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E131 Patentblue V

Dangerous for allergy sufferers
Designer substance
The risks

The substance is considered harmless. But for allergists, it has been under latent suspicion, although not yet as a food additive. Patent blue is also used in medicine for lymph gland imaging (lymphography). After such lymphography with patent blue, severe anaphylactic reactions have been described several times. So far, however, no allergic reactions to the dye used in food are known. According to experts, however, allergic reactions are also conceivable in these cases. The dye may also contain aluminum without it being stated on the label. The metal is suspected of promoting dementia in the brain, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, but also hyperactivity and attention disorders. It can also act like a female sex hormone and is therefore one of the so-called metal estrogens. As such, it can affect sexual functions and contribute to obesity. Aluminum can also impair intestinal functions. It can change the composition of bacteria in the digestive tract (the so-called microbiome) and disrupt the immune system. Experiments with mice have shown that it promotes inflammation and promotes so-called irritable bowel syndrome.

Does it affect me?

Patent blue V is mainly used for dyeing fashionably colorful drinks and confectionery, as well as on eggshells or glazes. It can also be combined with tartrazine (E102) or quinoline yellow (E104) to form a shade of green. The dye is not absorbed by the human body and is almost completely excreted again. In the United States of America, this dye is banned.

What is it anyway?

The additive is a water-soluble, blue dye that is produced chemically and synthetically. In certain manufacturing processes, aluminum may also be included, it then belongs to a group of so-called aluminum colors. This substance is also known under the following names: CI Food Blue 5, Patent Blue 5.

Traces of forgetting: Aluminum-containing plaques and neurofibrils in the Alzheimer's brain

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! Information

About the DR. WATSON Database of Additives

Carefully researched, factual, understandable: The DR. WATSON database provides reliable information on industrial additives in food. The data in the DR. WATSON database are based on the official accounts of the responsible authorities, but show a comprehensive picture and also report on research results of independent and recognized institutions around the world.


DR. WATSON was the first information service to evaluate additives, conduct its own research, consult thousands of studies and analyze them uniformly according to the criteria of evidence-based medicine. Our approach is clearly defined and transparent.


In this process, the DR. WATSON team was supported by recognized scientists and also sought legal advice. The DR. WATSON database is regularly updated and expanded. DR. WATSON is independent of outside interests and institutions.


Dr. WATSON consistently looks at novel ingredients of food from the perspective of consumers. The DR. WATSON database of additives provides information not only on additives and their health implications but also on their distribution: after all, it comes down to individual decisions of consumers on the basis of personal preferences and inclinations.


Important information on risks of additives in industrial food

DR. WATSON’s database of food additives does not give medical advice or recommendations. The DR. WATSON database provides information about additives – independent, scientifically sound, comprehensible.


Officially, additives in industrial food are considered harmless. So if you eat little of it and are of a robust constitution, you have nothing to worry about. (For allergies, however, a milligram of the wrong thing can be fatal.)


With the limits being raised for what are considered safe consumption amounts, the chemical additives in food are becoming a health risk for more and more people. For many additives, side effects are proven beginning at a certain amount – and those side effects can be more severe than previously suspected. Especially children consume more of such additives than is good for them (ADI).


These are risks that humans have created for themselves. They are not impurities stemming from contamination or spoilage, but intentionally added additives.


The additives in such foods do not serve the consumers but the manufacturers of industrial food.


Their primary purpose is to extend shelf life and reduce costs. The human organism does not need such chemicals. They also have no health benefits for consumers. Many of the additives can pose health risks.


Chemically produced additives, unlike normal ingredients such as cauliflower, cream, or chicken, are not traditional components of a dish or a food. The body therefore has no adequate, evolutionarily practiced mechanisms for processing them.


Humans do not need additives. Only the food industry needs them.


They serve to enhance the taste or color of industrial food – externally. More colorful effervescence, browner sauces, noodle soups with longer shelf life, airier cakes, rolls with enhanced bun scent, creamier cream cheese with less fat, yogurts with stabilized fruit pieces that don’t move around.


Industrial food is designed to appear more attractive — and for as long as possible (shelf life). Because in the world of factories and supermarkets, food has to be cheap and last an unnaturally long time which is only possible by means of chemical engineering.


