Sea Moss: Benefits And Side Effects

If you have been keeping up with recent trends, you might have heard about sea moss. It has been touted by many as a “superfood.”

While it has been consumed by humans for a long time now, sea moss has seen a rapid surge in popularity in recent times. This is due to its purported health benefits, which have led a lot of celebrities and influencers to endorse it.

However, you should keep in mind that the scientific evidence related to the benefits of sea moss is limited. Likewise, consuming it in large quantities will obviously be detrimental to your health.

So, in such a situation, you might ask – what are the potential benefits and side effects of sea moss? Well, that’s just what this guide aims to find out. Dive in!

What Is Sea Moss?

Before you get to the meat of the topic, you should know what sea moss exactly is. Broadly speaking, it is a type of underwater algae, and it grows in a number of colors, such as green, brown, red, yellow, and purple. 

However, the most common variety is the red algae, usually called Irish moss. The scientific name of this particular seaweed is Chondrus crispus, and it grows primarily in warmer waters along the coasts of North America and Europe.

Irish sea moss is mainly harvested for its high carrageenan content, which is used to thicken and stabilize food products, such as milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, and many others. Carrageenan is also an active ingredient in different conventional medications.

However, the Irish moss that is consumed by most people is typically raw and in many cases available in a supplement form, such as capsules, gels, and powders. Raw sea moss contains a variety of nutrients and minerals, including vitamins, proteins, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and so on. 

It contains a considerable amount of iodine and antioxidants as well. Conversely, it has little to no carbs, fats, and sugar, which naturally makes it a preferred choice for health-conscious people.

Benefits Of Sea Moss

Owing to its nutritional value, sea moss supplements offer numerous potential health benefits, as discussed below.

1. Good For Your Heart

Compared to many conventional vegetables, sea moss has a considerably high fiber content, which helps lower blood pressure – a key factor for heart health. Similarly, it controls your blood sugar levels and reduces the cholesterol content in the blood. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

2. Supports Gut Health

Normally, your gut contains different types of bacteria – both good and bad. The balance between the good and the bad bacteria needs to be maintained to keep your digestive system healthy.

This is where a food like red sea moss comes in handy. It contains a multitude of live bacteria, most of which are good for your gut. In fact, the high fiber content of sea moss is also necessary for maintaining a healthy gut.

Besides, all that fiber content in sea moss helps a lot with the digestion process. It allows the stool to move smoothly through your gastrointestinal tract, thereby keeping problems such as constipation away.

3. Promote Weight Loss

The high fiber content of sea moss will help support weight loss. This is due to the fact that fiber makes you feel full, which helps to prevent overeating. And if you eat less, your weight will naturally decrease. In addition to that, marine seaweeds like sea moss are rich in a compound known as fucoxanthin, which helps to metabolize excess fats.

4. Boosts The Immune System

Sea moss is rich in antioxidants and iron, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties and are vital for immune health. As such, it will help your body to fend off bacterial and viral infections better. 

In that context, some initial studies have suggested that the constituents in sea moss help with improving immune response. But these are just preliminary findings, which means that further research will be necessary to establish this aspect.

5. Helps To Improve Thyroid Function

The thyroid gland is a crucial organ in your body that helps with a lot of metabolic functions. It requires the micronutrient iodine to function properly, which is not readily available in the body, unfortunately. So, it needs to be taken in from external sources, such as iodine supplements or foods rich in iodine.

This is where marine seaweeds such as sea moss come into the picture. Since they are rich in iodine, they help to successfully meet the body’s requirements, which, in turn, keeps the thyroid gland functioning normally.

6. It Helps To Improve Neurological Functions Of The Body

Sea moss contains minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, as well as a wide variety of antioxidants. All of these may help with boosting neurological functions and keep your nerves healthy.

In this regard, initial studies done by researchers seem to support this aspect, which means that it can help prevent a plethora of nerve disorders. However, more evidence is necessary for this purpose, which can be achieved through more research in this field.

7. Assists With Muscle Building And Workout Recovery

Sea moss is rich in plant proteins and amino acids, which help with building muscle mass. 

When we work out, our muscles are subjected to numerous micro-tears. These micro-tears can recover faster by taking sea moss supplements. 

In fact, there is a specific amino acid in sea moss known as taurine, which further helps in muscle building and workout recovery. 

Side Effects Of Sea Moss

Despite the many health benefits, sea moss has some notable side effects that you should know. We have discussed them below, so we suggest that you keep reading.

1. It Can Lead To Iodine Overconsumption

While iodine is indeed necessary to maintain thyroid health, too much iodine may give rise to thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. So, if you consume excess sea moss, it will be counter-intuitive for your health.

Besides, the iodine content in sea moss is highly variable, which is unlike other iodine foods. Because of that, it may mess up the iodine balance in your body, which will affect the normal functions of the thyroid gland.

That is why it is a good idea to consume sea moss in moderation to avoid such issues.

2. Can Contain High Concentrations Of Heavy Metals

Marine seaweeds, such as sea moss, are known to absorb these heavy metals from the water in which they grow. So, if the water contains high concentrations of harmful heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, or mercury, they will get absorbed and stored in the moss. And if you consume it, you might develop numerous health problems as a result.

How To Consume Sea Moss

If you haven’t used sea moss supplements before, you may not know how to take them properly. In that case, you should keep reading because here we have discussed how to consume sea moss.

Sea moss supplements are usually available in health food stores in a raw, dried form. You can prepare sea moss gel from this at your home, which makes it easier to consume. To do this, you need to soak the dried sea moss in water overnight. Once that’s done, rinse and blend the moss in fresh water until it becomes sufficiently soft and smooth. 

Following that, you need to place it inside an airtight container and freeze it inside the refrigerator. This will convert the sea moss to a gel-like substance, which you can consume either directly or with other foodstuffs.

Alternatively, you can purchase readymade sea moss gel from select stores, in which case, you won’t need to do the steps mentioned above. For more convenience, you can get other forms of supplements, such as sea moss powder or sea moss pills, which can be easily consumed. But be advised that such supplements might be difficult to find or may be much more expensive than dried sea moss.

As for the taste, it is pretty much flavorless, like any other sea algae. This makes it easier to consume with other foods, such as yogurt, soups, juices, oatmeal, and so on.

Final Words

That’s all we had to say about the benefits and side effects of this spiny sea vegetable. As you can see, there are a lot more positives to consuming Irish moss than negatives, which makes it a good food for maintaining your overall health. 

Fortunately, you can easily find sea moss supplements today due to its popularity as a potential superfood. Regardless, you should consume it in moderate amounts to avoid any issues. 

Also, before you start consuming sea moss on a regular basis, you should consult with a professional healthcare provider. They can guide you better in this aspect so that you are not subjected to any health risks down the line.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

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