Carrageenan Evidence?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Health Discussions' started by michael94, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. michael94

    michael94 Member

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    I was reading through the interwebs on the different types of carrageenan used in commercial foods and came across this article: https://thegentlechef.com/is-carrageenan-safe-eat-vegan/. I'm not sure how accurate this claim is - "production process for poligeenan requires high temperature treatment of carrageenan with strong acids for an extended period of time" But I would like to know 100%. Are there any human or animal studies showing carrageenan is converted to poligeenan in significant amounts?
    *
    Note: I am only interested in discussing carrageenan and not the other things discussed in the article. They were not a reason for my posting it. Thank you!
     
  2. OP
    michael94

    michael94 Member

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  3. aguilaroja

    aguilaroja Member

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    κ-Carrageenan Enhances Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Interleukin-8 Secretion by Stimulating the Bcl10-NF-κB Pathway in HT-29 Cells and Aggravates C. f... - PubMed - NCBI
    “κ-Carrageenan can synergistically activate LPS-induced inflammatory through the Bcl10-NF-κB pathway, as indicated by its aggravation of C. freundii DBS100-induced colitis in mice. General Significance. Our results suggest that κ-carrageenan serves as a potential inflammatory agent that magnifies existing intestinal inflammation.”

    Enhanced effect of κ-carrageenan on TNBS-induced inflammation in mice. - PubMed - NCBI
    “κ-Carrageenan aggravated the TNBS-induced intestinal inflammation, and such an effect could be associated with the oxidative stress and activation of TLR4-NF-κB and MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway.”

    Degraded λ-carrageenan activates NF-κB and AP-1 pathways in macrophages and enhances LPS-induced TNF-α secretion through AP-1. - PubMed - NCBI
    “The study demonstrated the role of λ-dCGN to induce the inflammatory reaction and to aggravate the effect of LPS on macrophages, suggesting that λ-dCGN produced during food processing and gastric digestion may be a safety concern.”
     
  4. OP
    michael94

    michael94 Member

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    thank you... Anything on the form used in most dairy products ( lamba carrageenan ) ? The degraded carrageenan link is redundant. I'm still researching this topic. The reason I have been curious is I never got any ill effects from gums/carrageenan in any dairy products. I don't eat carrageenan ( nor promote it ), just unbiased curiosity. Something doesn't add up, lol, so much conflicting evidence.

    I mean we have your links above but there is also stuff like this? Immunomodulation and antitumor activity of kappa-carrageenan oligosaccharides. - PubMed - NCBI
    Thank you for your time and I look forward to more insights.
     
  5. aguilaroja

    aguilaroja Member

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    You might look at some of the Tobacman group papers. I count at least 18, done over many years. Most were published long after Dr. Peat’s 1995 newsletter article. [Of course, good for Dr. Peat for again anticipating important research findings.]
    “Food-junk and some mystery ailments”
    Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer's, Colitis, Immunodeficiency. Carrageenan

    Many are full-text public domain, with links to many references. For instance:
    Exposure to Common Food Additive Carrageenan Alone Leads to Fasting Hyperglycemia and in Combination with High Fat Diet Exacerbates Glucose Intolerance and Hyperlipidemia without Effect on Weight
    “In thousands of experiments conducted over several decades, exposure to carrageenan has been shown to predictably lead to inflammation [9]. Carrageenan-induced inflammation has been frequently used to test the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medications. The mechanisms by which carrageenan causes inflammation include both activation of reactive oxygen species, leading to increased NF-κB, and activation of innate immunity through the toll-like receptor…”

    McKim’s 2016 paper does some dismissive accounting for long and large contrary research:
    “Although the exact reasons for the differences between the findings presented here and those reported earlier cannot be determined, one plausible explanation is that the CGN used previously was not well characterized for identity and purity and that bacterial contamination in laboratory settings introduced LPS into the CGN stock compound…”

    I am not a food scientist, but it seems like the chances of commercial food products consistently containing only ultra-pure, contaminant-free carrageenan would be about zero. If anything, controlled laboratory conditions would be many times safer.
     
  6. OP
    michael94

    michael94 Member

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    :thumbsup: I will look over that later, thx
     
  7. schultz

    schultz Member

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    EDIT: Oh dear, I didn't realize how long this was until I posted it :eek:. Sorry!

    I'm surprised this never got any replies as it's a good topic.

    So the general consensus in the scientific community is...