Many industrial foods cannot do without additives. Bag soups would quickly mold, margarine would become rancid, fruit yogurts would separate into fruit preparation and yogurt. Ready-made salad dressings would disintegrate into its components of herbs, vinegar, and oil.


The chemical substances indicated with E numbers are essential for industrial food production.


Many of them were tailored to the needs of food factories, lab-made substances without a model in nature. Other substances used do occur in nature but by using them as additives, the quantities that are being consumed have grown disproportionately.


In the past, doctors and authorities have therefore expressed concerned about these chemical substances in food, especially in the case of sustained and long-term intake.


Since then the official stance has changed.


Substances that were once considered "xenobiotics" and were even reviled by experts as "poisons" have now not only been rehabilitated, but even ennobled. Although consumer deception is still officially banned, they are now considered "food improvement agents" (EU jargon). To regulate the handling of these noble ingredients, the European Union has adopted a whole quartet of regulations, the "Food Improvement Agents Package" (FIAP), consisting of four individual regulations on the different types of additives.


However, findings on the harmful effects of these "substances for the improvement of food" are increasing.


Flavour enhancers such as glutamate are suspected of contributing to diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Dyes can lead to hyperactivity and learning disorders (ADHD). Migraines can also be triggered by food additives. Sweeteners such as aspartame are even suspected of causing cancer. Preservatives can damage the intestines and disrupt the immune system. Citric acid can attack the teeth and also transport harmful metals such as aluminum into the brain. Industrial flavors can cause obesity. Phosphates can accelerate the aging process and cause diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, bone weakness, and osteoporosis to occur earlier in life.


Additives are only used in tiny doses. However, more and more substances are being authorized and the individual additives are being produced in ever larger quantities. Phosphates, for example, are used worldwide as food additives at a rate of over 300,000 tonnes per year. In the case of sweeteners, the annual figure is 750,000 tonnes. Citric acid is one of the record holders: About 3 million tons are produced worldwide every year, most of it for food. In the case of glutamate, it is even 3.3 million tons per year.


Surprisingly, the effects of the individual chemicals multiply when consumed jointly. This was shown, among other things, by a study conducted by the University of Liverpool with the two dyes E104 (quinoline yellow) and E133 (brilliant blue), the flavor enhancer glutamate (E621), and the sweetener aspartame (E951).


The result: The harmful effects of the additives on the brain (neurotoxicity) did not add up, as would be expected, but multiplied. A mixture of the blue dye E133 and glutamate (E621), for example, did not slow down cell growth by 15.8 percent, as would have been expected, but by 46.1 percent. One plus one therefore does not equal to two, but up to six.


When approving additives, it is always taken into account what quantities of which foods people consume. In animal experiments a dose is then determined which is released as a daily tolerable amount. A safety margin is then applied, and the so-called "ADI value" is calculated ("Acceptable Daily Intake"). From this, a maximum quantity is fixed for each food. This should be calculated in such a way that the ADI value is not exceeded even with frequent consumption.


But with many additives, especially children but also adults apparently consume far more than is good for them. This was the result of studies conducted by the EU Commission and the member states and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).


The recording of consumption volumes in the European Union seems to have been systematically delayed, as has been criticized even by the European Court of Auditors. In a special report, it strongly criticized the lax surveillance practice.


Authorities can therefore not give an absolute guarantee of safety, since they know neither about the exact quantities used in individual foods nor about the total quantities actually consumed.


As a result, since the supervisory authorities refuse to guarantee protection against the risks posed by additives, consumers must protect themselves.


So everyone has to know for themselves what they want to expose themselves to.


DR. WATSON helps – with solid information about food additives and their alternatives.



Because it is quite simple, life without E-numbers. There is a safe way to get by without additives: Real food. Cooking for yourself using fresh ingredients.

There are no additives in real food.

Make the dressing for the salad yourself, cook the soup fresh or for a few days in advance, stir fruit or jam into the natural yoghurt.

It is: the traditional way of eating. In medicine, for example, the Mediterranean diet is now considered the gold standard for the prevention of diseases.

And: it is also the most enjoyable way of eating. Some even speak of a "gourmet diet", which is primarily oriented towards taste - and thus towards the neurological laws for the optimal supply of the individually necessary nutrients.

And: It is not only best for humans, but also for animals and the environment. And, of course, the children, and thus the following generations, the future of the planet.