What is carrageenan? Should I be concerned that it is an ingredient in my supplement?
Carrageenan is a substance derived from red algae, or seaweed, that is used to create a smooth texture and thicken foods such as pudding, yogurt, ice-cream, whipped toppings, milk (including almond and soy milk), soups, and processed meats.
Carrageenan is sometimes also added to supplements to improve texture or thicken ingredients. It can be found in some multivitamins
, vegan and vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as algal oil supplements
, nutrition bars and protein drinks
. It was also an ingredient in one cocoa product
tested by ConsumerLab.com, although it was removed from the formulation in late 2014.
Food-grade carrageenan is considered safe by most regulatory agencies; however, some researchers who study carrageenan have raised concerns that carrageenan may be carcinogenic and cause inflammatory reactions. See the full answer for more information >>
See the Review Article about Inactive Ingredients
for more information about carrageenan and other ingredients commonly added to supplements.
Also see these related CL Answers:
Some websites are highly critical of magnesium stearate, which is in many supplements. Is this substance toxic and should I avoid it? >>
Should I be worried that my supplement contains "caramel coloring IV"? I've heard that it has been linked to cancer. >>
Titanium dioxide is listed as an ingredient in my supplement. Is it safe? >>
What are sugar alcohols and why are they in my nutrition bar? >>
I read on your website that some B-12 vitamins can cause diarrhea due to added sugar substitutes like sorbitol. I have had diarrhea and never thought it could be caused by my vitamin B-12 supplement, until I read your article and stopped taking the supplement. My diarrhea stopped immediately. Can you help me find a brand of B-12 that doesn't contain sorbitol or sugar substitutes that could cause this problem? >>
This CL Answer initially posted on 2/21/2015.
Last updated 9/24/2017.