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Is Carrageenan Safe? | | Follow Your Heart®

Posted: 02/26/17

As a pacesetter in revolutionary plant-based meals, ­Follow Your Coronary heart is dedicated to the quality and safety of our elements. One ingredient that is notably within the spotlight is carrageenan. Some Follow Your Coronary heart products include carrageenan and we want to give you information about why we select to make use of it and why we’re confident the carrageenan that we use is a protected meals ingredient in our products.

Is Carrageenan protected?

Yes, our in depth research has led us to conclude that food-grade carrageenan is suitable for eating.

What’s Carrageenan?

Red SeaweedCarrageenan is an ingredient derived from pink seaweed that works as a thickener in meals. The identify Carrageenan is derived from “[a] species of seaweed known as Carrageen Moss or Irish Moss in England, and Carraigin in Ireland. Carraigin has been used in Ireland since 400 AD as a gelatin and as a home remedy to cure coughs and colds (1).”

Why is there concern about Carrageenan?

There are two forms of carrageenan: food-grade and degraded. Food grade carrageenan has been used for lots of of years and has been extensively reviewed and permitted for use in meals. Degraded carrageenan was found to be dangerous, but is not used in meals, because it does not provide any thickening properties. Despite the fact that degraded carrageenan and food-grade carrageenan are totally different, the dangerous results of carrageenan in its degraded type have been mistakenly associated with food-grade carrageenan.

How do we all know that Carrageenan is a protected meals additive?

Meals-grade carrageenan has been independently evaluated by the Joint FAO*/WHO** Skilled Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), a world panel of professional toxicologists who evaluate knowledge and develop suggestions about meals components. JECFA decided that food-grade carrageenan was a protected food additive with no limits on its use in meals.



Follow Your Coronary heart is dedicated to the standard and safety of our elements. We know that our clients anticipate us to make use of solely the very best quality and healthiest components obtainable, and we do every part we will to fulfill these expectations. We feel assured in our selection to use food-grade carrageenan and its alignment with our mission to make healthful, healthy plant-based foods. You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the analysis we carried out to make our choice under. When you’ve got another questions, please e-mail us at [email protected]

Right here’s the summary of our research:

What’s Carrageenan?

Carrageenan, an ingredient derived from numerous species of pink seaweed, has been used for a whole lot of years as a thickener in foods (2) and was first made commercially in 1940 for chocolate milk and junket (3), a milk dessert just like pudding. In the mid 1960’s, it was widespread for docs to advocate carrageenan to scale back ache associated with peptic ulcers. The focus needed to offer ulcer aid created a gel that was extraordinarily viscous and unsightly to eat. Subsequently, degraded carrageenan, also called poligeenan, was created. Degraded carrageenan is produced by hydrolyzing native (food grade) carrageenan which cuts bonds and makes the molecules smaller thus eradicating their thickening properties. Soon, degraded carrageenan was found to be harmful and its use for ulcer remedy was discontinued. Because the perform of carrageenan used in foods is to thicken, degraded carrageenan, having little or no thickening properties, by no means had a use in foods. Regardless that degraded carrageenan and food-grade carrageenan are totally different, the dangerous results of carrageenan in its degraded type have been mistakenly associated with food-grade carrageenan.

Why is there concern about Carrageenan?

Red SeaweedThe driving drive behind considerations relating to carrageenan’s security is attributed to an article written by Dr. Joanne Tobacman (4). A lot of the studies cited in her article report on degraded carrageenan (poligeenan). She argues that even food-grade carrageenan shouldn’t be protected from having vital ranges of degraded carrageenan because the acids in our stomach as well as sure bacteria may break it down into degraded carrageenan. This isn’t a declare supported by human or animal studies. Tobacman references studies that simulate gastric acid effects on carrageenan and the ensuing presence of degraded carrageenan. Nevertheless, a research in 1969 by Marcus and Watt explains that “poligeenan with an average molecular weight of about 20,000 daltons has none of the food functions of carrageenan whose average molecular weight is never lower than 100,000 daltons and is usually much higher.” Subsequently, evaluating “digested” carrageenan to poligeenan is a false equivalency.

More just lately, “scientific assessments of carrageenan have included short term and long term generational studies involving different dosages of degraded and non-degraded forms and various animal studies … all of the studies supported the safety of [food grade] carrageenan for use in foods. Regulatory authorities saw no reason to question the safety of [food grade] carrageenan as long as the average molecular weight was 100,000 daltons or higher.” The laws of carrageenan molecular sizes have been modified to insure that the food-grade carrageenan in meals was never lower than that restrict, and testing strategies have been launched to implement these limits (5).

