Seaweed Is All the Rage

6 Jun

If you’ve recently been lube shopping or just catching up on the latest and greatest in sexually transmitted ickiness (that’s what STI stands for, right?), you’ve probably come across some info about Carrageenan.  Extracted from red alge, this sexy sounding compound is popping up in personal lubricants all over the place.  So, how do you sell a lube that’s made out of algae to the masses?  Well, marketing it as a miracle drug seems to be working pretty well.

In recent studies, carrageenan has been shown to inhibit the transmission of HPV (a really scary virus).  I don’t speak Science, so I read this article to get a little perspective.

Normally, HPV attacks cells by attaching to proteins on their surface and then chemically manipulating access to the cells. Carrageenan thwarts this process by attaching to HPV and preventing its entry into cells.

Okay, so that’s AWESOME. And lubricant companies are in luck because most of them were already using carrageenan as a gelling agent in their products anyway.  Isn’t it a beautiful coincidence that something that was already present in a sexy lube is also helpful in inhibiting an un-sexy disease?

Let’s be realistic: carrageenan doesn’t replace the HPV vaccine.  On the other hand, that vaccine is very, VERY expensive.  For those of us who are too poor or unable to access proper gynecological attention, carrageenan could be a nice layer of added protection.  That said, there isn’t a lube out there that has gone through a clinical trial that could recommend it for an effective HPV inhibitor.

When carrageenan actually finds its place in the miracle drug market, there shall be much rejoicing.  BUT! That doesn’t mean we should stop wearing condoms and tell our partners to go ahead and skip that STI testing we wanted them to get done.  HPV is just one of the many monsters under the bed.

Enough of that.  The next lube on my “to buy” list is actually a carrageenan containing mixture from Sliquid Oranics.  I’ve read great things and it includes a bunch of seaweed extracts in the mix for an extra slick factor.  On the off chance that it’ll prevent me from getting HPV, I’ll take it…but I’m still going in for my annual.

 

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