As I inspect food labels, I am finding more and more foods and other products, including toothpaste, that contain the food additive carrageenan, an extract from red seaweed that is mainly used as a thickening agent to add texture.
It was first introduced and patented in 1930, and the government granted the product a status as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in 1959.
There are two forms of carrageenan: one is a large molecular structure (undegraded) and one a smaller molecule (degraded).
The latter is the most powerful at producing both inflammation and cancer promotion.
However, it has been found that commercial carrageenan contains both forms and that even pure undegraded carrageenan is broken down in the stomach by its acid and in the colon by probiotic bacteria to form the highly carcinogenic small molecular form.
Studies have shown beyond any doubt that degraded carrageenan can induce extensive cancers in rats, and can also lead to ulcerations in the colon.
According to the Delaney clause, a 1958 amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, no food additive can be used that has been shown to cause cancer in animals.
Yet this important clause was overridden by the power of food manufacturing giants. The practice continues to this day, despite growing evidence against foods containing both undegraded and degraded carrageenan.
Carrageenan is a danger to all age groups. Europe has banned its use in baby formula, but the United States has not.
One study using 24 rhesus monkeys found that those on the carrageenan-containing diet developed bloody stools.
Upon inspection of their colons, the monkeys were found to have erosions in the lining of their intestines, ulcerations, and abnormal intestinal crypts — a prelude to cancer development.
These findings suggest that people with inflammatory bowel conditions should avoid all foods containing carrageenan. These conditions include:
• Ulcerative colitis
• Crohn’s disease
• Irritable bowel syndrome
Recently, I even found carrageenan in a popular brand of toothpaste.
One would certainly not want to use a toothpaste that inhibits immunity in the mouth, promotes inflammation and can stimulate the development of cancer of the gums or tongue.
People with an oral cancer should be warned to avoid this additive in their toothpaste.
A number of studies have also found that carrageenan suppresses immunity. It is obvious that the prudent person would avoid this additive.
Once again, we have a demonstration of the false assurance of safety provided by a governmental regulatory agency.
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