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E Numbers


Most vitamin preparations in tablet and capsule forms are classed under UK labelling regulations as foods. Hence label information must include a list of all ingredients in descending order of weight. Those ingredients that are not active are referred to as excipients or bulking agents or fillers plus lubricants, emulsifiers, preservatives, colouring agents and processing aids. The substances used and approved for use in tablets and capsules are given here.

In addition, acceptable daily intake (ADI) is given for each substance. This is expressed as mg per kg body weight and is the amount of the additive that can be taken daily in the diet, even over a lifetime, without risk, as evaluated by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. CI refers to the official Colour Index.

 

The Major E Number.

E100 - Curcumin, also known as Natural Yellow 3 and CI 75300. Natural orange-yellow colour whose main colouring is turmeric. ADI is up to 0.1mg per kg body weight.

E101 - Riboflavin, also known as vitamin 2 and lactoflavin. Used as orange-yellow colouting agent. ADI is up to 0.5mg per kg body weight.

E102 - Tartrazine, also known as Food Yellow 4, FD and C Yellow 5, CI 19140. Synthetic, yellow powder, one of the coal-tar dyes. Used as colouring agent. ADI is up to 7.5mg per kg body weight. May cause allergic reaction in susceptible people, particularly those also sensitive to aspirin. Adverse effects include acute bronchospasm, urticaria, rhinitis, blurred vision, oedema and purple patches on the skin.

E104 - Quinoline Yellow, also known as Food Yellow 13, CI 47005. Synthetic, yellow colouring agent, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI is up to 0.5mg per kg body weight.

E11O- Sunset Yellow FCF, also known as Orange YellowS, FD and C Yellow 6, Food Yellow 3, CI 15985. Synthetic, yellow colouring agent, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI is up to 5.0mg per kg body weight.

E120 - Cochineal, also known as Carmine, Carminic acid, Natural Red 4, CI 75470. Natural red colour extracted from the insect Coccus cacti L. ADI is up to 2.5mg per kg body weight.

E122 - Carmoisine, also known as Azorubine, Food Red 3, CI 14720. Synthetic red to bluish-red colour, one of the azo dyes. ADI is up to 1.25mg per kg body weight.

E123 - Amaranth, also known as Food Red 9, CI 16185. Synthetic bluish-red colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. In the UK is used widely in liquid vitamin C preparations but is prohibited in the USA and some European countries. ADI is up to 0.75mg per kg body weight. Incompatible with anti-infective cetrimide.

E124 - Ponceau 4R. also known as cochineal red 4A, Food Red 7, CI 16255. Synthetic red to dark red colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI is up to 0.125mg per kg body weight. May cause hypersensitivity in those susceptible to tartrazine.

E127- Erythrosine BS, also known as Food Red 14, FD and C Red No. 3, Ci 45430. Synthetic yellowish-pink to bright bluish-red colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI is up to 2.5mg per kg body weight. Contains iodine sufficient to raise protein-bound iodine to hyperthyroid values. Can cause phototoxicity.

E131- Patent Blue V, also known as Food Blues, CI 42051. Synthetic bright, greenish-blue colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI not been allocated. Allergic reactions include redness of skin, itching and urticaria. More severe are shock, breathing problems, nausea, tremor and low blood pressure

E132 - Indigo carmine, also known as Indigotine, FD and C Blue No. 2, Food Blue 1, CI 73015. Synthetic blue colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI is up to 5mg per kg body weight. May cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, skin rashes, itching and breathing problems.

E140 - Chlorophyll, also known as Natural Green 3, CI 75810. Natural green colour extracted from plants. ADI is not limited.

E141 - Copper chlorophyll, also known as Natural Green 3, CI 75810. Blue-green powder that is a complex of the mineral copper with chlorophyll. ADI is up to 15mg per kg body weight.

E142 - Green 5, also known as Acid Brilliant Green BS, Lissamine Green, Food Green 4, CI 44090. Synthetic, greenish-blue colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI has not been allocated.

