulin E
Parabens
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Glutamate
Sweetening Agents
Tartrazine
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