Many readers are interested in the following topic: Sea Moss: What Does Science Say About This Declared Superfood. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.
National Institutes of Health: “Iodine.”
Health Benefits of Sea Moss
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- Vitamin C 0%
- Iron 6%
- Vitamin B6 0%
- Magnesium 0%
- Calcium 1%
- Vitamin D 0%
- Cobalamin 0%
- Vitamin A 0%
Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or red seaweed, is a type of seaweed that grows year-round in tidepools and inlets.
Sea moss is commonly harvested in New England to extract carrageenan, a gelatinous carbohydrate used in baked goods and cosmetics. But sea moss can also be eaten on its own, and it is often used to thicken soups and stews.
Sea moss gel
Sea moss gel is a natural, nutrient-rich product derived from sea moss. It is high in minerals such as iodine, potassium, and calcium, and is a good source of hydration and hydrocolloids. It is often used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in food, cosmetics, and medicine.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of this intertidal seaweed.
Sea Moss Benefits
Ever since Kim Kardashian posted about drinking a sea moss smoothie, the healthy eating community has been bursting with information about this superfood, claiming that sea moss can help with everything from your skin to your immune system. But how many of those benefits are based on science and how many are just hearsay?
The truth is that while people have eaten sea moss for years, scientists are only now beginning to research its medical benefits. Here’s what we know so far.
May prevent Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second-most-common degenerative disease found in older adults.
It causes tremors, stiffness, and slowness of movement, and there is no cure. But early research shows that sea moss may be able to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
In a study done with worms, extract from sea moss was shown to reduce stiffness and slowness of movement. This could mean promising things for people with Parkinson’s. But more research is needed to see if sea moss has the same effect on humans that it has on worms.
May improve the immune system
Early studies suggest that sea moss can boost the immune system and may even protect the body from contracting salmonella .
One study showed that sea moss can stop the growth of S. enteritidis , the bacteria that causes salmonella in humans. But this is a very early study and has not been reproduced in animals or humans. More research is needed to determine whether sea moss could help prevent or treat salmonella in humans.
Sea Moss Nutrition
One of the reasons sea moss has been touted as a superfood recently is that it’s a vegan , gluten-free source of many nutrients. Some of the nutrients in sea moss are:
Nutrients per serving
2 tablespoons of sea moss contain:
- Calories: 5
- Fat : 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium : 7 milligrams
- Carbohydrates : 1 gram
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
When it comes to using sea moss, remember that a little bit goes a long way. A serving of sea moss is just two tablespoons, so it doesn’t take much to start adding it to your diet.
Sea moss is a source of iodine, which is something you can eat too much of. Having too much iodine in your diet can lead to a goiter, or enlarged thyroid gland, which can require surgery to resolve. To prevent this, be sure to stick to no more than one serving of sea moss per day.
Sea Moss Side Effects
Although Irish moss offers many health benefits and can improve your body’s overall function, some studies have shown that carrageenan may have negative effects.
Under certain circumstances, carrageenan can be converted into “degraded carrageenan,” or poligeenan, which is known to be toxic and may cause several health problems. There is no scientific evidence to show that your body can convert carrageenan to poligeenan. But some seaweed can contain poligeenan naturally.
May cause intestinal inflammation
Poligeenan can lead to inflammation of the intestines, causing problems with nutrition absorption. This can also lead to discomfort and bloating over time. It may also be linked with colitis and symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
May cause stomach ulcers
In large amounts, poligeenan has also been shown to cause stomach lesions and ulcers in animal studies. More poligeenan is generally connected to larger ulcers.
May lead to stomach and bowel cancer
Finally, poligeenan has also been linked to polyps that may become cancerous. Poligeenan appears to cause problems in the digestive tract that lead to cell mutations commonly found in cancers, particularly in cases where ulcers are found.
It’s important to note that carrageenan has none of these effects. The FDA has determined that carrageenan is safe to use as a food additive, and the human body cannot produce conditions to convert carrageenan to poligeenan.