E15O - Caramel, also known as Natural Brown 10. Produced by the action of heat and chemicals on sugars. Brown to black colour. ADI is up to 100mg per kg body weight.

E15I - Black PN, also known as Brilliant Black BN, Food Black I, CI 28440. Synthetic black colour, one of the coal-tar dyes. ADI is up to 1mg per kg body weight. Causes intestinal cysts in pigs fed dye for 90 days but not yet studied in human beings.

E153 - Carbon black, also known as vegetable carbon. Black colour produced from combustion of vegetables. ADI has not been allocated.

E160 - Carotenoids. Natural yellow to orange colours, some with vitamin A activity. ADI has not been allocated.

EJ6Oa - Alpha, beta and gamma-carotene, also known as Natural Yellow 26, CI 75130.

EJ6Ob - Annatto, also known as Bixin, Norbixin, Natural Orange No. 4, CI 75120. Natutal yellow mange to red coloui. ADI is up to 1.25mg per kg body weight.

El6Oc - Capsanthin, also known as Capsorubin. Red colouring agent from paprika. ADI has not been allocated.

E16Od- Lycopene, also known as Natural Yellow 27, CI 75125. Natural cajotenoid red coloui fioni tomatoes. ADI has not been allocated.

El6Oe - Beta-Apo-8'-carotenal, also known as Food Orange No. 6, CI 40820. Natural orange to yellowish-red colour. ADI is up to 5mg per kg body weight.

El6Of - Ethyl ester of beta-apo-8'-carotenal, also known as Food Orange 7, CI 40825. Natural yellow to orange colour. ADI is up to 5mg per kg body weight that also includes beta-apo-8'-carotenal and beta- carotene.

E161 - Xanthophylls, natural colouring agents that occur as range of colours from yellow to orange to red. All obtained from plants, mainly leaves. Individual xanthophylls are designated below.

EI61a - Flavoxanthin, natural yellow colour. ADI not allocated.

El61b- Lutein, natural yellow-reddish colour. ADI not allocated.

El61c - Cryptoxanthin, natural yellow colour. ADI not allocated.

El6ld - Rubixanthin, natural yellow colour. ADI not allocated.

El61e - Violaxanthin, natural yellow colour. ADI not allocated.

E161f - Rhodoxanthin, natural yellow colour. ADI not allocated.

E161g - Canthaxanthin, natural orange colour. Known also as Food Orange 8 and CI 40850. ADI is up to 0.25mg per kg body weight.

E162 Been 0011 ed, known also as Belamin. Red colour obtained from beetroots. ADI is not specified.

E163 - Anthocyanins, water-soluble vegetable colours in various shades of red, violet or blue. ADI not allocated.

El70 - Calcium carbonate, known also as chalk. Used as firming agent and release agent in vitamin tablets. Dietary calcium supplement. ADI is not limited.

E171 - Titanium dioxide, known also as Pigment White 6 and CI 77891. Natural pigment used as white colouring agent in vitamin tablets and capsules. ADI is not limited.

E172 - Iron oxides and hydroxides, known also as CI 77472, 77499, 77489, 77491. Natural pigments giving yellow, red, brown or black colours, depending on mixtures of the oxides and hydroxides. ADI is up to 0.5mg per kg body weight.

E173 - Aluminium, known also as CI 77000. A surface colouring matter giving silvery finish to surface of pills and tablets. ADI not allocated.

E174 - Silver. A lustrous white metal used in the form of silver leaf. Has been used as surface colouring matter in vitamin pills, dragees and sugar-coated confectionery. ADI is not allocated.

E175 - Gold, known also as CI 77480. Soft, yellow metal used in the form of gold leaf as surface colouring agent on some vitamin pills. ADI not allocated as use is very limited and is not considered a hazard.

E180 - Pigment Rubin, known also as Lithal Rubin BK and CII 5850. Synthetic reddish pigment, used as calcium salt. ADI not allocated.

