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    A colloid extracted from numerous red algae (such as Irish moss) and utilized particularly as a supporting or thickening representative. [1]

    Irish Moss: The History of Carrageenan’s Roots

    Chondrus crispus

    Carrageenan is made from a type of red seaweed referred to as Chondrus crispus. Archaeologists approximate human beings have been gathering seaweed, like Chondrus crispus, for almost 14,000 years. Evidence of red seaweed’s medical advantages in China can be traced back to 600 BC, and it was initially used as a food source around 400 BC on the British Isles.

    Often referred to as Irish moss, the thick seaweed utilized for carrageenan grows abundantly along the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic, including the coasts of the British Isles, The United States And Canada and Europe. This seaweed is especially abundant along Ireland’s rocky coastline, where it has actually been cultivated for centuries for both its gelling residential or commercial properties in foods in addition to purported medicinal functions. In fact, carrageenan’s name originates from Carrigan Head, a cape near Northern Ireland, the title of which was motivated by the Irish word “carraigĂ­n,” which equates to “little rock.” In the 19th century, the Irish thought carrageenan might treat sick calves together with human colds, influenza and congestion. Initially, the seaweed was gathered and set out to dry. Then it was cleaned and boiled prior to being contributed to flans, tonics and even beer. Utilized likewise to gelatin, carrageenan ended up being a key component in the classic Irish pudding, Blancmange, a delicately-set cream dessert. Blancmange is still made in Ireland, where whole pieces of dried red seaweed can be purchased in local markets.

    The Irish Potato Famine

    Carrageenan was likewise utilized to fight dietary shortages in the 1800s during the Irish Potato Famine. The red seaweed was contributed to warmed milk with sugar and spices to produce a prepared drink. This drink is still consumed today in both Ireland and the Caribbean. As Irish immigrants left starvation and pertained to the United States, the first American seaweed farming production was developed off the coast of Massachusetts. Nevertheless, it wasn’t till World War II, when a similar component called agar was no longer offered, that carrageenan soared in appeal in the US food supply. [2]

    Did you know?

    The name Carrageenan is stemmed from a species of seaweed known as Carrageen Moss or Irish Moss in England, and Carraigin in Ireland. Carraigin has actually been utilized in Ireland considering that 400 A.D. as gelatin and as a natural home remedy to cure coughs and colds.

    Officially known by its types name as Chondrus crispus, Irish moss is likewise described as red algae or sea moss. The thin, flat, reddish-purple leaves branch off in a repeating pattern from a central stem and the plant grows mostly in the cooler waters of the eastern and western northern Atlantic ocean.

    Merely Delish has gone to terrific lengths and sourced the highest grade we could source which is NON-GMO validated carrageenan for our fantastic Merely Delish Jel Dessert products. Our objective is to just source the very best and best ingredients for all our household of Merely Delish items.

    What is the process of carrageenan?

    Centuries earlier, the Irish would make carrageenan in their kitchens by boiling salt, seaweed, and alcohol. Then, they would blend those 3 components to launch natural carrageenan.

    Ever since, the process used to make carrageenan is really comparable and still, very minimal, indicating it stays close to the natural type. Initially, the seaweed is placed in boiling water that is somewhat alkaline (” alkaline” simply something higher on the ph scale; for example, watermelon is alkaline and has a high ph, while vinegar is acidic and has a low ph). Finally, the seaweed is dried, sliced, and ground into a fine carrageenan powder.

    What foods and beverages use carrageenan?

    Carrageenan is an essential component in much of the foods and beverages consumed every day. It’s also commonly used in the food industry, mostly as a thickener and gelling agent. Generally you’ll discover it in foods such as those tasty plant-based milk, like nuts and soy milk, to deli meats, protein shakes/powders, chocolate milk, yogurts, popsicles, prepared meals such as frozen burritos and pizza, ice cream, and infant formula.

    Unlike gelatin, which originates from animal items, carrageenan is appropriate for vegans and is naturally, grown in water.

    Why is carrageenan in our food?