    - That carrageenan itself is safe (as long as it doesn't get through the intestinal wall?)
    - That poligeenan (degraded carrageenan) is in-fact very harmful

    So the questions would be: Can carrageenan be degraded to poligeenan in the body? Can carrageenan enter the body through the intestine in certain situations (even if it doesn't normally do so)?

    I would like to note that carrageenan and poligeenan are pretty much identical in structure. Here is what this paper says...

    "Poligeenan molecules are nearly identical to carrageenan molecules with respect to molecular structure, the primary difference being molecular weight."

    So how do they know that poligeenan isn't present in a large batch of carrageenan? Well, it is based off of weight. But this likely means that it is just an average and that there could still be poligeenan present. Here is what this paper says...

    "The weight-average molecular weight cannot reveal, unambiguously, whether the sample is essentially free from components of low molecular weight. The presence of a small proportion of material of very high molecular weight will result in a weight-average molecular weight that is not truly representative of the sample. Thus. there is a need for a method which gives a more accurate indication of the molecular weight distribution."

    Wikipedia explains here that...

    Many older studies and a few recent studies have been based on the use of "degraded carrageenan", a fraction of low-molecular weight segments of the carrageenan molecular backbone called "poligeenan". To resolve this within the scientific community, the US Adopted Names Council assigned the name "poligeenan" to the fragments with molecular weight of 10,000 to 20,000 Da. Approximately 8% of the fragments of food-grade carrageenan are of molecular mass less than 50,000 Da, in excess of the recommended minimum of 5% set by the European Scientific Committee on Food to ensure that the presence of poligeenan is kept to a minimum. The proportion of this 8% that consists of poligeenan is unknown.


    So indeed it is possible that poligeenan can exist in small amounts in food grade carrageenan; however, wikipedia has no source for that 8% number, so I can't follow up on it. Also, in another study it gives a different definition (based on weight) of what constitutes poligeenan, which I have quoted below.

    http://www-heparin.rpi.edu/main/files/papers/273.PDF
    "Breakdown products of molecular weight <40, 000, called poligeenans, have been implicated in gastrointestinal malignancy in animal models"

    Wikipedia claims that 8% of food-grade carrageenan is under a weight of 50,000 Da and the paper cited directly above says that poligeenan is defined as anything under 40,000 Da. If this is the case, it seems likely that regular carrageenan already contains a certain amount of poligeenan.

    I searched around and that 8% number seems to come from this paper which says...

    "Applied to a number of different carrageenan ingredients, it was found that, in general, the LMT represents less than 8% of the total carrageenan in ingredients, and under the correct conditions increases little during food processing. The data also indicated that pH appears to be a critical factor during food processing and pH levels below 4.0 should be avoided."

    The paper tries to make a case for increasing the amount of degraded carrageenan in food to 7% or 8% to make it easier on manufacturers since getting under 5%, even though possible, might be hard. See below...

    "Increasing the proposed limit to around 7 or 8% would probably allow carrageenan producers to more easily reach this target while keeping the amount of degraded carrageenan in the food chain to a minimum."

    Only 1 sample out of the 10 samples they tested was over the 8% mark (it was 12%) and only 4 samples were below the 5% mark (lowest 3.4%)


    There are studies showing (and other studies showing the opposite I might add) that carageenan can be degraded in the body by stomach acid. Ekström's paper, which I linked above, showed that it can be degraded in an environment simulating digestion. This paper disagrees saying...

    "No hydrolysis of kappa-carrageenan occurs at pH 8 and even under the most drastic conditions (6 h at pH 1.2) the weight-average molecular weight remains >200 kDa only 20% has a molecular weight <100 kDa. This is in marked contrast to the previous findings of Ekström."

    "In simulated gastric juice the degradation of kappa-carrageenan is very limited; only 10% of the carrageenan exposed is reduced to a molecular weight <100 kDa."

    So the latter paper admits that carrageenan is degraded by stomach acid, just not enough to bring it into the poligeenan "spectrum".

    What does Ray think?

    'There are two points that are deliberately ignored by the food-safety regulators, 1) these materials can interact dangerously with intestinal bacteria, and 2) they can be absorbed, in the process called "persorption."'

    A recent paper published January of this year talks about the bacteria issue.

    Degradation of Marine Algae-Derived Carbohydrates by Bacteroidetes Isolated from Human Gut Microbiota
    "Notably, for marine carbohydrates, despite the fact that they have been used as food additives for a long time, little is known regarding their degradation and utilization by specific bacterium from human gut microbiota."

