What Is It?
Carrageenan is a A large group of natural complex carbohydrates with the general formula (C6H10O5)n where ‘n’ is a large number. Polysaccarides are easily hydrolyzed into simple sugars. extracted from various members of the Gigartinaceae or Solieriaceae families of the red seaweed, Rodophyceae. Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan and Sodium Carrageenan are salts of Carrageenan. In cosmetics and personal care products, Carrageenan and it salts are used in the formulation of a variety of products including dentifrices, shaving creams, shampoos and cleansing products.
Why Is It Used?
The following functions have been reported for Carrageenan and its salts.
- Ingredients that hold together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake.: Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan
- Ingredients that help to keep an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components.: Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan
- Ingredients that dry to form a thin coating on the skin, hair or nails.: Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan
- Ingredients that enhance the appearance and feel of hair, by increasing hair body, suppleness, or sheen, or by improving the texture of hair that has been damaged physically or by chemical treatment.: Carrageenan
- Viscosity increasing agent – aqueous: Carrageenan, Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan
Carrageenans are large, highly flexible molecules which curl to form helical structures. This gives them the ability to form gels at room temperature. They are widely used in the food and other industries as thickening and stabilizing agents. A particular advantage is that they thin under shear stress and recover their viscosity once the stress is removed. This means that they are easy to pump but stiffen again afterwards.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits Carrageenan and its salts to be added to food, including some processed cheese and bakery products, as well as jams, jellies and fruit preserves. Carrageenan and its salts (ammonium, calcium, potassium or sodium) are also permitted to be used as chewing Sticky, polysaccharide substances exuded by plants that are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying. base.
Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Carrageenan:
Carrageenan and its Calcium, Potassium and Sodium salts may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.
Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:
The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) advising the World Health Organization has concluded the following with respect to Carrageenan: “These closely related polysaccharides are very little absorbed when ingested by several species. The available short- and long-term studies support the safety of these materials despite the small numbers of subjects employed. Carrageenan has a long history of human use without known ill-effect.”
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified native Carrageenan, which is used in food, as unclassifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. Degraded Carrageenan has been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. A JECFA monograph indicates that degraded Carrageenan is prepared from the The mixture of substances drawn out of a material by solution, heat, or another physical or chemical process. of a specific species of seaweed, Eucheuma spinosum by partial Decomposition of a chemical compound into smaller constituents by reaction with water. using dilute hydrochloric acid and that this material is not used in food.
Link to the IARC summary:
Link to the JECFA monograph:
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration
Food Ingredients and Packaging: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/default.htm
Food Contact Substances: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/PackagingFCS/defaul…
Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.): http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/default.htm
Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm
EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/