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

  1. haydn robin says:

    i do not care about publishing my email address, this information is most important at this time when we feel that the doctor will get us well after we have destroyed our bodies mainly through ignorance, thanks for the knowledge, i will continue reading and telling the world if i can, all that i find through articles like this. much thanks and full respect to all the contributing writers.
    Haydn Robin.

  2. Gaby Vasquez says:

    Why the stupet people from the FDA allow so many irregularities in the food industry they want people to get sick selling all the food with danger and potentially toxic additives that can harm humans internal organs blood and bones they need to see what is going on , and people they have to wake up and tell all these companies they selling toxic and making money with destruction of world to stop. The world dont belong to these demons belongs to GOD.

  3. Donna says:

    I have a thickened mucus issue after drinking the gellan gum in SILK MILK VANILLA ALMOND CREAMER

    • Emi Miller says:

      I have found only ONE Soy Milk that does not contain any gums: EDEN SOY ORIGINAL. Purified Water, Organic Soybeans, Naturally Malted Organic Wheat and Barley Extract, Calcium Carbonate, Kombu Seaweed, Sea Salt. The Kombu is the thickener, and supplies a host of natural minerals. There was a time when soy got bad press, it was linked with estrogen and not in a good way. Yet the estrogen that was tested for cancer was ESTRODIOL. This is the estrogen that weakens cell walls, and if unbalanced can lead to cancer. Yet the estrogen in Soy is ESTRIOL. It strengthens the cell walls and protects against cancer. And so Soy in itself, when organic, is not causing cancer. It can be healing. Still in the winter Soy milk, as well as Dairy milk, cools the intestines and this is not so good for us. Best to drink warm drinks in the cold weather. Eden Soy Milk is on the shelf at health food stores. Or you can ask them to get it for you, or get it online. Hope this is helpful to you.

  4. D L says:

    Thank you for providing this information!

  5. Unfortunately, the routine animal toxicity studies conducted for new food additives aren’t available online, but we do have a human study to look at. To test the safety of gellan gum, the diets of ten volunteers were supplemented with gellan gum at approximately 30 times the level of normal dietary exposure for 23 days.

    • Emi Miller says:

      Yes, I am aware of this study. And unfortunately it did show that there was increased stool in many of the subjects. We don’t know how much each person will be taking total on any given day, and if long term this tendency to loose stool means that it will cause inflammation to the intestines, and certainly, when combined with other toxins it will add to the background level of inflammation. And if it adheres to the hormone receptor sites on our cells, or ‘gums up’ the cell walls, then it will further be a problem. It is best to avoid all gums, they do not absorb, they do not add any benefit to our bodies. The point is to try to do our best to eat a natural, organic diet, with as few additives as possible. If there are better choices, let’s take those, eh? I hope this was helpful.

  6. Beverly Williams says:

    Hello, I recently discovered “Silk” brand Almond Creamer (Vanilla Flavor) as an alternative to dairy milk for my coffee. It tastes great, however, has anyone else who’s tried this product had any issues with what I call “Bubble Gut”, that unpleasant feeling in the upper stomach that feels like soap suds? I can’t do dairy anymore without serious bowel issues, so was excited to find this product. I may have to give up coffee if I can’t find something that doesn’t mess with my insides, since I can’t stand plain black coffee.

    • Emi Miller says:

      Beverly, Thanks for writing. It is very unfortunate yet I have not found a commercial Almond Milk that does not contain gums. And GELLAN GUM seems to be the new darling of the alternative dairy milk products. GELLAN gum, like all other gums can cause irritations in our guts, in the mucous lining, and this, when combined with all of the other inflammatory chemicals in our diets, including water, can lead to decreased absorption of nutrients, as well as gastrointestinal bloating and constipation and diarrhea and gas. Here is information about GELLAN Gum specifically: “Excessive intake may cause abdominal bloating, excessive gas (flatulence), loose stools or diarrhea. Gellan gum produced from whey is not vegan, but the one produced from cornstarch is.” The problem of course is no one knows what ‘excessive’ intake means for any one person, and as stated above, the sum total of all other irritants is definitely impacted. So what to drink instead of dairy milk? I have found only two non-dairy milk substitutes that do not contain any gums, nor harmful ingredients. One is EDENSOY ORIGINAL. Do I recommend drinking Soy Milk when we have had reports of negative impacts on Estrogen and thyroid. Then we have heard that certain kinds of Soy food is OK, while others, including fermented, are not healthy. So it seemed that it was best to avoid Soy altogether. Yet this information has been challenged and the negative health concerns shown to be not significant, when Soy is consumed as a part of our daily diets. I recommend that use as a replacement for dairy, in coffee and tea and in cereal is OK and that most people can definitely enjoy it this way. And even for children, 1-2 cups a day, fortified with Vitamin D, has been recommended as safe and preferable to almond milk due to an increased amount of protein. The other non-dairy milk that I have found without gums is Organic Rice Milk by Kirkland. They sell this at Costco. Again you may ask about the level of arsenic in Rice that has caused concern recently. First we must know that arsenic occurs naturally in soil, and has always been a part of rice. Then why has the level of arsenic become concerning? It is because of the application of Pesticides, which are loaded with arsenic. That is why Organic Rice will still have some arsenic but at a much lower level. Today it is very difficult to know what to eat, and how to find the ‘best’ quality food for ourselves and our families. I believe that our choice of Organic Foods is still the safest…and yet as you can see at the stores today…even Organic products are incorporating potentially harmful GUMS and perhaps other substances. Please continue to look at labels, and choose those Organic Products that are the best. I hope this is helpful. all the best, Emi

