Is carrageenan safe or degraded carrageenan safe?

Well before jumping into the job of figuring out which carrageenan is safe, lets just first know the answer for What is carrageenan?


carrageenan is a natural product and it is derived from the various species of red seaweed. Red seaweed is also known by the names Moss, Doss or Nori. Carrageenan is used to enhance the thickening of the food for several years. It was first commercially produced in the year 1940 for the chocolate and junkets which is a milk dessert like a pudding. Moreover, it was also suggested by the doctors to be used as a pain reliever in peptic ulcers. It was created in the gel form to be used as the pain reliever in the ulcer.

However, it was very unpleasant to consume and highly viscous. The degraded carrageenan was also produced and it is also known by the name poligeenan. It was made from the hydrolyzation of the native carrageenan which cuts the link between molecules and makes it into more small molecules.

This renders in the reduction of thickening property. The degraded carrageenan was found to be harmful and its use in the treatment of the ulcers was discontinued. The property of making the products less thick by breaking the bonds of the product never allowed its use in the foods and beverages. However, the degraded carrageenan harmful effects are often linked with the food grade carrageenan.

The degraded carrageenan is harmful because it was found to break down the acid and bacteria in the stomach. This is certainly unhealthy for the human and animal body. Marcus and Watt conducted a study in the year 1969 that explained the molecular weight of the degraded carrageenan to be around 20000 daltons and the molecular weight of the carrageenan to be around 100000 or higher. The regulatory authority didn’t find the convincing reason to question the safety of carrageenan as long as the average molecular weight was 100000 or higher.