This supplement is flying off the shelves at health food stores and making a debut as Tiktok’s favorite smoothie ingredient. Here are 5 science-backed sea moss benefits to help you decide whether this superfood is right for you.
Every few months, a new food starts trending on social media, with every influencer shouting the miracle benefits they’ve experienced. While sea moss is not new, thanks to TikTok, everyone’s been sprinkling some of this sea plant in their daily smoothies, hoping to reap the benefits.
Sea moss and other types of sea greens are rich in nutrients and have been studied for their many potential benefits. While algae may sound unappetizing, there are many ways to include it in your diet or take it as a supplement.
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What is Sea Moss?
Sea moss is also known as Irish moss, or Chondrus crispus. It’s a type of red algae that can be found in the North Atlantic Ocean and is harvested to be used as a health food, a sea vegetable, and for food production as a thickening agent.
Carrageenan can be naturally sourced from sea moss and is commonly used to thicken and stabilize foods like ice cream, cheese, and nondairy milk. While carrageenan is derived from sea moss, it doesn’t have the same properties or nutrients as eating whole sea moss.
Health benefits of sea moss
While sea moss has not been studied extensively for its effects on humans, it’s a highly nutritious sea vegetable with several potential health benefits. If you’re wondering what eating sea moss can do for your health, here are five reasons you may want to add it to your next smoothie or supplement routine.
While there isn’t much to sea moss when it comes to macronutrients like calories, carbs, proteins or fats, it is a valuable source of some vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and iodine.
In 2 tablespoons of sea moss, you’ll find:
- Calories:5 kcal
- Protein: 0.2 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.2 g
- Magnesium: 3% Daily Value (DV)
- Zinc: 2% DV
- Iron: 5% DV
It supports a healthy gut
Sea moss and other sea vegetables are a good source of prebiotics that can help support a healthy gut microbiome. While probiotics (think yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut) are the good bacteria, prebiotics are the food source for that good bacteria in your digestive tract. Feeding the good bacteria promotes their growth and improves the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the digestive system.
A healthy gut microbiome supports a healthy immune system and metabolism and can play a potential role in preventing metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. In addition to sea moss, other prebiotic foods include dandelion greens, garlic, onion, asparagus, and bananas.
It may help with blood sugar management
While sea moss itself has not been studied for its effects on diabetes and blood sugar management, other forms of algae have shown promising results. Two compounds found in sea algae, fucoxanthin and alginate, have been found to lower blood sugar in human and animal studies.
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes took 48 grams of seaweed daily for four weeks. Compared to people who took the placebo, those who ate seaweed each day significantly lowered their fasting and 2-hour post-meal blood sugars.
It supports muscle recovery
The amino acids in sea moss could help aid muscle recovery while reducing muscle fatigue and pain. In one study, 80 adults over age 40 who suffered from musculoskeletal pain had improved fatigue and pain levels after taking sea moss daily for 3 weeks.
It could support weight loss
One of the most popular claims for sea moss is that it’s a great supplement to help accelerate weight loss. While these claims may be exaggerated by some celebrities and social media influencers, research has found some truth to them.
Animal studies have found that the carrageenan in sea moss and other types of red algae could help promote weight loss by lowering fat absorption, reducing the number of fat cells formed, and increasing the rate at which stored fat is broken down.
Taking sea moss for weight loss could help in addition to other proven and effective tools for managing weight, like eating a healthful diet, exercising, reducing stress, and managing sleep.
Side effects of sea moss
Sea moss, when taken in moderate amounts, has relatively low risk, but there are some potential side effects to know about before including this sea vegetable in your diet.
Sea moss is a rich source of iodine, which is needed for healthy thyroid function but can have serious health risks if taken in excess. Research has found that 286 g/day of Irish moss has more iodine than the upper limit set for the adult population of 1100 μg/day.
Too much iodine can lead to the development of a goiter, elevated thyroid stimulating hormone levels, and hypothyroidism.
Sea moss could also interact with some medications such as certain diuretics, anti-thyroid medications, and ACE inhibitor medications for treating high blood pressure. If you take any medications, be sure to check with your pharmacist or doctor before adding sea moss to your diet.
Where to buy sea moss and how to use it
The form of sea moss you purchase may depend on how you want to use it. You can add the powder or gel to smoothies, ice cream, soups, or sauces. If you’d rather just take a supplement, capsules may be a better choice.
The bottom line
Sea moss is a popular health food that’s taken the internet by storm. While there are many claims, some of the potential health benefits of sea moss come from its high vitamin and mineral content, amino acids, and potent phytochemicals. The research is limited at this time, but sea moss can potentially benefit men and women by supporting gut health, muscle recovery, blood sugar, and weight loss. Before adding this or any other supplement to your routine, always be sure to ask your doctor if it’s right for you.