Tobacman additionally references research that show that native carrageenan can promote colonic tumors in rats; nevertheless, the carrageenan in these research made up anyplace between 2.5% and 15% of the rats’ complete diets. In distinction, meals that include carrageenan have the ingredient at tenths (.1%) or hundredths (.01%) of a % inside the meals and these foods make up only a small fraction of our general weight-reduction plan.

How do we know that carrageenan is a protected meals additive?

Dr. Tobacman’s research was reviewed by the Joint FAO*/WHO** Professional Committee on Meals Components (JECFA), an unbiased worldwide panel of professional toxicologists who evaluate knowledge and develop suggestions pertaining to meals elements. Their assessment of the research, and of carrageenan, included an analysis of degradation of carrageenan and “public speculation of the harmful gastrointestinal effects” of carrageenan. Because of the analysis, the JECFA committee determined that the studies of carrageenan on laboratory animals have been carried out with excessive ranges of degraded carrageenan (poligeenan) and that food-grade carrageenan was a protected food additive with no limits on its use in meals. Those studies used a special form of carrageenan and have been examined only at excessive use levels. The JECFA decided that carrageenan was a protected food additive with no limits on its use in meals (6) and “assigned it an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of “not specified” probably the most favorable class. An ADI of 0-75mg/kg body weight is established within the EU” and is allowed to be used as needed (7).

Other studies and our tackle the research

Since Tobacman’s aforementioned article, she additionally wrote a paper noting that bench-top invitro experiments showed interactions between carrageenan and numerous organ cells (8). These experiments are thought-about invalid because ingested carrageenan does not cross the blood-gut barrier to interact with organ cells (6). She also wrote a paper noting the “time-trend” that carrageenan consumption and the incidence of breast most cancers each increased in the 20th century (9). The European Fee Scientific Committee for Food said that such correlations is perhaps found for any food or chemical which has elevated in prevalence in the course of the 20th century (10). We expect that saying carrageenan should induce breast cancer because breast most cancers incidence and carrageenan consumption both improve through the 20th century is like saying that listening to Jimi Hendrix and the prevalence of rock n roll music must also induce breast cancer.

We really feel that she is doing her greatest to defend her case towards food-grade carrageenan whatever the science behind the arguments and isn’t recognizing the true difference between degraded carrageenan and food-grade carrageenan. The scientific literature we’ve read helps the security of carrageenan and even exhibits carrageenan to inhibit most cancers cell progress resulting from its enhancement of the immune system (11).


We additionally invite you to not just take our phrase for it, and welcome you to learn a number of the analysis on your own. Two good places to start out are “Public Health and Carrageenan Regulation” and “Carrageenan: a review”. If in case you have some other questions, please e-mail us at [email protected]

*FAO = Food and Agriculture Group of the United Nations

**WHO = World Well being Organization


1 Carrageenan: a evaluate from Veterinarni Medicina, 58, 2013 (4): 187–205

2 Stanley N (1987) Production, properties and uses of carrageenan. In:McHugh DF (ed.) Production and utilization of merchandise from business seaweeds, vol 288. FAO, Rome

three Champman VJ (1950) Seaweeds and their makes use of. 1st ed. Camelot Press, London

four Tobacman JK (2001) Evaluate of dangerous gastrointestinaleffects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environ Well being Perspect 109:983-994.

5 Marcus AJ, Watt J (1969) Ulcerative colitis guinea-pig brought on by seaweed extract. J Pharmceut Pharmacol 21:187.

6 Watson DB (2008) Public well being and carrageenan regulation: a evaluate and evaluation. J Appl Phycol 20:505-513.

7 Weiner ML, Nuber D, Blakemore WR, Harriman JF, Cohen SM (2007) A 90-day dietary research on kappa carrageenan with emphasis on the gastroinstestinal tract. Meals Chem Toxicol 45:98-106.

8 Borthakur A, Bhattacharyya S, Dudeja PK, Tobacman JK (2007) Carrageenan induces interleukin-8 production by means of distinct Bc110 pathway in regular human colonic epithelial cells. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 292:G829-G838.

9 Tobacman JK, Wallace RB, Zimmerman MB (2001) Consumption of carrageenan and other water-soluble polymers used as meals components and incidence of mammary carcinoma. Med Hypotheses 56:589-598.

10 Scientific Committee on Food (2003) Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on carrageenan. Brussels: European Fee; 5 March. (SCF/CS/ADD/EMU/199 Ultimate)

11 Yuan H, Music J, Li X, Li N, Dai J (2006) Immunomodulation and antitumor exercise of [kappa]-carrageenan oligosaccharides. Most cancers Lett 243:228-234.

*Pictures courtesy of the fantastic individuals over at Seaweed Consulting.