E200 - Sorbic acid. Functions as preservative in vitamin tablets and capsules. In capsules usually confined to gelatin shell. Occurs naturally in certain fruits but can also be made by synthetic chemical methods. ADI is up to 25mg per kg body weight.

E201 - Sodium sorbate, sodium salt of sorbic acid. See E200.

E202 - Potassium sorbate, potassium salt of sorbic acid. See E200.

E203 - Calcium sorbate, calcium salt of sorbic acid. See E200. E210 - Benzoic acid. Functions as preservative in tablets and capsules. Occurs naturally but can be made by chemical methods. ADI is up to 5mg per kg body weight. Allergic reactions including asthma, urticaria and oedema have been reported with benzoic acid. Large doses may produce gastric irritation.

E211 Sodium benzoate, sodium salt of benzoic acid. See E210.

E212- Potassium benzoate, potassium salt of beazoic acid. See E210.

E213 - Calcium henzoare, calcium salt of benzoic acid. See E210.

E214 - Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, known also as Ethyl parahydroxybenzoate, ethyl ester of p-hydroxybenzoic acid, ethyl parabens, ethyl parasept. Preservative in tablets and capsules acting against moulds, fungi, yeasts and some bacteria. ADI is up to 10mg per kg body weight. Adverse effects are hypersensitivity reactions in some people, mainly affecting the skin.

E215- Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt. Known also as sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate. See E214.

E216- Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, known also as n-Propyl p-hydroxy-benzoate, Nipasol M, propyl parabens, propyl parasept. See E214.

E217- Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt. Also known as sodium n-propyl p-hydroxybenzoate. See E214.

E218 - Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, also known as methyl p-hydroxybenzoate, methyl parabens, methyl parasept. See E214.

E219- Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt. Also known as sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate. See E214.

E220 - Sulphur dioxide. Used as preservative, improving agent and bleaching agent. Preservative for gelatine in vitamin capsules. ADI is up to 0.7mg per kg body weight.

E221 - Sodium sulphite. See E220.

E222 - Sodium hydrogen suiphite, also known as sodium bisuiphite, and sodium sulphite. See E220.

E223 - Sodium metabisuiphite. See E220.

E224 - Potassium metalsuiphite, also known as potassium disuiphite, potassium pyrosuiphite. See E220.

E226 - Calcium suiphite. See E220.

E227 - Calcium hydrogen sulphite also known as calcium bisuiphite. See E220.

E300 - L-Ascorbic acid, known also as vitamin C. Used as antioxidant, vitamin, improving agent for flour, meat-colour preservative. ADI is not limited.

E301 - Sodium-L-ascorbate, sodium salt of ascorbic acid, known also as vitamin C. See E300.

E302 - Calcium-L-ascorbate, calcium salt of ascorbic acid, known also as vitamin C. See E300.

E304 - 6-0-Palmitoyl-L-ascorbic acid also known as Ascorbyl palmitate, vitamin C palnttate. Used as vitamin C, E300, but has advantage of being fat-soluble. ADI is up to 1.25mg per kg body weight.

E306 - Extracts of natural origin rich in tocopherols (vitamin E). Used as antioxidant, vitamin. ADI is up to 2mg per kg body weight as food additive.

E307 - Synthetic alpha-tocopherol, known also as DL-alpha- tocopherol, vitamin E. Used as antioxidant, vitamin. ADI is up to 2mg per kg body weight as food additive.

E308 - Synthetic gamma-tocopherol, known also as DL-gamma- tocopherol, vitamin E. Used as antioxidant, vitamin. ADI is up to 2mg per kg body weight as food additive.

E309 - Synthetic delta-tocopherol, known also as DL-delta-tocopherol, vitamin E. Used as antioxidant, vitamin F. ADI is up to 2mg per kg body weight as food additive.

E320 - Butylated hydroxyanisole, known also as BHA, 3-terliary-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole. Used as antioxidant. ADI is up to 0.5mg per kg body weight (also include BHT or sum of both). Hypersensitivity reactions have occurred following application of BHA to the skin.

