Gellan Gum - Food Additive Analysis
Gellan gum is a bacterial-derived exopolysaccharide that is employed as an additive in many food products. Similarly to xanthan gum, it is created with the use of bacterial fermentation in laboratory settings.
While at the moment of this writing, no animal tests exist that have been done to measure standard toxicity levels for gellan gum, there is in fact a human study which was conducted to determine the safety of gellan gum consumption.
The Science on Gellan Gum So Far
Ten people were given diets supplemented with gellan gum at approximately 30 times the level of normal dietary exposure for 23 days. The subjects reported having no major adverse side effects. This was surprising considering that a rat study at only 55 concentrations revealed concerns:
When 5% of the rats’ diet consisted of gellan gum, they experienced abnormalities in their intestinal microvilli over the course of 4 weeks. This is a serious concern in any animal life, whether human or not, because the microvilli of the intestine are responsible for various important functions including absorbing nutrients into our blood stream. This is one of the single most important functions of any animal’s body.
Because the research on gellan gum is very limited, and because it shares similar origins and processing with xanthan gum which is a compound of concern, we believe that humans, especially those with sensitive digestive systems, should avoid consuming this additive, or at least proceed with caution. Better safe than sorry, especially with an unknown compound that has been synthetically altered.
There is a plethora of healthy, nutrient rich whole foods and whole food supplements available that are wildcrafted or organic, without such synthetic additives.