Monday, September 26, 2011

Benefits of Carageenan

“99 ABC’s of Wellness” Article Credit: The original article 99 ABC’s of Wellness is by Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit, which has appeared on the Philippine Star on January 12, 1999.

Principle #18: Benefits of Carageenan

Carageenan
“Carageenan is a healthy substitute for creams and other fatty, thickening and gelling agents. It improves palatability and appearance of food minus the fat and calories” (excerpt from the original article).

Carageenen is a product from seaweeds. It is a popular alternative to gelatin especially for vegetarians. There are three main commercial classes of carrageenan:

  • Kappa forms strong, rigid gels in the presence of potassium ions; it reacts with dairy proteins. It is sourced mainly from Eucheuma cottonii.
  • Iota forms soft gels in the presence of calcium ions. It is produced mainly from Eucheuma spinosum.
  • Lambda does not gel, and is used to thicken dairy products. The most common source is Gigartina from South America. (source: en.wikipedia.org) 

Carageenan has medicinal value as well. Medical research suggests the effectiveness of carrageenan against the common cold virus. An Austrian company has introduced a nasal spray that contains carageenen in 2010, which claims direct treatment against the virus and not just for the symptoms.

In another study, “at the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America suggest that carrageenans might function as a topical microbicide” (en.wikipedia.org). A microbicide is a compound or substance that reduces the infectivity of microbes, which could be virus or bacteria. Studies even suggest the potency of carageenan-based lubricant as personal microbicide in women against HPV and HIV viruses.

Carageenan is an amazing medical break through.


Image above courtesy of:
http://allenwang1225

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