    Carrageenan is used as a food additive for many different reasons. First, it is used in ice cream to offer it the smooth, creamy texture that all of us understand and love. In that tasty chocolate milk and nuttylicious almond milk, carrageenan is utilized as a stabilizer to keep the chocolate from separating or the ground nuts from settling to the bottom of the carton. In addition to being used as a chocolate stabilizer, it is likewise utilized to support and suspend nutrients in liquid baby formula to make certain infants receive the nutrition they require. Another usage is that it can lower the sugar material in jams and jellies, lower sodium in lunch meats while keeping them damp and fresh, and enhance and secure the overall dietary value in numerous foods without sacrificing taste. [3]


    Carrageenans are large, highly versatile molecules that form curling helical structures. This gives them the capability to form a range of various gels at room temperature. They are extensively used in the food and other markets as thickening and supporting agents.

    All carrageenans are high-molecular-weight polysaccharides and mainly comprised of alternating 3-linked b-D-galac- topyranose (G-units) and 4-linked a-D-galactopyranose (D-units) or 4-linked 3,6-anhydro-a-D-galactopyranose (DA-units), forming the disaccharide repeating system of carrageenans.

    There are 3 primary business classes of carrageenan:.

    Kappa types strong, rigid gels in the existence of potassium ions, and responds with dairy proteins. It is sourced generally from Kappaphycus alvarezii.

    Iota forms soft gels in the existence of calcium ions. It is produced mainly from Eucheuma denticulatum.

    Lambda does not gel, and is utilized to thicken dairy products.

    The main distinctions that affect the homes of kappa, iota, and lambda carrageenan are the number and position of the ester sulfate groups on the repeating galactose units. Higher levels of ester sulfate lower the solubility temperature level of the carrageenan and produce lower strength gels, or contribute to gel inhibition (lambda carrageenan).

    Many red algal species produce different kinds of carrageenans throughout their developmental history. For example, the genus Gigartina produces primarily kappa carrageenans throughout its gametophytic phase, and lambda carrageenans during its sporophytic phase.

    All are soluble in hot water, however in cold water, just the lambda form (and the sodium salts of the other two) are soluble.

    When used in foodstuff, carrageenan has the EU additive E numbers E407 or E407a when present as “processed eucheuma seaweed”. Technically carrageenan is considered a dietary fibre.

    In parts of Scotland and Ireland, where it is known by a variety of local and native names, Chondrus crispus is boiled in milk and strained, prior to sugar and other flavourings such as vanilla, cinnamon, brandy, or whisky are included. The end-product is a sort of jelly comparable to panna cotta, tapioca, or blancmange. [4]

    Which foods have carrageenan?

    Carrageenan tends to be in vegan and vegetarian items. Given that it’s a plant, producers utilize it to change gelatin, which is made from animal parts.

    Common sources of carrageenan.

    • Chocolate milk
    • Cottage cheese
    • Cream
    • Ice cream
    • Almond milk
    • Diary alternatives, such as vegan cheeses or nondairy desserts
    • Coconut milk
    • Creamers
    • Hemp milk
    • Rice milk
    • Soy milk
    • Deli meats

    Carrageenan has no dietary value, so you do not have to worry about missing anything when you remove foods containing it. Finding replacements for vegetarian or vegan foods without carrageenan is possible. Simply remember that carrageenan-free milks might separate. This is natural. All you have to do is shake well before pouring.

    To see which brands are carrageenan-free, take a look at Cornucopia’s shopping guide. Carrageenan is also discovered in pet foods, specifically canned ones. Select a brand name that does not include this additive. [5]

    The Carrageenan Controversy

    Carrageenan has actually been utilized in conventional cooking for centuries and is an ingredient in many organic and vegan foods. Now critics are calling for a restriction. Is carrageenan safe? Nutrition Diva sorts through the proof

    Who would have thought that this ancient, natural, plant-based active ingredient would become center of a swirling debate? But it definitely has. Some researchers have actually presented proof that carrageenan is extremely inflammatory and toxic to the digestive tract, and claim that it may be reponsible for colitis, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, and even colon cancer. Similarly appreciated scientists have detailed the factors that this proof is flawed and deceptive, concluding that there is no legitimate reason to prohibit its usage. [6]

    Health Benefits of Carrageenan

    Carrageenan is a seaweed extract that has many usages in the foods we eat every day. Just like flour or starch, it can be used to thicken foods such as gravy. It avoids separation (think almond milk) by binding active ingredients together, enhances texture (it’s used in ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming), and assists low-fat foods, such as yogurt, taste just as excellent as the full-fat version. In infant formula, carrageenan suspends the nutrients so that infants get the nutrients they require.

