Gellan Gum In Almond and Soy Milks and Protein Shakes, Bulks Stool, Increases Inflammation

Gellan Gum like many other gums being used today has been found to be harmful to our bodies. It is made from a bacteria, Sphingomonas elodea.  Some species can cause non-life-threatening infections in humans that may require antibiotics.

It is processed by using applications of alcohol, primarily from a whey or corn source.

Gellan gum has been shown to “Bulk Stool” (see link below). We have to then ask “Why and how come the stool becomes enlarged?” The answer is: Stool becomes enlarged when the excess liquid in the stool fails to be absorbed. Our question is why the Gellan Gum causes stool to stay large, when it normally becomes smaller as the waste products, those elements which are is not able to be used by our body, consolidate on the way through the intestinal tract.

Ordinarily as our food passes through our intestines, the lining of the intestines transport needed nutrients and water out of the stool, across the mucous membrane, and send these nutrients to wherever they are needed in the body, and the excess water is sent to the kidneys. The fact that the stool stays bulked up means that the Gellan Gum has increased the level of inflammation in the gut lining, leading to a decreased amount of nutrients able to cross the intestinal wall, with the result of an increase in the size of the stool. This means the tiny openings in the lining have become irritated and closed.

Further, as stool is moving through our intestines it  ‘bumps’ harmlessly against the soft mucous lining of the gut. Yet, with the bulking of stool, inflammation to the mucous layer occurs, and erodes the mucous layer so that stool rubs directly against the wall, causing small excoriations/bleedings, to occur. As with other gums, the material is not water soluble, and actually can adhere to the lining, and not pass osmotically through. This adherence causes inflammation. Then the good nutrients in the stool, that would have been resorbed, remain instead in the stool, along with excess water, and the stool becomes “bulked.” This loss of water resorption also  strains the Kidneys, as they work harder to gain the water the body needs, and the result is that the body’s need for both moisture and nutrients go unanswered.

Over time this decrease in nutrition, combined with an increase in stress on the Kidneys, and an increase in the body’s level of inflammation, leads to serious effects on our overall health, such as auto immune disorders, allergies and asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis and more. The study that is found in the link below only followed the human subjects for a short period of time. And even though it was apparent that the size of their stool was increased, yet they were not followed for long enough to see the gradual decline in their physical health and well-being, which can take months to years, depending on individual wellness and age. 

Right now Gellan Gum is in many of the alternate milk products and more foods at our local grocery stores. If you drink Soy Milk, currently Eden Soy Original Unsweetened is the only one that does not contain Gellan or other gums. Original Eden Soy contains: Purified water and organic soybeans. And Kirkland Rice Milk, found at Costco, and online, contains: Partially Milled Organic Rice, Organic Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil and/or Organic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid. So far there is NO Almond Milk I have found that does not contain either Carrageenan or some other gum. There is a new Cashew Milk that does not contain gums: Forager Cashew Milk. They also have a new Coconut/Cashew Yogurt and other products you may enjoy:

Here is a study on Gellan Gum by the National Institute of Health. Please note that it clearly shows that Gellan Gum causes inflammation and damage to the lining of intestines, in a similar way as all other Gums. They are ‘Gummy’ by nature, and stick to the linings of our intestines.

Effects of curdlan and gellan gum on the surface structure of intestinal mucosa in rats.


The effects of curdlan and gellan gum on the gastrointestinal function were studied, and the morphological structure of the intestinal mucosal surface was observed by scanning electron microscopy of rats fed curdlan and gellan gum diets for four weeks. The rats fed the curdlan diet showed a significant increase in the weight of the cecum and its contents and a decrease in fecal weight as compared to the rats fed a cellulose diet. On the other hand, the rats fed the gellan gum diet showed a weight loss in cecal contents and weight gain in colonic contents. The transit time of the gastrointestinal tract was extended by curdlan supplementation whereas it was shortened by gellan gum supplementation. The surface structures of the ileal and cecal mucosa were markedly abnormal in the rats fed the curdlan diet: the microvilli were tightly packed and had fallen out at places. In the gellan gum-fed rats, the tops of the ileal and cecal microvilli adhered to one another and were covered with their contents. There was no difference in the surface structure of colonic mucosa among the cellulose, curdlan and gellan gum diet groups.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Here is an excerpt of the study whose link is below: Note that not only is the Bulk of the stool increased, but it also points to an increase in inflammation from the increased level of faecal bile acid, which means there is a stress on the liver as well:

2.3 Human Studies:Gellan Gum
The authors concluded......However, gellan gum does act as a faecal bulking agent, increases faecal bile acid, decreases  faecal neutral sterols, and decreases serum cholesterol (Eastwood et al., 1987).
Results from a limited study on tolerance to gellan gum in   humans indicated that oral doses of up to 200 mg per kg of   body weight administered over a 23-day period did not elicit any adverse reactions, although faecal bulking effects were observed in most 
The Committee allocated an ADI "not specified" to gellan gum, and pointed out that its potential laxative effect at high intakes should be taken into account when it is used as a food additive   (Annex I, ref. 88, Section 2.2.3).
-- Emi Miller, RN, HN-BC, ND, L.Ac

About Emi Miller

Emi Miller has practiced Integrative Holistic Medicine for thirty years. She is a Registered Nurse, Nationally Certified Holistic Nurse, NCCAOM Certified Asian Bodywork Therapist, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, and an Interfaith, Stephen Minister. Emi is also a meditation teacher and Pastoral Care Counselor. She has been a student of the world's Spiritual traditions for more than fifty years, and blessed to receive wisdom from many Masters and Saints. She is dedicated to helping bring forth unity of the world's religious Ideals, and the reality of the One Creator of All. Besides her writing and studying the sacred religious traditions, Emi enjoys long walks by the ocean, music and theatre, taking journeys and discovering beauty in natural places, and visiting with good friends and family.
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