A lot of controversies appeared in the media over the use of carrageenan throughout the past few years. But, if you were living under a rock until now, find out that carrageenan represents sulphated polysaccharides extracted from red seaweeds and algae that are edible. The ingredient is largely used in the food industry as a thickener agent, especially in dairy and meat products. Carrageenans have thickening, stabilizing and gelling properties, making them one of the most popular food additives in the industry. In fact, due to their vegan provenience they are also used in certain organic and natural food products such as soy milk or almond milk. Moreover, carrageenan represents the perfect vegan alternative when it comes to gelatin and some of its compounds have been largely used in the food industry ever since the fifteen century.
Although further studies about carrageenans are yet to be conducted, it was not until recently that the online and offline media drew attention about the potential harmful effects of carrageenans to the human health. Some studies, although irrelevant due to their novelty in the field linked carrageenans with potential carcinogenic effects and some other health issues including digestive problems and skin rashes.
As previously mentioned, studies about carrageenans are at the beginning so no relevant information can be consulted in order to determine the potential harmful or benefic effects of these ingredients. However, some studies claim carrageenan supplements have miraculous effects upon the human body and can help alienate or ameliorate certain affections, including constipation, ulcers, intestinal problems, coughs, tuberculosis, bronchitis and others. Some food producers even introduced carrageenan in weight loss supplements and claim they have been successful so far.
On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration listed carrageenan as a safe ingredient to be used in the food industry and not only, meaning there is no potential harm coming from consuming this ingredient, even on a daily basis.