|Certain things should be left in the aquarium.|
For the past few months, I've felt a little bloated, and was starting to have some mild pain in my lower stomach. I thought it might have been the effects of the antibiotics, oral steroids or decongestant (which gave me an allergic reaction) from back in February. I didn't connect it to the severe headache I had Memorial Day weekend. I've also had occasional sinus pain, which I haven't had since I quit wheat over two years ago. I thought that was from allergies.
Since Sunday morning, I haven't had any almond milk or other products with carrageenan. I've been taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D because of its anti-inflammatory value. Result: no more stomach pain or bloating. My stomach is still a little delicate. There's no more stuffed feeling after meals.
Coincidentally, the Cornucopia Institute came out with a carrageenan-free shopping guide just a few weeks ago. Like reader Suzie_B, biologist Ray Peat of Oregon noticed that carrageenan was listed as an ingredient in cream. He avoids carrageenan as well, since he's had serious allergic symptoms from it. He adds:
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. Carrageenan and endotoxin synergize in many ways, including their effects on nitric oxide, prostaglandins, toxic free radicals, and the defensive enzyme systems.(1)
Even if you think that food-grade (undegraded) carrageenan is fine and there's no way it could harm you, it may be contaminated with degraded carrageenan. (See table 5 on page 11.) The link is to a paper by JoAnne Tobacman, a physician-scientist who has researched carrageenan for almost 20 years. In a nutshell, ample evidence shows that carrageenan causes or is associated with cancer, inflammation, and ulcerative colitis. (2)
I'm not one to get excited about food additives and I'm not neurotic about eating. But even if you don't have any immediate reaction to carrageenan, it looks like something well worth avoiding.
1. "Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer's, Colitis, Immunodeficiency" by Ray Peat, accessed June 26, 2012. http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/carrageenan.shtml
2. "Review of Harmful Gastrointestinal Effects of Carrageenan in Animal Experiments by Joanne K. Tobacman," Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2001, p. 983. http://www.cornucopia.org/DrTobacmanComment_toNOSB.pdf