TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Move over prescription drugs. There's a new medicine in town...coated in a crispy candy shell. By a lucky accident, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that blue dye #1 is close to a lab compound that helps nerve inflammation. The common dye is found in everything from Gatorade, M&M's, Pop Tarts, even mints.
"It's fascinating, as you can imagine," said Dr. Mike Russell of Azalea Orthopedics. "Anything that shows promise in spinal cord injury is exciting."
That's right, the same blue food dye that turns your tongue a peculiar shade of purple might also protect your nerves in the case of spinal cord injury.
"Right now, this is [being tested] on rats," said Russell. "It's not in humans and it's far from getting to humans. It's just interesting because it's a blue dye and it happened to turn the rats blue. So, if you were to inject it in humans there might be a little bit of a blue hue, if you will, but it might be worth it."
Plenty of Americans get their daily dose of blue #1. The average person takes in about 14 milligrams a day, putting the national consumption around 100,000,000 pounds a year.
"Obviously, right now there would be no proof that eating [blue] M&M's would protect you from a spinal cord injury," said Russell.
Staff at the University of Rochester say they're excited about their findings but admit much more research needs to be done.