    On a nutritional level, carrageenan is fairly neutral. Given that it is primarily fiber, it is indigestible in the body. Therefore, carrageenan is utilized to boost your food experience without having a negative effect on your diet plan. Better yet, brand-new research recommends that while carrageenan does not consist of any vitamins or minerals, there might be other, lesser-known health benefits related to this common ingredient.

    Listed below we look at 5 ways that one of the world’s most popular food additives might be supplying you with officially unacknowledged health advantages.

    Improved Gut Health

    Arise from a 2015 study show a number of prebiotic results connected with carrageenan usage. Carrageenan, then, might favorably influence the development of beneficial microbial communities in the digestion tract. This can lead to enhanced gut health and improved immune responses. A separate study has also revealed that carrageenan might protect the intestinal tract lining from being corroded by alcohol, making it a possible defense against stomach ulcers.

    Antioxidant Support

    Studies recommend that carrageenan might show antioxidant activity, indicating that it neutralizes complimentary radicals, which can trigger considerable damage in the body if left unattended. Free radicals have been repeatedly linked to a variety of health concerns (consisting of diabetes, Parkinson’s illness, age-related eye disease, and even cancer), making the antioxidant properties of carrageenan potentially very substantial.

    Minimized Cholesterol Levels

    High levels of bad cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis, which can increase the possibility of cardiac arrest or strokes. A research study on the cholesterol-related effects of carrageenan showed that a diet that routinely integrates carrageenan may cause lower blood cholesterol and lipid levels, beyond that of normal dietary fibers.

    A second research study supports these findings and notes that carrageenan can be used not just to assist prevent atherosclerosis, however also as a treatment for cardiovascular disease.

    Treatment for Acute Rhinitis and Flu

    In the United States alone, there are numerous millions of cases of the common cold every year, with adults averaging 2 to 3 cases, and children experiencing even more. Regardless of the unpleasantness of having the flu, the majority of people have pertained to anticipate a bout with the influenza as a regular yearly incident. We have pertained to accept that there merely is no other way to prevent or treat the common cold.

    Perhaps that is not as set in stone as we once believed. A recent study out of Austria determines potential antiviral residential or commercial properties related to carrageenan. A few of the very same homes that make carrageenan valuable as a thickener in foods also make it an efficient treatment when utilized as an ingredient in nasal sprays. The study suggests that carrageenan gel is capable of sticking directly to infections, preventing them from connecting to the nasal wall, and limiting their ability to propagate.

    A different research study likewise concluded that carrageenan-based nasal spray might be efficient as a treatment for influenza, even when the treatment begins well after infection.

    One of the most appealing elements of these medical findings is that carrageenan seems to be effective, despite the particular cold infection being targeted. That is probably why carrageenan is already being used in numerous non-prescription nasal sprays in Europe.

    Healthy Alternative to Unhealthy Foods

    Food additives do simply that– they include something to a common food item. Sometimes, however, the most crucial function they supply is that through replacing an ingredient. As discussed formerly, carrageenan can be utilized to improve the taste and texture of low fat, low-sodium, and low-sugar foods.

    Unlike comparable ingredients, carrageenan is both natural and vegan. As such, in addition to improving texture, preventing separation, and keeping foods fresh and enjoyable for longer time periods, carrageenan likewise provides the option of a much healthier food that still tastes good, without a few of the potentially unethical processes of other, animal-based, ingredients, not to mention the calories that include routine fat.