High levels of iodine found in sea moss can cause thyroid problems and even cancer. Eating too much sea moss can also cause stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. And sea moss may contain toxic metals like arsenic, mercury, and lead, which can be dangerous to consume. Also, sea moss may have blood-thinning properties, so people taking blood-thinning medication should avoid it. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid sea moss because there is not enough research on its effects on these populations. Before adding sea moss to your diet, it’s best to talk to a health care professional.
How Much Sea Moss to Take Daily
The FDA recommends that people consume no more than 150 micrograms of iodine daily. Since Irish moss is rich in iodine, you may want to be cautious when it comes to overeating it. In general, eating one to two servings, or 2 to 4 tablespoons, is considered safe and healthy.
How to Prepare Sea Moss
Many brands have begun selling sea moss capsules and tablets. But there are plenty of ways you can prepare sea moss yourself to enjoy in dishes at home.
To cook with sea moss, you first need to wash it and then soak it in cold water for a full day, changing the water frequently. You’ll know your sea moss is ready to use when it has doubled in size and become white and gelatinous. Once it’s ready, put the sea moss and some water into a blender and blend until it becomes a thick, honey-colored liquid.
Once you have your prepared sea moss, you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and use it in a number of recipes. Sea moss acts as a thickening agent in recipes, making it ideal for:
ESHA Research Inc., Salem, OR.
Frontiers in Microbiology : “Red Seaweeds Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii and Chondrus crispus down Regulate Virulence Factors of Salmonella Enteritidis and Induce Immune Responses in Caenorhabditis elegans.”
Marine Drugs : “Neuroprotective Effects of the Cultivated Chondrus crispus in a C. elegans Model of Parkinson’s Disease.”
Mayo Clinic: “Goiter,” “Parkinson’s Disease.”
University of Rhode Island Environmental Data Center: “Irish Moss (Chrondus Crispus) .”
Britannica: “Irish Moss.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition : “Clarifying the confusion between poligeenan, degraded carrageenan, and carrageenan: A review of the chemistry, nomenclature, and in vivo toxicology by the oral route.”
Critical Reviews in Toxicology : “A critical review of the toxicological effects of carrageenan and processed eucheuma seaweed on the gastrointestinal tract.”
Journal of Applied Phycology : “Melanoma and brown seaweed: an integrative hypothesis.”
Lipid Technology : “The carotenoid fucoxanthin from brown seaweed affects obesity.”
Lipids in Health and Disease : “Polyunsaturated fatty acids in various macroalgal species from north Atlantic and tropical seas.”
National Institutes of Health: “Iodine.”
Scientific American : “The Carrageenan Controversy.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Seaweed, irishmoss, raw.”
FDA: Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.
Sea Moss: What Does Science Say About This Declared Superfood?
You may have heard about the sea moss “superfood” recently. It’s being touted by celebrities as an immune-boosting, skin-healing, digestive aid, but like most declared superfoods, sea moss has actually been consumed for centuries.
Although the research on sea moss is limited, there are reports of the seaweed possessing brain-protecting, immune-boosting and digestion-aiding properties. Plus, we know that seaweed is an excellent source of health-promoting nutrients.
So is sea moss all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s find out.
What Is Sea Moss?
Sea moss, also known as Irish moss, is a red seaweed with the scientific name Chondrus crispus. It’s been consumed by humans for thousands of years, found mainly on rocks along the North Atlantic Coast.
Today, it’s planted and processed in several coastal countries, including the U.S., China and Ireland, and used for its carrageenan content.
Carrageenan is commonly used as a food additive for its binding, thickening and stabilizing effects. It’s used in food products including almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, creamers, yogurt, canned soups and frozen pizzas.
Carrageenan is also an active ingredient in some conventional medicine solutions.
Sea moss is also valued for its algal polysaccharide, which is extracted from carrageenan and has medicinal and health-related properties. Studies propose that algal polysaccharide aids:
- immunity enhancement
- antioxidant effects
- antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities
- tumor inhibition
- hypertension prevention
- high cholesterol prevention
- blood sugar control
In addition to its carrageenan and algal polysaccharide content, sea moss is also rich in:
- amino acids
The potential health benefits of this red algae are linked to its neuroprotective and immune-boosting constituents.
