Last update Sept. 7, 2022

Carrageenan, carrageenin

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

Carrageenan or carrageenan are polysaccharides extracted from some red algae (Rhodophyceae class: Chondrus crispus, Gigartina mamillosa, Eucheuma gelatinae). They are a mixture of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium salts of copolymers of sulfate esters of d-galactose and 3,6-anhydro-d-galactose. The predominant copolymers are κ-carrageenan, ι-carrageenan and λ-carrageenan. (Martindale)
They are used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, in the food industry as a suspending and gelling agent, and as a food additive.
Use in traditional medicine as a bulk-forming laxative to treat constipation. Commission E of the German Ministry of Health has not approved any indication. (Blumental 1998)

At the date of last update we found no published data on its excretion in breast milk.

Its presence in breast milk is not expected due to its null intestinal absorption that prevents passage to plasma and its high molecular weight that would make excretion in breast milk difficult.

In addition, the null oral bioavailability prevents the passage to the infant's plasma from ingested breast milk,

This seaweed contains iodine and arsenic (Correia 2021, Darias 2020, Llorente 2011). Its consumption as food must be limited according to guidelines set by seaweed packagers: maximum 4 g/day (Darias 2020). Take into account its iodine content when complying with the WHO recommendations in order to achieve WHO’s recommendations on Iodine supplementation for nursing mothers.

See below the information of this related product:

  • Seaweed (Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.)


  • Bisacodyl (Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.)
  • Lactitol (Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.)
  • Methylcellulose (Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Carrageenan, carrageenin is also known as

Carrageenan, carrageenin in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Carrageenan, carrageenin in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. ≈ 0 %
Molecular weight > 100.000 daltons


  1. DRUGBANK ONLINE. 2006 - Consulted on Jan. 9, 2024 Full text (link to original source)
  2. Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference Medicines Complete. available online from: 2022 Abstract
  3. Correia H, Soares C, Morais S, Pinto E, Marques A, Nunes ML, Almeida A, Delerue-Matos C. Seaweeds rehydration and boiling: Impact on iodine, sodium, potassium, selenium, and total arsenic contents and health benefits for consumption. Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Sep;155:112385. Abstract
  4. Darias-Rosales J, Rubio C, Gutiérrez ÁJ, Paz S, Hardisson A. Risk assessment of iodine intake from the consumption of red seaweeds (Palmaria palmata and Chondrus crispus). Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Dec;27(36):45737-45741. Abstract
  5. Llorente-Mirandes T, Ruiz-Chancho MJ, Barbero M, Rubio R, López-Sánchez JF. Determination of water-soluble arsenic compounds in commercial edible seaweed by LC-ICPMS. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 28;59(24):12963-8. Abstract
  6. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Integrative Medicine Com; Boston, MA, USA: 1998

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