    While you might already be familiar with the word “carrageenan,” thanks to recent research studies, this ingenious food active ingredient is ready to find new life beyond the label. We are just now beginning to find other benefits of carrageenan, and as scientists put this simple seaweed extract under the microscopic lense, its benefits are truly starting to add up. [7]

    Carrageenan types

    Chondrus crispusactually consists of a mix of carrageenan types, the primary ones being kappa and lambda. Today Newfoundland is among the primary sources of chondrus crispus but it is not a significant source of carrageenan in world terms. Chondrus Crispus is wild harvested and not farmed. The only farmed Chondrus Crispus is used in the culinary market.

    Gigartina is one of the significant species utilized in the extraction of carrageenan. Gigartina is wild collected in numerous forms consisting of Gigartina Skottsbergii off the coast of Argentina and Chile, Gigartina Stellata from the coast of France. Gigartina is a mixed weed type. Unlike in some weed types Gigartina has the numerous carrageenan types really mixed up along the exact same polymer chain in a ‘hybrid’ type of polymer. Iridaea is another type of South American weed discovered off the coast of Chile. Both of these weed types contain mixes of kappa, iota and lambda carrageenan. Hybrid weed species are often preferred in some dairy applications.

    Eucheuma is a pacific specie and can be found in two significant industrial kinds, Eucheuma Cottonii andeucheuma Spinosum. Unlike the other weed types the Eucheuma species are reasonably pure in the carrageenan type they consist of. Cottonii is predominantly kappa carrageenan and Spinosum is mainly iota carrageenan.This allows greater versatility in formulation due to the fact that you are not restricted to the ratios of kappa and iota that occur to happen in the native weedstock. The largest business source of Eucheuma is the Philippines where the weed is actually farmed rather than wild gathered. Other major sources consist of Indonesia and to a lesser degree Africa and the pacific islands.

    Hypnea and furcellaran are other types of carrageenan that are seen sometimes. The category of seaweeds is still a confused subject and many other names are also heard these names are used interchangeably in the market. For instance Eucheuma Cottonii is often referred to as Kappaphycus Alvarezei and although this may not be technically proper it is common practise. [8]

    Alternatives to carrageenan

    In the U.S., any products which contain carrageenan should note it as a component. An individual needs to have the ability to avoid carrageenan by checking labeling carefully.

    Carrageenan’s texture-enhancing qualities, for instance, can be duplicated utilizing:.

    • Locust bean gum
    • Gum arabic
    • Alginate
    • Guar gum
    • Xanthan gum

    When a drink that tends to separate, such as chocolate milk, does not contain a stabilizer, an individual may need to shake the bottle. This does not affect the quality or security of the item. [9]

    Is Carrageenan Safe to Take In?

    Carrageenan is a water-soluble fiber discovered in certain kinds of seaweed. It forms a gel, so it can add texture and the right “mouth-feel” for certain foods. For that reason, carrageenan is utilized as a thickener or stabilizer in items such as soy milk, ice cream, whipping cream, cream cheese, bakeshop products, cereals, salad dressings, sauces, and junk food.

    Carrageenan gets its name from seaweed that grows along the coast of Ireland near a town called Carragheen. However most of the carrageenan used in food processing comes from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other Pacific Islands.

    It’s categorized as GRAS by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which approved its use back in 1961.1 GRAS means “usually recognized as safe.” It’s been used securely in food processing in the United States for more than fifty years.

    Some people believe that consumption of carrageenan might be dangerous, but this belief is mainly based upon studies that have actually since been refuted.

    Is Carrageenan Dangerous?

    In 2001, questions were raised about the capacity for carrageenan to be a health hazard due to the fact that one researcher’s lab tests suggested exposure to large quantities of degraded carrageenan caused digestive tract damage in some types of rodents and primates.

    But the substance utilized in those studies, deteriorated carrageenan, isn’t the same as the carrageenan used in food. Broken down carrageenan is correctly described as poligeenan. It’s entirely various and doesn’t have the same properties as carrageenan, so it’s not utilized in foodstuff.

    Some consumers believe that consuming foods that contain carrageenan triggers them to have digestion issues due to inflammation. This is based on research studies involving guinea pigs. However the inflammation caused by the carrageenan was specific to guinea pigs and didn’t happen in other animal species.

    What Is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet plan?

    The research that has actually been done considering that 2001 shows food-grade carrageenan exposure does not trigger any damage to digestive tract walls, nor does it break down into poligeenan during food processing or digestion.

