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carrageenan intolerance
joymkr posted:
Is it possible for a person to be intolerant to carrageenan and experience chronic diarrhea? If so, is there any blood and or allergy test which can detect this intolerance?
Thanks so much for your responses!
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD responded:
In a word...yes. I suspect some people are more sensitive to amounts of carrageenan than others, much like some people are more sensitive to sugar alcohols or inulin (popular way to bulk up the fiber in processed foods and it comes from chicory root).

Here's some basic information on carrageenan posted on WebMD:

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 inweight loss ?products.

How does it 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 pan and swelling (inflammation).
joymkr responded:
Part of my original question included "Is there a blood test to detect carrageenen intolerance?
joymkr replied to Elaine Magee, MPH, RD's response:
Is there a lab test to detect carrageenen intolerance?
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD replied to joymkr's response:
There probably isn't a blood test to detect an "intolerance" to carrageenan. But if someone has an "allergy" to it, there appears to be a way to detect this with an allergy skin test.?

In both cases I would think that eliminating carrageenan intake would bring improvement to symptoms...but with an allergy consumption is obviously potentially far more serious.

I wanted to pass along the following citation I found that describes a medical case where someone had a serious allergy to carrageenan.

Tarlo SM, Dolovich J, Listgarten C. Anaphylaxis to carrageenan: a pseudo-latex allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1995; 95:933-6.
notahypo responded:
I believe it is easy to be intolerant of a lot of things they put in food these days. I came on here to look an see if I could find out why bacon gives me panic attacks, but I can eat any other pork product I want. You should read the food allergies section. It might help you, but it didn't cover my specific problem.
suzannern responded:
I don't know of any blood test, but in 1998, my allergist had the compounding pharmacy make up test doses for a 'challenge test' to sodium alginate (almost the same thing as carrageenan. With the second dose, I was full of hives, so he confirmed the diagnosis of carrageenan/algae allergy. Talk to your physician about having a challenge test.

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