CARRAGEENAN
Find out about its negative effects
 
 
Carrageenan is a polysaccharide that’s derived from red seaweed. On a molecular level it’s actually very similar to plastic and is it is widely used for that reason. It bends easily but snaps back into place and it is used as a additive to foods, gels, and foams.
Carrageenan is used in products such as:
■Milk products to improve viscosity
■Toothpaste
■Gummy products
■Dairy products/plant milks
■Beer
■Shoe polish
■Shaving cream
 
Carrageenan has been linked to producing inflammation, immune system deterioration and cancer.  
According to Dr. Joanne Tobacman, an assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, reported evidence from human trials that shows how carrageenan is dangerous for human consumption. Most of the studies linking carrageenan to cancer and other gastrointestinal disorders have focused on degraded carrageenan. But Dr. Tobacman thinks that undegraded carrageenan - the kind most widely used as a food additive - might also be associated with malignancies and other stomach problems. She suggests that such factors as bacterial action, stomach acid and food preparation may transform undegraded carrageenan into the more dangerous degraded type. Dr. Tobacman's findings were published in the October 2001 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a branch of the National Institutes of Health.
 
Dr. Tobacman presented studies that demonstrate that digestive enzymes and bacterial action convert high weight carrageenans to dangerous low molecular weight carrageenans and poligeenans in the human gut. These carrageenans have been linked to various human cancers and digestive disorders. Dr.Tobacman's evidence and conclusions are based upon human tissue samples, not animal studies. I will cite additional information from four studies:
1) Filament Disassembly and Loss of Mammary Myoepithelial
Cells after Exposure to Carrageenan, Joanne Tobacman,
Cancer Research, 57, 2823-2826, July 15, 1997
2) Carrageenan-Induced Inclusions in Mammary Mycoepithelial
Cells, Joanne Tobacman, MD, and Katherine Walters, BS,
Cancer Detection and Prevention, 25(6): 520-526 (2001)
3) Consumption of Carrageenan and Other Water-soluble
Polymers Used as Food Additives and Incidence of
Mammary Carcinoma, J. K. Tobacman, R. B. Wallace, M. B.
Zimmerman, Medical Hypothesis (2001), 56(5), 589-598
4) Structural Studies on Carrageenan Derived Oligisaccharides,
Guangli Yu, Huashi Guan, Alexandra Ioanviciu, Sulthan
Sikkander, Charuwan Thanawiroon, Joanne Tobacman, Toshihiko
Toida, Robert Linhardt, Carbohydrate Research, 337 (2002),
433-440
 
In her 1997 publication (1), Tobacman studied the effect of carrageenan on the growth of cultured human mammary epithelial cells over a two week period. She found and reported that extremely low doses of carrageenan disrupted the internal cellular architecture of healthy breast tissue, leading her to conclude:
  "The widely used food additive, carrageenan has
   marked effects on the growth and characteristics
   of human mammary myoepithelial cells in tissue
   cultures at concentrations much less than those
   frequently used in food products to improve
   solubility."
 
Tobacman continued her work by exposing low concentrations of carrageenan for short intervals to human breast tissue (2), and observed pathological alterations in cellular membranes and intracellular tissues. Tobacman wrote:
  "These changes included prominence of membrane-
   associated vesicles that coalesced to form unusual
   petal-like arrays...and development of stacked
   rigid-appearing inclusions in the lysosomes that
   arose from the membranes of the petal-like arrays
   and from smaller, dense spherical bodies that
   formed clumps."
 
In a long-standing report, Tobacman revealed that carrageenan has been found to destroy other human cells in tissue cultures, including epithelial intestinal cells and prostate cells. She concludes:
  "The association between exposure to low
   concentrations of carrageenan in tissue
   culture and destruction of mammary
   myoepithelial cells may be relevant to
   the occurrence of invasive mammary
   malignancy in vivo and provides another
   approach to investigation of mammary
   carcinoma."
 
Tobacman's third paper (3) examined the increased incidence of mammary carcinoma to the increased consumption of stabilizers and additives such as
guar gum, pectin, xanthan, and carrageenan. While no relationship between the either above named additives and cancer was observed, carrageenan
showed a strong positive.
Although high molecular weight carrageenans are considered to be safe, Tobacman demonstrates that low molecular weight carrageenans are carcinogenic.
She writes:
  "Acid hydrolysis (digestion) leads to shortening
   of the carrageenan polymer to the degraded form,
   poligeenan. It is not unreasonable to speculate
   that normal gastric acid...may act upon ingested
   carrageenan and convert some of which is ingested
   to the lower molecular weight poligeenan during
   the actual process of digestion. Also, some
   intestinal bacteria possess the enzyme
   carrageenase that degrades carrageenan."
Tobacman's 2002 publication (4) proves her earlier hypothesis. She writes:
  "Mild-acid hydrolytic depolymerization of
   carrageenan affords poligeenan, a mixture of
   lower molecular weight polysaccharides and
   oligosaccharide products."
 
Joanne Tobacman is an assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and she is the researcher who made the connection between carrageenan and cancer. She noted that as long ago as 1972 the FDA determined that there was enough evidence from animal studies to limit the type of carrageenan that could be used in foods. However, in 1979, the FDA rescinded its proposed limitation and since then, no action has been taken.
 

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31