Benefits of Carrageenan in Food Industry

You probably have heard about carrageenan and yet you don’t really know what it is. You know that it is somehow important for today’s modern industry but what is exactly carrageenan and what can it do?

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The Usage of Carrageenan

Carrageenan is basically a type of natural additive extracted from the red seaweed. Although this kind of seaweed can also be found in Africa and Southeast Asia, it is mostly popular as the Irish Moss because most people know that such seaweed is indigenous from the Coast of Ireland.

What is the function of carrageenan, really?

  • Well, first of all, carrageenan can be used as a conventional medicine. It can be used to deal with the intestinal issue, cough, and inflammation – to name a few. The local Irish people have used to make their own carrageenan to treat the gastrointestinal problem and other health issues. But when you add acid in the carrageenan (and convert it into poligeenan), you can treat peptic ulcer.
  • Carrageenan is also popular as the food grade additive. It has a unique natural chemical structure allowing it to act as a thickener or a binder. Besides foods, carrageenan is also used in the healthcare industry like creams or toothpaste.

The Long Journey

When we are talking about carrageenan, we are going to encounter some of the interesting facts. For instance, carrageenan is always related to the controversy. In fact, there is an ongoing debate about it where some people claim it to be safe and the others claim it to be dangerous. Each party comes with their own proof and scientific evidence but the ones claiming that carrageenan is dangerous turned out to use poligeenan as the subject of study – which makes everything even more complicated and confusing.

So far, there is no solid proof that carrageenan can cause side effects aside from the claims of those against it. Most of the evidence refer to the poligeenan and not the carrageenan.