Carrageenans originate from consumable red seaweeds occurring naturally throughout the world. Strains such as Chondrus, Gigartina, Eucheuma, Furcellaria, Phyllophora, to name just a few, are used. For centuries they have been in common use worldwide as food additives for dietary and medicinal purposes. Today typical applications include adoption as ingredients for desserts, soy milk products or toothpaste.
Mode of Action
Carragelose® forms a protective layer on the mucosal surfaces and on viruses which can prevent an infection of the cell.
Respiratory infections like the common cold and influenza-like infections, but also influenza itself, are typically caused by one of the more than 200 different respiratory virus strains. They are often spread by aerosols released by infected individuals (e.g. during sneezing), tiny droplets that can remain airborne for a long time due to their small size. These can enter the respiratory tract e.g. through the nose, where the virus particles come into contact with the large mucosal surfaces of the nasal cavity. The surface area of the nasal mucosa in adults is about 180 cm², which is larger than the area of the adult human hand.
The virus particles physically attach and biochemically bind to the mucosal surfaces, beginning the cycle of infection and replication of the virus. The virus particles are then internalized into the cells of the mucosa, where they induce the cells to produce a large number of new virus particles – an infected cell can produce thousands of viral particles in less than 8 hours. The new virus particles are then transported out of the cells and released into the area above the cell layer or cell lysis occurs releasing the newly produced virus particles. These are either further distributed through the air or re-infect new host cells for another replication cycle.
Carragelose® containing products owe their effectiveness to carrageenan, a high molecular weight polymer of the sugar-like molecule galactose which may carry sulfate groups derived from a number of species of red seaweeds of the class Rhodophyceae. This class of molecules has been used for several decades as a food additive and is considered to be safe for human consumption. Carrageenan is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Regulations (21 CFR 182.7255). Carrageenan forms a mucoadhesive layer on the surface of the nasal mucosa. It also interacts with many different virus particles, thereby forming a shielding layer on their surfaces preventing interaction with the mucosa and infection of the cells.
Virus particles entering the nasal cavity become trapped in the viscous layer of carrageenan, as a consequence they cannot infect mucosal cells. Also, newly synthesized virus particles that are excreted from the cell become trapped in the barrier formed by carrageenan thereby preventing that new cells become infected. This mechanism is supported by clinical data which demonstrate that carrageenan leads to a significant reduction of the viral load in nasal fluid and prevents new infections. Carrageenan also forms a moisturizing layer on the mucosa, helping to heal the damaged mucosal surfaces and alleviating the nasal symptoms of the infection.
The Carragelose-bound virus particles are cleared from the mucosal surfaces by the activity of the nasal cilia, fine hair-like structures on the mucosa that aid in transporting foreign particles away from the mucosal surfaces. Thereby the natural defense mechanism of the body is further supported, leading to a shorter duration of the disease by up to two days. The cold might not even come, stay shorter or leave faster.
No virus – no cold – naturally achieved