Carrageenan represents an extract of red algae and seaweed and it is mainly used in the food industry in dairy products as well as meat-based processed products due to its thickening and gelatin-like agents. Although used for centuries in the food industry, carrageenan has recently caught the public eye for potentially being carcinogen and harmful for the human body. Although further studies are yet to be conducted, there is still little evidence to associate the consumption of carrageenan in small amounts as it is found in most dairy and food products with potential side effects which are dangerous to the human health.
Are there benefits to the use of carrageenan?
Even though researches are at the beginning, some found a potential link between the use of carrageenan supplements and certain positive effects on some health conditions. There is still insufficient evidence to truly back up these findings, but some researchers suggest carrageenan extracts and supplements can help in a wide array of human health conditions, from bronchitis and tuberculosis to coughs, ulcers, constipation, intestinal problems. Certain weight loss supplements producers even introduced carrageenan extracts in their supplements promoting it as a safe and miraculous ingredient to use whenever you want to get rid of some extra pounds.
Are there side effects as well?
Although it was stated in the press before that carrageenan can potentially be a carcinogen ingredient, little evidence exists to back up these accusations. The FDA approved this ingredient years ago. However, just like any other food additive, carrageenan may lead to certain allergic reactions to sensitive or overly exposed persons. These side effects are usually mild and mostly consist of skin rashes and nausea. In other to easily identify carrageenan on food products of daily consumption, in the European Union it is marked as E407 or Processed Eucheoma Seeweed (PES).