For Decades Vegetarian Supplements were Contaminated with this Ingredient

For Decades Vegetarian Supplements were Contaminated with this Ingredient

Even some natural health companies still use it. But why?

Unfortunately, massive industry pressure has created myths discounting the dangers of carrageenan, claiming that the disease-causing form of carrageenan is of the “degraded” variety (classified as a Possible Human Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer), while the food variety they use is not degraded, and therefore safe. This line from the industry went uncontested for many years.

"Decades of health-seekers have been disenfranchised"

Unfortunately, recent studies have found that the degraded form of carrageenan cannot be completely removed from the non-degraded form, meaning that all food-grade carrageenan is contaminated with the carcinogenic, gut disrupting, industrial degraded form!

Dr. Joanne Tobacman, a Harvard-educated physician-scientist and researcher and associate professor at the nation’s largest medical school at the University of Chicago, is one of the top researchers to bravely speak-out against industry propaganda. Using six different independent labs to test whether food-grade carrageenan was contaminated with the degraded carrageenan, she found that supposedly “food-grade” carrageenan contained up to 25% of the degraded form. The authors write that: “All samples contained at least some degraded carrageenan.”

But the FDA says it’s Safe?

The FDA also has said that hydrogenated oil, artificial colors, aspartame, etc., are safe. When citizens signed a petition to remove carrageenan from food, the FDA failed to consider dozens of studies showing its harmful effects. The fact is, lobbyists of the billion dollar carrageenan manufacturers convinced the FDA to continue authorizing carrageenan for use as a food additive, without conducting or consulting adequate studies.

The UN Committee on Food Additives also approved its use, despite their own report stating the mechanism of action, operating through the Bc110-mediated pathway, resulted in increased (Interleukin-8) and NF-kappaB (Nuclear Factor Kappa B), which are proinflammatory markers associated with the genetic mutations of Crohn’s disease. They also cited a study showing that carrageenan promoted tumor growth in mice that had been given a carcinogen. 

Other research, not surprisingly, strongly suggests a link between carrageenan and inflammatory bowel disease. Studies that examined the effect of carrageenan in colitis patients in remission, found that it caused the condition to return. The researchers concluded that: “Carrageenan intake contributed to earlier relapse in patients with ulcerative colitis in remission. Restriction of dietary carrageenan may benefit patients with ulcerative colitis” (1).

Also, due to its presence of alpha-gal, typically found only in animals, “At least 1-2% of people with alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) report reacting to carrageenan. It is possible that the actual number is much higher”(2).

What About "Organic"?

Unfortunately, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has been corrupted by industry lobbyists, and: “their tactics have become increasingly more manipulative and ethically questionable as it becomes clearer that scientific evidence is not on their side” (3). Initially, the U.S. NOSB recommended removing four non-organic ingredients:  whey protein concentrate, Turkish bay leaves, inulin oligofructose, and the carcinogenic additive carrageenan. Mark A. Kastel, Codirector at a farm policy research group, said: “Although thousands of public comments were submitted in support of the NOSB positions, a handful of letters from corporate lobbyists held more sway…”(4). Therefore, we are going to have to be more vigilant in the coming years about the hidden ingredients in supplements, and make sure that supplement manufacturers, like our own PureNSM, can verify they do not include this harmful substance.  

How to Avoid Carrageenan

Understanding how to read ingredient labels is crucial to avoiding carrageenan:

  • Check the Ingredients List: Carrageenan is often listed toward the end of the ingredients list, especially in products where it acts as a binder or stabilizer.
  • Be Aware of Synonyms: Sometimes carrageenan is labeled under different names, so look out for terms like: “Irish moss extract”. “Vegetable Gelatin”, ”Norsk Gelatin”; “Danish Agar;” or “Red seaweed extract”.
  • Look for Guarantees On Product Labels: Does not contain carrageenan. Does not contain magnesium stearate.
  • Found primarily in:

    • Vegetarian capsules 
    • Coating Materials: Sprayed on cut organic fruits.
    • Water Retention Agents: Applied to fish before processing.
    • Functional Agents: Used in cheese production.
    • Clarifiers and Heat Stabilizers: In wine production
  • Carrageenan-Free Alternatives

    Switching to products that use alternative thickeners and stabilizers can help you avoid carrageenan:

    • Xanthan Gum: This is a popular thickener and stabilizer found in a variety of foods and is often used in baking gluten-free goods.
    • Pectin: Often used in jams and jellies, pectin is another safe alternative for thickening.
    • Organic Yogurts: Look for organic yogurts that specify “carrageenan-free”.
    • Natural Dairy Products: Many organic and natural brands offer milk and creamers without carrageenan.

Our Promise: Pure Carrageenan-Free Vegetarian Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC) Capsules

Amazingly, many health care professionals knew there was something wrong with vegetarian capsules long ago, despite the supplement industry being very effective in keeping secrets. They simply observed their patients that did not recover as well, or at all, if they took them. Perhaps they may also have used some kind of bio feedback devices, however, now we know that it was the carrageenan that the industry and govt pushed onto the public, despite considerable evidence and theoretical reason for caution.

Decades of health-seekers have been disenfranchised, being kept in the dark regarding the contents of their supplements, and many likely had no idea that veggie capsules were counterproductive to the vitamins, minerals and herbs they were taking.

While it took some effort, our company was finally able to source capsules from manufacturers that did not use carrageenan. After many sent in samples, our testing revealed one supplier that was telling the truth about not containing carrageenan, who we now use for all of our HPMC capsules. We also love to use gelcaps.

PureNSM has in place a guarantee concerning no use of carrageenan, surfactants in the HPMC capsules they carry and no magnesium stearate in any amount without written approval from the label owner.

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