E321 - Butylated hydroxytoluene, known also as BHT, 2, 6-tertiary-butyl-p-cresol. Used as antioxidant. ADI is up to 0.5mg per kg body weight (also includes RHA or sum of both). Hypersensitivity reactions have occurred following application of BHT to the skin.

E322 - Lecithins. A complex mixture of phosphatides derived from soybeans, other vegetable matter and of animal origin. Used as emulsifier, antioxidant. ADI is not limited.

E400 - Alginic acid. Obtained from brown seaweeds. Used in tablets as natural disintegrant causing quick dispersion of tablet after swallowing. Also acts as tablet binder. ADI is up to 50mg per kg body weight.

E401 - Sodium alginate, sodium salt of alginic acid. See E400.

E402 - Potassium alginate, potassium salt of alginic acid. See E400.

E403 - Ammonium alginate, ammonium salt of alginic acid. See E400.

E404 - Calcium alginate, calcium salt of alginic acid. See E400.

E405 - Propane-l, 2-diol alginate, known also as propylene glycol alginate, alginate ester. See E400.

E406 - Agar, known also as Agar-agar. Natural disintegrating agent and binder for tablets, derived from certain seaweeds. ADI is not limited. Adverse effects of large amounts are flatulence, distension and intestinal obstruction.

E407 - Carregeenan, known also as carrageen, Irish Moss. Natural disintegrating agent and binder for tablets, derived from certain seaweeds. ADI is up to 75mg per kg body weight. When intact, carrageenan is generally regarded as safe up to the above limit. Degraded carrageenan can cause liver damage, stomach ulcers, colonic irritation and immunological effects.

E410- Locust bean gum, known also as carob gum, made from ground endosperms of Ceratonia siliqua seeds. Natural disintegrating agent and binder in tablets. ADI is not specified.

E412 - Guar gum known also as Jaguar gum, guar flour, made from round endosperms of cyamopsis psoraloides. Natural disintegrating agent and binder in tablets. ADI is not specified. Adverse effects of large quantities are flatulence, nausea and vomiting. Possible intestinal obstruction.

E413 - Tragacanth, a gum exudate obtained from the tree Astralagus gummifer. Used as disintegrating agent and binder in tablets. ADI has not been allocated. Adverse effects are rare but confined to those after inhalation and consist of allergic responses. Contact dermatitis has been reported from use on the skin. Has been used as bulk laxative.

E414 - Acacia gum, also known as Gum Arabic. Air-dried gummy exudate from the tree Acacia senegal. Used as granulating and binding agent in tablets. Functions as demulcent in lozenges and pastilles where it provides slow disintegration. ADI is not limited. Hypersensitivity reactions have occurred rarely after inhalation or ingestion of acacia.

E415 - Xanthan gum, a gum produced in fermentations of Xanth omonas campestris. Also known as Corn Sugar Gum. Used as granulating agent and binder in tablets. ADI is up to 10mg per kg body weight.

E420 - Sorbitol, also known as Sorbitol Syrup. Used as a sweetener in chewable vitamin tablets and capsules. Occurs naturally in some fruits but can also be synthesized chemically from glucose. ADI is not specified. Excessive amounts of sorbitol may cause flatulence, abdominal distension and diarrhoea when taken orally.

E421 - Mannitol. also known as Manna Sugar. Used as a sweetener in chewable vitamin tablets and capsules. Occurs naturally and is similar to sorbitol. ADI is up to 50mg per kg body weight. When given by mouth, mannitol may cause diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

E440a - Pectin, also includes Amidated Pectin (E440b). Obtained from the inner portion of the rind of citrus fruits or from apple pomace. Used as binder and tiller in tablets. ADI is not specified. Large amounts may temporarily increase flatulence and distension, sometimes causing intestinal obstruction. Oesophogeal obstruction may be caused if pectin is swallowed dry.

