What is Indigotine (E132)?
A vibrant blue dye often found in candies, beverages, or medications, indigotine (E132) belongs to a group of synthetic organic colours known as the FD&C (Food, Drug, & Cosmetics). This food colour is often present as dark blue powders or granules. In this article, we will delve into what indigotine is, explore its health implications, and provide recommendations for safe consumption.
Purported Health Implications of Indigotine (E132)
Although indigotine is approved for consumption by regulatory authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there have been concerns about its potential health implications.
Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to indigotine, experiencing adverse reactions like skin rashes, nausea, or gastrointestinal discomfort . If you suspect an allergy, consult a healthcare professional.
Hyperactivity in Children: Research has suggested a potential link between the consumption of synthetic food colorings, including indigotine, and hyperactivity in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) . However, the evidence remains inconclusive, and more research is needed to establish a definitive connection.
Safety Concerns: A 2023 re-evaluation of indigotine by the EFSA concluded no safety concern for the reported use levels . Although indigotine is considered safe for consumption within established limits, excessive intake is not advised. It's best to adhere to recommended consumption levels (below 5 mg/kg body weight per day) to avoid potential adverse effects .
Recommendations for Safe Consumption
By staying informed and making conscious choices, you can navigate the world of synthetic food colorings responsibly and safeguard your health. To safely consume indigotine and minimise potential health risks, consider the following recommendations:
Read Labels: Always check product labels for the presence of indigotine (E132), especially if you have known allergies or sensitivities.
Moderation: Consume products containing indigotine in moderation. Avoid excessive intake of foods and beverages with synthetic food colorings, especially if you or your children have a history of hyperactivity or allergies.
Balanced Diet: Focus on a balanced diet rich in natural, unprocessed foods. This will reduce your reliance on artificially coloured products.
Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you suspect you may be sensitive to indigotine or experience adverse reactions after consumption, consult a healthcare professional for guidance and potential allergy testing.
Advocate for Transparency: Support initiatives that promote transparency in food labelling and advocate for stricter regulations on synthetic food colourings in your region.
U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Color Additives History [Internet]. FDA. 2020. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/industry/color-additives/color-additives-fdas-regulatory-process-and-historical-perspectives
Silva MM, Reboredo FH, Lidon FC. Food Colour Additives: A Synoptical Overview on Their Chemical Properties, Applications in Food Products, and Health Side Effects. Foods [Internet]. 2022 Jan 1;11(3):379. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/11/3/379/htm
Rambler RM, Rinehart E, Boehmler W, Gait P, Moore J, Schlenker M, et al. A Review of the Association of Blue Food Coloring With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Children. Cureus. 2022 Sep 16;14(9).
Younes M, Aquilina G, Degen GH, Engel K, Fowler P, Frutos J, et al. Follow‐up of the re‐evaluation of indigo carmine (E 132) as a food additive. EFSA Journal. 2023 Jul 1;21(7).
We do our best to source robust information from a number of credible sources. There is, however, a large amount of information on various aspects of nutritional elements along with claims in terms of their contribution to helping in body health which may contradict the above.