Carrageenan

One addition to many foods is carrageenan. In middle school we used test tubes in science class to extract carrageenan from some seaweed. It was a pretty gross looking clear gelatinous substance.  Our teacher told us not to eat it. I wasn’t particularly interested in eating it and at the time assumed she said that because of the tools we used and not the substance itself. However I have always remembered that warning and recently looked into whether there might be reasons not to eat carrageenan.

Some studies done on rats and human intestinal cells, show there might be some problems with carrageenan in the diet. It seems to cause intestinal permeability and irritation of the gut.  Anecdotal evidence on the web backs that up. According to the Cornucopia Institute there is plenty of evidence that carrageenan is not safe but more mainstream sources say it’s not that bad.

Apparently there have been no tests done on humans. In one article I read they said that testing on it was out the question for reasons of medical ethics. What I don’t understand is why it’s ethical to release it on the market for children to eat but not test it for safety before doing so?

I do my best to avoid carrageenan as much as possible. However if am experiencing any intestinal trouble this is something I won’t eat at all.

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