  7. Peg Peterson says:

    So confused…. 1. I have been avoiding soy like the plague because of glyphosate. So, I wonder about going with soy milk. 2. I have Crohn’s disease with chronic diarrhea. Stool bulking sounds helpful from my perspective. ??

    • Emi Miller says:

      Hi Peg, It is confusing! Let’s try to clarify…1) The only way to know if Organic Soy Milk will be an irritant to your intestines is to try it. Rice Milk may be easier to digest, however in the long run, I don’t advise using much of any of the milks available even with no intestinal illnesses. In your case, they are all cooling and as such can easily lead to an increase in stool, which seems to be a problem for you. You may be able to use a little in the summertime more easily. Yet if you choose to use any type of ‘milk’ best to keep it to a minimum, never drinking 8 oz at a time. And also stay away from iced drinks. There is a lot more to know about diet and Chron’s, if you are interested let me know. 2) Glyphosate is a pesticide, and we definitely want to stay away from pesticide residues in our foods. However, Organic Soy is grown without any Glyphosate, and so that is not a problem. 3) As far as ‘stool bulking’ goes, this way of bulking is not a great idea. In this case, it is caused by an increase in the level of background inflammation in the intestines, and that causes the stool to become dry (and bulk) as a result. I hope this has been helpful.– Emi

  8. That Guy says:

    Hey everyone we use Rice Dream rice milk at home and it doesn’t contain any gums

    • Emi Miller says:

      HI That Guy, So much to be said about ingredients… Here are the listed ones in Rice Dream: Ingredients: Organic rice milk (filtered water, organic whole grain brown rice), organic brown rice syrup, organic brown rice syrup solids, organic expeller pressed safflower and/or sunflower seed oil, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, organic vanilla extract, carrageenan, natural flavor, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12. Please not the ingredient, CARRAGEENAN. This is a problem ingredient, and one that deserves an entire article by itself. Yet for introduction, let me say that while there are two forms, degraded and un-degraded, and the cancer research has been done with results that implicate degraded carrageenan with cancer, and even though the un-degraded form is used in foods, yet the un-degraded form has been problematic for digestive upsets, inflammation, gas, bloating. Why? First, it is derived from seaweeds, and of course there are a ton of chemicals in seaweed. Why? Seaweed is a most wonderful plant. It absorbs toxins and helps to clean our oceans. Yet it lives so close to the shoreline, and gets filled with PCBs, THMs, THCs, and all kinds of chemical wastes. Next it is being ingested, actually we drink it, without chewing it and helping to break down and digest in the normal way, through bringing out the enzymes in our saliva and notifying our stomach what is coming down the pike, so it will produce the enzymes needed to break it down and digest it. So with the gut issues that are known to occur, I personally stay away from carrageenan, for myself, for my patients and family, and for all pets! And as for the cancer issue, why risk it? The research is not yet in!! Thanks for asking this question, and I hope this has helped! And for one of thousands of additional resources I offer this article for your review:

      “Although derived from a natural source, it appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella. The result: “It predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,” explains veteran researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago. She says the food ingredient irritates by activating an immune response that dials up inflammation. Her previous work showed a concerning connection between carrageenan and gastrointestinal cancer in lab animals, and she’s involved with ongoing research funded through the National Institutes of Health that is investigating carrageenan’s effect on ulcerative colitis and other diseases like diabetes.

      The concern over food-grade carrageenan isn’t new. Beginning in the 1960s, researchers started linking the ingredient to gastrointestinal disease in lab animals, including ulcerative colitis, intestinal lesions, and colon cancer.”

  9. Concetta says:

    There is now an almond milk produced with just two ingredients, called Three Trees almond milk. The two ingredients are organic almonds and purified water. It is delicious! Although a little pricey, your gut will love you for it.

    • Emi Miller says:

      Oh Concetta this is a good tip. Thank you so much. If you can only do Almond Milk, there is another Almond milk that I have found that has only two ingredients: ELMHURST ALMOND MILK. It is not organic, but it is GMO Free. It is sold at Whole Foods and other locations. Elmhurst may be easier to find than THREE TREES, which seems to be only online, and pretty expensive.

      As Three Trees seems to be difficult and expensive to buy, you might want to look into: Forager Organic Cashew Milk: Organic, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Kosher. It is sold at Whole Foods as well. https//

      Yet I am always looking for the “Best” products for my patients, friends and family. So THREE TREES looks really good! I am including a link to their web page. THREE TREES ORGANIC ALMOND MILK — Please let us know of any other great products.

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