There is a growing number of carageenan detractors lately because they think that this natural food ingredient is the main culprit for a lot of health problems such as colon & liver cancer, respiratory problems, birth defects, immune deficiency and the list goes on and on. If this problem is said to be true then a lot of Americans would be living in danger given that almost every single product out there in the market contain carageenan in its different forms. Food such as processed coconut milk, organic yogurt, turkey cold cuts and even health care products such as toothpaste, whitening soaps, skin care products and a lot more all contain carageenan or its degraded form which is known as the poligeenan.
However, before we jump into this bandwagon and avoid carrageenan at all costs then here are two things that you need to know:
There are two types of carrageenan which is carrageenan and poligeenan. The former undergoes an alkaline procedure to come up with this end product while the latter which is the degraded form is processed with an acidic solution. Among the studies conducted to test whether carageenan is bad for our health or not; it weren’t indicated if whether degraded or under graded carrageenan was used for the research.
In one of the experiments, rats were used as specimens wherein they were divided into two groups and exclusively ate carrageenan and poligeenan respectively. After 90 days, an increase in cancer cell activity was discovered in both groups. Fortunately, the group who ate carrageenan exclusively survived the illness but the other group succumbed to cancer and most of them died there after. This specific experiment could have proven that carageenan is indeed harmful to us but there is another flaw in it which we are going to tackle after this.
Let us keep in mind that the lab rats were fed with an exorbitant amount of carageenan which can put the dose of intake in check. We people only get to consume a very small amount of carageenan from the food and products that we get to purchase over the market. Let us say we get to consume around 5mg of carageenan from a regular order of frozen yogurt then that would mean we need to consume boxes of frozen yogurt exclusively for around 90 days until we could say that carageenan has indeed caused cancer cell activity in our systems. What I am trying to say in here is that the dose of carageenan intake can also be put into question with these experiments whenever they are compared to human consumption.
I would still conclude that carageenan is safe to use as a natural ingredient in some of our food and health care products. But then again, too much of something is bad enough that is why if you consume too much carageenan then it should be expected that your body will suffer some sort of side effects out of over consumption. This is why regularity should still be checked when it comes to carageenan intake.