I always warn patients about “filtering” information on the web. There are tons of illegitimate claims being made everyday and it’s becoming harder to know what to believe because there are confounding information. Confusion is inevitable….
One particular question I received from a dear patient of mine is that one of my supplements contained carrageenan. I was momentarily confused as the supplements that I recommend at our center has highest quality and purity that have proven its purity over time and they are constantly involved with research.
I did some research from credible sources….
Carrageenan is a soluble fiber product derived from red seaweed and a food ingredient that has been used for hundreds of years around the world. It is a naturally occurring substance. Carrageenan that is harvested from seaweed using a process (there are many processes) that maintains its high molecular weight which is safe to ingest orally.
The confusion stems from the fact that poligeenan (aka degraded carrageenan), a foreign substance used in medical imaging, was once referred to as carrageenan.
The type found in food is Undegraded carrageenan, which is not put through any harsh processing before it is added to our food; it is simply extracted from the seaweed in the gentlest way possible.
Degraded carrageenan, which is now called poligeenan, is not safe to eat. Poligeenan is actually put through a bath of harsh acid. Since many people still refer to it as “degraded carrageenan”, it gives the food-safe variety a bad name and causes unnecessary confusion; that’s why the term poligeenan is now used.
More Information: See the reviews of McKim (2014). Blakemore et al. (2014c) and Beattie et al. (2014)
I hope that this clarifies confusion.
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