    "Our study showed that marine carbohydrates (carrageenan, agarose, alginate, and their oligosaccharide derivatives), which could not be digested by humans, can be degraded by specific Bacteroidetes isolated from human gut microbiota"

    So there does seem to be a potential for some kind of breakdown, though I don't know whether that breakdown discussed above is positive or negative.

    Ray in one of his articles explains why he doesn't like it and it's worth a read (or re-read).
    Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer's, Colitis, Immunodeficiency. Carrageenan

    "The permeability of the intestine that allows bacteria to enter the blood stream is very serious if the phagocytic cells are weakened. Carrageenan poisoning is one known cause of the disappearance of macrophages. Its powerful immunosuppression would tend to be superimposed onto the immunological damage that has been produced by radiation, unsaturated fats, and estrogens."

    "Carrageenan enters even the intact, uninflamed gut, and damages both chemical defenses and immunological defenses. When it has produced inflammatory bowel damage, the amount absorbed will be greater, as will the absorption of bacterial endotoxin. Carra-geenan and endotoxin synergize in many ways, including their effects on nitric oxide, prostaglandins, toxic free radicals, and the defensive enzyme systems."

    There are papers discussing LPS and carrageenan, like this one, which is from 2014 (which means it came out after Rays article I believe), and some others.

    Here is what it says...

    "λ-dCGN induced an inflammatory reaction via both NF-κB and AP-1, and enhanced the inflammatory effect of LPS through AP-1 activation."

    "The study demonstrated the role of λ-dCGN to induce the inflammatory reaction and to aggravate the effect of LPS on macrophages, suggesting that λ-dCGN produced during food processing and gastric digestion may be a safety concern."

    Enhancing the effect of LPS doesn't seem like a good thing to me...

    Personally, I'm going to stay cautious about the stuff and continue to avoid it, even if the reason is simply to protest the fact that some products just don't need carrageenan in them. Whipping cream is already a good product all on its own, it doesn't need freaking carrageenan in it. The same goes for ice cream.
     
  8. OP
    michael94

    michael94 Member

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    There are two considerations that are still giving me pause:
    1. Irish moss has been used for a long time and supposedly with many health benefits. Now carrageenan is not the same thing as Irish moss... but I gather that the main reason Irish moss has been used is it's value a thickener/texturizer via boiling ( making stocks, soups, sauces, beverages etc. ).
    2. I would like a long term study comparing consumption of carrageenan enriched ice cream vs the same ice cream and no carrageenan. And with the same amounts typically used in ice cream, which is not a lot and some studies on carrageenan I see like 1% solution of carrageenan. If such a study exists anywhere please let me know. Also, it's suggested that the carrageenan binds to proteins I would imagine when added to ice cream it is much more tightly bound than supplementing food/water.

    I mean consider cascara sagrada which can be quite irritating to the bowel in certain situations yet we know things are not so simple.
     
  9. schultz

    schultz Member

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    You make some excellent points.

    I definitely think there should be more research on it. Until there is more research, I'm personally not going to consume the stuff, especially considering it's used as a means to induce inflammation in studies.

    I just noticed below as I am writing this a post by @ecstatichamster

    He posted about this study which is quite interesting. Apparently they thought that people having anaphylaxis reactions during barium enemas was due to latex on the device used. When they switched to a non-latex device and still got cases of anaphylaxis there decided to study the barium enema solution. (I don't know why I am summarizing this as the abstract already summarizes it... lol) Anyway the best part of the abstract says this....

    "Gastrointestinal symptoms for which the patient was being investigated by the barium enema subsequently disappeared with a diet free of carrageenan."

    it concludes with...

    "Carrageenan is a previously unreported cause of anaphylaxis during barium enema. It is an allergen widely distributed in common foods and potentially could account for some symptoms related to milk products or baby formula."

    It seems like there may people who are extra sensitive to carrageenan. It is possible it's just people who are allergic to latex but also possible it could be a bigger group than just those people with latex allergies.

    Edit: Back to one of your points, there could be a lot more carrageenan in a barium enema solution than say in some ice cream.
     
  10. ecstatichamster

    ecstatichamster Member

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    Carrageenan is used ALL THE TIME to give lab animals tumors and local inflammation.

    It only takes a small amount to persorb or leak through the gut.
     
  11. OP
    michael94

    michael94 Member

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    I'm going to order some irish moss
     
  12. Elderflower j58

    Elderflower j58 Member

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