Simple Preparations

Is carrageenan bad for you?

A few years back I read a study of how the carrageenans aid the body in removing cancers. I particularly remember it stating prostrate cancer. The food industry has been taking this additive out of many foods and I correlate that with the rise in prostate cancer. I have looked for this study again, but I could not find it. Anyway, I found others and I have included them in this write up.

Now, if you have a problem with kappa carrageenan, please do not use it. I see nothing wrong with it. I am looking for ways to use more of it. I have seen a sinister movement to vilify those things that are aids in helping us fight disease. I have also seen the pushing of things that hurt our bodies: coffee, black pepper, canola oil, among others have been said to have great health benefits from trusted health sources. While things like soybeans, certain teas, and carrageenan have taken a media beating.

It’s true that I read studies where the carrageenan seaweeds actually aid in preventing various cancers, especially prostate cancer, but I did not think to save these studies at the time. Oh, I call on any of you reading this post to comment below with studies you have found, which contradict the prevailing narrative of carrageenan. Stop relying on popular sites for your information. Dig deep and discover truth!!! In the end, you’ll find that many things that you thought were harmful are healthful. Many things listed as healthful are harmful! Please be your brother’s keeper and help spread the word that carrageenan is not the devil it is labeled as, but a helper in aiding the body rid the toxins. WATER is essential when eating it because it is a gelling fiber. Do the Eight Laws of Health! Drink water, especially!!!

An article “Carrageenan; It’s Just a Component of Seaweed and It Won’t Give You Cancer” by Jaime Underwood at Edible Chemistry Consulting may help you understand how carrageenan made its way to getting a bad rep. Please read it when you have the time. I’ve included seven other research studies and papers below to get you started on this for yourself. The last link is a critical review of other studies done on how this antiviral component may actually inhibit coronavirus. Folks, this critical review ends by saying that other studies are needed to address carrageenan’s efficacy; yet, I can’t help but wonder if this is also part of the okey-doke. I’m not going to judge you on this because you are in charge of your own body and should thoroughly research (real peer-reviewed studies) what goes into it.

According to the article “Immunomodulation and antitumor activity of kappa-carrageenan oligosaccharides” by Wang et al. (2017), “kappa-carrageenan oligosaccharides (KCOs) have been reported to have various biological activities” (p. 1). The authors explain that KCOs have been found to stimulate the immune system and have antitumor effects. Specifically, KCOs have been shown to enhance the activity of natural killer cells, which are important in the body’s defense against cancer cells. In addition, KCOs have been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The authors conclude that KCOs may have potential as a therapeutic agent for cancer treatment due to their immunomodulatory and antitumor properties (Wang et al., 2017, p. 10).

Research and Papers on Kappa Carrageenan

  1. American Chemical Society. (2005, March 14). Carrageenans. Molecule of the Week Archive.
  2. Yuan H, Song J, Li X, Li N, Dai J. Immunomodulation and antitumor activity of kappa-carrageenan oligosaccharides. Cancer Lett. 2006 Nov 18;243(2):228-34. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.11.032. Epub 2006 Jan 10. PMID: 16410037
    • See also follow-up study: Liu, M., Yu, S., Wang, Y., Jin, Y., & Zhang, X. (2017). Immunomodulation and antitumor activity of [kappa]-carrageenan oligosaccharides. Marine drugs, 15(6), 168. doi:10.3390/md15060168
  3. Raman, M., & Doble, M. (2015). κ-Carrageenan from marine red algae, Kappaphycus alvarezii – A functional food to prevent colon carcinogenesis. Journal of Functional Foods, 15, 354-364. ISSN 1756-4646.
  4. McKim, J. M., Baas, H., Rice, G. P., Willoughby, J. A., Weiner, M. L., & Blakemore, W. (2016). Effects of carrageenan on cell permeability, cytotoxicity, and cytokine gene expression in human intestinal and hepatic cell lines. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 96, 1-10.
  5. Manimehalai Suganya, A., Sanjivkumar, M., Navin Chandran, M., Palavesam, A., & Immanuel, G. (2016). Pharmacological importance of sulphated polysaccharide carrageenan from red seaweed Kappaphycus alvarezii in comparison with commercial carrageenan. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 84, 1300-1312.
  6. Liu, M., Yu, S., Wang, Y., Jin, Y., & Zhang, X. (2017). Immunomodulation and antitumor activity of [kappa]-carrageenan oligosaccharides. Marine drugs, 15(6), 168. doi:10.3390/md15060168
  7. McKim, J. M., Willoughby Sr., J. A., Blakemore, W. R., & Weiner, M. L. (2019). Clarifying the confusion between poligeenan, degraded carrageenan, and carrageenan: A review of the chemistry, nomenclature, and in vivo toxicology by the oral route. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59(19), 3054-3073.
  8. EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS), Younes, M., Aggett, P., Aguilar, F., Crebelli, R., Filipič, M., Frutos, M. J., Galtier, P., Gott, D., Gundert-Remy, U., Kuhnle, G. G., Lambré, C., Leblanc, J. C., Lillegaard, I. T., Moldeus, P., Mortensen, A., Oskarsson, A., Stankovic, I., Waalkens-Berendsen, I., Woutersen, R. A., Wright, M., Brimer, L., Lindtner, O., Mosesso, P., Christodoulidou, A., Ioannidou, S., Lodi, F., & Dusemund, B. (2018). Re-evaluation of carrageenan (E 407) and processed Eucheuma seaweed (E 407a) as food additives. EFSA Journal, 16(4), e05238.
  9. Liu, Z., Gao, T., Yang, Y., Meng, F., Zhan, F., Jiang, Q., & Sun, X. (2019). Anti-Cancer Activity of Porphyran and Carrageenan from Red Seaweeds. Molecules, 24(23), 4286.
  10. Frediansyah, A. (2021). The antiviral activity of iota-, kappa-, and lambda-carrageenan against COVID-19: A critical review. Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health, 12, 100826. ISSN 2213-3984.
  11. Fröba, M., Große, M., Setz, C., Rauch, P., Auth, J., Spanaus, L., Münch, J., Ruetalo, N., Schindler, M., Morokutti-Kurz, M., Graf, P., Prieschl-Grassauer, E., Grassauer, A., & Schubert, U. (2021). Iota-Carrageenan Inhibits Replication of SARS-CoV-2 and the Respective Variants of Concern Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(24), 13202.
  12. Bovard, D., van der Toorn, M., Schlage, W. K., Constant, S., Renggli, K., Peitsch, M. C., Hoeng, J. (2022). Iota-carrageenan extracted from red algae is a potent inhibitor of SARS‐CoV-2 infection in reconstituted human airway epithelia. Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, 29, 101187.
  13. Underwood, J. (2019, May 2). Carrageenan: It’s Just a Component of Seaweed and It Won’t Give You Cancer. Edible Chemistry Consulting. Retrieved from