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So WHAT IS carrageenan exactly?
Carrageenan is something that’s added to foods and pharmaceuticals to emulsify them, to thicken liquids, or to give them a gel-like consistency. It’s most commonly found in foods that you’d loosely categorize into “healthy” or “organic” foods, but foods that are also processed in some way. So you’re not going to find it in apple, but you could find it in applesauce.
The reason that a lot of people have trouble with it, is that even though it’s a natural plant product, it IS highly inflammatory.
Definitely go listen to my episode on inflammation (Ep 13) if you need to understand that better, but inflammation happens in all kinds of different ways and shows up in different ways in different people, depending on your genes, your makeup, your current stress level, the current state of your health and what you’re predisposed to having trouble with.
Inflammation can show up in different ways. There can be low-level types of inflammation from carrageenan that people tend to write off as “normal” like farting, burping, bloating. This is how it shows up in relatively healthy people that aren’t already having any chronic health conditions or digestive issues.
For people who DO already have chronic health conditions, autoimmune conditions, and/or digestive issues or any kind they might have more severe experiences from carrageenan because gut health is already severely weakened — most likely all of these types of people have some level of leaky gut (intestinal permeability) — so it only makes sense that anything highly inflammatory will affect them more seriously.
It can be inflammatory to the gut lining and it can worsen leaky gut. It can also cause things like rashes or acne. Carrageenan has been known to cause renal bumps which means issues with the kidneys but then these little cysts on the kidneys will most likely disappear when carrageenan is omitted from the diet.
Where you’ll find Carrageenan
Other Names for Carrageenan
There is quite a long list of names that carrageenan also goes by on food labels.
Algas, Algue Rouge Marine, Carageenan Gum, Carastay, Carrageen, Carrageenin, Carragenano, Carragenina, Carragheenan, Carraghénane, Carraghénine, Chondrus Extract, Danish Agar, Eucheuma Spinosum Gum, Extrait de Mousse d’Irlande, Galgarine, Iota-Carrageenan, Irish Moss, Irish Moss Algae, Irish Moss Extract, Irish Moss Gelose, Kappa-Carrageenan, Lambda-Carrageenan, Marine Colloids, Mousse d’Irlande, Norsk Gelatin, PES, Processed Eucheuma Seaweed, Red Marine Algae, Red Seaweed Extract, Vegetable Gelatin.
I’m Kelly Wilson, owner of fitfizzstudio.com and I’m a personal trainer, nutrition coach, behavior change specialist, autoimmune disease educator and I’ve worked in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years.
I’m here to help you ditch the gimmicks, finding strength through your struggles, give you the knowledge for making the smartest choices for your own health and to remind you to celebrate victory all along the way.
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The information shared is for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be interpreted as an intent to diagnose, treat, cure, heal or prescribe.