Carrageenan linked to Diabetes, Gastrointestinal Complications, Inflammation, and much more!

August 24, 2018



Carrageenan is a seaweed that is often added to dairy, ice-cream, processed meat packages, and many other grocery items. The following is from a letter that Dr. Joanne K. Tobacman, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, sent to the National Organic Standards Board. It subsequently voted to remove carrageenan from organic foods. However, the following headline tells a common, sad story:


USDA Defies Advisers, Allows Carrageenan To Keep Organic Label… The debate over carrageenan has split the organics industry. Organic purists such as the Cornucopia Institute campaigned to ban it from organic food, citing scientific studies that observed intestinal problems among laboratory animals that ate the substance. Established organic food companies, on the other hand, fought to continue using it. Not only is it safe, they argued; no other natural emulsifier can take its place…The National Organic Standards Board, an advisory group drawn from various parts of the organic industry, struggled for years to reach a decision. In December 2016, it voted to drop carrageenan from the list of approved organic ingredients…”
(NPR, April 4, 2018)

The Bible does not ordain herbs from the sea. Likewise, numerous studies have shown why. The following letter from Dr. Joanne K. Tobacman should open the eyes of all who struggle with high blood sugar, inflammation, arthritis, IBD and IBS, and other ailments:


“…I am a physician-scientist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine who has been studying the effects of carrageenan in human cells and in animal models for almost two decades. With collaborators, I have published 18 peer-reviewed papers that address the biological effects of carrageenan. Most of this work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans’ Administration…In this comment, three major points are addressed. These are: 1) exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation which is harmful; 2) the amount of carrageenan consumed in the human diet is sufficient to cause inflammation; 3) both undegraded and degraded carrageenan cause inflammation…carrageenan has no nutritional value. The same potent chemical effects that change the texture of processed foods can lead to harmful biological effects in human cells and in animals exposed to carrageenan. Carrageenan has been used in thousands of biological experiments over several decades, because it predictably causes inflammation. Inflammation is well-known to be the basis for many human diseases and is associated with over 100 human diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and arteriosclerosis, and inflammation is also linked to cancer…In experiments with human colonic cells in my laboratory, we have used small amounts of high molecular weight (undegraded or food grade) carrageenan and have determined the specific molecular mechanisms by which carrageenan causes inflammation…the effects of carrageenan-induced inflammation are not limited to the intestine, and when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan in their water for 18 days, they develop profound glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action. These responses are precursors of diabetes, which is associated with activation of the innate immune pathway that carrageenan stimulates. In the past, many investigators used carrageenan to cause inflammation to study how specific drugs could reduce inflammation and to study the cells and cell products involved in the inflammatory response…we have found convincing evidence that carrageenan activates biologically significant pathways. Some of the effects of carrageenan are related to 1) activation of reactive oxygen species, 2) reduction in activity of sulfatase enzymes, and 3) activation of genes involved in carcinogenesis…As an attachment, I am including a manuscript entitled ‘Review of Harmful Gastrointestinal Effects of Carrageenan in Animal Experiments’ that may be helpful in these deliberations. I thank you for the opportunity to address this important issue. Sincerely, Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D. Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine…”




Many people who are often suffering the most afflictions, almost never look at ingredient labels. But for those who are aware that what they eat will greatly affect how they feel, and shop for organic foods, it may be helpful to know that Applegate deli meats often have carrageenan. Likewise, Horizon Org. Cottage Cheese, and Class Mac, and some Cheddar Bunnies, Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream, and many other non-organic/organic items. Some of these items have other problems, but I think carrageenan is more of a danger than many realize.


Several health-practitioners also warn against carrageenan for those prone to seizures. This makes sense, since carrageenan is inflammatory!:


"Increasing evidence also supports a link between inflammation and epilepsy..."
(Epilepsy Curr. 2012 Jan-Feb; "Inflammation and Epilepsy: The Foundations for a New Therapeutic Approach in Epilepsy?")

















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