There are some potential benefits of sea moss, but the studies evaluating these effects have been done in labs or on animals. There certainly isn’t a clear understanding of how Irish moss may improve the health of humans, but the nutrient content in the seaweed is promising.
1. Aids Digestion
Irish moss works as a prebiotic, allowing it to influence the composition of our gut microbiota. It’s also a mucilaginous food that has a sticky texture and helps stool move through the gastrointestinal tract more easily.
In a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, rats fed Irish moss showed significant improvements in gut microbiota composition.
Researchers suggest that, based on these findings, sea moss may help improve gut health and immune modulation. It was able to increase the population of beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful bacteria, including Streptococcus pneumoniae.
2. May Boost Neurological Health
Studies suggests that red seaweed may have neuroprotective effects because of its ability to alleviate oxidative stress. For this reason, researchers indicate that C. crispus may be a promising ingredient in pharmaceutical applications for potential novel anti-neurodegenerative drugs for humans.
3. Boosts Immune Function
Research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology indicates that red seaweed enhances host immunity and suppresses the expression of what’s called “virulence factors,” or molecules that are produced by bacteria, fungi and viruses.
This study was conducted in a lab, but researchers concluded that its results suggest that components of C. crispus may play a health-promoting role in animals and humans.
4. Increases Satiety
When combined with liquids, Irish moss has a gel-like texture that is thick and sticky. It acts as a soluble fiber that helps keep you full longer.
Adding Irish moss to meals may increase satiety and, therefore, possibly cut down on the amount of calories you consume. There isn’t scientific evidence to back this up, but the idea is that sea moss works similarly to chia seeds and aloe in this respect.
5. May Have Anti-Tumor Effects
There are some lab studies suggesting that Irish moss has anti-tumor effects that are due to its algal polysaccharide content. Researchers don’t have definitive answers about why this occurs in lab trials, but they indicate that it may be due to polysaccharide’s ability to enhance the body’s immunity and improve its antioxidant activity.
6. Rich in Iodine
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that iodine in C. crispus is high and bioavailable. Both low and high iodine intake levels can increase the risk of disease, so it’s important to consume the right amount.
Iodine-rich foods support thyroid function, healthy metabolism and brain health. Your thyroid, for instance, must have high enough iodine levels to make thyroxine, a key hormone that works to regulate important, everyday biochemical reactions.
Thyroid disorders that may arise from low-iodine levels can lead to symptoms like sluggish appetite, heart issues, mood changes, weight fluctuations and appetite changes.
7. May Boost Skin Health
Sea moss is used in skin care products because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and magnesium.
Using sea moss topically may help hydrate and soothe your skin, while fighting damage and infections. There isn’t any scientific research on the benefits of Irish moss for skin, but its vitamin and mineral content alone is promising for promoting healthy aging.
How to Use
You can find sea moss in raw, dried or gel form. It’s also available as a powder or capsule, and it’s used as an ingredient in some skin care products.
You may have a hard time finding sea moss at your local grocery store, so purchasing it from a reputable company online is another option.
Irish moss is pretty much flavorless, so it can easily be added to smoothie, juice and soup recipes. Remember that it works as a thickener, so it also works well in sauces and even baked goods.
Like algae, you have the option to supplement with sea moss pills and sea moss powder. However, keep in mind that the science on humans is lacking, so check with your health care provider first. This is especially true if you have hypothyroidism.
Risks and Side Effects
When consumed in normal amounts, sea moss is generally safe and may have health benefits. Excessive consumption of Irish moss, however, can mean that you’re ingesting too much iodine.
Too much iodine can cause thyroid disorders, so you need to be careful not to take in too much of the nutrient. If you have Hashimoto’s, thyroiditis or other issues related to hypothyroidism, speak to your doctor about limiting iodine foods.
- Sea moss, or Irish moss, is a red seaweed that was originally harvested from rocks along the North Atlantic Coast.
- For thousands of years, sea moss has been used to boost immune function and aid digestion. Today, it’s cultivated in many countries for its potential health benefits.
- There aren’t many studies involving Irish moss on humans, but lab and animal studies suggest that it may help boost brain function, aid digestion, promote thyroid health and support immune function.
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