A Dangerous Food Additive to Avoid

A Dangerous Food Additive to Avoid

by Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S., CFMP

Read the labels on the foods you buy.

Watch out for the ingredient carrageenan.

Carrageenan is considered a harmless food additive by the US government.

Unfortunately medical research has proven otherwise.

Carrageenan is known as Irish Moss and is actually a seaweed.

Most people would assume that this food additive would be nutritious considering it is a sea vegetable.  On a positive note this sea vegetable is high in iodine, sulfur, trace minerals and vitamins.

But it is important to know that the bad far outweighs the good when it comes to the consumption of carrageenan.

In over 40 studies, carrageenan was found to create ulcers and cancers in animals.  It easily triggers inflammatory disease in the human colon as well.  And many researchers believe that it promotes not only irritable bowel but breast cancers and more.

It changes detoxification in sulfur pathways (needed for hormones, toxins, etc.,), and may even be responsible for DVT (deep vein thromboses or blood clots in the lower legs).

Chemists have discovered that carrageenan suppresses gamma interferon, a cytokine crucial for tumor and infectious control (like hepatitis), as well as control of inflammation and autoimmune disease, arthritis, and more.

Finally carrageenan has been found to be part of the cause of the epidemic of diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and more.

The average intake of carrageenan for most individuals is 100 mg a day.

Where do you find carrageenan?

It prevents separation in foods containing milk or chocolate, and improves the texture of not only foods, but cosmetics and even toothpastes, room deodorizers and pesticides.

It’s commonly found in cottage cheese and ice cream to infant formulas, dietetic beverages and low-fat meats and yogurts.  For decades it was used as a thickener in puddings.

So the take-away is read the labels of the foods and products you consume and stay clear of anything that has carrageenan listed.


Tobacman JK, et al, Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal studies, Environ Health Persp 109;10, 2001

Tobacman JK, et al, Carrageenan induces interleukin-8 production through distinct Bc110 pathway in normal human colonic epithelial cells, Am J Physol, 292: G829, 2006

Suzuki F, et al, Suppression of interferon gamma production in mice treated with carrageenan, Eur J Immunol 16; 4:375-80, 1986

Thompson AW, et al, Immunopharmacology of the macrophagetoxic agent carrageenan, Int J Immunol Pharmacol 1:247-61, 1979

Bhattachryya S, et al, Exposure to the common food additive carrageenan leads to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, inhibition of insulin signaling…, Diabetologia 55; 1:194-203, 2012

Tomioka H, et al, Comparative roles of macrophages and NK cells in the host resistance of mice to Mycobacterium fortuitum infection, J Infect 48:74-80, 2004 (In this study the investigators found that 3 out of 4 infected mice given carrageenan died of infection)

McKim JM, et al, Food additive carrageenan Part 1: A critical review of carrageenan in vitro studies, potential pitfalls and implications for human health and safety, Crit Rev Toxicol 44; 3:211-43, 2014

Yang B, et al, Exposure to common food additive carrageenan leads to reduced sulfatase activity…, Biochimie 94; 6:1309-16, 2012 (and it changes heparin-haparan sulfate disaccharides; does this mean it could lead to deep vein thromboses and lung clots?)

Duarte DB, et al, Models of inflammation: Carrageenan air pouch, Current Protocols Pharmacology, chap. 5, unit 5, 6, 2012 (PMID 2278300, carrageenan is used to create inflammation to study NSAIDs)

Gong D, et al, Phytother Res 26; 3:397-402, 2012 (carrageenan is used to create arthritis for animal studies)

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