Carrageenan causes histamine induced inflammation

Soaked irish mossUPDATE: I have edited this post to reflect that carrageenan is an adulterated derivative of Irish Moss.
“Carrageenan induced inflammation-protocol” is a phrase that keeps coming up in my histamine research. Why is this relevant? Carrageenan, a derivative of Irish Moss, is a common food additive. A quick Google search turns up thousands of studies where anti-inflammatory medicines and compounds are tested on “carrageenan induced-inflammation” or “edema”  [1]- it’s actually used to cause pain and inflammation in animals (poor things).

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In particular one study used it to induce inflammatory arthritis [2]. In a number of studies carrageenan has been shown to cause inflammation through its activity on the histamine H1 and H2 receptors [3] and may cause gastrointestinal damage [4]. I’ve also found a number mentioning mast cell degranulation which makes a lot of sense. These are all obviously terms those of us with histamine related disorders don’t want to hear associated with our food. Ouch. I used Irish Moss for years and this explains a lot…You’ll find carrageenan/irish moss in pretty much anything tasty on the supermarket shelf including:
  • Dessertsice cream, cream, milkshakes, sweetened condensed milks, and sauces: gel to increase viscosity
  • Beer: clarifier to remove haze-causing proteins
  • Pâtés and processed meats (ham, e.g.): substitute for fat, increase water retention and increase volume, or improve sliceability
  • Toothpaste: stabilizer to prevent constituents separating
  • Fruit Gushers: ingredient in the encapsulated gel
  • Shampoo and cosmetic creams: thickeness
  • Biotechnology: gel to immobilize cells/enzymes
  • Pharmaceuticals: used as an inactive excipient in pills/tablets
  • Soy milk: used to thicken, in an attempt to emulate the consistency of whole milk
  • Diet sodas: to enhance texture and suspend flavours
  • Personal lubricants
  • Veggie dogs
From Wikipedia. 
I’d like to see more studies comparing irish moss in it’s original state vs extracted and manipulated carrageenan as a food additive, but for now it’s not something I’m willing to have in my diet. Agar agar offers similar results in desserts without any of the negative associated studies (yet?).

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——– REFERENCES———

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21639869

[2] http://www.tufts.edu/~ttheoh01/cam-theoharides.pdf

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6852108

[4] http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html

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