Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is Carrageenan That Bad?

According to a study in the upcoming April issue of Food and Chemical Toxicity, the common food additive carrageenan, vilified by some in the food industry, does not bind to Toll-Like-Receptor 4, does not stimulate NF-KB inflammatory responses, and is tightly bound to protein, which limits interactions with cells.

Carrageenan (CGN) is widely used in the food manufacturing industry as an additive that stabilizes and thickens food products. Standard animal safety studies in which CGN was administered in diet showed no adverse effects. However, several in vitro studies have reported that intestinal inflammation is caused by CGN and that this effect is mediated through Toll-Like-Receptor 4 (TLR4). The purpose of the study was to evaluate this issue.

The results show that CGN does not bind to TLR4 and is not cytotoxic to the HEK293 cells at the concentrations and experimental conditions tested and that CGN binds tightly to serum proteins. Thus, intestinal inflammation is not a byproduct of CGN consumption in this study.

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