Carrageenan

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What other names is Carrageenan known by?

Algas, Algue Rouge Marine, Carrageen, Carrageenin, Carragenano, Carragenina, Carragheenan, Carraghénane, Carraghénine, Chondrus crispus, Chondrus Extract, Euchema species, Extrait de Mousse d'Irlande, Galgarine, Gigartina chamissoi, Gigartina mamillosa, Gigartina skottsbergii, Irish Moss Algae, Irish Moss Extract, Mousse d'Irlande, Red Marine Algae.

What is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is made from parts of various red algae or seaweeds and is used for medicine.

Carrageenan is used for coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and intestinal problems. The French use a form that has been changed by adding acid and high temperatures. This form is used to treat peptic ulcers, and as a bulk laxative.

Some people apply carrageenan directly to the skin for discomfort around the anus.

In manufacturing, carrageenan is used as a binder, thickening agent, and as a stabilizer in medications, foods, and toothpaste. Carrageenan is also an ingredient in weight loss products.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of carrageenan for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Carrageenan work?

Carrageenan contains chemicals that may decrease stomach and intestinal secretions. Large amounts of carrageenan seem to pull water into the intestine, and this may explain why it is tried as a laxative. Carrageenan also might decrease pain and swelling (inflammation).

Are there safety concerns?

Carrageenan is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in food amounts. There is a chemically altered form of carrageenan that is available in France to treat peptic ulcers. This form is POSSIBLY UNSAFE because there's some evidence that it might cause cancer.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Carrageenan is LIKELY SAFE in amounts found in food, but there's not enough information to know if it's safe in the larger amounts that are used as medicine. It's best to stay on the safe side and avoid use in medicinal amounts.

Bleeding disorders: Carrageenan might slow blood clotting and increase bleeding. In theory, carrageenan might make bleeding disorders worse.

Low blood pressure: Carrageenan might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking carrageenan might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Carrageenan might slow blood clotting and lower blood pressure in some people. In theory, carrageenan might increase the risk for bleeding and interfere with blood pressure control during surgical procedures. Stop using carrageenan at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Carrageenan might decrease blood pressure. Taking carrageenan along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.



Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Carrageenan is a thick gel. Carrageenan might stick to medications in the stomach and intestines. Taking carrageenan at the same time as medications that you take by mouth might decrease how much medication your body absorbs, and decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction, take carrageenan at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.



Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Carrageenan might slow blood clotting. Taking carrageenan along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Dosing considerations for Carrageenan.

The appropriate dose of carrageenan depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for carrageenan. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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