E460 - Microcrystalline cellulose, prepared from wood cellulose. Also known as alpha-cellulose, powdered cellulose. Used as a binder, filler, disintegrant and lubricant in tablets, particularly when calorie-free preparation is needed. ADI is not specified. Intakes of up to 30g have been tolerated by man.

E461 - Methylcellulose, a chemically-modified cellulose. Used as bulking agent and binder in tablets. ADI is up to 25mg per kg body weight. Large amounts may temporarily increase flatulence and distension. Intestinal obstruction has been reported and when taken in the dry form, methylcellulose may give rise to obstruction in the oesophagus.

E463 - Hydroxyproplycellulose, a chemically-modified cellulose. See E461.

E464 - Hydroxyproplymethylcellulose, a chemically-modified cellulose. See E461.

E465 - Ethylmethylcellulose, methyletbylcellulose. See E461.

E466 - Carboxymethylcellulose, sodium salt. A chemically-modified cellulose. See E461.

 


Other E numbers.

Other E numbers refer to additives that may legally be added to foods but are not used in tablets and capsules containing vitamins. None of the additives used in preparing tablets and capsules affect in any way the potencies of the vitamins in those preparations.

The following tablet and capsule additives are used at present but their E numbers are only proposed and unlikely to be effective before 1986:

E1O1a - Riboflavin-5'-phosphate. see ElOl.

E107- Yellow 2G; Acid Light Yellow 2G; Acid Yellow 17; CI Food Yellow 5; CI No. 18965. Synthetic coal-tar dye, soluble in water. Permitted for use in foodstuffs and cosmetics. ADI is not known.

E128 - Red 2G; Acid Red I; Food Red 10; Ext. D and C Red No. 11; Geranine2U; CI No. 18050. Synthetic coal-tar dye, soluble in water. ADI is up to 6ug per kg body weight.

E133 - Brilliant Blue FCF; Blue EGS; CI Food Blue 2; CI Acid Blue 9; Patent Blue AC; FD and C Blue No. 1; CI No. 42090. Synthetic coal-tar dye. Has been used to produce green hues with tartrazine. ADI is up to 12.5mg per kg body weight, established after repeated subcutaneous injections in animals.

E154 - Brown FK; CI Food Brown 1; Chocolate Brown FK. A mixture of synthetic azo dyes. Experiments on bacteria suggest that two of the constituents are mutagenic, i.e., causing cell changes.

E155 - Chocolate Brown HI; CI Food Brown 3; CI No. 20285. Synthetic coal-tar dye. ADI is up to 250g per kg body weight.

E375 - Nicotinic acid, one of the B vitamins.

E516 - Calcium sulphate; gypsum; terra alba. Mineral used as filler in tablet-making. ADI is unlimited.

E542 - Edible Bone Phosphate. Used as filler in tablet-making. ADI is unlimited.

E551 - Silicon dioxide; Colloidal silicon dioxide; Colloidal silica. Used as anti-caking agent in tablet-making. ADI is unlimited.

E57O - Stearic acid. Used as lubricant in tablet-making and as a coating for pills and tablets. Naturally occurring fatty acid occurring in all animal fats and vegetable oils. ADI is unlimited.

E572 - Magnesium stearate. Used as a lubricant in tablet-making. ADI is unlimited.

E901 - Beeswax; White Wax; Yellow Wax; Cera Alba; Cera Flava. The wax obtained by melting with hot water the wails of the honeycomb of the bee and removing the foreign matter. Used as an ingredient in some soft-gelatin capsules. White variety is bleached yellow beeswax. Causes occasional allergic dermatitis in beekeepers but no reports of toxic effects in the minute amounts used in soft-gelatin capsules.

E904 - Shellac, Lacca. Obtained by purifying the resinous secretion of the insect Laccifer lacca Kerr (Coccidae). Used as a coating for pills and tablets. No adverse effects reported from small amounts used in tablets.

 


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