    Of course, it is very important to watch on any substances used in food manufacturing. The Specialist Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Which is formed by Food and Agriculture Company (FAO) and the World Health Company (WHO) of the United Nations, has examined the research study concerning carrageenan as an active ingredient in infant formula and found no reason for concern at concentrations approximately 1000 milligrams per liter. Consuming carrageenan in high quantities would generally be done under medical supervision. [10]

    Negative effects

    When taken by mouth: Carrageenan is frequently consumed in foods. A broken down type called poligeenan is potentially hazardous. It may damage the colon and cause bleeding and cancer. But this danger hasn’t been displayed in people. Likewise, carrageenan items discovered in the United States and Europe can just consist of an extremely small amount of this broken down type.

    When sprayed into the nose: Carrageenan is potentially safe for the majority of people when used for as much as 7 days.

    When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough trustworthy information to know if carrageenan is safe. It may cause side effects such as discomfort.

    Special Safety Measures and Warnings

    • When taken by mouth: Carrageenan is commonly consumed in foods. A broken down type called poligeenan is perhaps unsafe. It may damage the colon and trigger bleeding and cancer. However this threat hasn’t been shown in humans. Likewise, carrageenan items found in the US and Europe can just contain an extremely small amount of this broken down type.
    • When sprayed into the nose: Carrageenan is potentially safe for many people when used for up to 7 days.
    • When applied to the skin: There isn’t sufficient trusted details to understand if carrageenan is safe. It might cause adverse effects such as pain.
    • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Carrageenan is typically consumed in foods. There isn’t enough trusted information to know if it’s safe in the bigger amounts utilized as medication. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.
    • Bleeding disorders: Carrageenan might slow blood clot and increase bleeding. Carrageenan might make bleeding disorders worse.
    • Surgical treatment: Carrageenan may slow blood clot in some individuals. Carrageenan might increase the danger for bleeding and hinder blood pressure control during surgeries. Stop using carrageenan a minimum of 2 weeks before an arranged surgery.
    • Ulcerative colitis: Carrageenan might increase the danger of relapse in people with ulcerative colitis who remain in remission and are on a carrageenan-free diet. [11]


    Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) Interaction Score: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

    Carrageenan may reduce blood pressure. Taking carrageenan along with medications for hypertension might trigger your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for high blood pressure consist of captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (hydrodiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and numerous others.


    The proper dosage of carrageenan depends upon a number of factors such as the user’s age, health, and numerous other conditions. At this time there is not enough clinical info to determine a proper variety of doses for carrageenan. Keep in mind that natural items are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be essential. Make sure to follow appropriate instructions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before utilizing. [12]


    Carrageenan is an additive made from parts of numerous red algae or red seaweed. It is a natural active ingredient gotten from red seaweed.

    Carrageenan has actually remained in the dispute for a long period of time over the security of usage. A few of usings carrageenan include binding components together, improving the texture and assists yogurt to taste just as good. Considering that carrageenan is mainly fiber, it is fairly neutral on a nutritional level.

    Carrageenan is utilized to boost the food experience without having any harmful effects on the diet.

    Carrageenan, which is processed with acid, creates a substance called degraded carrageenan, or poligeenan, which has significant health cautions. Poligeenan is an inflammatory compound and is used to check brand-new anti-inflammatory drugs in the laboratory.

    Poligeenan is considered unsafe and is not authorized as a food additive. Research study suggests that poligeenan can cause gut growths and ulcers, and has the potential to even trigger colon cancer. International Agency for Research in Cancer has noted poligeenan as a possible human carcinogen.

    The research studies are not definitive with respect to the quantity of abject carrageenan that threatens. Due to the potential threat, there is hardly any research study, which has been conducted to test human beings.

    The bottom line is that if there is a worry about regard to the side impacts of carrageenan, it is much better to take it out of the diet plan and look for any enhancement. It can be quickly found listed under the item’s active ingredients so that measures can be required to either prevent or add it to the diet.

    Consulting a medical professional is recommended to come to a conclusion if the component needs to be included or gotten rid of from the diet plan. [13]


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